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Devils and Fantasy Projections

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Nowadays, almost any sport has some sort of following that loves to play the fantasy version of it. With regular season hockey right around the corner, fantasy hockey is getting big. How big are Devils expected to perform in fantasy, however?

Cory Schneider is expected to be the best fantasy contributor for the Devils.
Cory Schneider is expected to be the best fantasy contributor for the Devils.
Bruce Bennett

With the start of the NHL regular season right around the corner, fantasy hockey is entering its crunch time.  Leagues are forming up all over, and drafts are taking place on a near regular basis.  I myself am running a league which will be drafting later on today.  Those who are looking to get the best team possible are heavily researching all the information they can find on fantasy hockey projections.  The information is not as readily accessible as fantasy football perhaps, but it is certainly out there.

The question I had for this article, as I did my own research, was how players on the New Jersey Devils were being projected to do this season for the purposes of fantasy hockey.  The Devils have not recently been a bastion of fantasy output...with the new lineup changes, do people expect that to change somewhat?  Or do people expect the same old Devils, where the team produces but the individual may not be particularly productive for a fantasy squad?

To do this, I will give you a breakdown of where key Devils are ranked, and how they are projected to do on several different websites.

ESPN Projections

First, I looked at ESPN's fantasy hockey projections, which can be found here.  The following Devils are ranked on their site (note: ranks are overall, not by position):

Player

Rank

Projected Stats

Cory Schneider

56

59 starts, 27.7 wins, 23.8 losses, 5 shutouts, 7 overtime losses, 2.28 goals against average, .914 save percentage

Jaromir Jagr

84

78 games, 22 goals, 38 assists, 60 points, +21, 19 power play points

Marek Zidlicky

130

72 games, 10 goals, 32 assists, 42 points, +4, 17 power play points

Mike Cammalleri

140

65 games, 20 goals, 24 assists, 44 points, -3, 18 power play points

Patrik Elias

145

65 games, 19 goals, 33 assists, 52 points, +6, 17 power play points

Eric Gelinas

151

77 games, 13 goals, 26 assists, 39 points, -3, 23 power play points

Ryane Clowe

187

62 games, 15 goals, 26 assists, 41 points, +1, 8 power play points

Andy Greene

219

80 games, 6 goals, 23 assists, 29 points, +6, 5 power play points

Adam Henrique

232

78 games, 16 goals, 20 assists, 36 points, +4, 9 power play points

Travis Zajac

241

78 games, 15 goals, 21 assists, 36 points, -3, 9 power play points

Damien Brunner

303

66 games, 16 goals, 16 assists, 32 points, -6, 10 power play points

ESPN's rankings are kind to some players, and not so kind to others.  They speak highly of Schneider, calling him a top goaltender who just has no luck getting wins in front of him.  They also like Jagr, especially now that he is on a line with Cammalleri.  They also love Cammalleri with Jagr, but figure he cannot stay healthy, which is why he dropped a little in the rankings.  And they give Gelinas a strong chance to be the "Devils' top fantasy defensemen."

On the flip side, they rank Henrique quite low despite being New Jersey's leading goal scorer last season.  They mention that if he were on the top line with Jagr and Cammalleri that he would be much higher in the rankings, but that his second line duty hurts him.  They also believe that Greene's days as a fantasy helper may be over given the emergence of Gelinas and Merrill.  Frankly, I don't care if Greene is a fantasy producer or not because he is such a beast for the team, but I do hope Henrique proves them wrong with that ranking, and especially with that 16 goal projection.

NHL.com Projections

NHL.com came out with a projection list of the top 275 fantasy players, found here.  They do not project stats like ESPN does, but their overall rankings go as such:

Cory Schneider - 55

Jaromir Jagr - 100

Mike Cammalleri - 143

Patrik Elias - 160

Marek Zidlicky - 197

Travis Zajac - 223

In comparison to ESPN, some are similar and some are very different.  Schneider's ranking is almost identical at 55 instead of 56.  Cammalleri's is also very similar, at 143 instead of 140.  Elias is slightly off, ranked at 160 here instead of 145 at ESPN.  Travis Zajac is similarly off, at 223 here whereas he is at 241 at ESPN.  Jagr is given a little worse treatment here, ranked exactly at 100 while ESPN had him better at 84.  Zidlicky really gets the shaft with NHL.com, coming in at 197 whereas ESPN loved him at 130.  But at least he still makes the list...Henrique does not even make the top 275 here, while ESPN had him at least at 232.

