Some different thoughts for the day, including some fantasy changes for Leafs players, another fantasy show appearance, and addressing the talk about Kadri staying in Toronto this season.
I updated the charts for the previous post regarding schedules and goaltenders in a recent post on McKeenâ€™s including a detailed breakdown on a team-by-team basis for those doing drafts this week and next.
Some changes that Iâ€™ve seen for Maple Leafs players fantasy value:
Francois Beachemin: Iâ€™ve always admired the big shot from the point, and with the looks at the Leafs training camp and exhibition, itâ€™s likely that he will see a lot more power play duty than originally expected. In a 14 team industry expert league draft last night, he was my final pick. He wonâ€™t break the bank, but is great for value, especially with the possibility of increased power play minutes.
Vesa Toskala: Itâ€™s clear that Wilson is going to Toskala hard at the moment, in particular with the injury and rehab process for the Monster, and Iâ€™ve always considered him to be an elite goalie when healthy. He may not have the best numbers, but if goalies are thin, and there are more talented players available, it might be worth it to take the gamble as a second goalie later in the draft, and use your higher picks for stable, offensive talent. I did this last night. I had the first pick overall in a goals-heavy league where defensemen and goaltenders are gold. I picked Ovechkin first overall, waited for the 26 picks to come back to me, saw the goalies picking slim and took a chance .. I ended up drafting Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom with the next two picks, getting the entire Washington line. Toskala and Osgood became the goaltenders, and with the scheduling analysis from my previous post, Iâ€™m perfectly fine with the combination.
Niklas Hagman: Itâ€™s not just the sick goal he scored against Philadelphia, itâ€™s the fact that heâ€™s stronger and more composed on the ice. He flirts with career highs.
Fantasy Preview Show
Iâ€™ve received a few invites to do radio shows over the next couple of weeks, with an appearance tonight at 8:40 CST on the Illegal Curve Radio Show as they do their fantasy preview. If youâ€™re looking for fantasy advice, I can always be contacted at [email protected]
Greg Brady on todayâ€™s Leafs Lunch began by saying that with last nightâ€™s performance, Nazem Kadri made the Leafs. I chuckled, but gave him the benefit of the doubt listening to his opinion. Frankly, Kadri making the squad from junior wasnâ€™t all that crazy a suggestion after speaking to people over the summer. Size would be the biggest issue, since the skillset is already there, and developing. Brady wasnâ€™t out of line by suggesting he stays, but itâ€™s not as simple as seeing what heâ€™s done now, in an exhibition. The league changes as soon as the season starts, and gets tighter and tighter as the season progresses.
He will get a valuable season with London, looking for an OHL title, playing the big minutes, big roles without the likes of John Tavares, and could possibly get to the Memorial Cup for the second time in three years. Add to that the world stage at the World Junior Championships as well as the chance to bulk up.
I donâ€™t for one second believe he stays with the Leafs, and Ron Wilson said, he wonâ€™t get a look at the NHL level before sent to junior, and for him to stay with the Leafs, he has to wrest a spot from Mikhail Grabovski or Matt Stajan.
I told a friend this opinion after listening to Leafs Lunch, and he smacked me with something I had told him back in the day regarding his boy, Jason Spezza. Heâ€™s an Ottawa fan, and his response was this:
To play devil’s advocate….
You’ve argued in the past that the best place for Spezza was developing at the NHL level rather than the AHL level. My evaluation tells me that Kadri is essentially right where Spezza was after his first training camp. At the time, I thought Spezza should go to the A.
How is this any different? Wouldn’t Kadri benefit from NHL practice and coaching?
My response was:
Ah, touche … very interesting … my only counter I think could be the difference in size, Kadri has to bulk up. Another thing is that Spezza was a necessity on an offensively fragile team at the height of the trap. His offensive talents were needed in Ottawa more than Kadriâ€™s are needed at this present moment in Toronto; Kadri would be a nice to have, but not a necessity. The game is different now, more opened up, with a focus on speed and skill, but when Spezza broke into the NHL, he was playing on a defensive club, with some talent around him, playing for Jacques Martin, a defensive-minded coach. It would have been easier for Spezza to step in and contribute than Kadri would at this point in time.
This isnâ€™t a matter of rushing, rather a route of proper development.