If there is a chance that you may be able to acquire Jakub Voracek in your keeper league, get on it! Voracek isn’t mentioned as an upper-echelon young talent, but that is exactly what he is.
He is more of a playmaker than a goalscorer, which is strange considering the fact that he is a natural winger. Because of this, his production probably won’t be as dependent on linemate quality as it would be if he were a scorer. I have his upside in the high 80’s.
With Alex Burrows probably out until late October, a huge opportunity exists in Vancouver’s second line. Samuelsson will slide up to play with Daniel and Henrik.
That leaves one of Schroeder, Hodgson (if he moves to wing), Tambellini, and Shirokov (forgotten name around these parts) in the mix. It also partly explains the Bieksa-for-Fleischmann rumors. Canucks don’t need a top six winger but they are only one injury away from a huge hole in the lineup. Fleischmann would step in and remove that risk.
Vincent Lecavalier got his knee scoped after experiencing some soreness over the past few weeks. He should be fine for training camp, but keep this news in mind. No Lecavalier would hurt the fantasy value of Tampa Bay’s depth scoring wingers significantly.
Joffrey Lupul may be out until December as he continues to recover from back surgery. This helps Matt Beleskey tremendously. Jason Blake is also in the mix, but his fantasy value is minimal at best (unless you are really desperate for SOG).
Is this a make or break season for Drew Stafford? Yes, yes it is. Stafford has been a point of frustration for the Sabres – he's big, he skates, well, and he has a very good shot. However, he lacks consistency with regards to his on-ice effort, and he often shies away from physical contact.
He is definite trade bait if he doesn't turn his game around. Buffalo doesn't really need a soft, one-dimensional winger on their third line.
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Is there a worse fit between team and player than Mikael Grabovski in Toronto?
Copper 'n Blue breaks down how the 30 NHL clubs spread out even strength ice time among their four lines – very interesting stuff. Some quick hits from it:
Montreal's fourth line played almost four more minutes per game on average compared to Colorado's.
This breakdown aligns with my view on "third line" players like Giroux, Staal, and so on. The drop off from line two to three is not significant in terms of even strength ice time, especially compared to the drop off from line three to four.
The crucial factor with regards to production for "second" and "third" line players is power play time. If the even strength minutes are relatively even, why do people may such close attention to depth charts and what number line the player skates on when the lineup is put on paper?