Non-Playoff Teams Summer Outlook IV

Dobber Sports


 Patrick Kane


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Part four in a seven-part review takes a look at the teams that failed to reach the postseason and what kind of impact each of them will have on your keeper-league squad. This week, we take a look at Toronto and Chicago.


Toronto Maple Leafs
Possibly on the way out…
John Pohl will not be re-signed, and Dominic Moore is also unrestricted, but the big news will be the decision by Mats Sundin. Will he retire or sign on for another year? Matt Stajan and Kyle Wellwood are both RFA’s, but are unlikely to receive any offer sheets. The team may buy out Andrew Raycroft and they are looking to trade Pavel Kubina and/or Bryan McCabe.

The team will be looking to add…
The Leafs want Anton Stralman and Staffan Kronwall on the roster full time, so space will have to be cleared. They also need another stay-at-home type similar to Kronwall – five offensive defensemen plus Kronwall will not cut it. The Leafs will also need a first-line center if Sundin moves on, or a second-line center if he re-signs. Nikolai Kulemin will be a 55-point player next season manning the wings and Jiri Tlusty should also take the next step. The team also hopes to draft someone who can step right into the lineup such as a Nikita Filatov.

General fantasy outlook…
Sundin staying in Toronto will help in the short-term, but his retiring will help in the long term as it will force the team to bring along and rely upon prospects. Do not be surprised if Mark Bell bounces back from a brutal couple of seasons to notch 45 points. Overall, the Leafs will not make the postseason again next year, but finally they have some direction.

Chicago Blackhawks
Possibly on the way out…
The ‘Hawks would like to re-sign Jason Williams, but it is not a certainty that it will happen. Patrick Lalime and Andrei Zyuzin will likely be gone, and Yanic Perreault will retire. Andrew Ladd and Corey Crawford could receive offer sheets (and Crawford would be a nice coup).

The team will be looking to add…
Chicago has a pile of prospects who are ready to make the jump and also have decent upside. They could improve just by doing nothing. However, it is no secret that the team is in the hunt for an offensive rearguard and Wade Redden and Brian Campbell are both on their radar.

General fantasy outlook…
Chicago was 10th in league offense in 2007-08 and they will move up a notch or two in the coming season. A team on the rise and a must-own for keeper-league owners who think ahead. They will battle for a playoff spot, but even if they don’t get in – they are a young team on the rise and they won’t be held back for long.

A power play QB will work wonders for the likes of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who will both reach 80 points with a talented enough man on the blue line. Jack Skille and Dave Bolland are also deserving of full-time jobs now and will add 40 points each, while Petri Kontiola could be a decent dark horse.


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