Line ups, Week 1

In an effort to change the way we do this so I can participate from work, and leave a permanent record (Hamrlik & Roszival WERE RFAs!) I encourage you to post your lineup here as a reply

Richard, GM Lost Boys


ROY Poll

Who will be the NHL's Rookie of the Year?
Backstrom-C Wsh
Johnson-D LA
Johnson-D StL
Toewes-C Chi
Kane-R Chi
Ryan-R Ana
Hensick-C Col
Cogliano-C Edm
Gagner-C Edm
Letang-D Pit
Russell-D Clb
pollcode.com free polls

Poker Game

Any chance we can get hot Swedish dancers to come to our poker game?

Lottery Debate

Richard brought the notion up that our current system is not 'the best of all possible worlds', and he may be right.

Fortunately, any debate that occurs now for changing the lottery will be for next year.

So here are some thoughts to get this debate rolling;

Currently we use a weighted formula to give the last place team 12 ballots, followed by the 1st place team with 11, and the 2nd with 10 and so on.

This has two effects that are potentially objectionable;

- Teams finishing last have an incentive to finish last as it increases their chances of landing a better lottery pick

- Teams finishing high in the standings will be rewarded for doing so, while teams (aside from the one in last place) that finish low will be punished.

The fact is that these two objections are actually mutually exclusive!

If we are weighting the lottery to reward teams it will presumably be to reward either low finishers (creating an incentive to have your team suck down the stretch) or high finishers (giving to the 'haves' and punishing the 'have-nots').

The only way I can see out of this quandry is to cut the Gordian Knot all together, and go to an unweighted lottery, where everybody has an equal chance to win, and where you finish plays no role in how many ballots you have.

Some will argue that having no punishment for finishing low will encourage teams to 'tank'. I reply; that is what the Herbivore Award was specifically meant to deter.

Some may argue that teams that suck deserve to have some love at the Entry Draft or they risk having horrible FPs forever, and being stuck in a perpetuity of mediocrity as better finishing teams continue to get the better part of the deal.

To which I reply; finishing last will give you an advantage in the one area it should - prospects, but the one place it absolutely shouldn't give you an advantage at the draft table - that would be to reward failure, and punish excellence.


Things before the ED

Things I'd like to discuss:

- Can we file lineups for this coming year on the Blog?
- Can we review and if needed come up with a better system for the ED Lottery? (Doesn't need to be solved then and there, just before the next ED Lottery.)

Clarify: When does a GM have to announce prospect drops? FP drops?

And, Lundqvist for FP is hardly easy trading material. Bob doesn't get FPs for their investment appreciation.


Bucci is back!

The world's best hockey writer has his first new column of the season here.

He's not feeling it for John Tavarres though;

"I've been told, however, that everyone is not unconditionally in love with Tavares. His release is phenomenal. His skating is not. And while he looked as if he belonged at the recent Canada-Russia series, he did not look special."

First Round Predictions

Well, this is the culmination of an exercise that has been ongoing for just about every conversation I've had with poolies this off-season. Here are my thoughts - which of course should not be considered accurate nor particularly revealing.

1. The Knights Templar - Spezza-C Ott FP

No better time to replace an FP than when you have the top pick and a lousy FP well over 30 who isn't getting any better. Goodbye Naslund, hello Spezza.

2. The Highlanders - Kiprusoff-G Cgy

They were probably hoping Spezza would slip, and they'll consider Lecavalier, but Kipper is who they actually need.

3. Bladerunners - Lecavalier-C TBay

Brian might consider the best LW available but its my bet he can't pass up the higher scoring Lecavalier.

4. The Edge - St Louis-R TBay

Edge mgt. have to know there is a strong chance that the best three candidates for an FP will go exactly as predicted above, and so the Edge will hang on to Elias and not make an FP replacement gamble by dropping him. St Louis is a logical choice for the Edge as he fills a need, and is also the highest scoring player left on the board not a goaltender.

5. Personal Vendetta - Briere-C Pha

Darrell will pursue Briere for three reasons; he needs a centre desperately with Forsberg still a question mark, he's had Briere previously and loves the guy already, and there is still an outside chance Forsberg re-signs with Pha giving him a lethal 1-2 punch.

6. The Shadowmen - Lundqvist-G NYR FP

The Shadowmen have just dealt Sakic to the Wolves for a package of stuff, and I expect he'll look at the 25 year old puck-stopper to be his linchpin moving forward.

7. The Ramapithicines - Alfreddson-R Ott

In a shocking move the knuckledraggers take a forward with their first pick. But it's only shocking if you don't notice first that they have no elite forwards but do have a pretty stocked set of defensemen. Alfie is also a long time team favourite, and he fits both the teams needs and historical preferences.

8. The Lost Boys - Gonchar-D Pit

If there is a GM that has the same penchant for D-men that the knuckledraggers do, it's the guy in charge of the Lost Boys. Taking Gonchar here (and subsequently not trading him for a sandwhich and bag of pucks to Doug), will go a long way to rebuilding the GMs shattered psyche.

9. The Scourge - Zetterberg-L Det FP

I think there is an excellent chance that the Scourge GM will get either Zetterberg or Datsyuk at this spot. Given what I predict so far, he'll have his choice of the two and take the younger guy. Bye bye Mats Sundin.

10. The Wolves - Gagne-L Pha

The Wolves will be loaded at Centre (Sakic, Kopitar, Stastny), defense (Phaneuf) and goal (Luongo), and desperately need wingers at either side to fill the team out. So he'll curse the stars that Zetterberg goes immediately before he picks, and select the next best option on his list.

