Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – St. Louis Blues
For the last 12 years over at The Hockey News, I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. Now that I am no longer with THN, my 13th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – There were changes? It's the same old team, with Brouwer a downgrade from Oshie and with Brodziak an upgrade to Goc. The Blues have the same coach and coaching style, and the same goaltending tandem. So what will make them a better team? Well, if Elliott would stop getting hurt it would be nice. He always seems to get hurt when he's on a hot streak. But short of that, Dmitrij Jaskin taking a step forward would be big, as well as one of the prospect defensemen making an impact.
It should be noted that Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez were invited to training camp.
Ready for full-time – Colton Parayko is a 6-5, 214-pound defenseman who was a two-time NCAA All-Star. A third-round pick from 2012, Parayko is a two-way defenseman who is quickly garnering the attention of Blues' brass. He joined Chicago of the AHL to end last season and tallied seven points in 17 games (plus-4).
Jordan Schmaltz is their top prospect defenseman. Drafted 25th overall in 2012, Schmaltz decided in late May to sign a pro contract and forego his senior year with UND. He could probably use a full season in the AHL, but he could certainly earn a spot with a strong camp.
Robby Fabbri oozes talent and is one of the top prospects to own in fantasy hockey. Recently, GM Doug Armstrong put Fabbri's odds of making the team at 50-50 and if that happens he could certainly make a splash in both real and fantasy hockey. I'm penciling him in for a nine-game trial and then going back to junior. The Upshall and Gomez tryouts could hurt his odds, but the Patrik Berglund injury helps.
Petteri Lindbohm played 23 games last season but I doubt the 21-year-old will do that again this year. Because now the Blues have options when it comes to calling up a defenseman. Besides veterans like Harrold or Butler, the team also has Schmaltz and Parayko they could turn to. But if Lindbohm beats them out, he does have some upside as a PIM option.
Fantasy Outlook – The Blues have a superstar forward in Vladimir Tarasenko and they have four more forwards capable of topping 65 points. They boast two of the best offensive defensemen in the game as well as one of the better offensive prospects in Fabbri. If goaltending wasn't split, this team would be a fantasy owner's dream.
Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was A-)
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