|ESPN.com: 2013||[Print without images]|
|Tyler Seguin was traded to Dallas this offseason, where he'll line up with Jamie Benn.|
The title to this article is pretty self-explanatory. Like every other professional sport, the NHL sees its share of player movement in the offseason, and there are usually some pretty big names included. This past offseason was no exception.
Here's a look at a few noteworthy fantasy performers who landed with Western Conference teams this offseason and how they fit in with their respective new squads. On Monday, we'll hit the Eastern Conference. Rookies are not included here, but they'll get their due in another forthcoming column.
Dustin Penner, LW, Anaheim Ducks
With those TMZ-scented, off-ice distractions behind him, Penner is free and clear to resettle with the franchise that first signed him as a pro back in 2004. If able to settle in well with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the Ducks' top forward line, Penner has the potential to bang in 20-plus goals and 25-plus assists, like in the good ol' days (see: Edmonton Oilers, 2007-08 through 2010-11). If not, another disappointing campaign may be in the cards for the 30-year-old winger. Keep an eye on Penner, and his role within Anaheim's offensive scheme, through the first few weeks of the season.
Another new member of the Ducks worth monitoring is young Jakob Silfverberg, an export from the Ottawa Senators as part of the trade that saw Bobby Ryan head east. If Silfverberg doesn't bump Penner from a role on the top line, a top-six spot alongside Teemu Selanne lies in store. Either way, the young Swede is in excellent position to improve on the 19 points accumulated in his rookie season (48 games).
Karri Ramo, G, Calgary Flames
Barring injury or unexpected meltdown, Ramo will serve as the No. 1 netminder for the Calgary Flames through most of 2013-14. As the last line of defense for a squad that's in the early-ish stages of a rebuild, Ramo has his work cut out for him. But he's looked sharp to date. If you can stomach a so-so goals-against average, the former goaltending beast for Avangard Omsk (KHL) will offer up a solid save percentage, and perhaps a better winning rate than Miikka Kiprusoff (since retired) managed to muster last season.
Beyond Ramo, the Flames' backup battle is on between newcomer Reto Berra and Joey MacDonald. A bout, frankly, in which no fantasy owner wants any invested interest.
Alex Tanguay, LW, Colorado Avalanche
Penner's fellow passenger on the you-can-(in-fact)-go-home-again train, Tanguay is hoping to rekindle the fantasy magic he enjoyed as a member of the Avalanche from 1999 to 2000 to 2005 to 2006. To be fair, he also had his moments with the Flames as well, just not many as of late. Although Tanguay won't again average over a point per game, or exceed the 30-goal plateau, the 33-year-old should hit the 50-point mark as a top-six forward with the Avs. That is, as long as he can withstand the boot camp-like practice sessions run by current coach/former teammate Patrick Roy.
Tyler Seguin, C/RW, Dallas Stars
No intended slight toward the Texas club, but Seguin morphs into a more prominent fish, away from that talent-packed pond back in Massachusetts. As the former Bruin's budding on-ice relationship with new linemate Jamie Benn grows and evolves, so will his offensive numbers. A fixture alongside Benn on the top forward line, No. 1 power-play assembly and penalty-killing unit(!) for the Stars, Seguin has the potential to hit the 80-point mark, while racking up heavy ice-time minutes. And, after a less-than-graceful expulsion from Boston, you can bet your bottom buck the 21-year-old center will be out to make the finest of first impressions in his new hockey home.
As for other fresh faces in Dallas, forward Rich Peverley remains sidelined with an irregular heartbeat, and fellow center Shawn Horcoff appears relegated to a checking role for most of the season. New No. 1 defenseman Sergei Gonchar renders Alex Goligoski slightly less valuable as a fantasy asset, but the two look good together as a top pair at even strength.
David Perron, LW, Edmonton Oilers
In the early stages of his fresh start away from the St. Louis Blues, Perron is enjoying a great degree of success. Gelling well with his new Edmonton Oilers linemates, particularly Jordan Eberle, the 25-year-old winger has scored lots in preseason play (for what it's worth). Career numbers beyond the 60-point ceiling could be in store if all goes swimmingly. Look for Perron to make a particularly large splash in the early stages of the season, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder surgery) and Sam Gagner (busted jaw) aren't expected back until sometime in November.
As for the Oilers' defensive corps, a fresh cast of characters includes Andrew Ference, Philip Larsen, Denis Grebeshkov and Anton Belov. But until Edmonton's blue-line story unfolds further, Justin Schultz remains your one and only fantasy darling of the group.
Nino Niederreiter, RW, Minnesota Wild
The emergence of Niederreiter as a roster favorite counts as one of several pleasant camp surprises for the Wild. Clearly committed to prove the New York Islanders made a big blunder in letting him go, the 21-year-old Swiss winger is already working to import last season's scoring success from the AHL (50 points in 74 games) to the big league.
Although pegged to launch 2013-14 as a checking forward on the third line with Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak -- if Jason Zucker (or a healthy Mikael Granlund) and Charlie Coyle earn spots on the Wild's second line, as anticipated -- Niederreiter has the potential to move up the depth chart if or when injury strikes.
Mike Ribeiro, C, Phoenix CoyotesAfter (perceivably) deliberating about whether to renew with the Washington Capitals, Ribeiro threw somewhat of a curveball in settling for the desert instead. The opportunity to rejoin former coach Dave Tippett (Dallas Stars) played a part, as did the $22 million payment package over the next four years. Regardless, centering a Phoenix Coyotes top line between Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker, Ribeiro should continue to chug away at putting up excellent numbers, particularly in the assist department. And the elite playmaker is one of the top power-play producers in the biz.
But while the acquisition of the 33-year-old is a big get for the Coyotes altogether, fellow centermen Martin Hanzal and Antoine Vermette drop in status. Particularly Vermette, if Hanzal remains healthy.
Derek Roy, C, St. Louis Blues
Of all the figures to join the Blues this offseason, Roy stands out as the most intriguing from a fantasy perspective. Fixed to skate on a line with Chris Stewart and Jaden Schwartz -- who has been simply tremendous in September -- Roy holds sneaky value as a later-round draft selection. Look for the 30-year-old center to log some serious power-play minutes as well.
Other St. Louis additions -- forwards Magnus Paajarvi and Brenden Morrow, for instance -- are considered lesser assets to start the campaign.
Devin Setoguchi, RW, Winnipeg Jets
Jettisoned from the Wild in July, Setoguchi is already developing some palpably potent chemistry with explosive forward Evander Kane. All that remains for the Jets to figure out is whether veteran Olli Jokinen or youngster Mark Scheifele slides in at center between the two speedy wingers. If you believe, as many do, that Kane has the potential to score upwards of 35 goals, feel free to bank on an uptick in production from Setoguchi as well. It wasn't that long ago (2008-09) that the former eighth overall draft pick (2005) amassed 65 points for the San Jose Sharks.