Yeah, it’s better late than never, but here goes;
L: Prospal, Stillman, Fedotenko, Modin, Vanek-P1
Prospal had his best year ever in TBay, but a ppg is a bit much to expect. Stillman equally had his best season in TBay, but he is now in Carolina, and a drop to more modest totals should be expected. Fedotenko is filler. Modin has the gun to score 40, and the wheels that will only let him net 25. Vanek is a future all-star, but he may end up travelling the path of another highly touted sniper with questionable work ethic, Pavel Brendl. All in all I count 3 solid #2s and a solid prospect.
C: Sakic, Lecavalier, Turgeon, Staal-P2, Hudler-P2, Malkin-P1
Sakic is God till Nietzsche returns to denounce his existence. Lecavalier has emerged as a solid #1 in his own right and future FP. Turgeon hasn’t scored 15+ goals in 5 years, but he could this season (to put himself over the 500g mark for his career). Staal is having a great first qtr, but I worry about him keeping the pace up for a whole season. Hudler is on the farm for another season which should be worrisome – he should have been ready by now. Malkin is the future, but a zero at present value.
R: Hossa, Demitra, Avery, Doan
Hossa is a monster, but his team is in a huge funk right now. No worries, he’ll be back. Demitra is a solid #1, but he comes with huge injury risk. Avery is a pure goon, but if he can keep from being suspended he’ll be acceptable. Doan should have been a regular bet for 30 goals and 30 assists by now, but he is officially off the Tocchet path and now on the Brad May track.
D: Kaberle, Zhitnik, Boucher, Mara, Modry, Exelby, Erhoff, Khavanov, Kraijcek-P2
Kaberle is a solid #1, but the rest would struggle to dress for most of the FUNHL. Zhitnik has potential as the Isles only weapon who can log big minutes. Boucher is lost in Dallas, and needs a change of scenery. Mara could be a thumper, could be a weapon, but isn’t either really. Modry, Exelby, Erhoff and Khavanov are all filler – no better way to put it. The GM should burn an Ox in thanks should any of these last four d-men have a multiple point week. Kraijcek has the tools to be a future #1 but is coming along slowly and isn’t ready yet.
G: Vokoun, Cloutier, Garon-P1, Miller-P1
Vokoun should maintain positive numbers most nights, but shouldn’t frighten anyone. Cloutier is a solid backup who may dress if Vokoun tanks it. Garon is now a long term bust as a 1st rnd pick by the Canadiens way, way back. Miller time is coming, but first Buffalo has to figure out which goalie ahead of him to move (Biron or Norronen).