There is a lot going on in the hockey world down in, er, the desert. With all of these off-ice distractions, how can these promising young players continue to blossom into fantasy studs? Let's take a look at some of the key components.
It's a difficult thing to measure or properly gauge – the balance between a player's natural tendency to let outside influences get to him, with a player's ability improving with added strength and experience. For the youngsters who haven't been in the league long enough to really know any different, is the attention off the ice any different then playing in say Toronto or Montreal? For the veterans who are used to relative anonymity, will this new spotlight that has nothing to do with their play affect their numbers?
Shane Doan – The captain is a born leader and is coming off of the two most productive seasons of his career. You have to think that distraction will have little impact on his numbers so expect a number between his last two seasons (73 and 78).
Matt Lombardi – He produced at a 68-point pace upon arriving in Phoenix, but that was before the nasty stuff hit the fan. Still, prior to the lockout Calgary wasn't exactly entrenched as an NHL certainty and he was around for that, albeit briefly. I still think that improving on his Calgary production is in the cards.
Radim Vrbata – Is the Glendale Gong Show any worse than the Laughable Lightning of a year ago? I submit that his environment has actually improved. Although his role with the 'Yotes won't be as important as his last tour of duty, he should still produce in that 40-50 range.
Ed Jovanovski – When it comes to microphones in front of his face, he's been there and done that. Coming off of his lowest points-per-game since before the lockout, there is nowhere to go but up for this guy.
Adrian Aucoin – For the 36-year-old I would be predicting a drop in production regardless, so it's hard to say whether the bankruptcy situation will have any impact.
Ilya Bryzgalov – Of all the 'Yotes, the goaltender coming off of a sluggish season i