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Dobber Hockey launched in 2005 and Dobber and his staff have hitched their wagons to Puck Daddy to preach fantasy hockey to the Yahoo! masses since 2009. Now that the smoke has (mostly) cleared from an offseason that saw numerous big names change jerseys, we are now ready to discuss the fantasy implications of these moves. Let’s take a tour around the NHL to find out how these changes could affect player fantasy values entering the 2015-16 season. Here is our preview of the Western Conference teams. You can read our Eastern Conference preview here . Central Division Chicago Blackhawks The roster purge that seems to hit the Blackhawks after a Stanley Cup win will have a significant fantasy impact, as expected. Top-6 forwards Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp were the victims this time, as they were traded for a group of less significant parts. The roles of Saad, Sharp, and Johnny Oduya may have to be filled by Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, and Trevor Daley, respectively. One of the two forwards will have the opportunity to center the second line, while both should easily slide into the top 9. Daley, meanwhile, is capable of logging the major minutes on the second pair that Oduya used to. The cap reshuffle should also open up more opportunity for Teuvo Teravainen and perhaps even Artemy Panarin. Teravainen may also even fill that second-line center position himself. He will be a major sleeper entering this season after scoring ten points in 18 games during the playoffs. Panarin scored 62 points in 54 games in the KHL last season. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] Colorado Avalanche Bringing in Carl Soderberg to replace Ryan O’Reilly isn’t really an upgrade, but O’Reilly’s salary demands and the new cap world deemed that necessary. Soderberg’s upside is as a potential second-line center, however he could be more third-line material if Nathan MacKinnon at center again. That could be a huge problem, as Colorado’s scoring talent plummets dramatically beyond the second line. One of those third-liners could be Blake Comeau, who the Avalanche also added via free agency ... Meanwhile, Mikhail Grigorenko will try to get his career back on track playing for his old junior coach Patrick Roy. He’s a perfect example of why you don’t bring your prospects up too early … Francois Beauchemin should be able to log major minutes just like he did in Anaheim, but he won’t be leaned on for offense as much as the Avs attempt to reduce their shots against total (33.2 shots against/game in 2014-15, 26th in NHL). Dallas Stars After missing the playoffs this past season, the Stars made two of the more interesting moves this offseason. Maybe the most intriguing move of the offseason was bringing in Antti Niemi to battle for the starting goalie job with Kari Lehtonen. Right now, this appears to be a timeshare in the making. Lehtonen has played close to 60 games in each of the past four full seasons, but 2014-15 was his worst season (2.94 GAA, .903 SV%) since his Atlanta Thrasher days. With Dallas’s woeful defense, too bad it isn’t possible for Niemi and Lehtonen to be out on the ice at the same time … The other major move was the trade for Patrick Sharp to add to an already potent scoring attack. With Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin forming a first-line unit, it would make sense to pair Sharp with Jason Spezza on what will be a very potent second line. Expect Sharp to bounce back from the disappointing 16 goals and reduced ice time he experienced in his final season in Chicago. Minnesota Wild The Wild’s lineup already seems to be set, so this has been a very quiet offseason. The major order of business of Chuck Fletcher’s offseason was to re-sign last year’s surprise success story, Devan Dubnyk. There is some risk in drafting Dubnyk because of his overall career numbers, but he should be a top-10 goalie in fantasy drafts nonetheless … Playing for his hometown team seemed to factor into Mike Reilly’s choice to play for the Wild. There are numerous defenseman above him that have solidified NHL roles, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll spend the entire season in the NHL. Still, he’s a must-own in keeper leagues … Just when you thought Ruslan Fedotenko had retired five years ago, he’s back in the NHL on a one-year, two-way contract with the Wild. Nashville Predators After last year’s somewhat unexpectedly successful regular season, the Predators elected to stay pat with their roster, electing to keep centers Mike Ribeiro and Mike Fisher … Would you have ever thought Cody Hodgson would be the victim of a contract buyout? Yet here he is in Nashville, attempting to revive his career like an old country and western singer. Not only was 2014-15 his worst season, but it could have been one of the worst seasons by any forward who played a full season last season (13 points and a -28 in 78 games). The Predators have a stack of players that can play center, so it’s possible that Hodgson gets lost in the shuffle if he doesn’t find a way to stand out. St. Louis Blues The Blues attempted one tweak to retool their core after yet another early-round playoff exit. That need for change meant that the energetic T.J. Oshie was out, traded to Washington for Troy Brouwer. The former Capital, who scored 21 goals last season, seems to be a natural fit on the Blues’ second line. Brouwer is a valued power-play contributor, scoring 14 of his 43 points last season with the man advantage. The danger for Brouwer might be if a youngster such as Ty Rattie or Dmitrij Jaskin makes an impression, which could mean that his minutes are reduced. Other than the Oshie/Brouwer trade, the Blues will enter the season with basically the same lineup as last season. Winnipeg Jets The Jets, like some of their Central Division rivals, seemed to remain status quo during the offseason. With virtually no significant free agent signings from Winnipeg, the return of Alex Burmistrov was the most noteworthy addition. After scoring 63 points in 107 games over the past two seasons in the KHL, Burmistrov will attempt to prove why he was deserving of a high first-round pick by the organization when it was based in Atlanta. He won’t have an easy time of it, since Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault, and Mark Scheifele also play the center position … This isn’t an addition to the Jets’ organization necessarily, but top prospect Nikolaj Ehlers should be able to jump to the NHL in 2015-16 after tearing it up with back-to-back 100-point seasons in the QMJHL.
The NHL, Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens had their press gathering for the 2016 Winter Classic on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, where we learned several uber-important facts about the blessed event The Bruins and Canadiens will have an alumni game on Dec. 31, the day before the Classic. Huzzah! The Bruins and the Canadiens unveiled their cool, old school logos for the Jan. 1 event, which will take place at the home of the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Huzzah! There was no jersey unveiling … boo! There was much thanking of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, almost to a nauseating level. Probably because Kraft was having a really, really bad day for reasons that had nothing to do with the Winter Classic. “Through their combined 34 Stanley Cup and Super Bowl titles the Patriots, the Bruins and the Canadiens all have been dominant in their respective sports,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “The majesty of their accomplishments set against this spectacular backdrop promises a truly memorable New Years Day for 2016 and a truly special celebration for our sports." Lumping the Patriots into this? Give. Me. A Break. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] And there was a lot of joking about the heat – because it was in the 90s in Foxborough, and it will obviously be much cooler come January in Massachusetts. “I promise you the temperature will be a little different. Maybe colder than what you want,” said Kraft, who made no obvious Deflate-Gate reference at the news conference. (Sigh). Either way, it’ll still be a fun event at the East Coast Classic, which shall no longer have non-Blackhawks Western Conference teams. Snark aside, bravo on bringing back the alumni game. The Blackhawks and Washington Capitals didn’t have one for the 2015 Winter Classic , and this is generally the most joyous non-Winter Classic element of the weekend. Seeing (hopefully) Ray Bourque strap his pads on for Boston and face the likes of (hopefully) Guy Lafleur for Montreal will no doubt stoke hockey nostalgia charm. Maybe Saku Koivu will come back for this occasion. Maybe we can pull Tim Thomas out of hiding. Hopefully Bruins/Canadiens legend Hal Gill will return and play for both teams in the alumni game, because how many guys are adored by fans of both franchises? As for the logos. Montreal: