Rambling about World Cup dropouts, Olympic qualifiers, Scott Gomez and more …
Last Fantasy Guide update was Thursday and it included my Top Calder Candidates article. Next update will be in a day or two, unless something earth-shattering happens before then. Updates start coming fast and furious (daily or even multiple times per day) when camp opens and there are lots of changes.
Not only is it the time of year in which the unrestricted free agents give up on contracts and start accepting tryouts, but in 2016 it’s apparently time to back out of the exhibition tournament known as the World Cup. I was a little excited about this tournament. No longer.
Tomas Hertl, Radko Gudas, Jeff Carter, Sean Monahan, David Krejci, Duncan Keith, Jamie Benn, Alex Steen, Henrik Zetterberg, Ryan Callahan and Niklas Kronwall. Most of these players would magically be healthy if the tournament was called “The Olympics”. Some are legitimately out. But I’m willing to wager that at least seven of these 11 players I listed will suit up for Game 1 of the regular season.
Anyway, if I didn’t put money on Team North America to win this thing, I wonder if I’d even be watching. I’d be just as interested in NHL training camp exhibition games so I can gauge some prospect progress for fantasy leagues.
Speaking of Team North America, the more players who back out of this tourney the better the chances of a Team North America win. So far, knock on wood, they’ve only lost Sean Monahan. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic is decimated and has been inviting KHL players to fill in. Team Sweden is also in tough, and things will get even worse of Henrik Lundqvist has to miss (rumored). Team Canada has taken a hit, and if they keep replacing injured defensemen with non-PK Subbans, then Team North America is looking pretty sweet.
Yesterday, Slovenia and Germany and Norway clinched spots at the 2018 Olympics. Here are the three groups:
Group A – Canada, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Korea
Group B – Russia, United States, Slovakia, Slovenia
Group C – Sweden, Finland, Norway and Germany
Out: Latvia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, France, Denmark and Italy are the notables.
Surprised to see South Korea make it as they were ranked 23rd in 2015 and still there in 2016. So I’m guessing they get a ‘bye’ because they’re the hosts. But the program is getting on the map, thanks to the influence of former NHLer Jim Paek, who coaches the team. Unless I’m mistaken though, none of Canada, Czech, Switzerland, Russia, Sweden nor USA have ever played Korea. The closest to a ‘known’ team that has faced Korea is Kazakhstan, and that team is an all-time 9-0-0 against them. In fact, Korea has never beaten Kazakhstan, Denmark, Ukraine, Latvia, Norway or Slovenia – a combined 0-23-0. So Canada will have an interesting game against them at the Olympics, assuming the NHL participates. Or even if they don’t, for that matter.
On a side note, Jiri Hudler ignored Team Czech Republic’s calls. No seriously – they tried to call him and he wasn’t answering. And then, later, he had his agent tell them he wasn’t interested. He was probably pissed that he wasn’t on the team to begin with, nor was he on the Sochi Olympics team. But he’s always been a little bit flaky. Remember when he went to play in the KHL for a year? And then before he returned he was going nuts on Facebook with the curse words? He just seemed…not all there to me. But then he did return to the NHL and eventually blossomed in Calgary, making me forget everything. But now it comes roaring back. I suspect he’s got a bit of a temper, and a maturity issue. Regardless, his decision reinforces my notion that the tournament isn’t the big deal I was hoping it would be.
Scott Gomez retired on Friday. It wasn’t mentioned here yet and I like to pay tribute to retiring players when I can, especially those with strong fantasy value. He finishes with 756 points in 1079 games, including 575 assists. He had a 70-point rookie season back in 1999-00, surprising us all. And how he was able to do that when the Elias-Arnott-Sykora line was still rolling, leaving him with secondary minutes, was impressive. It wasn’t until his sophomore year before he played with Mogilny. He was a four-time 70-point player and he had at least 58 points seven times. His best fantasy season was in 2005-06 when he scored 33 goals, 51 assists for 84 points.
BIG news! Eric Daoust has finished his cleanup and fix-up and vast improvement of Frozen Pool’s Report Generator! I’m going to draw up a quick article later Monday going over everything that was done, but in the meantime if you want you can mess around in there. My favorite new feature is the “shots” report. It was there before, but now it’s pretty awesome.
The latest player to sign a PTO – Ryan Carter. And it’s with the team he’s played for two years.
One of the bigger fantasy prospect disappointments of the past decade, David Rundblad, has signed to play in the Swiss League. I think players are flocking there just as much as they’re going to the KHL.
Although I noted above that Tomas Hertl has backed out of the World Cup, I also noted above that most of those players who backed out will be ready to start the regular season. Hertl is no exception – he’ll apparently be ready to go for the Sharks. He has been rehabbing a knee injury, the one that cost him most of the Stanley Cup Final.
DobberProspects has had a fantastic two-part series on a prospect draft that the staff (of 24) held. Seven rounds of 24. So 168 prospects were drafted for keeper league fantasy purposes. You’ll find it both helpful and interesting. You can find Part 1 here. And Part 2 here.
I have a couple of competitive leagues for you to join if you’re interested. Here are the details…
League 1: The DobberHockey Tiered Invitational is an annual competition consisting of multiple one-year rotisserie leagues. Recruitment for the Entry division is open, and all the details can be found in the forum here. More information on the structure and settings can be found linked in HorrorFan’s signature on that thread. Furthermore, as it's the 10-year anniversary of this competition, all league winners this upcoming season will receive a free copy of the 2017/18 hockey guide!
League 2: If you think you're one of the greatest fantasy hockey minds, there are 100+ other poolies spread out across four continents who'd like to have a word with you. Elan and Brian at Keeping Karlsson invite you to truly test your fantasy hockey mettle in the most competitive and fun fantasy hockey league in the world– the Keeping Karlsson Ultimate Patron Fantrax League! You can get your invite, along with a whole bunch of other bonus fantasy hockey content, by becoming a patron of the show— keep in mind that the deadline to guarantee yourself a spot is this Wednesday, Sept. 7. Check out the league format and rules here, and hit the guys up on twitter or leave a comment below if you've got any questions.
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