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User Seadawg has some great insight from sitting in at the US National Development Camp. You can read his insightful thread here.
The Washington Capitals scored 224 goals last year after 318 the season prior. That's a 29.6% drop. Alex Ovechkin's number went down 28.5% (from 1.51 points-per-game to 1.08). Coach Bruce Boudreau changed his coaching style so dramatically that it made the most offensive team in hockey one of the better defensive ones. Now they just need to find a balance.
There is some reason to believe that they will. But as with my blabbing on the Pens yesterday, there are a couple of "ifs" and "buts". The main one is Mike Green's health. Green's a Band-Aid Boy, getting into just 49, 75 and 68 games these past three seasons. But that 49 number is far too low. It's probably safer to assume 70 games than another 49. But that's only part of it. He also needs to bet back to his former ways. Heading into last season Green had 198 points in his last 198 games. And he kicked off last season with 13 points in 15 games. The magic is still there. But during those 15 games in which Green played at the start of last season (so excluding three that he missed), Ovechkin had 24 points.
You see? Hope. As a fantasy player, I would love to see the Caps go back to their offensive style. That won't happen. But with Green going at full pop, that will be enough to get Ovechkin back into the scoring race. You need star support, and I don't think Alexander Semin has been that star. Green is that star. But again, there is a lot of versatility in this projection: if Green is sidelined or plays hurt, we could be in for same ol', same ol'. But if the old Green can come back, Ovechkin is back up to 110 regardless of the new team philosophy. And the domino effect would give a shot in the arm to Nicklas Backstrom and on down the line.
As with the Penguins, relying on a player to return to full health is a gamble. I think it's worth the gamble and don't care how dumb I look next spring if it fails. But making a fantasy league win a little easier to come by is not enough of a payoff for that risk for some people. If you like to play it safe and just get the sure points, there are lots of safe options available. Stamkos and the Sedins have proven for two years now that they not only stay healthy, but they'll give you 95-plus points, possibly flirting with as many as 110.
Rob Schremp has signed to play with Modo of the SEL, a team GM'ed by Markus Naslund.
The Rangers have signed Brendan Bell to a contract, bringing him back from the Swiss League. He is a solid player to call up from the minors when needed.
Goaltender Patrick Fücker has signed on with ERV Chemnitz of the German League. Not fantasy relevant at all, I'm just not very mature sometimes.
The Sabres have added depth in signing Michael Ryan and Paul Szczechura yesterday.
Boudreau muses about potential