Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades - Montreal Canadiens
For the last 12 years over at The Hockey News, I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. Now that I am no longer with THN, my 13th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes - In the case of Parenteau and Gonchar, it's another 'addition by subtraction' scenario. Gonchar has nothing left in the tank at this level and Parenteau has been showing for two years now why he was an AHLer for so long.
One tangible addition this offseason is Kassian, who is an upgrade to Prust in size, youth and upside. In fact, Kassian becomes the biggest player on the team. On the downside, he gets hurt more than Prust, lacks the experience, and can be very frustrating in both real and fantasy hockey. Adding young power forwards with potential is starting to become a trend (Devante Smith-Pelly is 220 pounds) - and Habs fans are probably pretty happy with that shift in philosophy.
And the controversial one - the boom-or-bust addition - is of course Semin. At the price tag ($1.1 million), can you really go wrong though? Semin will likely have on again/off again hot streaks and end up somewhere in the high 40s or low 50s. But we all know he has that 65-point ability if he's in the mood, stays healthy, clicks with linemates, and maintains the coach's confidence. That's a lot of "ifs" but one hopeful sign is the fact that he was a very good hockey player in his first year or so with Carolina. So maybe that "new team adrenalin" will kick in here. Myself - I wouldn't bother taking a chance on him unless he's practically free. Not worth the headache in fantasy hockey.
Ready for full-time - Jacob de la Rose doesn't have a future as a scorer, but as he showed in last year's postseason, he plays with the tenacity built for a checking line. He's also one of the bigger prospects at 6-3, 207 - a testament to my point above.
Jared Tinordi is a 6-6, 225-pound defenseman with little offensive upside, but at 23 he's in line to make the big club (finally).
Michal Bournival was a high scorer at the junior level, but so far as a pro he has shown that his forte is actually his defensive acumen. He's already played 89 NHL games, but has yet to really stick. Whether he sticks or not, he won't be offering any fantasy value in the near future, if ever.
Sven Andrighetto has translated his offensive game nicely from the QMJHL to the AHL. And when he was called up to the Habs last season he really impressed early on. While he does have a future on a scoring line (eventually), at 5-9 and 183 he goes against what Montreal seems to be doing right now in terms of getting bigger.
It's hard to call Bud Holloway a "prospect" when he's 27, but he was a pretty good one in the LA Kings organization before leaving to play in Sweden. It turns out, he had been merely winding down the hold that Los Angeles had on him in terms of rights, waiting until he turned 27 so he can be an unrestricted free agent and sign anywhere he wanted. He has just as much potential of making an impact as Jiri Sekac did last season, though his two-way contract could make that more difficult - and the Semin signing makes it even more so.
Fantasy Outlook - Carey Price is the best goalie to own in fantasy hockey and PK Subban is one of the three best defensemen to own in fantasy hockey. But after that, Montreal is a team with average fantasy players who can be found on most teams. The prospect pipeline is a little above average but nobody elite in terms of future fantasy value, though Nikita Scherbak looks like a good one.
Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was B)