11. The Severed Heads - Gaborik-Min

The Heads need wingers, and they know that the GW's only really need Starboard guys, so the best bet given what has happened so far is that they scoop the injury prone Gabby before the GW's can.

12. Great Whites - Kaberle-D Tor

By this point my lists suggest the GW's GM is cursing the fact that all the RW at the top of his list have vanished, and that rather than chase the curve downwards below the positions actual value, he'll pursue a defenseman. With Gonchar and Whitney gone, and Schneider and Boyle hurt, Kaberle is left as the best pure puck-rusher remaining. The possibility that the GW's back up the Kaberle pick with a second defenseman at pick 13 (McCabe? Rafalski?) is also high.

Gone as FPs: Naslund, Niedermayer, Sundin, Jovanovski

In as FPs: Spezza, Lundqvist, Zetterberg, Whitney

Quote of the Day

"He'll get what's coming to him next time we play him. For sure." - Brian McGrattan on Steve Downie.

Shades of Bertuzzi's bounty on Moore, eh?

On a side note; Joffrey Lupul, RJ Umberger and Scotty Upshall are all out with injuries. Upshall and Lupul are both listed as having broken wrists, with Upshall's being the more serious of the two.

Raffi Torres on the Daily Show

I hadn't seen this before, but any skit that ends with someone getting thrown to the ice with their suit jacket pulled over their head is a classic!


Dropping down my prospect list....

Steve Downie absolutely annihilates Dean McAmmond. Not for the faint of heart.

Lots of things wrong with this;

1. It's a retaliation for an earlier hit on Downie - by someone else (Chris Neil?)

2. Downie crosses half the defensive zone as he tracks McAmmond down for the abuse. Textbook charging.

3. McAmmond has already played the puck before he goes behind the net. Textbook late hit.

4. Downie leaves his feet on the hit. An obvious no-no.

5. If that all weren't bad enough, he leads with his elbow.

6. McAmmond's head not only snaps back, but subsequently smashes into the boards as he cartwheels out of control.

7. The brawl that takes place immediately afterwards takes place directly on top of the now completely comatose McAmmond.

8. Bonus points. At 34 McAmmond already has a history of concussions.

I'll be shocked if Downie is available to the Flyers before X-mas is over. But a gutless, reckless, and thoughtless act of violence like that will no doubt endear him to the Flyers brass and to Bob Clarke in particular. I had Downie penciled in as a decent mid to late rounder based on his offense and likely PIM (and the fact he reminds me of Rick Tocchet).

Update: If you click HERE you can hear Ray Ferraro make much the same case as I just did on Hockey Central.

Also, you can visit James Myrtle's excellent blog and check his post on the incident (and you may also otice that I am one of the commenters)

FUNHL Blog update

Hey Everyone!

Just wanted to update everyone on a few things FUNHL blog related;

- We still have three GMs (Darrell, Mike, Corey) who haven't registered as contributors to the FUNHL blog. Hopefully peer pressure will convince them to do so soon. If any of you three require assistance in this, please just let me know.

- Team reviews are complete for all off-season FUNHL rosters.

- We have added a 'Draft Clock' feature which counts down the minutes till we gather for our draft. Both cool and lame. I will be removing it shortly after we complete the draft.

- Most importantly of all - I have updated some of the hockey links attached to the blog. Gone are;

the puck stops here
Puck this!
The Hockey Doctor

The first two were decidedly lame for prolonged stretches of time, and the Hockey Doctor has moved on to Sportsnet.

Added to the blog are links for;

- Sportsnet:NHL. Because we needed another network blog presence, and because 'the Hockey Doctor' moved there. He's good. Check him out, he's at the very bottom under Chris Nichols 'In the Pool'.

Lowetide - one of, if not the, best fan-blogs it caters to the hardcore Oilers fan, but has enough depth to deliver massive cross-appeal. Terrific knowledgable commentators as well.

Canucks and Beyond (also called 'Kukla's Korner'). A very good fan-blog that features the 'Nucks. Also has an affiliation with the Red Wings blog 'Abel to Yzerman'.

MC79 - Another Oiler blog, but again, has appeal outside of the Oilers fan base. One of his latest articles is on whether Lindros should be a HOF - and he correctly answers 'Yes'. It's funny, I can't stand the Oilers, but they have hands down the best fan-blogs.

NHLCAP - exactly what it says, the guy is constantly updating the cap information for each NHL team. Obsessive compulsive disorder was never so readable.

If anyone has any other recommendations, I'm more than happy to add them to the blog!

Crash Pad

Hi guys,

While I am still holding out hope that Christina will join me, it seems pretty certain that she will be finishing up a few things at the office over the weekend so I'll be on my own.

That also means that I am also looking for a place to crash on Friday and Saturday night. Anyone have a spare couch or chunk of carpet?


What is the weather like this week? (What kind of coat should I bring?)

And what are known cash expenses? (Bob speculates $30 pool fee, $20 meal fee, and $10 poker buy in)


Prospect cuts...

Given we have to make our cuts known before the prospect draft, I'll kill the suspense and mention that Rob Schremp-C P3 Edm is caught in a logjam with the Heads and is likely to be released.

It pains Heads mgt to say this because we really like Schremp's skills. (and that last move is totally ri-donk-u-lous)

Unfortunately, we simply have too many pivots in the system, and Schremp is the odd man out.

Heads mgt aren't looking to break the bank for him, a 2nd rnd prd pick, or high 3rd will easily secure his services. Otherwise, expect to see him as our cut prior to the PRD.

