Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – St. Louis Blues
For the last 16 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 17th 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.
Incoming – Andreas Borgman, Jake Dotchin, Nick Lappin, Derrick Pouliot, Nathan Walker
Impact of changes – Big changes this summer…if you’re a San Antonio fan. Really just a handful of moves working players in and out of the AHL lineup. The loss of Patrick Maroon is the only change to the regular roster, and that’s a third-line winger position easily filled by simply getting Robby Fabbri into more games (and him staying healthy), and giving Jordan Kyrou and/or Mackenzie MacEachern roster spots.
Ready for full-time – There was one player who was called up in January, didn’t get into all the games through the end of the season, ended up playing 32 games last year. And yet we just “assume” he’s a lock for a roster spot? Well, alright, I guess we can make an exception for Jordan Binnington. He is probably a safe bet.
The team that won the Stanley Cup has their roster almost completely intact. And if Jordan Kyrou makes the team then he is probably an upgrade to Maroon, even as a rookie. He’s not a lock to win a job out of training camp but after a rookie-pro season that saw him tally 43 points in 47 games for San Antonio, he is probably not going to be there for long if the Blues do in fact cut him.
Mackenzie MacEachern is a former high school star who became a solid college player, but has struggled a little in three years as a pro. He has been working hard to redefine himself as a pure checker and it seems to be working. But not yet at the NHL level. He still needs sheltered minutes in order to not overly hurt the team, as we saw in 29 games with the Blues last season. At any rate, regardless of if he succeeds as an NHLer or not, he holds no fantasy value other than perhaps his potential 2.0 Hits per game.
St. Louis Blues prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – St. Louis finished 15th in league scoring, but as you can recall – this team was dead last in the standings heading into the New Year. So their second half was obviously brilliant. Vladimir Tarasenko had 45 points in his last 38 games, Brayden Schenn had 31 in 37 and Robert Thomas had 20 of his 33 points in the second half. So I have them seventh for 2019-20. A year ago, some people projected the Blues to win the Stanley Cup. Their offseason moves were arguably the most impressive in the league. By late December, many had completely written this team off (I, myself, traded away Vince Dunn straight up for Nazem Kadri in one of my leagues because I wanted a playoff player. Oops.) But they gelled under new coach Craig Berube and marched onward towards the Holy Grail. That team is still completely together. They have two good scoring lines led by Tarasenko and multi-trophy-winner Ryan O’Reilly, plus two checking lines that can score. Their defense can move the puck, from Dunn to Alex Pietrangelo to Colton Parayko. Their Achilles Heel – goaltending – is now adequate under Winnington. The prospect pipeline is still average, but that’s amazing when talking about a championship team. Usually a Cup win costs the team everything in their prospect cupboards but the Blues still have Kyrou, Dominik Bokk, Klim Kostin and Scott Perunovich.
Fantasy Grade: A (last year was B+)
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2019 Offseason Fantasy Hockey Grades