Tuesday, Sept. 15

by Neil Parker on September 15, 2015
Marko Dano - USA Today Sports Images

 

10 Bold Predictions, Brad Marchand, Magnus Paajarvi, Mikko Rantanen, Johan Franzen and more in a parting shot …

 

This is my parting shot, and I want to start with a thank you to Dobber for approaching me with the opportunity to join his team this summer. It was an honor, and there are certainly no soft spots with the audience here. You hold us to task and crave quality. Good on you because a quick jaunt through the fantasy funnies will lead to a lot of empty content with weak analysis. Keep it up Dobber Hockey fans. 

This is a unique platform, and we're asked to tackle news and take stances with an edge. It has been fun, and it has been a learning experience in many ways. Thanks to all of you, I'm appreciative for the opportunity.

 

So … let's goooooooooo.

 

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Brad Marchand said his right elbow is not 100 percent after offseason surgery to repair torn tendons, and it bothers him when he shoots too much.

Well, it stands to suggest he enters the early season with a slightly heightened injury risk. Enter contact and an uptick in physicality in games, and shooting won't be the only wear on his elbow. He didn't begin upper-body work until August due to the surgery,either.

It is just a minor fantasy concern, though, as there is no way Boston allows their potential goal leader to play limited or with a chance of aggravating the injury.

It also shouldn't been seen as anything to impact Marchand's draft stock. He owns a high floor because of his multi-category contributions, and if he can grab more power-play opportunities his offensive number project to climb. Remember, Marchand averaged less than a minute of power-play time per game last season.

It is just something to watch for in camp, and if he isn't shooting regularly early in the season it could be an explanation.

Again, considering where you're able to grab Marchand in drafts, there isn't a lot to worry about with the injury. His current ADP at Yahoo is 139.9 or the fifth pick of Round 13, there is no risk with any pick at that stage, and Marchard is currently a steal.

 

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Sticking with Boston, Joonas Kemppainen is impressing beat writers and pushing for a roster spot. He has a two-way deal, so there isn't a lot security, but he projects as a capable bottom-six center who could push Ryan Spooner to the wing or minors depending on how things play out over the next few weeks.

Kemppainen has nine years of professional experience in Finland and is likely better suited for a lower-line role than Spooner. Boston could also deploy a more balanced attack at even strength, too, though, which is actually more likely.

Just another camp situation to watch.

 

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Magnus Paajarvi is eager to prove he warrants a roster spot with the St. Louis Blues. In fact, he took an offseason pay cut and likely forwent a raise by not signing in Europe.

He added weight entering the 2014-15 season to better withstand the demands of a bottom-six role, but has shed it entering training camp this year.

The 24-year-old winger doesn't appear to have any shot at a top-six role, and he has proven time and time again to be unsuccessful as a lower-line forward. Unfortunately, he appears to have bottomed out with St. Louis, as a number of players have leapfrogged him on the depth chart and a number of youngsters have arrived.

I wouldn't necessarily write off Paajarvi as a NHL player, but at this point, his fantasy stock isn't worth rostering. Entering his offensive prime and with a respectable track record in the American Hockey League, a change of scene is needed here.

It is a classic example of a player who needs to play in an offensive role to be a successful NHL player, but isn't good enough to be that player for St. Louis. I would be surprised if he cleared waivers this season at his $700,000 salary. Teams like the Arizona Coyotes or Toronto Maple Leafs shouldn't allow him to.

 

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Saturday, I shared some links to projected rosters for the World Cup.

 

Here are all eight teams:

 

Team Europe

Team North America

Russia

Finland

Sweden

Czech Republic

United States

Canada

 

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Mikko Rantanen has a legit shot at breaking camp with the Colorado Avalanche. The Aves have consistently rolled with 18-year-old players (Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly in 2009, Gabriel Landeskog in 2011 and Nathan MacKinnon in 2013), and Rantanen has the size and experience to do the same.

Additionally, he has the option to play in the AHL this year, so there is no reason to return him to Finland. He might not stick all season, and a poor camp would almost guarantee he starts in the minors. Expect Rantanen to open with Colorado, though, as long as he doesn't blow it over the next three weeks.

A quick look at their roster makes it pretty clear there are holes to fill, and top-six minutes aren't out of reach for the rookie. Still, he is nothing more than a late-round flier at this point. Although, his fantasy stock could gain more steam with the right line assignment.

 

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As speculated — or at least questioned — in my last ramblings, Conor McDavid did not play last night in the Young Stars Classic.

Brad Ziemer doesn't agree, though.

Silly, Brad.

 

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Johan Franzen has been cleared to participate in training camp. He last played in early January, and where he fits into the lineup will be interesting, as will how productive he'll be entering his age-36 season.

With just 87 games and 23 goals over the past two seasons, there is nothing to be excited about with Franzen. Sure, his per-game production remains respectable, but there is no upside and his likely yo-yo act in and out of the lineup probably won't be worth the headache.

 

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10 bold predictions for the 2015-16 season

 

1. The Boston Bruins miss the playoffs, and Tuukka Rask finishes outside the top-12 fantasy goalies.

 

2. Jack Eichel scores more goals than Conor McDavid, and the Buffalo Sabres make the playoffs. The Edmonton Oilers, meanwhile, miss the postseason for the 10th consecutive year.

 

3. Devan Dubnyk is the No. 1 goalie in fantasy hockey with 40 wins, a sub-2.00 goals-against average and plus-.925 save percentage.

 

4. Steven Stamkos has another let-down showing and finishes with fewer than 40 goals and 70 points, and he doesn't re-sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning, either.

 

5. John Tavares leads the NHL in points, and the New York Islanders grab home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Or, in other words, the Isle are the best team in the Eastern Conference.

 

6. The Western Conference takes the Winnipeg Jets seriously, and they miss the playoffs because Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson implode.

 

7. Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen dance the 1A-1B tango all season and backstop the league's highest-scoring team to a Central Division title.

 

8. The Vancouver Canucks finish as the second-worst team in the Western Conference, and Jacob Markstrom unseats Ryan Miller as the No. 1 goalie by the All-Star break.

 

9. Marko Dano breaks out for fantasy hockey owners with 25 goals, 40 helpers, a plus-15 rating, 60 penalty minutes, 185 shots and 200 hits.

 

10. None of the Triplets (Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat) score 30 goals or top 65 points, and the line is broken up shortly after the All-Star break.

 

And a bonus ….

11. The Toronto Maple Leafs aren't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs until April.

 

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Thanks again, all. You can find me on the Twitter Machine, and dishing out daily fantasy hockey at TheFakeHockey.com, USA Today, Rotowire and Daily Fantasy Cafe over the coming months.

I look forward to joining you on the viewer side right here. Seriously, it is like jumping over the bar and joining the crowd for a pint at the end of your shift after slinging them all day.