I have done some recent interviews with a few of my favourite sites– Fear the Fin, the Copper & Blue, and RLD Hockey. Check 'em out.
Fantasy Guide was updated yesterday. The Goalie Rankings will be updated as soon as Goalie Post subscriptions go on sale – which should be by the end of this week or Monday at the latest.
A huge and well-deserved congrats to Justin Goldman, who will now be a writer on NHL.com. Justin is far and away the best goaltending resource on the internet, and I am very happy for him.
Dobber mentioned Mike Colligan's point the other day – Bylsma plans to use four forwards and one defenseman on the top unit. With Crosby, I'd go: Crosby-Malkin-Neal up front, and Sullivan-Letang on the back end.
Without Crosby, Kunitz or Staal slides up there. Interesting opportunity ahead for Sullivan – he could record quite a few assists if he settles in to the role of power play specialist.
The Penguins will likely employ an umbrella type of formation, with Letang roving the blueline, and Sullivan and Crosby on either side feeding him one-timers. I'd expect the Penguins to give up a lot of shorthanded goals/chances with this formation, though.
A solid read from NHL.com on Dave Bolland – the Hawks may toy with the idea of moving Sharp back to wing (it depends on Marcus Kruger's development). Ideally, Bolland is a second line center who is matched up against opposing top lines. He's too good to be playing a third line role (the Blackhawks will try and get him as much PP time as they can, especially if he isn't playing as much at even strength).
Sam Gagner has been spinning his wheels, according to David Staples. I don't disagree – it's been tough for him to really improve or develop playing on such awful teams. He is still so young and has so many games of experience under his belt. I wouldn't write him off just yet, but he needs to take a step forward pretty soon if he still wants to be considered as a future offensive star.
Steve Zipay (Rangers beat writer) thinks Wolski gets the first shot on the LW with Richards and Gaborik. He wishes Stepan was playing there. I'd disagree with both.
Wolski has had a ton of chances at the NHL level, and he has failed miserably aside from a few short stints of good play in Colorado. He has so much skill for a big guy, but lacks the intensity required. Tortorella may ride him hard early in the season to see what he is made of.
With Stepan, he's a cerebral player but I like him more at center. A lot of moving pieces, though. If Wolski somehow earns the top spot, the Rangers would probably keep Dubinsky and Callahan on the second line with Anisimov. That leaves Stepan to play with Avery and Zuccarello or Prust on line three. Perhaps they move him to the wing temporarily in order to increase his ice time?
Where do you see Matt Duchene's production for this coming season? 60? 70? In my personal projections, I have him at 71 points.
The comments section from the above post features a good discussion. A lot depends on Peter Mueller's health. Colorado's top two RW in Jones and Hejduk are both band-aid boys, as well.
An interesting read on Cody Hodgson, from the Province. It mentions that he has a huge opportunity with Kesler banged up, how he hasn't been this healthy in over three years, and how he is working with Gary Roberts (physical) and Claude Lemieux (the mental side of the game). The Lemieux bit was particularly noteworthy to me.
My next 15 Points to Consider will be out before the end of August!
A nice sample of Duchene's speed and skill:
Cody Hodgson's highlight reel from Manitoba last season:
Some vets and prospects working out with Roberts and the BioSteel crew – check out Yakupov at the end of the video… wow!