Saturday, October 11, 2008

Redden The Face

So the Rangers are off to a 3-0 start for the first time in 19 years, and on paper you may be hard pressed to figure out why. Are they just riding the play of Lundquvist? Well to an extent, the Rangers' success all season will depend on Henrik continuing the career year he had last season. But a big part of the Rangers' success this season will also depend on Wade Redden, who has 2 goals and 1 assist through 3 games. I saw some Senators' fans at the end of last season saying that losing Redden wouldn't be a big deal because he's getting older, slower, and his stats are on the decline. Well the fact of the matter is, 35+ point quarterback defensemen don't grow on trees, and while Filip Kuba might end up being a suitable replacement, he is no Wade Redden. Redden is one of the best puck moving defensemen of his generation, and the change of scenery is just what his career needed. The entire Rangers defense will improve for having him there, much like the Senators' defense did when Redden was playing his best. He may be slower, he may be older, but his stats won't be on the decline this season. He's everything you want in a fantasy defenseman: he's a playmaker, he has a good shot, he can score goals and rack up assists, he's on the top powerplay unit, and he shoots a good amount. And at 31, he might be ready to top his career year, which he accomplished in only 65 games... and was just 2 years ago.

Brandon Dubinsky - Another reason the Rangers could succeed this season is Nikolai Zherdev. When the Blue Jackets were making moves in the offseason, I thought Zherdev would be the main building block of their offense to put pieces around after Nash. But he had continuous problems with the organization and instead they traded him for 2 mediocre defensemen. If Dubinsky breaks out this year (2 G, 2 A through 3 games so far), it's because he's playing on a line with Zherdev. And he currently should be available in most leagues.

Jonathan Toews - The Blackhawks are playing around with their top 2 lines early in the season, and it looks like Toews will be seeing time on the 2nd line as a result. I doubt it will last long.

Aaron Voros - Showed glimpes of putting up Carcillo-lite numbers last season, and through 3 games has 1 G, 2 A, +3 and 5 PIM. He's playing on the afformentioned Dubinsky/Zherdev line, so his offensive upside should be much higher than last season.

Rod Brind'Amour - Doesn't look like he'll miss any time after knee surgery, had a goal in his first game. Brindy is a workhorse and only gets better with age. Will probably play for 10 more years and break his nose 16 more times.

Bryan McCabe - Almost broke his back thanks to Dennis Seidenberg. Will be out for at least 2 weeks. Hey, no sweat, Jay Bouwmeester will just play 40 minutes a night instead of 30 to pick up the slack.

Bryan Little - Wow, the Braves scored a lot of runs on the Nationals last night... wait a second, neither of those teams came close to making the playoffs. Huh, that's weird, did the Falcons and the Redskins have a really low scoring game on a Friday night? Hmmm, no... oh I get it, I must be looking at a Hawks/Wizards preseason game that just started! What?! THE THRASHERS SCORED SEVEN GOALS?!?

Jose Theodore - You know how you keep thinking this will be the year he's good again? It might be time to give that up.

Andy McDonald - Had a red hot preseason and 2 powerplay assists last night. Should not be available in any leagues. McDonald is one of the most under rated playmakers in the NHL when he has wingers to work with. Stempniak has always showed good potential (and is worth keeping an eye on too) and Boyes is one of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL. If you can pick McDonald up, do it ASAP.

Derick Brassard - Was supposedly going to start the season on the top line centering Nash and Huselius. That didn't end up happening in the first game (to the relief of everyone who drafted RJ Umberger) but he still scored a goal in limited ice time. No matter if he's playing on the top line or next to fellow super rookie Jakub Voracek (who also shouldn't be available in any leagues), he should have a good season.

Trevor Daley - Had a goal and 20+ minutes of ice time in his first game. With Zubov out for a few weeks Daley will have more responsibility on the Stars blueline and could get off to a hot start. Also good for some PIM.

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