You could never tell that the world economy is suffering through a major financial crisis with the way some NHL teams are spending their money.
But 40-goal scorers and No. 1 defensemen are harder to find these days than credit cards with low interest rates, so any available players able to fit into one of those two categories were showered with money like they were strippers dancing around Pacman Jones.
Marian Hossa and Chris Pronger did not have any trouble getting paid this offseason. Hossa inked a ridiculous mutli-million dollar, decade-long deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, while Pronger signed a extension with the Philadelphia Flyers after they acquired him via a trade with the Anaheim Ducks.
So will Hossa and Pronger’s fantasy hockey fortunes match their real-life fortunes? Here is a look at what to expect stats-wise from this rich pair with their new teams:
Let me get this straight. Hossa was as invisible as Beetlejuice during last seaon's playoff run, yet he still gets rewarded with a 12-year, $62 million contract? When did Garth Snow become Chicago’s general manager?
But while Hossa hasn’t been helpful in fantasy playoff hockey leagues, not many forwards have been as productive during the regular season over the past several years. Hossa has averaged 37 goals, 79 points, and 12 power play goals per campaign over his last eight seasons, along with staying remarkably healthy, and staying positive in the plus-minus department (averaged 78 games and a plus-11 rating per season during that span).
There is no reason Hossa’s offense should disappear in Chicago, not when he is surrounded by more young talent than the director of the High School Musical movies. Hossa will immediately take Martin Havlat’s place as the right wing on Chicago’s top line and will skate alongside Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews, if not both of them on a super line.
Hossa is a better all-around player than Martin Havlat, the man he is pretty much replacing in Chicago, and Havlat had 29 goals and 48 assists last season with the same crew.
Considering Hossa has more offensive skills, and that youngsters like Kane, Toews, and Dave Bolland should improve next year and in the years thereafter, Hossa should have no problem posting 75-90 points every season from here on out.
The Broad Street Bullies will never learn. Every offseason it is the same story. Philly trades tons of draft picks and/or spends millions of cheese steaks on premier defensemen (Kimmo Timonen, Derian Hatcher, etc) and yet sticks with mediocre goaltenders (Robert Esche, Martin Biron, Antero Niittymaki) that have no chance of leading the team to a Stanley Cup.
Oh, well. That’s not the problem of fantasy poolers—unless they draft a Flyers goalie.
Fantasy owners know by now what they will get out of Pronger, whether he is wearing a Flyers jersey, a Ducks jersey, or a Russian Red Army jersey. He is good for 45-60 points, 5-10 power-play goals, 100 penalty minutes, a plus rating, and several games missed due to injuries and suspensions.
Those numbers should not change for Pronger now that he is in Philly. The 34-year-old still has tread on his tires even after all of those 30-minute games he has logged over his career. His stats have remained level and show no signs of declining, and playing on a power play unit with Daniel Briere, Simon Gagne, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Timonen should guarantee him a 50-point season.
That is unless the injury bug bites him or he sits on the suspended list for a long time after another questionable hit to the head.
In conclusion, Hossa and Pronger’s fantasy values have not been hurt because they have traveled to new teams. In fact, they have probably gotten better. Hossa should be one of the top five right wingers and one of the top 15 forwards drafted, and Pronger is easily a top-10 defenseman and could be rated as high as top-5 at his position.
Draft both, enjoy both.