The Fantasy Guide was released SATURDAY!
This was very labor-intensive in a smaller window of time than I have done in the past. Usually, with several days of prep work, I can put this together in about four weeks. This time, with a shorter offseason, I got this out in 15 days. It required more prep work, and late nights. But then with five days left I realized I was ahead of schedule! So what I did with that extra time was put in all the articles that I usually write two or three weeks after release: my Top 50 Calder Trophy Picks, my projected standings, unrestricted free agency notes and my projected goals-for. All of these articles are already in the Guide.
As you know, this Guide gets updated throughout the offseason. But after I sign off on the Ramblings here, I will be taking a much-needed five-day vacation! So do not expect updates this week (there are unlikely to be any big trades anyway, and all the big free agents have already signed).
Remember Viktor Stalberg? That's a name I've not heard in years but it cropped up on my feed when he announced his retirement. A big player with speed and upside, he topped out at 22 goals and 43 points at the age of 25 and looked like he would only improve from there. But nope, wound up in Nashville and couldn't stick in the lineup, eventually petering out of the NHL altogether.
Last week I went through the rosters that I put together in the Guide and found a few general observations with each team and I shared them here. I only got to Pittsburgh at the time, so now I will do the rest.
I came away from putting this roster together by being very impressed with what I saw from Alexander Barabanov. I think he starts the season on the second line (no power-play time, initially) and it's his job to lose. Not the greatest upside but a decent dark horse if acquired via the waiver wire.
This was a very fun roster to put together. I had to look closely at the analytics and the faceoff data. I do this for every team anyway, but for this one I looked through it repeatedly. A fine-tooth comb. I left no stone unturned. And despite being the top names for proven production on the roster, I have Jaden Schwartz and Yanni Gourde on the checking line with Brandon Tanev. I think this team was built for stifling defense and tight games. So while I have those two big names on power-play units, for 5-on-5 play they are checkers getting defensive-zone starts.
Not a lot to say about this team, which has remained close to the same. Not until we see where Vladimir Tarasenko gets traded and for what return.