FUNHL Update

Jsut some quick notes for everyone as we head into the homestretch before the draft!

- Schneider-D Ana busted up his ankle. Probably X-mas or later.

- Toewes-C Chi broke a finger and will miss 3-6 weeks

- Boyle-D TBay cut a tendon in his wrist and will miss at least a month.

Finally, I inexplicably left Ben Eager-L Pha off the list of players and positions I sent out to everyone. Why is that significant you might ask? Well, it seems that Mr Eager actually lead the league in penalties last season! Mea Culpa.


Lost Boys finish draft list!

Three words everyone:

Kiefer... Is... Watching.

I am now ready for 2007/08.

The pred-cup is airplane ready, right?


Offseason Review - Summary

Great Whites - 17

Bladerunners - 15.5

Wolves - 15

Lost Boys - 14

Personal Vendetta - 13.5

Ramapithicines - 13.5

Severed Heads - 13

The Edge - 12.5

Knights Templar - 12.5

Highlanders - 11.5

Scourge - 10

Shadowmen - 8

Severed Heads - Offseason Review

L: Heatley-Ott FP, Nash-Clb RFA

Rating: 3.5

Heatley has had two monster 50-50 seasons in a row, and the latest came despite the extended absence of his playmaking centre. Could reach 60-60. Nash is a pure goal scorer - but lacks assists because he is the sole offensive option for his team, and is always looking to shoot. Has plenty of untapped upside.

C: Lindros-UFA RFA, Malkin-Pit P3, Schremp-Edm P3, Backstrom-Wsh P2, Frolik-Fla P2, Couture-SJ P2

Rating: 3.5

Lindros is a long-time member of the Heads, but his time is up and a retirement notice is expected. Malkin is the teams heir apparent to Jagr, and has many of the same attributes including; fear my wingspan, and a bullet slapshot. He was on well over a 100pt pace at midseason when the larger number of games wore him down untile he was labouring in the playoffs. Schremp is a front-line or bust proposition. He should be better than Mike Comrie, but the similarities are too disturbing to ignore. Backstrom is the GMs prize pet, and his playmaking abilities are smoother than a handful of KY jelly. What happens when a pass first cerebral pivot like Backsrom joins up with a one-touch gunner like Ovechkin? Points. Lots of points. Frolik had a solid debut with the Q this year, and the budding power winger/centre looks to have the stuff required to eventually make a mark in Florida. Won't be rushed, and the team is hoping for a move back to the wing where spots are easier to find. Couture is a finesse pivot who endured a hardship season fighting through Mono. Landing in San Jose will be good for him, but he'll need time to get the pivots ahead of him out of the way.

R: Jagr-NYR FP, Zherdev-Clb RFA, Ryan-Ana P2

Rating: 3.5

Jagr had an off-year battling a shoulder injury and still managed to rack up over 96 points. Appears to be immune to age as almost all the compatriots from his draft year are using adult diapers and need help getting out for some sun. Zherdev is a Kovalev clone, and has the talent necessary to put up huge numbers. It's his head that is the issue as it's not clear he 'gets it' yet - or ever will. Ryan is a burgeoning power winger with a fearsome shot and one-touch scoring ability. Has outgrown the OHL, but there is a spot waiting for him with the Ducks. Should be groomed slowly, so draftable numbers are still probably a year away.

D: Corvo-Ott RFA, Ranger-TBay RFA, Pothier-Wsh RFA, Hamhuis-Nsh RFA, Lee-Ott P2

Rating: 2

Corvo is a big ticket for the Sens to swallow, but he does bring a potent powerplay presence to the team that includes above average mobility and an accurate point shot. Ranger is still feeling out his role on the Bolts blue-line, but has shown promise on the PP. Pothier is unlikely to repeat his numbers as he recieved an uncommon amount of powerplay time over better candidates. Hamhuis is part of the getting overcrowded Predator rearguard corps. He's fast, strong and can jump start the offense, but with all the other kids pushing for ice-time, he may get moved around. Lee is a former Mr. Hockey from the state of Minnesota. A quick skating defender he's gradually added muscle to his otherwise thin frame. Has a pedigree for offense at lower levels, but it isn't clear whether he'll be given a similar role at the NHL level.

G: Denis-TBay RFA

Rating: 1

Denis is now entering Tommy Salo territory.

Overall Rating: 13.5

The Shadowmen - Offseason Review

L: Ruutu-Chi RFA, Skille-Chi P2

Rating: 1.5

Ruutu is a gritty winger with excellent offensive skills and a near permanent residency in the emergency ward. Like someone who insists on off-roading in their Porsche. His team-mate Skille has similar proclivities for tossing himself into the danger zones, but unlike Ruutu he does have a power forward frame. As a rookie with lots of talent ahead of him, Skille will be brought along slowly.

C: Sakic-Col FP, Boyd-Cgy P2

Rating: 2.5

Sakic may be long in the tooth, but it isn't showing on the score sheet where he continues to defy logic and put himself in the top ten scoring. Boyd is a scrappy but highly skilled pivot. He's got Keenan as a coach now, but should be the kind of gritty gunner Iron Mike will give minutes too.

