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- With a $5 M cap hit, Sergei Gonchar is one of the most expensive d-men in franchise history. The only ones higher are P.K. Subban ($9 M), Andrei Markov ($5.75 M), Mathieu Schneider ($5.75 M), and Roman Hamrlik ($5.5 M).
No matter how deep the fantasy pool, there are some players who simply cannot be counted on to have a significant impact. Most of these can still find their way onto a roster though at some point in time if they get on a hot streak or they fill a void in a particular stat category. The remainder of the Habs' roster not already covered in our fantasy series falls into this group, let's quickly assess their situations.
Travis Moen: It seems like every season, he gets hot for about a two week stretch. It's then and usually only then that he is fantasy relevant. However, if Jacques Martin starts slotting him into the top-6 if injuries/slumps arise, he could be a semi-useful plug and play guy if you get him on the right night.
Ryan White: As we saw last year, his offensive game needs a lot of work. Fortunately, his job won't be to provide offence but rather physical play and general toughness. In deep head-to-head leagues, he could be an adequate PIM guy but that's all the fantasy potential he has.
Hal Gill: His offensive highlight of last season was the fact he had more assists than any goalie in the league did. His only upside is in head-to-head leagues that have blocked shots as a scoring category...or if your league has a minimum team size quota.
Josh Gorges: I think he has a little bit of offensive upside relative to his past couple of seasons but that isn't saying a whole lot. His ceiling may come around the 20-point plateau if he's paired with Andrei Markov. Like Gill, his best value is in a head-to-head format with blocked shots as a category though he could be a late week plug and play guy as a plus/minus specialist.
Alexei Yemelin: Of anyone in this group, he is the biggest wildcard. His shot is good enough that he could see some powerplay time, while he is expected to be among the team leaders in PIMS and hits, a pair of important head-to-head categories. Or, he could falter and not be in the league all that long. Avoid him on draft day until there's less uncertainty but he could be worth an early season pickup.
Peter Budaj: Let's see, what type of value could a backup to the goalie who played the second most games last season have? Basically this - if you pick Price as your starter in a deep league (all scoring formats) that sees teams carry three or four goalies, Budaj is almost a must draft in a late round as a handcuff selection in case of injury. If Price is healthy, his only value is as a plug and play guy depending on the matchup that night.
Over the course of the year, we're bound to see a few guys come up from the Bulldogs. Here's a brief look at some of the more notable options.
Raphael Diaz: When he'll be in the lineup, he'll surely be seeing some powerplay time. He's worth monitoring in deep leagues.
Andreas Engqvist: If he can bring his AHL faceoff success to the NHL, he's passable as a faceoff specialist. He'd likely also see time on the penalty kill though you'd have to be desperate to rely on him to pick up an SHP.
Aaron Palushaj: If he plays a top-6 role, he's worth rolling the dice on. If he gets bottom-6 time like he did in his stints last year, let someone else take him.
Brock Trotter: Like Palushaj, his only hope of fantasy relevance is on a scoring line; the other intangibles aren't there for him.
Brian Willsie: He's similar to Mathieu Darche in that he tends to produce regardless of his role. I expect he'll be a frequent callup this season as a result although there still should be better options on the waiver wire.
This closes out our Fantasy Focus feature for the 2011 offseason. Before you go into your drafts over the coming days and weeks, be sure to consult our archive (linked below) for the statistical projections and fantasy profiles to help shape your draft strategy. Also, be sure to check HabsWorld later this week for the start of our annual prospect rankings series.
- HabsWorld 2011 Fantasy Focus posted by B. La Rose