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Cullen: Ready For the First Face-Off

Scott Cullen
10/7/2010 11:35:37 AM
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The NHL season starts today, so here's some preseason housekeeping, including a cumulative look at Scott Cullen's fantasy rosters, and forecasting preseason point totals.

For a look at TSN.ca's Preseason Forecast, check out 30 Teams in 30 Days.

My Position-by-Position Fantasy Rankings  and Top 300 Projected Scorers are here for your perusal too.

The Fantasy Hockey Updates have begun and will really be in full effect next week.  The last couple are good for some catch-up on what has happened in training camp and preseason action.

As I mentioned not too long ago, I ended up in six different fantasy hockey leagues this year, which is more than usual for me, so I'm hoping that I'm not spread too thin to keep track of all of them.

In any case, the leagues are pretty much all different.  A couple are keepers, one is an auction league with contracts, and all have variations in their construction in terms of number of players involved.

While the Experts League is a deep (12 teams x 25-man rosters) roto-style league, the 20-man active roster, with specific positions, is probably my favourite format, but I understand many leagues play smaller active lineups, so as I provide Fantasy Hockey Updates throughout the year, I try to balance between giving info. on guys that are going to be gone in deep leagues and those that, even at their best, won't have value for those in shallow leagues.  

Bear with me and I will end up covering more than 300 different players, if last season is any indication, on the Fantasy Hockey Update.

Here is a breakdown of all my players, spread across six teams, which should provide some idea about which players I think will be worth having this year.  Of course, all value is relative and some of the guys at the bottom of each position may only be worthwhile in the deepest of leagues.

Note: I have Alexander Ovechkin in two leagues; one in which I drew first pick, another in which I drew second pick and Sidney Crosby was selected first.

LW Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay (3)
LW Alexander Ovechkin, Washington (2)
LW David Perron, St. Louis (2)
LW David Booth, Florida (2)
LW Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit
LW Patrick Marleau, San Jose
LW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo
LW Ryane Clowe, San Jose
LW Patrick Sharp, Chicago
LW Loui Eriksson, Dallas
LW Alexander Frolov, N.Y. Rangers
LW Kristian Huselius, Columbus
LW Nikolai Kulemin, Toronto
LW Jeremy Morin, Chicago

C Tyler Ennis, Buffalo (3)
C Scott Gomez, Montreal (2)
C Henrik Sedin, Vancouver
C Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay
C Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
C Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim
C Jason Spezza, Ottawa
C Eric Staal, Carolina
C Jonathan Toews, Chicago
C David Krejci, Boston
C Brad Richards, Dallas
C Tomas Plekanec, Montreal
C Antoine Vermette, Columbus
C Stephen Weiss, Florida
C Mike Ribeiro, Dallas
C Mike Fisher, Ottawa
C Tyler Bozak, Montreal
C T.J. Oshie, St. Louis
C Derick Brassard, Columbus
C Tyler Seguin, Boston
C Derek Stepan, N.Y. Rangers

RW Corey Perry, Anaheim (2)
RW Johan Franzen, Detroit (2)
RW Martin Havlat, Minnesota (2)
RW Dany Heatley, San Jose
RW Alexander Semin, Washington
RW Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
RW Marian Hossa, Chicago
RW Steve Downie, Tampa Bay
RW Ales Hemsky, Edmonton
RW David Backes, St. Louis
RW Jakub Voracek, Columbus
RW Rene Bourque, Calgary
RW Tomas Holmstrom, Detroit
RW Niclas Bergfors, Atlanta
RW Michael Frolik, Florida
RW Scottie Upshall, Phoenix
RW Guillaume Latendresse, Minnesota

D Lubomir Visnovsky, Anaheim (4)
D Jamie McBain, Carolina (3)
D Keith Yandle, Phoenix (2)
D Brent Burns, Minnesota (2)
D Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
D Duncan Keith, Chicago
D Sergei Gonchar, Ottawa
D Chris Pronger, Philadelphia
D Erik Johnson, St. Louis
D Alexander Edler, Vancouver
D Brian Rafalski, Detroit
D Tyler Myers, Buffalo
D Niklas Kronwall, Detroit
D P.K. Subban, Montreal
D Pavel Kubina, Tampa Bay
D John Carlson, Washington
D James Wisniewski, N.Y. Islanders
D Paul Martin, Pittsburgh
D John-Michael Liles, Colorado
D Ian White, Calgary
D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix
D Johnny Boychuk, Boston
D Sheldon Souray, Edmonton

