Today column is a interview with Dwayne Brown as we get ready for a new hockey season. Dwayne is a fantasy hockey guru. To start off my season preview project, let's talk fantasy hockey.
Who would be your first overall pick?
This would be a "No Brainer" if the health of Sidney Crosby had any sort of certainty behind it. Without him, the options become blurred.
I agree, if Sidney can stay healthy, I have no doubt that he is the best hockey player out there. He has the best skill out there.
Hey Dwayne, who are some of the players to pick in our hockey pools this season? Give us some ideas on who you would pick.
If your league counts penalty minutes, I would draft...
The reigning Hart and Rocket Richard trophy winner showed us another level last year, scoring 50 goals and dishing 48 helpers. Corey was second only to Ilya Kovalchuk in forward ice time at just over 22 minutes per game, and I don't see that number going down anytime soon.
My projection: 92 points. 120 PIM.
Cory was the best forward in the NHL last season. He is the picture of today’s power forward. He has terrific speed and a great shot. Can’t go wrong with him.
If your league doesn't allow for injury replacements, I would draft...
You know what you're getting and he hasn't missed a game in six years. A magician with his brother on the ice, sometimes showing a sixth sense to each others location. A nightmare for opposing defensemen, Henrik can make almost anyone look silly.
My projection: 101 points.
He is Mister Consistent. Great point. Henrik has been healthy and is one of the most talented players in the league.
If your league counts almost everything I would draft...
If Crosby isn't on the ice, then Ovechkin is undoubtedly the most talented player in the game. Most of Washington had an 'off' year, and a huge rebound is in order. Over his career, Ovechkin is a combined plus 88. He's also not afraid to throw his weight around and was tenth in the league in hits last season with 241.
My projection: 108 points.
Ovechkin is my son’s favourite player because of his no-fear style of play. Never mind his 50 goal season. He is a powerful forward who is capable of scoring 50 goals.
Marty St. Louis, Daniel Sedin, Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin.
Marty St Louis. I often wonder where Stamkos will be. As for Daniel, he has more skill than most players can even think about. Malkin would be the best player on any team other than the Pens.
Everyone knows that pools are won in the late rounds of the draft. Mixing in the ageing vet or the player who has never had a chance to showcase his full ability throughout 82 games, whether its because of injury or being stuck in the bottom six, will give you the edge you need to dominate. In the late rounds of the draft, you should always be drafting players with the largest "upside". Here are a few strong candidates.
David Bolland, Chicago Blackhawks.
Okay, red flags may go up everywhere on this one, but watching him play leaves me wanting so much more. A playoff beast, (34 points in 43 games), suggests another level that could translate into fantasy gold if his health holds throughout the season.
My projection: 63 points.
David is an under-rated player on the Hawks. With all the changes, he should get a new role and will flourish with it.
James Van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers
With the departure of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, JVR will now be heavily relied upon to carry his share of the offense in Philly. The second overall pick from 2007 hasn't really had a chance to break out due to the depth the Flyers have put on the ice. Last post-season he posted 70 shots on goal, trailing only Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin. (Philadelphia played only 11 games compared to Vancouver's 25) His confidence is growing quickly, and should fly off draft boards this year.
My projection: 68 points.
Fresh off a fat new contract, JVR will have the motivation to put up the numbers. Plus, he will get a new role with Carter and Richards being traded. I love JVR.
Peter Mueller, Colorado Avalanche
Remember him? Peter missed all of last season dealing with lingering concussion symptoms. This year he has been working hard and should be ready by training camp. He's played 15 games in Colorado and recorded 20 points. While I don't believe this pace will return for any extended period of time, he may be relied on for constant offense. A great risk reward player.
My projection: 55 points.
Mueller never had a chance before. He will be given every opportunity to succeed in Colorado. He may very well get his chance on one of the two top lines with powerplay opportunities. He is a great pick in any draft.
Anthony Stewart, Carolina Hurricanes
With the departure of Eric Cole to Montreal, it has been rumored that Anthony will join Eric Stall and Jeff Skinner on Carolina's top line. A first round draft pick in 2003, he went fairly unnoticed until putting up 39 points with Atlanta last season. If he lands the top line role, an even larger breakout is on the horizon for the upcoming season.
My projection: 54 points.
Cole has the speed to keep up. I really like this kid and he will explode with Stall and Skinner.
P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens
After a tough start last season, PK showed that his shot and skill are even better than his ability to chirp opposing players. An MVP-like defenseman in leagues that award penalty minutes, P.K. racked up a solid total of 124. He totalled 39 points last season, but 26 of those came on the second half, putting him on a 52 point pace. If you are going to reach for one defenseman, P.K. should be it.
My projection: 55 points.
Subban will be a powerplay quarterback. He has a cannon of a shot. He will get first line powerplay on the Habs . A great pick again Dwayne.
Worth mentioning: Ales Hemsky, (61); Jakub Voracek, (54); Mike Green, (65); Mikael Backlund, (57); Drew Doughty, (64).
If Hemsky can stay healthy, he is the Oiler's best player. Mike Green has a horrible year last year will be motivated to rebound. Backlund will be given more responsibility in the Flames line up will have to succeed in order for the Flames to make the playoffs. Drew Doughty is trying to get a new contract and is one of the best young defencemen in the league.
Dwayne will be a regular with my column as we try to keep up with the fantasy hockey this season. Thanks again, Dwayne, it has been a pleasure.