R: None

Rating: 0

D: Jovanovski-Phx FP, Ryan Whitney-Pit RFA, Pitkanen-Edm RFA, Kraijcek-Vcr P4

Rating: 2.5

Jovo-cop is among the most frustrating players in the league. A robust swashbuckler of a defenseman, he is as renowned for his daring offensive forays as he is for his game crippling brain cramps. When healthy and focussed he can be an elite offensive performer, but he didn't end up in Phoenix because he stayed focussed and injury free. Too risky to build a team around, he's overdue for being cut as a franchise player. Whitney is the prototype for the modern NHL defenseman. At 6'4", 215 he's a swift skating power defender with a rocket for a shot and crisp passing. He's shown steady improvement and already ranks among the top ten in defensemen scoring. Oh yeah, he also has a pair of offensive juggernauts to play catch with on the powerplay. Jovo-Cops heir apparent. Pitkanen is an ultra-smooth skating rearguard with above average agility and shooting abilities. He's struggled with injuries, but is due for a rebound. Kraijcek has all the tools to be a top four defender, but somehow manages not crack the Vancouver lineup for any length of time. He'll get another shot again this year.

G: Roloson-Edm RFA

Rating: 1.5

The career backup is only a starter because he plays for Edmonton. The Oilers are still paying back the Karma for Messier (let alone Gretzky), so their suckitude is likely to be off the charts for years to come. Roloson will be a key part of that.

Overall Rating: 8

The Scourge - Offseason Review

L: Tanguay-Cgy FP, Blake-Tor RFA, Pouliot-Min P2

Rating: 3

Tanguay is still a question mark
. He has the wheels, shot, and playmaking to be a key contributor, but he always seems to leave you wanting more - including statistically. He's FP quality - but definitely at the lower end of the spectrum until he proves otherwise. Blake is a speedy one-trick pony scoring winger. He potted 40 goals for the first time in his career despite being well into his 30's, so nobody should expect it to happen again. Pouliot has a shot at one of the top lines, but defense comes first in Minnesota, and Pouliot isn't a specialist in his own end yet.

C: Sundin-Tor FP, Sillinger-NYI

Rating: 2.5

Sundin is simply a machine. Year after year, he's a solid PPG stalwart. With his advanced age and crummy linemates he's likely reached the end of the line as an FP. Sillinger is a career checking line centre who occasionally fills in for others on a scoring line. Nothing to see here. Move along.

R: Erat-Nsh RFA, Stumpel-Fla P3, Morozov-Rus P2

Rating: 1

Erat is someone who has had a career so far as a checker but he has some upside now that the path has been cleared for him by departures. Stumpel has been hanging around as Czech version of Jason Allison - big, slow, and better at playmaking than goalscoring. Miraculously became a decent statistical performer again after years of sub-mediocrity. Destined to slip backwards. Morozov is tearing up the Russian league and appears to be quite happy there. Might be worth the wait given his future linemates.

D: Foster-Min RFA, Regehr-Cgy RFA

Rating: 1

Foster is a hulking rearguard better at defense than offense. Massive but wild point shot. Regher is a hulking rearguard better at defense than offense. Massive but wild point shot. I seriously considered giving this defense rating of only a half point, but Regehr has an outside chance of getting some plus minus action.

G: Biron-Pha P3

Rating: 2.5

Overall Rating: 10

The Wolves - Offseason Review

L: Kunitz-Ana RFA, Hecht-Buf RFA, Vrbata-Chi, RFA, Parise-NJ P4, Calder-LA P3

Rating: 2.5

Kunitz is an undersized scoring winger recently removed from the college ranks where he had some success. Last season he was something of a surprise as he earned a spot next on the top-line, but with Selanne departing and the checking likely to be tighter, a drop off is expected. Hecht is a marginal checking winger comfortable in the 40pt range - so he's just filler, and while Vrbata has some skill, he hasn't shown the ability to avoid injury or a willingness to go to the scary places to score goals. Parise is a legit threat to go over a ppg after an awesome sophomore season, and a path has been cleared for him to get time on the top line. Calder is a third line energy grinder type who could be useful in spurts.

C: Comrie-NYI RFA, Lang-Chi RFA, Brule-Clb P3, Kopitar-P3, Stastny-Col P2, Toewes-Chi P2

Rating: 4

Comrie is a one-dimensional offensive specialist running out of chances. The Islanders will be the last stop before he heads to Europe. Lang is also a player with severe limitations playing out the string as top line centre for a team that is rebuilding. So the Wolves have a couple of aging vets with the possibility of some upside, but the real weapons at this position are the teams prospects. Brule was rushed to the Bluejackets because of a lack of depth, and his development was slowed as a result. He's got ppg talent if he can keep his vicious temper in check long enough to fulfill it - may end up like Tuomo Ruutu. Stastny would have been a strong ROY candidate in a year without Malkin, and he'll be groomed as the Av's replacement for Sakic. Kopitar is a big strapping pivot with terrific playmaking abilities. If he hadn't worn down over the course of his rookie year, he could have finished with similar stats to Stastny. As good as Stastny and Kopitar are and are going to be, Toewes has the potential to be even better. All in all enough weapons lying around that despite the lack of an elite pivot, centre is a definite strength.

R: Kobasew-Bos P3, Wheeler-Phx P3

Rating: 1

Kobasew is one of those undersized college wingers who managed to score a bucket of goals at the previous level but now finds them much harder to come by. Lacking any other ability, Kobasew is now a fringe forward. Wheeler was a massive fleet footed winger drafted years ago and expected to be in the league by now. Despite prodigious talents at the highschool level and an NHL sized frame, he simply hasn't put all the tools into the toolbox yet. I'm betting he probably won't.