G Jimmy Howard, Detroit (2)
G Marty Turco, Chicago (2)
G Steve Mason, Columbus (2)
G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey
G Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary
G Tomas Vokoun, Florida
G Craig Anderson, Colorado
G Jonas Gustavsson, Toronto
G Brian Elliott, Ottawa
G Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Toronto
G Rick DiPietro, N.Y. Islanders

"If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man,
You win some, lose some, it's all the same to me,
The pleasure is to play, it makes no difference what you say"

- Ace of Spades, Motorhead

As it goes at the start of all seasons, I like checking out the win totals, or in the case of hockey point totals, that are projected and finding value.  Using lines from www.bodog.com, there are 10 point totals that I think provide value this season:

OVER-UNDER POINT TOTALS
Carolina Hurricanes OVER 86.5 - This requires a bit of projection, since the 'Canes only had 80 points last year, but the four previous seasons were better than 87 points, they were 24-14-3 in the second half last year and G Cam Ward missed a couple of months with injuries.

Columbus Blue Jackets OVER 79.5 - Again, some projection required, but if the Blue Jackets can get better seasons from Steve Mason, Derick Brassard and Nikita Filatov, then I think they can be at least one point better than last year's 79.

Florida Panthers OVER 71.5 - Not anticipating the Panthers to be good, but Edmonton was the only team in the league to finish with fewer than 71 points last season and the Panthers, for all their shortcomings, could be as "good" as they were last year (77 points) if LW David Booth stays healthy and young guys like RW Michael Frolik and D Dmitry Kulikov develop even a little.

Buffalo Sabres OVER 91.5 - The Sabres have been at 90 points or better for five straight seasons (though a 90 and 91 are in there) and the losses of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman aren't enough to think that they'll drop dramatically from last year's 100 points.

Montreal Canadiens OVER 87.5 - The Habs have finished with more than 87 points for six straight seasons and while they may not be as good as last spring's Conference Final run, they can be a playoff team again, provided Carey Price handles the job in net.  If Price flops, then maybe this point total is more reasonable.

New York Rangers OVER 87.5 - Losing a shootout in the final game of the season kept the Rangers out of the playoffs and also put them under 87.5 points for the first time since 2003-2004.  There have been some changes (in comes Alexander Frolov, Derek Stepan, Ruslan Fedotenko, out goes, most notably, Wade Redden), but as long as Marian Gaborik stays reasonably healthy, the Blueshirts can be a 90-point team.

Ottawa Senators OVER 87.5 - The Senators have bettered that total in 10 of the last 11 seasons.  I love the addition of Sergei Gonchar and Erik Karlsson should be a productive blueline complement to the veteran.  A healthy Jason Spezza and something better out of Alex Kovalev should at least put the Sens in range of last year's 94 points.

Anaheim Ducks OVER 88.5 - Scott Niedermayer is gone, but the Ducks haven't finished with fewer than 89 points since the lockout and with a good goaltender (Jonas Hiller) and strong forward lines, they can keep that string alive.

Chicago Blackhawks UNDER 106.5 - While I still think the Blackhawks are Cup contenders, despite shedding most of their depth performers, last year was the first time in 16 seasons that the Blackhawks finished with more than 106 points.  Not confident that's happening again as they break in some young talent.

Pittsburgh Penguins UNDER 104.5 - Apparently I'm the doomsday forecaster for the Penguins.  Surely they'll make the playoffs, but unless G Marc-Andre Fleury improves on his 2009-2010 season and someone rises to the challenge of providing scoring support for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, I'm not thrilled by a Penguins team that struggled on the PP without Gonchar last year and starts this year without C Jordan Staal.  Well, that and the Penguins have been held under 104 points in 15 of the last 16 seasons.
 

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.  For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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Western Conference

(1) COL 1, (WC) MIN 0 (1) ANA 2, (WC) DAL 0
(2) STL 1, (3) CHI 0 (2) SJ 1, (3) LA 0


Eastern Conference

(1) BOS 0, (WC) DET 1 (1) PIT 1, (WC) CLB 0
(2) TAM 0, (3) MON 2 (2) NYR 1, (3) PHI 0


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