Okay, so I wasn’t as productive as I hope I would with my Fantastic Forecasts. Therefore, to reach my quota I decided just to quickly forecast a bunch of guys with limited analysis.
I apologize for the lack of analysis, but it’s the best I can do for now. Hope it helps, and good luck to everyone this season.
Claude Giroux – Ok, let’s try this again. Giroux was the subject of my very first Fantasy Forecast last season. The season review proved that I was a little off. This season, I am still optimistic about Giroux becoming a legitimate fantasy contributor. He has had two consecutive impressive playoffs and has a coach who has a plan on how to use him. He also plays on a Flyers team that has a group of top 9 forwards that are more or less interchangeable. Meaning, that they will have 3 set lines on paper, but at any given time during the game, each player can play with the another. Giroux is set to centre the 3rd line with James vanRiemsdyk and Nikolay Zherdev. Giroux is a ridiculous play maker and being paired up with two goal scorers is perfect. 50MC Fantastically Forecasts 24 grapes and 40 apples for 64 potatoes for Giroux. Put it on the board.
Derek Stepan – I promised I would profile the New York Rangers’ rookie under the assumption that he would be lining up with Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov on the Rag’s first line. However, the Bergen Record reported earlier today that Erik Christensen will start the season centering the top line. I still think he could see minutes with Gaborik, but it will not be enough to make a fantastical difference on your team. The Rags already have young centers in Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, so Stepan must compete to rise up from the bottom lines. And even though Stepan has meshed well with Gaborik, John Tortorella is still concerned with his defensive responsibility and giving a young player topline minutes. It is too bad because Stepan could have had an upside of 55-60 points. 50MC Fantastically Forecasts 12 grapes and 23 apples for 35 potatoes.
Olli Jokinen – Jokinen has to prove that he still has a spot in this league. He can help himself by helping out Jarome Iginla score goals and helping Alex Tanguay make plays. After 89 and 91 points seasons from 2005-2007, he proceeded to score 71, 57 and 50 the past 3 seasons. I truly believe that Jokinen will break his downward spiral this season. It may not be by much, but his value has plummeted to the point, where he can be an absolute steal in your draft. Draft him as your 5-6 forward or back up to the back up center. He will have a chip on his shoulder this season and will have linemates who are as motivated as him to have a bounce back season. 50MC Fantastically Forecasts 29 grapes and 36 apples for 65 points.
Kyle Turris – He beat out Kyle Wellwood for the final roster spot and will be in a Coyote uniform to start the season. He played 63 games in 2008 and only scored 20 points (8 goals). I wouldn’t expect much from Turris this year because he may not even be in the group of top 6 in Phoenix. I think he plays the full season in the NHL with 15 grapes, 27 apples for 42 potatoes, with a high upside.
Michael Grabner – Not even a day after he was dropped by the Florida Panthers, he was picked up by the opportunistic New York Islanders. He is not supposed to play in the first few games for the Isles, but with Okposo down and Grabner possessing the offensive skills that he has, there is no question, he will be called upon to score goals. If Matt Moulson can score 30, Grabner is good for at least 25 grapes, 24 apples and 49 potatoes
Andy Greene – This will mark the first time I forecast a player other than a forward! Andy Greene is the only defenseman in New Jersey who has any major experience running an offense as a defenseman. However, historically, Greene is not known for much offense. Before last year, his career high was 10 points (Ouch!). Last season he emerged with 37. This season, with as much firepower as the Devils have up front, Greene does not have to be an offensive mastermind, he just needs to feed the puck to the scorers and occasionally get the puck to the net. He will be Dennis Wideman circa 2008-2009 – a lot of secondary assists. 50MC Fantastically Forecasts 13 grapes and 33 apples for 46 potatoes. He makes a great sleeper candidate and 5th defenseman.
Matt Duchene – 24 goals, 55 points last season. That’s a great stepping stone for a stud with a lot of talent. Duchene will make a bigger step this season en route to having a great career. He really got comfortable near the end of the season, which is a great sign going into his sophomore campaign. 50MC Fantastically Forecasts 29 grapes and 42 apples for 71 potatoes.
Jonathan Cheechoo – Apparently he is back in the Sharks system with the Worcester Sharks on an AHL tryout. If he makes the squad, the chances of him even getting called up are slim. But if he does, I think he will be put on a line with Joe Thornton to try and et some comfort and confidence back in his game. I will go on a limb and give him 10 games in the NHL, scoring 4 grapes and 1 (MacIntosh) apple .