Foozeball was in full force today and I have to give it up to Peyton Manning. Indy is absolutely lost without him and it makes me wonder why he didn’t win MVP every year since 2000. Sure he craps the bed in the playoffs but week in and week out he’s the best football player on the planet. But we’re not here for football, hockey preseason is fast approaching and that means the season is not far off. I can’t wait! Now lets take a look at some guys who could surprise and produce solid #2 RW stats:
19) Johan Franzen – RW (Det): When I first put this list together I had Franzen alot higher than this. I think it’s because he is just so darn streaky and can dominate for long stretches. But he’s just too inconsistent and injury proned for me to feel comfortable drafting. If everything breaks right, he could be a decent #2 RW – But don’t count on it.
20) Martin Havlat – RW (SJ): Marty the martian may have stumbled into the best situation of his career. If everything goes according to plan he’ll be on the top line in San Jose with jumbo Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. That’s the equivalent of someone who’s homeless saving Warren Buffet’s life. Granted Thornton is on the downside of his career, but he’s still awesome. If Havlat stays healthy (which is always an iffy proposition), I could see a repeat of 3 years ago when he was in Chicago – (29G, 48A, 250 Shots).
21) Jeff Skinner – C/RW (Car): I was late to the Skinner party last year, but he eventually won me over (of course that was after I didn’t add him to any of my teams). He may only qualify at Center, but I have no idea why they don’t put him on Staal’s wing and if the ‘Canes do I can see an improvement over his 2010-2011 season.
22) Justin Williams – RW (LA): I gotta admit I’ve never liked J-Dub enough to draft him. Over the last 4 seasons he’s played more than 49 games only once (last year). But he did score 22 Goals on 213 Shots last season and he’s topped 30 Goals twice in his career. Plus + there’s a good chance he ends up on a line with either Mike Richards or Anze Kopitar – which makes him a risk worth taking.
23) Steve Downie – RW (Tam): I had a borderline obsession with Downie last year. I’m a sucker for the (extremely) rare Power Play producer who also gets into fights and racks up the PIM’s. Thems is a rare breed indeed. But going into this season Downie’s role on the offense is a big question mark and I worry he’s going to fall into a 3rd line spot and stick there…
24) Nathan Horton – RW (Bos): Boston was the perfect landing spot for Horton last year. I drafted him in a few leagues thinking that now since he’s gone from the Florida cesspool he’ll blossom into something special. Well he hasn’t yet, but I smell break-out. Consider last year’s stats (53Points in 80 games, 188 Shots and 85PIM’s. ) as his floor and don’t be afraid to reach for this guy late in drafts.
25) Ales Hemsky – RW (Edm): I’ve got mad love for Alex with an S, but at some point he’s gonna have to stay healthy. He’s also gonna have to put up points consistently. He has (arguably) the best linemates of his career (Shawn Horcoff, Taylor Hall) so if he can keep lacing up the skates every day I like his chances for a big year – but I have to see it before I’ll believe it.
26) Jason Pominville – RW (Buf): If you’re looking for a center-piece for your bench, Pominville is the perfect guy. Prior to last season Pominville hadn’t missed a game in 4 years (durability) plus he’s perpetually underrated and forgotten in drafts (value). He’s had 20 or more Goals for 5 straight seasons now and I see no reason for that streak to end any time soon.
27) Drew Stafford – RW (Buf): Another forgotten man in Buffalo is Drew Stafford. A former 1st round pick who hasn’t lived up to his potential but he broke out last year and (IF) he keeps his spot on the Power Play I could see a repeat of 2010-2011 (31G, 21A, +13, 19PPP’s).
28) Shane Doan – RW (Phx): Doan looked done about half-way through last season, but I’ll give him credit for turning it around and putting together a solid 2nd half. I almost wish he hadn’t though, cuz now my sense of what constitutes a player being done is all out of wack. The Power Play minutes will still be there though, so you could strike gold (again).
29) Mikael Samuelsson – RW (Van): The only reason this joker is ranked here is because of his association with the Sedin twins and the badass that is Ryan Kesler. Mikael (Michael? Mike? Mikey?) could very easily end up on the top line with the twins or worst case he gets paired with Kesler.. And he gets Power Play minutes… And I still don’t like him.
30) Jordan Eberle – RW (Edm): This is a pure upside play. Eberle is a former 1st round pick who is only 21 years old. He put up 43 Points in 69 games last year AND he saw some time on the Power Play. Penalty Minutes will be non existent but if things go the way the Edmonton brass’ thinks it will, Eberle will be a stud sooner than later.
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Callahan – RW (NYR); Danny Cleary – RW (Det); Nikolai Kulemin – RW (Tor); Mike Knuble – RW (Wsh); Blake Wheeler – RW (Wpg); Milan Hejduk – RW (Col); Devin Setoguchi – RW (Min); Brian Gionta – RW (Mon)