UFA's – Hidden Gems II
Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey – He has cleared the 50-point mark three times, and you pretty much have him pegged as a 50- to 55-point player. A year ago, you had Brian Rolston pegged as a 60-point player. On the right team, with the right opportunity – Langenbrunner can shoot up 20 points, too.
Petr Sykora, NY Rangers – There are a lot of guys on the Rangers who are unrestricted. Straka and Rucinsky will likely be re-signed. Sykora is a 75-point player in the guise of a 50-point player. Watch where he lands. If the conditions are favorable, grab him.
Brian Pothier, Ottawa – All the paper will go to Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara, but watch Pothier. The Sens will have a tough time signing the two big D-men, not to mention their restricted free agents like Peter Schaeffer, Martin Havlat, Ray Emery, Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, etc. Pothier will never match the plus/minus he had this year, but on a new team as a No. 2 guy, he could beat his 35 points.
Oleg Kvasha, Phoenix – He has always been a dark horse. Will he ever pull through? I think there’s a fit for him in Phoenix – he had 10 points in 12 games for them prior to getting injured. Before the lockout he had over 50 points. He’s capable of 65.
Eric Boguniecki, Pittsburgh – Just kidding. He’ll get an invite to camp somewhere, but likely won’t be signed. I put this name down to see if you’re paying attention.
Alyn McCauley, San Jose – An offensive specialist his entire junior career, and a defensive specialist in the NHL. If McCauley can stay healthy for even 75 games on the right team, a 50-point year is not out of the question.
Pavel Kubina, Tampa Bay – He will be expensive, and Tampa already has money tied up in their big three. His numbers have improved practically every year. A 50+ point season is in the cards, just put him on the right team.
Jason Allison, Toronto – Eric Lindros is too injury-prone. Bryan McCabe just had his career year, he won’t be any better. Allison, however, made a nice return after a near three-year layoff. Even his plus/minus was okay, if you take away a dismal October (we’ll give him a mulligan because it was his first month back in a long while). He could get back to 90 points in the right situation.
That’s it. Part I and II. Everyone other UFA is either a superstar that will make headlines, or a player who I feel will do worse on a new team.
Just a quick note on Anson Carter, since I have had some emails asking about him – he will perform well on one team: Vancouver. If he moves to another team, his numbers will drop. That includes Toronto (I’ve had a lot of Leaf fans claim that he can somehow be the savior). Carter needs chemistry with his linemates to put up good numbers in the NHL. He had it with Weight and Guerin in Edmonton. He had it with the Sedin twins in Vancouver. I sincerely doubt he can find that chemistry anywhere else. If he signs somewhere else – Toronto, or otherwise – I would not even draft him with the last draft pick of a hockey pool.
More fantasy hockey tips from Dobber at www.dobberhockey.com