NHL Players in the Olympics

01/07/2010
2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic - Philadelphia Flyers v Boston Bruins

The title says it all.  This article will be no more than a comprehensive list of NHL (and some other players owned by NHL teams) players set to participate in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 01/02/2010

01/03/2010
Washington Capitals v Atlanta Thrashers

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.

Big night with most teams back in action following a New Years layoff.  Twelve games and 24 teams in action total.  Here are our standout fantasy stars for the evening:

THIRD STAR: Maxim Afinogenov, Atlanta Thrashers (0-0-1) –  Afinogenov contributed in a large way, helping the Thrashers stay in the game until overtime, where they eventually fell to the Islanders 6-5.  The 30-year-old and first-year Thrasher scored two and assisted on two more, including a 3rd period powerplay tally from captain Kovalchuk to tie the game at five.  In addition, Afinogenov fired three shots on net and sat two minutes in the box good enough to earn third star honors.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 12/23/2009

12/24/2009
Pittsburgh Penguins v Los Angeles Kings

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.

With 12 games and 24 teams in action, we saw plenty of hockey to get us through the Christmas break.  Now in the middle of a mandated break, us hockey fans as well as players anticipate a big day on Saturday.  Having said that, since there were so many teams in action, choosing three standout players proved incredibly difficult. Here are our standout fantasy stars for the evening:

THIRD STAR: Marc Savard, Boston Bruins (0-0-1) –  Savard played a vital role in the Bruins 6-4 victory over the Thrashers.  Going blow-for-blow with the offensive powerhouse in Atlanta, the 32-year-old center stepped up and lead his team to victory.  On the night, Savard put three points on the scoreboard, a goal and two assists all of which coming on the powerplay.  In addition, the Ottawa, Ontario native fired four shots on goal while posting a plus one rating.

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Ilya Kovalchuk Going NOWHERE

12/21/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v Florida Panthers

Unfortunately this is not an actual news story but simply one man’s bold prediction.  Before you blast me for the headline, lets look at the facts so you can see my thought process.

The latest from Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution states that the talks between the two are currently at a stand still.  However, Kovalchuk went on record to state, “he would like to stay with the same team his whole career. However, he understands that hockey is a business.”

Yes Ilya, hockey is a business.  You need to see that the business of the Atlanta Thrasher is Ilya Kovalchuk.  This team lives and dies by the blade of his stick.  The signings of Nik Antropov, Maxim Afinogenov as well as the acquisition of Pavel Kubina directly correlate to this team wanting to succeed with Kovalchuk.

So lets go over some facts.  The consensus rumors cite Kovalchuk wanting the league maximum over a ten year span, a total he certainly deserves.  By the CBA agreement, the maximum allows for 20 percent of the teams cap.  As the cap currently stands at 56.8 million and looks to stay within that range with our booming economy, our Russian star stands to make at least 11.36 million a year.

By my calculations even if Kovalchuk does sign at this maximum contract at the maximum cap hit, the Thrashers boast over 20 million worth of cap dollars left on their budget.  How many other teams can say they have this much room? Better yet, how many teams already have surrounded Kovy with teammates he thrives with due to both nationality and chemistry?

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 12/17/2009

12/18/2009
San Jose Sharks v Phoenix Coyotes

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.

Another even disparity between offense and defense.  Exactly nine out of the 18 teams in action scored 2 goals or less.  However, of the teams that scored three goals or more, four teams scored over five goals making some fantasy owners very happy.  Here are our standout fantasy stars for the evening:

THIRD STAR: Patric Hornqvist, Nashville Predators (0-0-1) –  Hornqvist displayed his immense talent by scoring two goals, one on the powerplay and one even strength, and assisting on another tally giving him three points on the night.  The 22-year-old stepped up for his team leading them to a impressive 6-3 victory over the Oilers.  In addition to his three points the Sollentuna, Sweden native fired three shots on goal and and posted a plus two rating on the night.

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Restoring the Rosters: Buffalo Sabres

12/14/2009
Florida Panthers v Buffalo Sabres

I previously skipped over the Sabres, so here they are.

Based on Matthew Pouliot’s series on Circling the Bases, I have decided restore the rosters for every NHL team. Like Pouliot, I have established some ground rules for my selections.

  1. Each team contains players they originally drafted or signed before any other NHL team. This includes players drafted and not signed, as well as European free agents coming over at an older age.
  2. I have chosen to leave retired players off the list, and lean toward players in the AHL rather than those deported (KHL, SEL, DEL, etc.).