D: Niedermayer-Ana FP, Keith-Chi RFA, Klesla-Clb RFA, Colaiacovo-Tor P4, Suter-Nsh P4, Eminger-Wsh P3, Phaneuf-Cgy P3

Rating: 2.5

Niedermayer has now won every award you can possibly win and as of this writing is the HOFr is seriously contemplating retirement. Keith is one of the Chicago youth core, and a jump in production from his 30pts last year isn't out of the question as he and the team mature together. Klesla is a once highly regarded prospect whose production never equaled the gifts (size, skating, shot) he possesses. Colaicovo has seen his promising career as an offensive defenseman is continually derailed by injury. Suter is the opposite of Colaiacovo in that he's been able to stay reasonably healthy and put up meaningful points as he develops his game. With the departure of Timmonen he'll get handed the reigns of the powerplay sooner or later. Eminger is another contrast as he spent his sophomore year doing everything but work the powerplay. Is the exile permanent? Phaneuf is the ace in the hole, giving the Wolves a solid TG and top pair defender. With Keenan as his coach he'll be pushed to find his limits.

G: Luongo-Vcr FP, Bryzgalov-Ana RFA

Rating: 5

Luongo is poised to assume the mantle of Brodeur and Roy as best goalie in the world who just happens to be from Quebec. Bryzgalov may well have talent to start, but neither the Wolves nor the Ducks will risk giving him the chance - nor should they.

Overall: 15


Junior Super Series

The series is finally over. Was it competitive? Not really. Was it entertaining? Occasionally. Here are my thoughts on what went down and some of what it might mean.

- The Russians lost scoring machine Alexei Cherepanov to a length of the ice charge by Brandon Sutter that left Cherepanov concussed and out of the series. Without his goalscoring prowess the Russians were never going to score enough to win games.

- Without question the top player for Canada was Sam Gagner. He had 15 points in the tournament (just shy of 2ppg) to lead everyone in scoring - a full 6 points more than second place.

- The much hyped John Tavarres did manage to finish 2nd in tournament scoring, but that was on a miserable 1 goal 8 assist performance further tarnished by a team leading 26 min (just under two minors a game) in penalties. On the one hand, it's clear Tavarres can compete at this level and wasn't totally outclassed by his compatriots, but it's also clear that he benefited from a lot of cheap powerplay assists on Kyle Turris goals. Expected to dominate the tournament, Tavarres was merely good. Perhaps most disturbing was that the sniper only had one goal (and that was on the pp) for the entire 8 games after leading the OHL in goalscoring last year.

- Alexander Vasyunov and Alexander Ryabev were the only two consistent scoring threats for the Russians, and each demonstrated they had plenty of heart throughout the tournament. Despite getting their heads handed to them game after game, these two guys never took a shift off, and constantly worked to create offense for the goal starved team.

- The biggest deficit the Russians had other than losing Cherepanov, was on defense. The Canadians worst defenseman would likely have been a top two or three guy for the Russians. Game after game saw the Canadian forwards wear down the Russian defenders with their strong forecheck and high foot speed leading to turnovers and goals.

- Karl Alzner reminds me a tonne of Shea Weber. He's big, strong, and does everything well.

- Claude Giroux is the next Martin St Louis or Brian Gionta. A waterbug offensive weapon with the full range of shots and stick-handling gimmicks, he's got a great shot to advance quickly with the Flyers and is a likely top end prospect.

- I haven't said as much yet, but it's clear to me that if Cherepanov was the clear consensus as best prospect available not named Tavarres - he isn't anymore. Sam Gagner has made himself a pretty solid case for consideration ahead of the concussed Euro-winger, even if he is going to be playing in Edmonton.

- Along with Gagner, Tavarres and Cherepanov; Jonathon Bernier-G, the aforementioned Giroux-F, Thomas Hickey-D, Drew Doughty-D, Karl Alzner-D, Kyle Turris-C, and David Perron-L have all proved themselves quality FUNHL prospect selections.


The Knights Templar - Offseason Review

L: Naslund-Vcr FP, Hartnell-Pha RFA, Upshall-Pha P3, Vanek-Buf P3, Latendresse-Mtl P2

Rating: 3.5

Naz is a once elite skill winger dealing with the loss of an All-star linemate and his own eroding skill-set. Are his descending numbers more the result of the former or the latter? Are they an aberration he'll correct, or the first signs of his inevitable decline? Hartnell is a tough grinding winger with average offense, and has apparently already reached his ceiling as a 3rd line winger. Upshall is a similar style player, enough offense to stick, but destined for an energy line. Vanek is the guy who will really make a difference, as he has the wheels and shot to earn his massive contract. Latendresse is now the prize of the KT LW prospects, having the size and scoring abilities to be a top line player. He's a big dude, and they can take longer to reach their potential.

C: H.Sedin-Vcr RFA, Langkow-Cgy RFA, Ribeiro-Dal RFA, O'Sullivan-LA P3

Rating: 2.5

'Hank' Sedin showed why he was the third player picked in his draft year and notched his first ppg+ season. He can do it again, but the KTs will have to match the offer for his services first - and he won't come cheap this time. Langkow also maxed out his potential after a long wait, and while it doesn't hurt that he lines up with Iginla I haven't the faith he can duplicate last years results. Ribeiro is a pure skill pivot who is as streaky as a compulsive nudist college student with a keg of beer in him. Typically tops out before he gets near sixty points. O'Sullivan is part of the talent trust that LA is building. He'll be groomed slowly, but an eventual top six forward spot is his to claim and he'll have draftable numbers next year.

