So much has changed it feels impossible to get an accurate gauge on the players for the upcoming season. How has the missed season affected previous star players, now 2 years older? What about the 21 year olds now 23? Or 19 year olds now 21? How have teams themselves changed? How will that affect the production of players on teams that have undergone big shifts in player personel? Add to that the rule changes, which themselves will increase the value of some players, and decrease the value of others.
Tons of questions, no solid answers. Nonetheless, I'm compelled to enter some drafts for "fun" anyways, so I'll try and make the best guesses I can. Here are a couple names that I think might be worth watching, in any event:
Milan Michalek - My favorite player from the 2003 draft, has been plagued by injuries but reportedly has started well for the Sharks in pre-season. Who knows where to rank this guy, if he's worth a pick at all. I think I'll take a leap of faith though, if I can find him in the later rounds.
Jason Spezza - Is he ready to be a top 10 scorer? Would anyone be surprised?
Ziggy Palffy - Health is such a conern here, but IF he plays 70 games he looks like a good pick to me. A dynamo when healthy, he's now surrounded with great offensive talent, if a ton of PP's are awarded to PIT you have to like his odds of putting up some numbers, potentially on a PP with some of the likes of Lemieux, Crosby, Recchi, Gonchar, Tarnstrom, Leclair
HOMER ALERT - Ales Hemsky - I know, I know, risky homer pick, but by all accounts his game has improved since the last time int he NHL. With a more open game is there any way he doesn't greatly improve upon his previous totals?
Ilya Kovalchuk - if you knew he was playing he's a legitiimate candidate for the Art Ross, but how serious is he about playing in Russia? How much should he be discounted because of that risk?
Anyone else got some sleepers they don't mind disclosing ?