Must-haves: Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Wideman, David Krejci, Tim Thomas
Contributors: Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi, Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ference, Michael Ryder
Sleepers: Milan Lucic, Marco Sturm, Blake Wheeler, Matt Hunwick, Derek Morris, Tuukka Rask, Zach Hamill, Dany Sabourin, Vladimir Sobotka, Brad Marchand
Specialists: Shawn Thornton, Mark Stuart, Byron Bitz
Offseason analysis: The Bruins didn't do a whole lot this offseason, that is until they traded former first-round pick Phil Kessel to the Maple Leafs for prime draft picks in mid-September. They also didn't have the cap space to do a lot even if they wanted to. The only Fantasy-viable additions were forward Steve Begin and defenseman Derek Morris, while low-end starting Fantasy defenseman Steve Montador ended up in Buffalo. With Kessel now with the division-rival Leafs, look for stud youngster David Krejci to emerge. However, he will likely miss the start of the season after undergoing hip surgery in June. Michael Ryder and Chuck Kobasew will also be guys who could benefit the most, Fantasy-wise, with Kessel out of the picture. Youngsters who could also have an impact this season include 2007 first-round pick Zach Hamill and 22-year-old Vladimir Sobotka. Tim Thomas, who won't have Manny Fernandez to worry about this season, heads into 2009-10 as a solid low-end No. 1 option, while his backup, Tuukka Rask, is certainly an intriguing sleeper No. 4 choice in deeper formats. New addition Dany Sabourin might push Rask in training camp, however.
Must-haves: Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy, Ryan Miller
Contributors: Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly, Craig Rivet, Jochen Hecht, Mike Grier, Adam Mair, Nathan Paetsch, Cody McCormick, Joe DiPenta
Sleepers: Drew Stafford, Clarke MacArthur, Andrej Sekera, Nathan Gerbe, Daniel Paille, Tyler Myers, Chris Butler, Jhonas Enroth, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Tim Kennedy
Specialists: Steve Montador, Paul Gaustad, Patrick Kaleta, Toni Lydman, Henrik Tallinder, Jeff Cowan
Offseason analysis: The Sabres weren't the sexiest of Fantasy squads in 2008-09, and things might not change much this season. Montador was the only real addition, while Jaroslav Spacek, who has the power play expertise to be a solid Fantasy defenseman, left for Montreal, plus veteran forward Maxim Afinogenov and penalty-minute king Andrew Peters were not re-signed. One player who was brought back is Stafford, who was a restricted free agent. The 24-year-old set career highs in goals and points in 79 games last season and could be a superb sleeper option if he gets playing time alongside Vanek and Roy. At 6-foot-7, 19-year-old Tyler Myers is certainly a big young lad who could make the team. However, his Fantasy value will be limited to deeper formats and long-term keeper leagues. There's no question that Vanek and Roy can be 80-point guys every season, but Sabres management just couldn't find a way to get the entire offense going last season and didn't bring in any big free agent forwards this summer. There are plenty of sleeper options on this squad though, so keep an eye on who emerges in the first month of the season. Miller managed only 59 games in 2008-09 and is now certainly someone you can't expect to rely upon for an entire season because of his propensity for getting dinged up. However, he did put up career-best numbers in '08-'09, so he could be in for a very nice campaign if he can just stay off the trainer's table. Draft him as a low-end No. 1 option with the potential for much more. His backup, Lalime, has been awful the last four seasons, but has to be considered a sleeper because of Miller's fragility.
|Mike Cammalleri brings his game across Canada, from Calgary to Montreal. (US Presswire)|
Contributors: Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Jaroslav Spacek, Andrei Kostitsyn, Roman Hamrlik, Guillaume Latendresse, Glen Metropolit
Sleepers: Tomas Plekanec, Jaroslav Halak, Sergei Kostitsyn, Max Pacioretty, Matt D'Agostini, Maxim Lapierre, Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban, Ben Maxwell, Yannick Weber
Specialists: Paul Mara, Hal Gill, Georges Laraque, Travis Moen
Offseason analysis: The Canadiens were a ridiculously busy team this summer as they lost right wing Alexei Kovalev, center Saku Koivu, winger Christopher Higgins, center Robert Lang, left wing Alex Tanguay, defenseman Mike Komisarek, defenseman Mathieu Schneider, right wing Tom Kostopoulos, Mathieu Dandenault, defenseman Patrice Brisebois and Francis Bouillon. In comes wingers Mike Cammalleri from the Flames and Brian Gionta from the Devils and Gionta's former teammate in New Jersey, C Scott Gomez, who arrives after spending two seasons with the Rangers. All three of those guys should be solid starting Fantasy forwards in all formats and will likely spend the majority of ice time playing on the same line together. That should leave the Kostitsyn brothers, Plekanec and some of Montreal's other sleeper forwards fighting for the other three spots in the top six. All of them will be deeper-league options to begin with, but one or two could certainly emerge from that group as the season progresses. On the blue line, Markov is a must-start Fantasy option who could certainly score in the 60-plus points once again this season. Spacek comes in from Buffalo and has a chance to put up some big numbers if the Canadiens power play clicks under new coach Jacques Martin. Price will be looking to rebound from an awful second half in 2008-09 that was marred by an ankle injury. He was superb before the breakthough (16-5, 2.35), so hopefully he can reclaim that form this season. Price will be under pressure at all times from Halak, who has proved to be a capable fill-in when called upon.