R: Hejduk-Col FP, Neil-Ott RFA, Radulov-Nsh P2

Rating: 3.5

Hejduk is in much the same boat as Naz, he's a deadly pure-skill sniper, but he's lost some elite talent around him, and he's also taken a step back from his normal statistics. Will he rebound? Neil is a burly robust thumper of a winger with under-rated shot and playmaking abilities. Knows his role on the team, and won't confuse himself for a gunner. Awesome TG weapon when he's rolling. The speedy Radulov is ready to challenge for a bigger role - he's Paul Kariya with a 6ft 1 chassis.

D: Clark-Col RFA, Modry-LA RFA, Aucoin-Cgy RFA, Beauchemin-Ana RFA, Kronwall-Det P4, Weber-Nsh P3

Rating: 2

Rating: Clark is a beneficiary of injuries to the skill players on the Av blue-line. With a few more healthy bodies he'll be returned to his regularly scheduled defensive duties. Modry will also be in tough as LA now has a swarm of healthy offensive options including some rookies they will want to give extra attention to. Aucoin is a $4M a year turnstile - take a good look, it's what Sheldon Souray will look like in a few years. Beachemin has the advantage of playing with Niedermayer and Pronger and the result was a career season. With Niedermayer gone, his stats could even conceivably improve with more powerplay time. Kronwall has been flashing his potential in spurts for years, but this may finally be the season he stays healthy enough to put up real numbers. Weber emerged from the blue as an all-round blue-liner with surprising offensive abilities. Expect him to be a fixture on the Knights blue-line for the next few years.

G: Toivonen-Bos P3

Rating: 1

When Raycroft went busto the Bruins tried handing the job to Toivonen, without much success. Now they have others they are grooming for the job. Will make a nice living in Europe.

Overall rating: 12.5


Things I've noticed about my team

What can I say? We're popular

(Yay... now to find some money, and get Richards for a photo-op)


Personal Vendetta - Offseason Review

L: Wolski-Col RFA, Penner-Edm RFA, M.Michalek-SJ P3, Torres-Edm P2

Rating: 2.5

Wolski is a blossoming weapon, one that was supposed to threaten for the Calder last year, but was overshadowed by fellow AV rook Stastny. He has all the tools to be a high scoring power winger, and should take another step up this year. Penner will have to repeat his performance from last year to keep his roster spot, but the chance exists he could force his way into the lineup. Michalek has ppg talent, and seemed to form a psychic bond with pivot Marleau - elevating the latter to his two best seasons with his deft playmaking. Reminds me a tonne of Ulf Dahlen in how he vacuums up pucks along the boards and bulls his way into a position to distribute. Lacks a big league shot to compliment the rest of his abilities though. Torres is a torpedo forward best suited to arriving at high speed with ill will and blowing up unsuspecting defenders. Doesn't have elite skill and is injury replacement material at best.

C: Forsberg-UFA FP, Getzlaf-Ana RFA, Weight-StL RFA, Reinprecht-Phx P3, Kesler-Vcr P2

Rating: 3

Other Gms would have let Forsberg go by now, but the PV have had him aboard (save a few weeks he spent with the Shadowmen) since the first FP draft, and are loathe to part with him. When healthy he's an Art Ross candidate. Only problem is that he is never healthy, and is a constant threat to retire or miss significant chunks of the season. Simply put, he's no longer an elite pivot. Getzlaf has massive talent, a large robust build, and a tendency to wig out on the opposition (ala Messier) every once in a while. Leading all Ducks in playoff scoring is a harbinger of good things to come. Virtually the poster-child for #2 centers in the FUNHL. Weight is playing out the string and should have one more campaign of 55-65 pts left in him, but it's not a sure thing. Reinprecht and Kesler are both washouts. Reinprecht because he doesn't have the speed or hands to be a top line pivot, and because he lacks the strength and checking ability to thrive on any other line. Kesler because he has all the tools to be a shadow and none to be a scorer. Both prospects could easily be dumped without making a ripple in the talent pool.

R: Sykora-Pit RFA, Hemsky-Edm RFA, Samuellson-Det RFA, Cammalleri-LA P4

Rating: 4

Sykora had a white hot start to the season but faded as the checking tightened up and as Edmonton gradually deflated as a team. With a new lease on life in Pittsburgh a return to the 40 goal and PPG territory he previously occupied isn't out of the question. Hemsky can run hot or cold, if he's Hot you have a ppg+ skill winger on your hands, but if he's cold he's a disinterested perimeter player who frustrates you with his decision to never shoot the puck. Samuellson is a late-bloomer who will likely revert to a checking role full-time so long as his team-mates are healthy. Cammalleri is the real deal and has assumed the role of the teams top right winger . A pint sized road-runner with speed and puck-handling skills to burn, he's the latest in a line of smallish skill wingers enjoying the fruits of the interference crack-down.

D: Lidstrom-Det FP, Spacek-Buf RFA, Numminen-Buf RFA, Martin-NJ, Bourdon-Vcr P2, Smid-Edm P2, M.Staal-NYR P2

Rating: 2.5

Lidstrom is still the man, and shows no signs of slowing down. Spacek was something of a bust in Buffalo and will be in tough to keep his job with the PV. Numminen is apparently age-less and still capable of putting up a .5 ppg pace for a full season. Martin has been a slow burn in NJ, but he has the all-round skills to be a Wade Redden type if he has finally reached ignition. Bourdon is a big mobile all-purpose defender who can kill penalties and work the powerplay. Has an accurate shot, but it likely isn't the cannon that was hoped for. Smid has apparently stalled his career out in Edmonton. Can he be a real NHL player? Maybe. Staal went back to the minors and delivered the goods. He's now with the Rangers to stay and it won't be more than a year or two before he locks down one of the top two spots on the teams D.

