Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Carolina Hurricanes
For the last 13 years (12 with The Hockey News) I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. My 14th 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.
Impact of changes – The biggest impact isn’t what changed – it’s what stayed the same. That damn Cam Ward signing. I’m still scratching my head.
Eddie Lack, Dec.26-Mar.26
9-7-4, 2.35, 0.921
What happened before/after that? Ward gobbled up his starts/disrupted the flow.
— Dobber (@DobberHockey) June 17, 2016
As I said in the Ramblings recently – “Lack isn’t a one game here, one game there, kind of goalie. He needs to get lots of starts. So far, this Ward signing is the worst NHL move of the offseason. That’s a real shame, because one of the best moves of the offseason was done by Carolina just a day earlier. If Ward went to free agency, I would have been shocked – shocked! – if he signed for over $2 million anywhere. I would not have been shocked if all he got was a training camp invite.”
In the days since the signing, I’ve had a lot of time for it to sink in and I’ve found a way for the logic in the signing to fit together neatly in my brain (I need that to happen or I’ll die, I think). Ward is there this year to split starts evenly, 50/50. Then in 2017-18 Ward is the backup. This is just a contract to help transition Lack into the full-time roll rather than dump it on him. At any rate, the impact on Ward staying is that Lack’s numbers will suffer (he needs a heavy workload to thrive) and overall the Hurricanes will give up more goals than they need to. Again.
The other big impact is the Teravainen acquisition. In him, potentially (there’s that word again), the Hurricanes have a future star. In fact, I project him to lead the team in scoring this season (you’ll see that in the Fantasy Guide).
Ready for full-time – Sebastian Aho is one of the best players not in the NHL right now and he’ll be a part of Team Finland at the World Cup. He is Carolina’s best forward prospect and he should, barring a monumental camp failure (or injury), make the roster. He probably won’t be among the final three candidates for the Calder Trophy next year, but you can bet his name will be mentioned in that vein at several points throughout the season. Forty points is not unrealistic in his rookie campaign. (Read more on Aho here)
Brock McGinn was up with the team for 21 games last year, but posted a minus-14. Still, he’s really improved at the AHL level and is probably pretty close. He’s a future 40-point, 200-hits player and if he makes the team you could see 20 and 150 as a rookie. (Read more on McGinn here)
Haydn Fleury was Carolina’s first-round pick (seventh overall) in 2014. He had a tremendous season in the WHL for Red Deer, breaking out offensively with 41 points in 56 games. His bread and butter, though, is protecting his own end of the rink. He already boasts NHL size at 6-3, 207 and if he doesn’t make the team this year, he’s certainly not far off. (Read more on Fleury here)
Andrew Poturalski was a dynamic player for New Hampshire last season, posting 52 points in 37 games –many of the highlight reel variety. He was one of (if not ‘the’) most coveted undrafted college free agents last season and the Hurricanes landed him. He’s a little undersized at 5-10, 190, but he has a skill set that Carolina desperately needs. (Read more on Poturalski here)
Fantasy Outlook – The Hurricanes are improving a lot, and quickly. The problem is, they were starting from zero. Less than zero, actually. Just such a terrible team, as in fantasy hockey keeper leagues I honestly only had interest in Justin Faulk, Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin on the NHL roster (Jeff Skinner was a big injury risk). But now they have Teravainen, and Aho is one of my favorite prospects in terms of upside, certainty and wait time. The prospect pool is definitely getting better (Julien Gauthier, Jake Bean, Valentin Zykov), but still a long way to go.
Fantasy Grade: D+ (last year was D)
- Ramblings: Carolina Updates; McLellan in Los Angeles; Pominville; Devon Toews - April 18
- Ramblings: Injury Updates; Larkin; Doughty; Aho; Ekblad - April 19
- Tournament: Players Who Would Thrive With Improved Deployment
- Ramblings: Yzerman Back In Motown, Flames Doused, Advantage Leafs (Apr 20)
- Capped: Reviewing Hits and Misses from this Season - Part 1
- Fantasy Take: Yzerman Hired as Red Wings Boss
- Frozen Tools Forensics: Home Sweet Home/Road Splits
- The Journey: What We Learned in the WHL