Essentially I am choosing the best available players for a team to succeed in the current NHL season. All 30 teams will be covered, with grades assigned to forwards, defense and goaltending. After all 30 articles are written, they will be ranked in order. This series’ intent is to reward or shame NHL scouts.

The Sabres rely heavily on their drafting and development of young players in order to keep their payroll down. Due to their restrictions monetarily, the team has succeeded in producing a vast amount of NHL regulars as well as some well regarded players.  Overall, there really is no weaknesses to their lineup from the net on out.  A mostly young core, this team greatly resembles the team currently constructed but with more depth and much improved blueline.

The lineup for the Buffalo Sabres is as follows.

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November Fantasy 3 Stars

12/01/2009
Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers for the month and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) which also excludes player salaries.

THIRD STAR: Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils (0-0-1) – Perhaps the main attraction of Team USA, Parise’s consistent effort puts him on this list.  The 25-year-old scored nine goals and seven assists with five points coming on the powerplay.  Moreover, the left wing added 50 shots on goal and a plus 15.  Although his zero PIM could use a boost, his stellar stats among the other five categories render him a legitimate first rounder

SECOND STAR: Maxim Afinogenov, Atlanta Thrashers (0-1-0) –After last season’s hapless effort, Max seemed poised to flee to the KHL.  Instead he stayed in North America, signing for 800K with Atlanta and becoming one of the most cost-efficient players in hockey.  The 30-year-old scored eight goals and had ten assists in the month of November, five of which coming on the powerplay.  He posted nearly a 25 percent chance of scoring, taking 21 shots on goal and finished the month a healthy plus 12. Afinogenov deserves some mention after the monstrous month he put up and his return to relevance.

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Trade Rumors: Savard Signs 7 Year Deal

12/01/2009
New York Islanders v Boston Bruins

Bob McKenzie broke the signing earlier today and announced the contract to be front loaded with a 4.2 cap hit over seven years.  With the playmaking center locked in, where does this leave the Bruins?

Surprisingly better than you would expect.

After this year, Boston has both goalies, seven forwards and three defenseman signed with over 12 million in cap space.  Assuming at least four million goes to keeping Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart that leaves them with 8 million to sign four forwards and two defensemen.  This would give the needed signings an average of 1.3 million per player.  If the team decides to use this space on young players on entry-level deals like Vladamir Sobotka (750K cap hit) or Brad Marchand (821,666 cap hit) then the team can spend up to 1.6 million on each player and so forth.  In the last free agency period, solid players like Vaclav Prospal and Maxim Afinogenov signed for around a million.

Trading Phil Kessel proved to be an invaluable move for the Bruins and is looking better every time the Leafs lose.  With Kessel they would have one more scorer while without him they are able to field an actual team.

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Cost Efficiency: Rich Peverley, best player in hockey?

11/22/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Well maybe our headline is taking it a bit too far, but you can’t get a better player for your money.  Claimed off waivers last year from the Predators the 27-year-old now has 59 points in 58 games for the Thrashers. The undrafted free agent recently signed a 2 year contract worth a total of 2.6 million a modest raise from his current 487,500 cap hit.

Since he makes 487,500 this year, as a technicality we can put his stats over his salary to determine his cost-per-point production.  Prior to joining Nashville, Pevs was a point-per-game player in the AHL showing glimpses of his potential.  If the graduate from St. Lawrence University continues his pace, he may be one of the greatest bargains of all time.

He averages a goal for every 61K he makes, a small value in comparison to Dany Heatley’s 441K per goal.  The center assists on a goal for every 33K paid, making Joe Thornton’s 300K per assist look like a king’s ransom. Peverley’s 22K per point is 15K less than the next player James Neal, who is coming off an entry level contract himself.  Nobody can compare to his proverbial bang for the buck.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 11/19/2009

11/20/2009
Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks

Another new feature here on NHLHS. I will break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP,PIM, SOG; Goalies – W,GAA,SV%,SHO)

THIRD STAR: Kristian Huselius (0-0-1), Columbus Blue Jackets – Huselius had a huge fantasy night on Thursday.  The 31 year old winger potted two goals, one on the power-play and the other shorthanded.  He also added an assist, four shots and was a plus one.  Mostly branded as inconsistent throughout his career the Swedish native has been known to have big nights like this.  In total, Huselius contributed to five of out six fantasy categories making him our third star of the evening.

SECOND STAR: Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers (0-1-0) – The Thrasher’s captain continues his hot streak with a truly dominant performance against the Bruins.  With one goal and two assists, Kovy added to his impressive points totals.  His production does not stop there as the impending free agent added four shots, two power-play points and finished a plus one, contributing to five offensive categories.

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