G: Huet-Mtl RFA, Harding-Min P2

Rating: 1.5

Huet is a one-hit wonder who has returned to being the career back-up he was prior to the fluke end of season he had a year ago. Harding was injury insurance against Fernandez but is no longer needed, nor likely to ever be a starter.

Overall rating: 13.5

The Lost Boys - Offseason Review

L: Kovalchuk-Atl FP, Brunette-Col RFA, Kotalik-Buf RFA, Rucinsky-StL RFA, Mikhonov-Edm P2

Rating: 3.5

Kovalchuk likes to score goals. Lots and lots of goals. 55+ red-lights and 100+ pts is not out of reach. Brunette had his best year ever as the designated parasite goal-suck for the Av's powerplay. Simply no chance he'll repeat those numbers, but a solid season of #2 caliber stats is still likely. Kotalik is an intriguing 4th line option as he has one decent half season under his belt, and is on a team suddenly short of offensive forwards. Kotalik could emerge to be a productive player. Rucinsky is playing out the string until injuries end his career permanently. Mikhonov is also interesting as he possesses 'fear my wingspan' in abundance, and owns a nasty shot. His skating speed is sub-par though, and that could mean back to Europe for him.

C: Richards-TBay FP, Brind'Amour-Car RFA, S.Koivu-Mtl RFA, M. Koivu-Min P3, Bourque-Wsh P3, Vermette-Ott P2

Rating: 3.5

Richards finally had an off-year after having steadily improved his stats for half a decade. He's still an above a ppg player, but as a playmaker he lacks a sniper to fully compliment his abilities. Should rebound back into the 90pt range. Brind'Amour had 82 points last year to lead his team in scoring, and which was his best season in what seems like forever. However, the lord of darkness will be returning Rod-the-Bod's soul to him and we should expect something more like a hard fought 65pts to go with another Selke nomination. Koivu is a quality third line pivot in the FUNHL capable of producing 70-80 pts if he can stay healthy. A very big if. Mikko Koivu reminds me a little of Ollie Jokinen, a big strapping power pivot with underrated skills. Is being groomed slowly for the 2nd line centre job, but should show gradual improvement. Bourque is a fireplug pivot with strong distributions skills, and he works the point on the PP just like his Dad. Unfortunately, he's just 5'9" and unlike other waterbug forwards he doesn't have elite wheels. Vermette in contrast has elite wheels but can't seem to develop a finishing touch or playmaking dimension. Will be turned into a Paul Ranheim style checking forward if he doesn't flash better offense soon.

R: Langenbrunner-NJ RFA, Walker-Car RFA, Jason Williams-Chi RFA, A.Carter-UFA RFA, Fehr-Wsh P

Rating: 1

Only Erik Fehr offers the team any hope of significant contributions, and for Fehr that will be in the years still to come rather than this season. Don't expect any of these guys to actually make the Lost Boys roster, but if one by chance actually does, I'd expect it could be Scott Walker for his PIM contributions.

D: Hamrlik-Mtl RFA, Z.Michalek-Phx, Nummelin-Min RFA, Morris-Phx RFA, Vishnevski-Dal P2, Wishart-SJ P2

Rating: 2

Hamrlik should be a decent powerplay compliment in Montreal where his shot will be expected to replace that of Souray on the PP. Michalek shocked everyone by making the Coyotes blue-line and then thriving as an all-round rearguard. Could be the next Teppo Numminen. Nummelin was supposed to bring offense to the Wild powerplay, but he didn't bring the stats he was expected to. Could be on very thin ice. Morris still hasn't found the extra gear of speed, nor an extra two inches in height that keep him from the next level. If he gets 40 pts it will be a miracle, but he is still a capable 5-6 guy. Vishnevski will be groomed by both Zubov and Dallas to be the teams PP of the future, but he is still a couple years away from real production. Wishart is a full-pkg defenseman, but because he lacks a high-end skating ability may be streamed into more of a defense first defender ala Chris Phillips. If so, he'll never be a full-time player for the Lost Boys. That said, he does have a little Shea Weber in him, so perhaps the team won't shut him down completely. Juries still out. All in all, the Lost Boys boast a solid middle section of defenders (Hamrlik, Michalek, Morris) but lack anyone at the high end, and have Vishnevski coming up the pipe.

G: Nabokov-SJ RFA, Toskala-Tor RFA, Gerber-Ott P4, Rask-Bos P2

Rating: 4

Nabokov is a solid #1 that the Lost Boys will likely have to match with a pick in the first four or five rounds. Toskala is a wild card in Toronto, but will be a capable backup as he is likely to get the majority of starts. Gerber is done, and if he hasn't signed somewhere in Europe already it's only a matter of time. Rask is the goalie of the future, but his future is still two years away.

Overall rating: 14

The Edge - Offseason Review

L: Ovechkin-Wsh FP, Elias-NJ FP, Higgins-Mtl RFA

Rating: 5

Ovechkin is arguably the most explosive goal-scorer in the league, frequently turning solo-rushes up ice into red-lights for himself. Scary thing is that the talent around him is steadily improving, and we almost certainly have not seen his ceiling yet. Elias has fought through injury and line-mate issues for several years now. When healthy he's still an elite talent, but with the Edge picking 4th overall, the opportunity to replace him has to be considered. Unfortunately, with only 3 elite FP candidates available (Spezza, Lecavalier, and Kipprusoff) and the likelihood that those same three players will be picked ahead of him, the decision to drop Elias becomes much more difficult. Why bother to turn him loose if the best guy you can get to replace him (say Zetterberg) is only a couple of years younger and not much better? Higgins is an all-weather winger who tops out around 50 pts in a good year.

