Hockey News’ fantasy reporter Daryl Dobbs published his off season look at our Ducks. Our backchecking with follows in intalics.
Pending UFAs – Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, David Steckel, Matthew Lombardi, Radek Dvorak, Toni Lydman, Jordan Hendry, Ben Lovejoy, Nate Guenin.
Pending RFAs - Harry Zolnierczyk, Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Mat Clark
Of the above David Steckel, Ben Lovejoy, Matt Beleskey and Kyle Palmieri are expected to be retained. Our cap challenged Ducks will have to make a couple of major moves in order to bring back Teemu Selanne and/or Saku Koivu. Even if the Finn Twins signed heavily discounted contracts.
Mat Clark could be held over but he failed to break into the NHL during his EL contract. He might be a late bloomer or he could be semipro grade.
Looking to add – Selanne had 13 points in his last 42 games (combined regular season and playoffs). His ice time dwindled as the season wore on and if he decides to return for another season I will be surprised. The Ducks need a second-line right-winger. Assuming Kyle Palmieri has found a home on the Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf line, Bobby Ryan and Emerson Etem (who were only tried on a line together in a couple of games) will need a right-winger.
Dobb’s sticks with the safe assumption that top six jobs are Palmieri’s and Etem’s to lose. That’s how it looks going into camp. Unless Palmnieri has a breakthrough season, expect Coach to continue to spot play Matt Beleskey on the top line, especially when he wants a more physical presence. Emerson Etem is Teemu’s heir apparent.
Ready for full time – Etem played 30 of the last 31 games of the regular season, plus all seven playoff games. Consider him a full-timer with a role that is almost certain to expand. As a result, expect his 0.26 points-per-game average to increase in 2013-14.
Sami Vatanen is a dynamic offensive defenseman who is ready to make the jump full time now that he’s played the North American game for a full season. With 45 points in 62 American League games, plus another two points for Anaheim, he’s clearly adapted well and makes for a must-own in keeper leagues.
Center Peter Holland is ready for a third-line role, though he may be more of a mid-season addition as opposed to breaking camp with the team. Short-term he holds little value, but his long-term outlook as a second-line center is pretty good.
Hulking winger Patrick Maroon is also on the cusp of making the jump. He has potential for 60-plus points, but not for a few years – and only if he’s brought along accordingly. Historically, his production at different levels has taken a couple of years to get rolling and the NHL will be no exception.
Next season looks to similar to this season in that young guys coming up will be asked to replace and improve on veterans moving out. Teemu is already forever remembered but he may not be missed if Bobby Ryan bounces back from an off year and Etem and Palmieri breakthrough.
Adding Sami Vatanen and his right-handed shot will change the zeitgeist of our Ducks blue line. If Dobbs is right that Vatanen produces 30 Points , he’ll bring needed support to our only other genuine puck moving D-man Cam Fowler.
Next season will no different from last season in that we’ll be looking for young guys to establish themselves as bonafide NHL players. Peter Holland and Patrick Maroon don’t have to be anymore than consistent depth forwards. If they can’t though, the GM will again be bargain shopping for vets like Matthew Lombardi and Radek Dvorak.
Fantasy Outlook: A good team that has a little bit of everything and ample depth in every position. Goaltending is especially strong with Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller battling it out for No. 1, with Frederik Andersen also impressing – and John Gibson on the way. If Cam Fowler can take a step forward offensively and Vatanen has a 30-point rookie season, the Ducks should be competitive once again. There are no superstars on the way, but their pipeline is a good one that promises to produce a steady flow of NHL players in all positions. Coach Bruce Boudreau has opened things up for the Ducks and the team finished seventh in goals scored – a trend that should continue.
Pressed against the salary cap in 2013-14 as things stand now, the Ducks may have to trade Bobby Ryan and bring in a cheaper option. How that goes down will have huge waves in fantasy hockey. Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was C-)
Looks like another summer of stupidity when trading Bobby Ryan is the auto-reflex solution to every problem. We already have to replace 35-40 goals lost to the expected retirements of Selanne and Koivu. While Palmieri and Etem look to be good bets, neither is a certainty.
After losing 35-40 goals, conventional mainstream media wisdom wants us to find a cheap 30 goal scorer to replace Bobby Ryan? Maybe now you get a sense to why I roll my eyes at the notion.
At least they’ve stopped with the trading Jonas Hiller nonsense.
There are other solutions, including but not limited to trading Cogliano and Sbisa. This is likely if DSP takes a step or two forward after his step backward last season and Hampus Lindholm shows any kind of ability to go with his high Hockey IQ.
Another option would be to exercise a compliance buyout of slow-footed Sheldon Souray and pickup a lower cost stay@homer like pending UFA Doug Murray. If you believe Sami Vatanen is 30 points in the bank, we keep the snarl in a Murray and improve on Souray’s offense.
Projected depth chart:
Kyle Palmieri – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan – Nick Bonino – Emerson Etem
Daniel Winnick – David Steckel – Matt Beleskey
Patrick Maroon – Peter Holland - Devante Smith-Pelly
Francois Beauchemin – Ben Lovejoy
Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Bryan Allen – Douglas Murray/Hampus Lindholm
Jonas Hiller – Viktor Fasth
Fantasy Grade: B+