Must-haves: Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Alexei Kovalev
Contributors: Filip Kuba, Mike Fisher, Pascal Leclaire, Milan Michalek, Brian Lee, Christoph Schubert, Shean Donovan
Sleepers: Jonathan Cheechoo, Nick Foligno, Chris Campoli, Brian Elliott, Ryan Shannon, Jesse Winchester, Erik Karlsson, Zack Smith, Peter Regin, Jim O'Brien,
Specialists: Chris Neil, Alexandre Picard, Anton Volchenkov, Jarkko Ruutu
Offseason analysis: The Senators didn't make much of a splash this offseason until they finally shipped off disgruntled forward Dany Heatley to the Sharks in mid-September for Cheechoo and Michalek. Cheechoo had a 93-point campaign (56G, 37A) in 2005-06, but his totals have slipped precipitously since then, going from 69 to 37 and to 29 last season. Hopefully a change of scenery will do him some good, so consider him a late-round sleeper in all formats. Michalek shouldn't see too much of a bump in production with this move and remains a No. 6 forward with the chance to produce 55-60 points. Kovalev is a nice addition who could well replace Heatley on the top line alongside Alfredsson and Spezza, both of whom remain must-start Fantasy options, despite their poor 2008-09 campaigns. Foligno looks like the best sleeper option among a nice group of young forwards that the Sens are trying to bring along. He had a nice second half last season and is worth drafting in deeper formats. At the back, Kuba is a solid starting option in the majority of leagues who could build on his first 40-point campaign, while Campoli returns after impressing at times last season following his trade from the Islanders and is certainly worth a flier in deeper leagues. Leclaire is an intriguing addition between the pipes for Ottawa. When healthy, he's proved he can be a more-than-capable goaltender. Unfortunately, like division-mate Miller, he has a tendency to get dinged up very easily, which means Elliott, who showed promise last season, is a nice sleeper option in deeper formats.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Must-haves: Tomas Kaberle, Phil Kessel
Contributors: Jason Blake, Matt Stajan, Vesa Toskala, Ian White, Niklas Hagman, Lee Stempniak, Francois Beauchemin, Jeff Finger, John Mitchell, Rickard Wallin, Wayne Primeau
Sleepers: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Mikhail Grabovski, Jonas Gustavsson, Luke Schenn, Mike Van Ryn, Nikolai Kulemin, Jiri Tlusty
Specialists: Mike Komisarek, Colton Orr, Garnet Exelby, Jamal Mayers, Andre Deveaux
Offseason analysis: Like most teams in the Northeast Division, the Leafs were relatively quiet for most of the offseason, only to pull off a blockbuster within the division just weeks before the start of the season. Toronto acquired Phil Kessel from Boston for draft picks, a move that should provide major dividends on the offensive end. However, Kessel is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery this summer, which will keep him from making his Leafs debut until November. The other main additions were defensemen Beauchemin from Anaheim, Komisarek from the Canadiens and intriguing goaltender Gustavsson from his native Sweden. The two defensemen shouldn't provide much of a Fantasy boost, although Komisarek does like to find the penalty box quite often. Gustavsson is the real sleeper on this Toronto squad though, as he could push Toskala all season for the starting job and is thus worth a shot in deeper leagues as a No. 4. Kaberle remains pretty much the only viable option in all Fantasy leagues for the Leafs on defense and will be looking to put a disappointing 2008-09 season behind him. Schenn should be the fourth blue-liner but has yet to even turn 20, so he remains more of a long-term keeper option than anything. On the offensive side of things, Ponikarovsky and Grabovski have a chance to take their game to the next level, while Blake could be a nice Fantasy draft pick after he showed some signs of improvement during his second season in Toronto.
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