It's the 12th annual off-season review of each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically – but switch starting points each year. This year I'm doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. Today, the Sharks and the Blues are on the docket.
San Jose Sharks
Gone – Martin Havlat, Brad Stuart, Dan Boyle
Incoming - Michael Haley, Tye McGinn, John Scott, Taylor Fedun
Ready for full time – Freddie Hamilton is ready to take on a third- or fourth-line checking role. He probably doesn't have scoring-line upside in the NHL, but he may be able to carve out a career on the third line as a potential 40-point player. However, that won't be this year and given the Sharks' depth at center he may not be called up until mid-season.
Matt Tennyson was a big college free agent signing in 2012 and after two seasons in the minors he's getting closer. His minus-25 rating with Worcester last season indicates that perhaps he could use at least another half season, but he projects as a second-pairing guy who could chip in on the second power play unit.
Mirco Mueller is the prospect most likely to make the team right out of the gate. The 19-year-old was the 18th overall draft pick in 2013. He needs to fill out his 6-foot-3 frame, but aside from that he boasts the poise and smarts needed to hold his own. Long-term he should have some fantasy value as a 40-point defenseman, but that's still several years away.
Fantasy Outlook: The so-called rebuilding plan never really got off the ground, unless you call trading Dan Boyle away and moving Brent Burns back to defense, and acquiring McGinn as "rebuilding." So the Sharks are the same pretty good team they were one year ago, with the ability to put points on the board. Better, in fact, now that Tomas Hertl is back to full health. That gives them two potent scoring lines. The prospects pool, from a fantasy standpoint, is still quite shallow though I like the looks of Chris Tierney and Nikolay Goldobin. Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was B-)
St. Louis Blues
Gone – Derek Roy, Brenden Morrow, Adam Cracknell, Ryan Miller, Roman Polak
Incoming - Peter Mueller, Jeremy Welsh, Paul Stastny, Carl Gunnarsson, Joakim Lindstrom
Ready for full time – Dmitrij Jaskin played 18 games for the Blues last season and could probably hold his own on the third line right away. However, the Blues added Peter Mueller and Joakim Lindstrom to the mix, making it a tough climb for Jaskin. Look for him to be an injury fill-in at some point and in the long term he has the potential to become a first-liner.
Ty Rattie is at least one year, possibly two away from becoming a full-time NHLer. The future scoring-line sniper potted 31 goals in the American League last year for Chicago, but has some filling out to do and the Blues are deep enough to let him do it. He's still only 21 so there is plenty of time.
Jake Allen is already on the NHL team and he has the potential to take the No. 1 job from Brian Elliott. However, Elliott has his moments - enough of them that he can hold onto the job throughout much of the season. Allen will have his hot streaks, but for 2014-15 expect to use him sporadically (one week here, one week there).
Fantasy Outlook – The Blues boast two of the better fantasy owns on the blueline in Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk. They also boast one of the best multi-category studs in the game in David Backes. They have a handful of players with the potential to top 70 points and they may have a future superstar in Vladimir Tarasenko. Because this team is so deep, they have been allowed to groom their prospects. The pipeline has its share of quality fantasy players on the way. Fantasy Grade: A- (last year was B)
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.