C: Weiss-Fla P3

Rating: 1

Weiss had his first ever 20 goal season and promptly signed a ridiculous long term contract with the Panthers. A high skill pivot, he's needed 6 years to break through and post even remotely draftable numbers. Nobody is banking on an improved performance over last season yet (Ok, the Panthers clearly are).

R: Perry-Ana P3, Stewart-Fla P3

Rating: 2

Perry is part of the youth movement in Anaheim that paid dividends in their Cup winning drive. A big smooth skating winger with deceptive gears, elite hand skills and a nasty edge to his game, he gets by without elite wheels. Just scratching the surface of his potential, but he should have dressable numbers this year, and could seize a roster spot. Stewart is heading in the opposite direction from Perry. After a terrific final year in the OHL, Stewart has plateaued. No longer projected as an elite goalscoring power winger, he now appears to be firmly on the Brad May track.

D: Erhoff-SJ RFA, Malik-NYR RFA, Witt-NYI RFA, de Vries-Col RFA, Green-Wsh P2, Volchenkov-Ott P2

Rating: 2

Erhoff is no threat to break out from his #5-6 defense spot, but should be steady in that role. Mailk is a potential freak-show +/- performer and could put up dazzling numbers in that regard again - just don't expect any actual offense from him. Witt is the teams designated thug, and should push his PIM over 100 again as the lone Islander defenseman over 210lbs. de Vries is crapshoot to hold on to any powerplay time, but if injuries hit the Colorado blue-line again he could slip into a dressing role. Green is a potential offensive defenseman with a good chance of cracking the weak Capitals blue-line. Still likely a year or more away from having any offense. Volchenkov has blossomed into half of the Senators top 'shut-down' pairing with Chris Phillips - but that means his offense isn't likely to take a step up. There is a longer shot he may have +/- abilities though.

G: Lehtonen-Atl P4, Niitymaki-P3, Pogge-Tor P2

Rating: 2.5

Lehtonen has been on the cusp of stardom for three straight years, but hasn't managed to put in a full healthy season. He has the talent to be a 60-70 game starter and full time #1, but injuries have robbed him of any stability so far. Worse, the teams defense hasn't improved in three years and he'll too many odd-man rushes against to post elite numbers this year. Niitymaki was yet another casualty of the Flyers goaltending-merri-go-round-of-death. He had his shot last year now it's Marty Biron's turn. If Biron falters, Niitymaki could be back in the good books, but if not, he could be in the Euro-leagues next year. Justin Pogge will one day be the Leafs top netminder, but that isn't likely to happen any time soon.

Overall Rating: 12.5

The Highlanders - Offseason Review

L: Olesz-Fla P3

Rating: 1

Olesz is still best remembered as the guy on the wrong end of this. That said, he's got some decent skills, and he could take a step up in Florida to entrench himself on one of the top lines, but I think he's got Euro-league written all over him.

C: Thornton-SJ FP, Crosby-Pit P4, Mueller-Phx P2

Rating: 5

Most poolies will have Crosby and Thornton finishing 1-2 in scoring in their predictions. Here's hoping most poolies are wrong. Joe Thornton is Adam Oates in an Eric Lindros body. A hulking pivot with above average speed, and way above average playmaking ability. Crosby is the second coming of Pat Lafontaine, minus the injuries. Mueller is perhaps the best Coyote prospect at centre since Alexei Zhamnov was picked by the Jets. He has a high skill level, an NHL frame, and a gaping hole in the roster to jump into. All of which mean he could threaten for the Calder. With such a sick set of pivots, it's unlikely the Highlanders will be tempted by another centreman for the 2nd pick overall, so expect a goaltender (Kipper) to be their top choice.

R: Hudler-Det P4

Rating: 1

One of those player in the Detroit system that seem to be eternally a prospect (see also: Grigorenko and Kronwall), Hudler is way on the small side for an NHL forward, and has yet to demonstrate enough skill to compensate for his short comings. Could also be ticketed for the Euro-leagues if he doesn't make it this year.

D: Pronger-Ana FP, Souray-Edm RFA

Rating: 2.5

With Pronger's triple threat game (pts, PIM, +/-, though of late, he's all but lost the +/- dimension) and Souray's double threat (pts, PIM) - which was good enough to lead the FUNHL for defenseman scoring, the Highlanders have their top end of the defense covered, and will be tough to field a below average group given how superior the top pair are. Worth noting that Pronger will be trade bait this year (because Crosby will be the teams no-surprise selection as an FP next year), and that Souray could be poached away from the team if a bid comes in early enough.

G: Di Pietro-NYI P4

Rating: 2

Handles the puck like Brodeur, but stops pucks like Andre Racicot.

Total Rating: 11.5

The team has the best set of pivots in the league, and the beginning of a solid defense corps, but having glaring needs at both wing positions and in goal. An early pick (Kipper) will fix the goaltending, but expect the Highlanders to be 'team helicopter' in the early going.


Draft Day

Hi all,

As I understand it, the Draft is being held at Collin's, but Colleen will have her hands full with Tiana, and won't be tending to the rest of us kids. I have an option available to have someone cater breakfast and/or lunch, but I'm not sure if that's what everyone wants - Should I inquire further, get a sense of cost, etc? One meal, or two, and if one, which one? Thanks!