Fantasy Hockey: News and notes

by Ryan R. Bonini on January 9, 2013 @ 01:26:17 PDT


The NHL is still getting their act together surrounding all of the details for the 2012-13 NHL season. As fantasy hockey owners start to look ahead, there are plenty of storylines worth keeping tabs on. Here's a quick 10,000-foot look at some of the latest fantasy hockey news you should be aware of.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin has plenty to cheer about

Thomas unlikely to return to Bruins this year

It appears Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas won't come back to the team for the shortened season. If you're in a deeper league, you can tuck him away just in case he has a change of heart. However, at this point, it appears it's best to avoid him in all formats.

Tuukka Rask enters the year as Boston's No. 1 goaltender. Rask has flashed signs of brilliance in the past, but is coming off an 11-8-3 season where he posted a 2.05 GAA and .929 save percentage. He also recorded three shutouts. Can he dominate with additional playing time? Don't expect Thomas-like numbers out of Rask, but he should provide serviceable No. 2 fantasy goalie production.

Luongo: Will he stay or will he go?

Roberto Luongo is still with the Vancouver Canucks; at least for now. There remains a chance he could be dealt before the season, provided he is willing to waive his no-trade clause. There's also a chance he could just remain in Vancouver and share goalie duties - or outright take over as the No. 1 - with Cory Schneider. Keep an eye on this situation; he should be owned in all formats to enter the year but realize this is a fluid situation.

Will Kovalchuk return from the KHL?

There's some speculation winger Ilya Kovalchuk will stay in the KHL and not return to the New Jersey Devils. The team doesn't seem too concerned with it at this point, and aren't worried if he wants to stay in playing shape by playing in the KHL until the CBA is ratified. Keep an eye on this situation, which could remain fluid for a bit. Until something is known, Kovalchuk should still be owned in all formats.

Kovalev to attend camp with Panthers

The Florida Panthers are expected to have forward Alex Kovalev in training camp. He spent last season with the KHL and most recently played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL during the 2010-11 season, where he posted two goals and seven points in 20 games. He is waiver-wire material to keep an eye on in deeper leagues should he make the team's final roster.

Holmstrom expected to retire

Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom, who turns 40 later this month, is likely to retire. Holmstrom has 243 goals and 530 points in 1,026 games, all with Detroit.

With Nick Lidstrom also retiring, the Wings will lack some gritty, veteran savvy, which could impact them on the power play and defensively early in the year.

Visnovsky staying in KHL?

New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky probably won't have any fantasy value this season, as he doesn't plan to report to the Isles for the 2012-13 season and will continue to play in the KHL. Visnovsky, 36, had six goals and 27 points with the Anaheim Ducks last year. He filed a grievance to the NHLPA claiming his no-trade clause from his original contract with LA was still valid, but an independent arbitrator allowed the trade and ruled against Visnovsky.

Ovechkin knows how to score

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, a two-time NHL MVP, may have had his best score to date during the lockout: Announcing his engagement with tennis star Maria Kirilenko. This doesn't impact his fantasy hockey value this year and has no place here outside of my desire to include a photo gallery of Kirilenko. Enjoy.

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About Ryan R. Bonini

Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA, received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.

His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports,, and many others. He has also been featured on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA, FSWA and FSTA.

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