Ottawa Senators 2011-12 Fantasy Preview

No, not this kind of fantasy

Greetings Sens fans, Cam from Fantasy Hockey Scouts (SB Nation's fantasy hockey blog) here.  Peter was foolish enough to grant me access and allow me to post a quick Sens fantasy preview for your reading pleasure.

Below is just a sampling of the stuff we do over at FHS, so if you're a fantasy freak then stop by sometime.  We've got some (hopefully) helpful fantasy goodies for sale and we're blogging about the make-believe hockey stuff all year round.

I hope you enjoy but if not then blame Peter drop any critical remarks or questions in the comments section and I'll do my best to address them in a non-petulant way... but I make no promises. 

Good luck to all of you in your leagues this year.

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Team Overview (from the FHS Fantasy Scouting Report)

We think it's safe to say that the Senators hit rock bottom last year and things can only go up from here. They were in the bottom third of the league in goals (29th), gaa (25th), sh% (28th) and had a league-low two players with 40+ points. GM Bryan Murray has done a nice job bringing in plenty of young talent over the past 18 months and they sound committed to letting the kids play so there should be a lot of breakout candidates playing major roles this year. There's a nice mix of potential & opportunity with the Sens this year, should be a fruitful combination for fantasy GMs.

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2011/12 Player Projections (from the FHS SuperStats Projected Stats Spreadsheet)

Player

GP

G

A

Pts

Jason Spezza

76

29

40

69

Erik Karlsson

75

15

34

49

Daniel Alfredsson

72

20

29

49

Bobby Butler

77

23

24

47

Nikita Filatov

73

25

21

46

Milan Michalek

72

23

20

43

Stephane Da Costa

70

14

27

41

Colin Greening

73

19

20

39

David Rundblad

76

11

23

34

Peter Regin

75

12

22

34

Nick Foligno

80

15

18

33

Erik Condra

76

19

14

33

Sergei Gonchar

70

10

22

32

Filip Kuba

71

3

23

26

Chris Neil

80

8

10

18

Goalie

GP

W

GAA

Sv%

Craig Anderson

64

26

2.59

.917

Alex Auld

21

8

2.90

.907

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Breakout Candidates (from the FHS Breakout Bible)

David Rundblad 

His production in the SEL last year (14+46=60 in 73 (regular & playoff) games) was nothing short of phenomenal, it would have been a great season for any prospect, let alone a 19-year-old blueliner.  Swedish prospects with his experience in the SEL don't typically spend much time in the AHL, so we're pretty comfortable he's NHL-ready and will be in Ottawa for most/all of the season. His situation could be better as he'll have to defer to Gonchar & Karlsson for PP minutes but assuming Gonchar misses a chunk of time injured (or maybe is traded) then Rundblad would get a boost. Given Ottawa's youth movement, we think there will be enough minutes for Rundblad to produce right away.

If you think we're overly optimistic then recall there have been some very surprising seasons from rookie dmen over the past few years, headlined by Tyler Myers' 48-point rookie season in 2009/10 and rookie breakouts from Kevin Shattenkirk (43), Cam Fowler (40), P.K. Subban (38) & John Carlson (37) last year.

We find that players coming out of Europe are much less hyped than players from the Canadian Jr. leagues so Rundblad enters the NHL with a lot less fanfare & pressure than if he was already playing in North America.  Take advantage of that as he'll be overlooked by amateur fantasy GMs in keeper leagues this year.

Bobby Butler

After no points in his first nine NHL games last season he rang off 10+11=21 over his final 27. His 1.15 ESG/60 was good for 31st in the league for players with at least 20 games last year.  People might point to his 13.7% sh% last year and think that it's unsustainable but his numbers from the NCAA & AHL would seem to support it and he just looks like a sniper that has high-end finishing ability.  He could also get a little more help from his teammates as his ES on-ice sh% was moderate at 7.8% last year. He averaged 2:12/gm of PP time but only managed 1+4=5 on the PP, so we think there is room for growth there. His ice-time really picked up at the end of the season last year finding some nice chemistry playing on the top line with Spezza and with no major offseason additions, hopefully that combo stays together. There are a few areas of concern here and we may be overrating him and the impact of playing with Spezza but we really like the look of this kid and think he could surprise with a breakout season.

Nikita Filatov

A lot of us finally got our wish as Filatov was traded from Columbus to Ottawa over the summer and the Sens sound as though they understand this could either be really good or really bad. Filatov has a ton of potential but needs to get his head screwed on straight before he can start to realize said potential. He could get an opportunity on one of the top two lines but we have a hard time seeing this guy consistently produce over the course of a full season.

Peter Regin

We've never really been a fan of the Dane but we went against our better judgment last year and projected him to challenge for a breakout with 40-45 points... well, we should have listened to our gut. One year later and we think Regin is in danger of being leap-frogged on the depth chart by a few prospects with more upside than what he supplies.

Stephane Da Costa

Signed with the Sens as a FA after two very promising seasons at Merrimack (14+31=45 in 33 games last year).  Given the hype surrounding him he'll likely make the team out of training camp but the Sens have a number of younger players that will compete against him for ice-time. So he may have to start out in a lesser role and work his way up... a breakout coming from that position will be difficult.

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