For the last 14 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
This year, due to Dobber’s battle with cancer, he recruited Cam Robinson (of Frozen Pool Forensics fame) to pinch hit. The 15th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Gone – Travis Hamonic, Ryan Strome, Jean-Francois Berube, Mikhail Grabovski, Jesse Graham, Matthew Finn, Carter Verhaeghe, Jake Bischoff
Incoming – Jordan Eberle, Kristers Gudlevskis, Kane Lafranchise
Impact of changes – We should probably talk about the Islanders’ three-headed goaltending monster that has finally concluded, but I guess the Strome – Eberle deal may take priority. In Eberle, the Islanders obtain a player who has paced at, or scored above, 20 goals in each of his seven NHL seasons. Somehow parlaying Strome – who has never played at a 20-goal pace, into such a productive player seems like grand larceny. The contractual elements played a clear role in Edmonton making the move, but on paper, it appears New York wins this deal and improves their forward core with the incoming, former 76-point scorer. Many assume that Eberle and captain, John Tavares will link up on the top line as they did so many years ago at the World Junior Championships, but the trio of Tavares, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey played terrifically during the last half of 2016-17 and it may be difficult for now-official, head coach, Doug Weight to split them up. Eberle should see time on the first unit power play, but unless he finds himself next to Tavares in all situations, temper your expectations.
Ready for full-time – Josh Ho-Sang has had some tumultuous periods in his early career. Maturity comes to people at different stages and it appeared he may have overslept the alarm before finally waking up. However, last season as a first-year pro, Ho-Sang looked very comfortable, scoring 10 goals and 36 points in 50 AHL contests and then displaying his speed and creativity in 21 games with the Islanders, scoring four goals and adding six assists. The 28th overall selection from 2014 loves to carry the puck as illustrated by his 98 percent (!) carry-in rate at the AHL level. Needless to say, the former OHL