L: Smyth, Hecht, Blake, Kvasha
Smyth is solid but never spectacular – he maxes out his talent the closer he gets to 70 pts, and he seems to suffer a 20 game injury every year – he’d be better as a #2. Hecht might emerge as a decent #2, but I still see him as a #4 with upside. Blake and Kvasha are physically opposite but points wise likely indistinguishable. Both are #3 wingers at best, and easy WD cuts.
C: Thornton, Crosby-P2, Weight, Nylander, Sedin.H
Thornton has the potential to win a scoring title or two, and with a role as TG, he could win it in the FUNHL sooner than in the NHL. Thornton is simply dominant when healthy. Crosby is taking the reigns in Pit as a rookie, and will be close to a ppg if he can avoid injury. He’s an ascendant superstar. Weight has been less than advertised so far, but in the 3 spot he just needs to be average and stay healthy to contribute – and his presence deeper on the depth chart gives the kilted goat-handlers reason for celebration.
R: St Louis, O’Neil, Zherdev-P3, Yzerman, Kastistsyn-P2
St Louis is all-world speedster with soft hands. He’s an offensive grenade primed to go off in the NHLs new free flowing game and should be an above average #1 winger. O’Neil will have a great pivot to set him up no matter who he lines with. Revitalized in Toronto, his totals should climb back towards 30+ goals and solid second line duty. Zherdev is emerging still, and has some bad habits to break, but will contribute to a decent set of wingers. Yzerman is a $5 cab ride from accepting the GM post in Detroit. Kastistsyn has big skill, but needs at least another year in the minors to hone his game.
D: Jovanovski, McCabe, Tverdovsky, Klesla, Pitkanen-P3, Sutton, Zyuzin, Campoli, Kronwall-P2
Jovo-cop may not scare people as an FP, but he is a solid #1. McCabe is currently hotter than Christine Aguilera in her ‘Dirty’ video, and could well end up outscoring the more prolific Jovo-cop. Tverdovsky is a reclamation project and a solid #3 unless he gets another concussion. Klesla is slowly turning into Pavel Kubina. Not bad, just not good. Pitkanen is developing his game along the Kim Johnsson line, but he may be a year or more away from taking over the Philly powerplay. Sutton, Zyuzin and Campoli are all WD cuts. Kronwall would likely have made the roster this year based on his AHL performance, but injuries have sidelined him indefinitely. All in all they possess a wicked top 3 and decent depth afterwards.
G: Nabokov, Graham, Dipietro-P2, Niitymaki-P1
Nabokov is a mid-grade #1, while Graham has the potential to take over if it all goes amiss. Dipietro should have been a regular starter by now, but he has lots of time to develop. Niitymaki may well leapfrog Dipietro for the future #1 spot, but neither is ready to go now.