Personal Vendetta 2013

Personal Vendetta

L: Nash-NYR FP, Elias-NJ, Dubinsky-Clb RFA, E.Kane-Wpg RFA, Schwartz-StL P2

Rating: 3

Nash is a sublimely talented goalscorer blessed with speed, size and a ridiculous set of 'fear my wingspan' moves. Always something of a solo act in Columbus (by nature and because of a lack of complimentary talent), he now has the chance to show he can play a team game lining up with a playmaker in Richards, and shotgun goalscorer in Gaborik. Interesting to see how he adapts. Elias is aging marvellously, but the players around him are lower-grade (excepting Kovalchuk), and his wheels aren't what they once were. Dubinsky is a nice complimentary grinder, but unless he is played as TG he'll probably hit the bench. Evander Kane is a full-blooded powerforward with size, speed and a fantastic shot, and projects to easily supplant Dubinsky and probably Elias in the pecking order. Schwartz is on the small side, but has excellent skills and speed, unfortunately, the roster of Blues forwards is steep and deep, and there isn't a roster spot open for him to advance.

C: Zetterberg-Det FP, Richards-NYR, Richards-Pha RFA, Plekanec-Mtl RFA, Turris-Ott P3

Rating: 3

Zetterberg's move to pivot from LW has hurt his comparables as he tracks out as arguably one of the worst Franchise pivots. The Richards/Richards show was a combination tried out by the Severed Heads last year, to little success. That said, Richards 1 now has Rick Nash to pass to on the powerplay, so his stats could increase. Richards II is now locked in as the Kings #2 pivot, and will have a full season of Darryl Sutter screaming obscenities at him for motivation. Plekanec has been the PV's ultimate utility prospect the last few years, capable of filling in as high as the 2nd line, but never worse than the 3rd, he gave the team terrific draft flexability. Turris looks to have found his game somewhat in Ottawa, but no longer tracks as an elite offensive producer, rather, he appears to be settling into the 2nd line role behind Spezza.

RW: Oshie-StL, Horton-Bos, Erat-Nsh, Ruutu-Car RFA, Granlund-Min P3, Okposo-NYI P3, Kassian-Vcr P2

Rating: 3

Oshie is looking like he might break out offensively with the Blues this year, but enough to be a top tier RW in the FUNHL? Not sold. Horton has apparently recovered from his devastating concussion (that cost him a full calendar year), but it remains to be seen if he can return to form as a lethal power sniper. Erat is virtually the definition of an average 3rd line FUNHL winger. Ruutu is a nice blend of offense and PIM, but he's seen a decline in both stats over the last few years, and Carolina is transitioning him into a checking role now that Staal2 is on board. Granlund is a high-end talent who should significantly boost the offense in Minny, and make a run at the Calder for rookie of the year (who am I kidding, Tarasenko has that locked up). Okposo still has flashes of being a dominant powerforward, but never more than just flashes, and time is running out (that said, big guys take longer to reach their ceiling). Kassian is a huge specimen of a man with more than a modicum of skill. He's getting a long look at a top 6 role in Vcr, and if he can seize the opportunity he might be the best powerforward they have had since Bertuzzi.

D: Letang-Pit, Enstrom-Wpg, Burns-SJ, Voynov-LA RFA, Bouwmeester-Cgy RFA, Franson-Tor RFA, Martin-Pit RFA, Colaiacovo-Det RFA, Fowler-Ana P3, Gudbransson-Fla P3

Rating: 3.5

Letang is now among the elite offensive defensemen in the league, and will fill the gaping hole of Lidstrom's absence admirably. Enstrom is (like countryman Timmonen) an undersized offense first rearguard who occasionally suffers from an extreme injury. He's absolutely key to the Jets powerplay though, so as long as he is healthy, he should be productive. Burns simply cannot stay healthy enough to be productive, he just finished recovering from sports hernia surgery, and he has already come down with some new ailment that has moved him to the bench as 'day-to-day' for the forseeable future. When healthy he is a big mobile rearguard with a cannon of a shot. Voynov is LA's secret weapon on the blue-line, capable of running a powerplay, and threading long bomb passes through the forecheck, he's establishing himself as one of the up and coming offensive defenders in the league. Bouwmeester lost his offense in Florida and has never found it since - expect point totals in the low 30's, and that is if he doesn't lose all his pp time to Dennis Wideman. Franson is already odd-man-out in Toronto and could lose his roster position to rookie Morgan Rielly. Martin has all but fully transitioned into being a shutdown defenseman (albeit one who lacks any kind of thumping ability). Colaiacovo has signed in Detroit, but the defense there is completely in flux with the departure of Lidstrom, and until he seizes a regular powerplay spot he is suspect to get much ice-time. Fowler is a tremendous talent, and should easily move into the PV's top 3, especially with Burns hitting the emergency room already. Gudbransson is a huge physical rock of a D-man, but he looks more Adam Foote than Rob Blake. Until he grabs routine powerplay time his biggest contribution is likely as a 2nd goon.

G: Kirprusoff-Cgy RFA, Bryzgalov-Pha RFA

Rating: 3.5

Following his template of taking goaltenders late in the draft, the PV tabbed Kipper to be their starter.   The Flames have to sort some issues out on D before you can move Kipper back into consideration as being one of the elite FUNHL guys. Bryzgalov is a guy who lives the cliche of 'crazy goaltender', alternately tweeting surrealist expressions about our place in the universe and a profound fear of bears, he is also tasked with stopping pucks in hockey's greatest goaltending graveyard. Absent Pronger and a host of other regular D-men, his stats are likely to be an ongoing comedy adventure.

(note: the picture used above is from the original 'Get Carter' with Michael Caine - one of the greatest stories of a personal vendetta in film - ignore the anemic Stallone remake).

Total: 16

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