Have you ever wanted to trash talk your fellow GM’s simply by wearing a t-shirt? Well you can do just that – and for today only get 20% off (use promo code: MAD20). Check them out here.
I only have four "official" ramblings left before I step down from my post here at DobberHockey, and I will do my best to make them my four best ramblings yet!
Read on for everything and anything pertaining to the world of hockey (and, as always, fantasy hockey, in particular).
I have seen both Ryan Malone and Jonathan Drouin pencilled in alongside Stamkos and St. Louis this summer. I simply don't see Malone playing there. Drouin isn't a third line talent, and the Lightning will want to ensure he has every opportunity to succeed as a teenager.
I'd still expect Malone to see time there (especially in more physical games and on the power play). Here is how I see the Tampa top nine shaping up for opening night:
Drouin – Stamkos – St. Louis
Killorn – Filppula – Purcell
Malone – Johnson – Panik (or Connolly/comparable prospect)
More on the Lightning lineup situation from Raw Charge.
And after writing about him forever (at least it seems that way…), this is the year that Mark Barberio finally breaks in to the NHL on a full-time basis. Tampa has some defensemen capable of chipping in offensively, but they don't have a true PP QB on the back end. Barberio could fill that void as early as this season.
To me, the toughest nut to track with my projections has been the forward group in St. Louis. I have written about my thoughts on the subject before, but let me dive into a bit more detail.
The scoring/offensive line:
Why? Schwartz is a natural LW (not many of them on the roster). Roy is the most talented center and is a natural playmaker, while Stewart is the best pure sniper on the team. Give this line the offensive minutes and led the other players do the grunt work.
The two-way/shut-down line:
Big, fast, physical, and skilled. Not many teams in the NHL could compete with this unit from an overall perspective. Even in tough minutes, I'd expect all three to be productive.
The scoring depth/puck possession line:
Size, skill, puck possession – this line has it all. Berglund and Paajarvi will both open up a lot of ice for Tarasenko to work his magic.
Two agitators and a guy who throws massive hits – a fantastic fourth line capable of chipping in offensively (but that won't be their role with this team).
Sticking with the Blues – Jaro Halak has put some serious work in this summer, shedding 14 pounds of body fat in three months. That is extremely impressive (he stuck around St. Louis to work with strength coach Nelson Ayotte), but also begs the question – what the heck was he eating before?
Hopefully losing the weight and getting stronger in the core/lower body will cut down on the groin issues he has having. This is a huge season for him, as he only has one year left on his deal.
I'll be shocked if Sharks winger Tomas Hertl doesn't finish in the top-five in rookie scoring this season.
How many games does Bernier start this year? How about Reimer? I'd be wary of drafting either of them as there is so much uncertainty. Bernier will get every opportunity to start (contract, trade, draft status), but Reimer was really strong last year for Toronto and earned the opportunity to start as well.
What are your thoughts?
Here's a look at the top 10 left wingers in the Metropolitan Division:
Number six – Martin Erat: