Ramapithicines - Offseason Review

L: Picard-Clb P3, Nilsson-Edm P3

Rating: 1

Picard has excellent size and skill, but lacks elite scoring or play-making ability. Still, he could be a Ryan Smyth type all-purpose winger if it comes together for him. Nilsson is the poster child for the soft but highly skilled euro-forward. He's already flunked out of the Islanders organization, and while he should make the Oilers outright this year, he is far from assured powerplay time. Neither winger has a roster spot on the Ramapithicines waiting for them just yet.

C: Zubrus-NJ RFA, Wellwood-Tor RFA, Brassard-Clb P2, Umberger-Pha P2

Rating: 2

Zubrus will be in tough to repeat draftable numbers in the confines of back-check-land-New-Jersey. Wellwood could end up as a legit producer for the Ramapithicines, he's flashed a ton of offensive potential in the past, and has the water-bug moves that lead to points. Think Steve Sullivan pre-breakout season. Brassard is teams top prospect at centre and for good reason. He's got sick distribution skills and will be the Bluejackets top playmaker at some point in the future. Umberger is a hulking pivot heavy on brute force and light on offensive ability. He could develop into a Keith Primeau type 2nd line centre, but more likely will end up in a checking role.

R: Eaves-Ott RFA, Bouchard-Min P4, Lupul-Pha P4, Brown-LA P3, Pominville-Buf P2

Rating: 2

The Ramapithicines cup doth runneth over. Eaves isn't developed enough yet to be a real contributor and is likely to be released. Bouchard is an all-purpose winger with excellent play-making ability, and unlike Eaves, he will be a contributor, likely as a 3rd liner, but with plenty of upside. Lupul has long been expected to flirt with 30 goals, and he'll have a third team now to reach that mark. Says here he won't. Dustin Brown is part of the LA Kings growing core of talent. and his grit is almost as high as scoring ability. He'll eventually land on the 2nd line, but for Brown his style of play is the bigger issue as he racks up nicks and dings like a much bigger power forward. Pominville demonstrated a sweet shooting stroke as a member of the Sabres, but it's not clear that with the teams reduced offensive depth he'll have the same opportunities to play against the other teams lesser checking units.

D: Chara-Bos FP, Sopel-LA RFA, Wescott-Clb RFA, Leopold-Col RFA, Kalinin-Buf RFA, Kuba-TBay, E.Johnson-StL P2, J.Johnson-LA P2

Rating: 4

Chara is still an elite combo defenseman if he can keep his PIM up. Another 40+pt, 100+PIM season isn't out of the question, and a few more fights as a Bruin would merely make him more dominant. Sopel is now a bit player in the LA scheme and could be released all together. Wescott will be difficult to keep around unless he proves he can play a full season as goon. Even then, he's behind Chara on the teams goon chart, and could easily be replaced. Leopold hasn't developed the offensive touch expected, but he could be a significant contributor as part of the Av's powerplay. Kalinin is at best a #4 defender, and isn't likely to have the +/- numbers that made him attractive previously. Kuba is a decent fit in Tampa, but won't be worth more than 35 pts tops. It's the two prospects that elevate the teams D rating well above average. Both Johnson's are projectable to make the squad, contribute on the powerplay and both could threaten for the Calder.

G: Turco-Dal FP

Rating: 4.5

Another terrific season from Turco, but still no respect. He's a hair less than Brodeur, but otherwise, about as elite as they come.

Total rating: 13.5

Stars Take Shot at NBA

Here's the article

Great Whites - Offseason Review

L: Frolov-LA RFA, Semin-Wsh P4, J.Jokinen-Dal P3, Ladd-Car P3, Kessel-Bos P2

Rating: 3.5

Frolov is a very interesting player at a very interesting stage of his career. He's got a goal-scorers touch, an NHL frame suitable for grinding in the corners, decent (if not elite) wheels, and he's playing on an up-and-coming team with the Kings. So why don't I believe he'll cruise past a ppg and be an obvious FP caliber winger? I think it's just a matter of him having a ceiling of around 85pts. Semin on the other hand has a similar package PLUS elite speed - making him a serious threat to surpass Frolov on the depth chart. Jokinen is a shoot-out wonder, but otherwise seems to bring very little offense to the table with any consistency. Ladd was supposed to have developed a gun-sight by now, but seems to be firmly entrenched on the Brad May development track for power forwards. He'll be a useful player throughout his career, but if he scores 30 goals in a season it will probably be his career high. Kessel represents the next wave of left wingers for the team, as he gradually puts his elite speed/shooting game back together after beating testicular cancer. It may not be an immediate impact, but he does provide a solid prospect to build around as Frolov and Semin exit the fold.

C: Marleau-SJ FP, Fisher-Ott RFA, E.Staal-Car P4, Carter-Pha P3, Esposito-P2

Rating: 4.5

Marleau falls into the category of a 'lesser' FP in that he can be counted on to finish outside the top end of his position, but still produce enough points to keep his contract valid (see: Mats Sundin for sine qua non of this category). He's steady, but not overwhelming. Fisher is an afterthought unlikely to be matched no matter where the bid. Staal is the teams true #1, and should rebound to produce numbers more like those from two years ago than those he had last year. Carter has been slow to develop the offensive flair he flaunted in Jr and at the WJC. He's got all the tools, but so far hasn't found his toolbox. Esposito is intriguing. NHL scouts hated him, but his offense can't be denied, and he'll eventually make the Pens. Will he stick? If he does it could be worth the gamble of having picked him a year in advance of his draft.

R: Horton-Fla P3, Miettinen-Dal P3, Svatos-Col P3

Rating: 2

Horton is a legit threat to blossom into a 40-40-80 sniper, but he's got a track record for getting derailed by injuries. Miettinen will be lucky to retain prospect status, and isn't a threat to make the squad. Svatos had a decent enough rookie year, but still doesn't project to have draftable stats.

D: Sydor-Pit RFA, Boynton-Phx RFA, Boucher-Dal RFA

Rating: 2

Sydor is interesting if only because everybody in Pittsburgh is interesting - whether they really are or not. He's got two others at least ahead of him on the powerplay depth chart, and he hasn't had a season over 40 pts in 6 years - but without question someone will bid on him earlier than his stats suggest he should - and the GW's may well match. Boynton is currently failing in Phoenix - which means he is just about out of the league. Boucher peaked last year with a 50+, 100PIM+ season - something he'd never accomplished before in either statistic. Expect a moderate decline.

G: Brodeur-NJ FP

Rating: 5

Currently setting his sites on the remaining all-time goaltending stats that he doesn't already own. Could retire as the greatest goalie of all time as he reels in Patrick Roy.

Total Rating: 17

Rules Issues

As we enter the last month of the Draft countdown, I would like to ask GMs to post any rule queries to this Thread. Ideally, if you can identify the issue, and then state your question/suggestion/solution, that would be ideal. Remember if you don't speak, you can't be heard...


The Bladerunners - Offseason Review

L: Huselius-Cgy RFA, J Staal-Pit P2, Eriksson-Dal P2

Rating: 2.5

Huselius finally had a statistical season worthy of his talents. Can he do it twice in a row? With Keenan as coach? My bet is no. Staal was one beneficiary of the Bible juggling positions. He's dressable at LW but would have been a weak centre. Ericksson is intriguing. Big, strong on his skates, fast, and enough offensive flair that he could turn into a 2nd line winger some day. But not today.

C: Roy-Buf RFA, Kaigodorov-Phx P2

Rating: 2

Roy will get handed the keys to the kingdom, and will draw Buffalo's best offensive wingers as a result, but he can't carry the load as a FUNHL top centre. Kaigodorov went bust in Ottawa and now appears to be a second thought in Phoenix. Maybe one day when the Russians have a transfer agreement he'll play in the NHL again.

R: Iginla-Cgy FP, Hossa-Atl FP, Grigorenk0-Det P2, Okposo-NYI P2

Rating: 5

The Bladerunners can play just about any thud they want as third liner and they'll have one of the top wings in the league. Iggy is a slight threat to win the Richard, but Hossa is more likely to go over 100. Grigorenko is on his second go round as a prospect after a serious car crash derailed his career three years ago. Okposo could be another runaway freight train of a power winger. Or he could be just a useful checking winger with size. Jury will be out until about three years from now.

D: Salo-Van RFA, Zhitnik-Atl RFA

Rating: 2

Salo is a pp specialist with a bomb of a point shot. Unfortunately, he can never stay healthy or consistent. Zhitnik may have found a new lease on life in Atlanta where the competition for power play time won't be fierce.

G: Miller-Buf P3, Howard-Det P2

Rating: 4

Miller proved last year he could be a top ten goaltender, and will get heavy minutes from the Bladerunners in that role. Howard is no threat to unseat anybody and claim the top job.

Total ranking: 15.5

FunHL Rosters Take Sharp Left Turn

Well the Bible is now out and the Highlanders are in the midst of list making - an alchemy-like process whereby FunHL GMs try and turn the lead of an 8th round selection in September into hockey-pool gold by March.

The release of the Bible is also the chance to see who has gone where - not in terms of NHL teams (that information can be found anywhere) - but what the "Official" positions will be for players during the coming season. While I did not note anything so dramatic as the one year that M.Czerkawski, the Polish prince, found himself listed as a defenseman?!? there were some interesting exchanges: M.Havlat and B.Shanahan are now RWs, P.Demitra and M.Parrish are now LWs, K.Tkachuk is a C while R.Zednik is listed in the Bible in Florida's roster twice?! once as a LW and once as a RW.

Among FunHL GMs already holding the rights to players, most of the switches seem to be to the left wing.

The Shadowmen see newly acquired rfa T.Ruutu move to LW.

The Knights Templar see prospect sensation A.Radulov move to LW.

The Ramapithicines have R.Nilsson and J.Lupul both move to LW (though R.J.Umberger moves to RW).

The Bladerunners have J.Staal and A.Kaigorodov shift to RW (while L.Eriksson goes to RW).

The Highlanders have I.Grigorenko begin his NHL career as a LWer while potential line-mate, J.Hudler, is shifted to RW.

The Great Whites see two former Highlanders change position: P.Kessel is now a LWer while J.Carter is now a C.

The Wolves have a mixed bag with M.Comrie becoming a C, G.Brule becoming a RWer and R.Vrbata moving to LW.

The most movement happened on the Lost Boys' roster as A.Kotalik, A.Brunette move to RW, giving them 5 rfa RWers on their pre-draft roster, while on the prospect list A.Vermette and C.Bourque become LWers.

Happy list-making everyone - less than a month to go!


Canada Wins Game One

You can go to TSN to check out the game but if you get a chance, check out Turris' penalty shot and Gagner's goal. Both highlight-reel worthy.

Am I a cool kid yet?

Bob tells me he has confirmed his move back to the city to happen in late October. Cameron has relocated provinces, Doug is in a new house, and I think Corey sent out a change of address as well.

I too have a new place now, (more downtown, and bigger... for much more money is the trade, but no room-mates) so... two more teams on the list and this becomes moving season for the FUNHL (or... is this just something the Out-of-Calgary conference does?)

Anyway, with me and Bob having 2 bedrooms in Toronto, I'd like to submit a bid for our hosting a waiver draft in 2008. (I figure that's a lot less initial work... show that we're up for hosting ED 2010) Should we book a weekend? :-)


(I promise I'll start working on my list soon... Bob can confirm that I've been procrastinating--but talking about it--for a month now, so any day...)


Maybe he's allergic to defense too...

Tom Poti goes on a campaign to raise allergy awareness and to encourage people with severe allergies to carry EpiPens.


The Golden Jet!

Wow - you just have to listen to this!

The singer is Billy Van - who you may know better as being all of the talent behind 'The Hilarious House of Frightenstein' (and if you don't know HHOF, you don't really understand what YouTube is for). Other than the Professor, and Igor, Billy Van played just about role on the show.

Tip of the hat to 'Battle of Alberta' for putting it out there.

FUNHL News and Notes

I'm just not a fan of Terry Frei

Here are some of his predictions:

Hart: the usual suspects; Crosby, Thornton, Jagr, etc., and Eric Staal(?), but the real humdinger of a pick was Daniel Sedin. Which is just silly.

Art Ross: Crosby. (And really, if you've paid attention, heck if you've only been exposed to television in the last two years as ambient background radiation, and you aren't picking Crosby to win the Art Ross, I have to ask, why not?)

Vezina: Luongo. Which is actually wrong. It will be Kiprusoff. But I'll give him credit because Luongo isn't the safest choice (that would be Brodeur), but I'm picking Kipper for a reason; Mike Keenan. His teams typically feature a ferocious do-anything-to-win attitude (Keenan protege/acolytes include; Tocchet, Chelios, Pronger, and post-Edmonton Messier), old-school in your face defense, and heavy minutes for the teams top players at the expense of the 4th line and depth defenders. In Kiprusoff he'll find a goaltender who will comfortably play in the mid to high 70's for gp, behind a defense corps that is rejuvenated, and a forward crew dedicated to back checking, forechecking and otherwise beating up the opposition. His numbers will be the best in Flames history.

Norris: Chris Phillips. Yeah, he means the guy sitting #4 on the Senators depth chart. Yeah, him. Seriously. He picks Chris Phillips. Yes. To win it. Really. I know. Complete tool.

Did I mention I finished my lists? So here are some observations and things I learned in that grueling process that thought I'd share ;

- If your first line centre gets less than 98 pts he is below average (for a first liner).

- There are a total of five first line pivots on the open market. 2 of the five (Spezza, Lecavalier) are above average 1st liners.

- By my count no fewer than four FP pivots will be below average for 1st line centres.

- Only one (Sundin) is likely to be replaced.

- Pivots are no longer the highest scoring position.

- Goaltenders are.

- Half the top ten players in FUNHL scoring will be goaltenders.

- There is virtually no difference between a 1st line LW or RW, and a small but noticeable difference between a 3rd line for either position (with LWs ahead) - but there is a pronounced difference (+6 pts) for the average of 2nd line LW over 2nd line RW players.

- Of the 11 goaltender prospects, I have 4 of them being good enough to be a FUNHL backup, and one of them (Biron) being good enough to start.

- My guess has the run on defenseman starting in earnest mid-way through the 2nd.

- My worry is that the run on goaltenders takes place about the same time.

In the world outside that of my pool stats;

- Trevor Linden signed a one year deal with the Canucks today. Linden was a rookie the first year of the FUNHL - his eventual retirement will herald the end of an era - the Linden years.

- Angelo Esposito, the Great White's super-prospect has bowed out of the Canada-Russia Super Series Jr age players on account of injury. And thus starts an ongoing association between the Great Whites, failure, and Esposito. Long may it last.


Product Disclaimers

I wonder how much the idiot won in the lawsuit prompting this disclaimer.


The BIBLE is out!

The official guide is out! Except no substitute...


It has begun...

The Hockey News' Ultimate Pool Guide hit the stands this week (Sid the Kid has thier top rank with a prediction of 128pts - I'll just take the trophy now and we can all reconvene next September if you like :-)). While frequently mocked for its off the wall predictions and short player commentary its a guide that, inexplicably, always performed well in my post-season guide accuracy analysis.

I'll hold off on making any position observations as the UPG is never exactly the same as the Bible, which should now be out in the next week or so, and there is no point in getting excited about P.Demitra, P.Kessel, A.Radulov, T.Ruutu or R.Nilsson's move to left; K.Tkachuk, M.Comrie, J.Carter and M.Frolik's move to center; or G.Brule's move to right. The "real" positions will be known soon enough.

Still, its nice to start the "my list" vs "their list" comparisons.

BTW the glossy and inexplicable guide that Cam slammed last year (name escapes me) is also out. I too would avoid it.



To a less than stellar turnout by his Calgary cohorts, but hey - it was good to see you Rob!! When are we having the FUNHL draft at the birthplace of hockey in Nova Scotia?? Sorry that the Niedermayer for Igninla + stuff trade didn't work out, or did I get that backwards? ;-)


On bloggers, scoops, rumour mongers and journalistic hacks

Tom Benjamin.

He lets it all hang out in this one, and gets it right each time.

I'd add that the reason there is a temptation for guys like Shoalts not to check their story is as follows;

- so long as Shoalts doesn't call Bowman and runs the story, Leaf nation will be reading nothing else but his story until it is proven false.

- running the story and being proven false is actually not such a bad thing. Shoalts has to eat a little crow, but he'll still have a rep with Leaf nation of being on the inside, even though he was dead wrong.

And here's the kicker

- if Shoalts actually calls Bowman and finds out that the story is bogus - he has no story, no Leaf nation readership hailing him as a genius, nada.

So the big incentive is for him to run it without checking - and that is where the problem lies.



Ok its a slow day at work and not much is going on so i decided to great my own poll. With the draft rapidly approaching who should the Scourge select to replace the over the hill Sundin?



Any additions to the below as speculation of the top 12?

L: Zetterberg
C: Lecavalier, Spezza, Briere, Datsyuk, Savard
R: Alfredsson, St.Louis, Gaborik
D: Gonchar, Whitney
G: Kiprusoff

In the running to replace any of above... Giguere-G? Kariya-L? McCabe-D? Jokinen-C?