CBS Sports Projections

CBS Sports has multiple different lists related to fantasy hockey projections, found here.  They provide a list just for rankings for a fantasy hockey draft, and then also provide a list of projected statistics for each player.  These lists are ordered a little differently from one another.  Since the projections list gives out more information, I will use that one for this article. (Note: ranks are now by position and where they are expected to finish in terms of total fantasy points, not by an overall ranking of all players.)

Player

Pos.

Rank

Projected Stats

Travis Zajac

C

47

81 games, 20 goals, 32 assists, 52 points, +6, 177 fantasy pts

Adam Henrique

C

48

80 games, 20 goals, 31 assists, 51 points, +7, 176 fantasy pts

Mike Cammalleri

C

52

70 games, 20 goals, 26 assists, 46 points, -4, 165 fantasy pts

Jaromir Jagr

RW

25

72 games, 19 goals, 36 assists, 55 points, +8, 193 fantasy pts

Damien Brunner

RW

44

71 games, 17 goals, 22 assists, 39 points, -7, 135 fantasy pts

Michael Ryder

RW

49

81 games, 17 goals, 20 assists, 37 points, -7, 129 fantasy pts

Patrik Elias

LW

32

68 games, 17 goals, 34 assists, 51 points, +2, 162 fantasy pts

Ryane Clowe

LW

39

59 games, 16 goals, 22 assists, 38 points, +3, 144 fantasy pts

Eric Gelinas

D

42

75 games, 10 goals, 28 assists, 38 points, -12, 125 fantasy pts

Marek Zidlicky

D

49

70 games, 6 goals, 30 assists, 36 points, -2, 116 fantasy pts

Andy Greene

D

63

81 games, 7 goals, 33 assists, 29 points, +0, 102 fantasy pts

Cory Schneider

G

10

62 games, 32 wins, 25 losses, 5 shutouts, 1.92 GAA, .925 SV%, 350 fantasy pts

CBS' stats are definitely interesting as well.  First, it is noticeable because it is kinder to Schneider in terms of his projected stats than ESPN was.  CBS has Cory with 32 wins, a stout 1.92 goals against average, and a great .925 save percentage.  All of those numbers are better than ESPN's projections.

Also, CBS has Gelinas ranked higher than Zidlicky, which is also new.  The site is harsh on Gelinas' defensive capabilities, giving him a -12 projection, but 38 points on the season is not bad at all.  They project Zidlicky with only 36 points, and only 6 goals.  I put up their projections of Andy Greene simply because they project Greene to have more goals than Zidlicky, which I found very interesting.  Zid is not a pure goal scorer, it is true, but he is a point producer.

The final thing I would like to note from CBS is that they have Zajac and Henrique nearly identical in terms of projections, giving Henrique just one less assist.  They have both scoring 20 goals, which would not be too bad from Zajac, but would be a little bit of a disappointment from Henrique.  This is another site which does not expect him to really come close to replicating those 25 goals from last season.  I really hope he proves them all wrong.

Yahoo Sports Projections

Yahoo Sports had two separate writers compile a list of the top 200 fantasy players, which can be found here.  Similarly to NHL.com's rankings, these do not come with statistical projections, but instead just rank the players.  I will note major Devils' players and where they rank on each of the two lists.

Player

Matt Cubeta's List

Pete Jensen's List

Cory Schneider

69

62

Jaromir Jagr

127

81

Patrik Elias

147

145

Mike Cammalleri

135

191

Travis Zajac

N/A

188

Marek Zidlicky

193

"Just Missed"

Eric Gelinas

N/A

197

Here, Schneider is ranked lower by both guys than he is in either ESPN's or NHL.com's rankings.  Cammalleri is comparable to other sites with one ranking, but Jensen has him quite low on his list at 191.  Jensen actually has Zajac ranked higher than Cammalleri, which I found to be quite interesting.  Other than that, most projections are similar to where they are on other sites.

Overall Conclusions

The question you may be asking is what does this tell us for real, actual Devils hockey?  In the end, the answer might be not too much.  However, it is interesting to see what people expect key Devils to do this season.  They expect some players to perform quite well, while others to be much less of a factor.

The one major consensus amongst these rankings is that Cory Schneider is expected to do quite well as the undisputed no.1 goaltender.  CBS has him as the 10th best fantasy goaltender, which is not terrible.  I personally expect him to be better than that, but without him playing a full season before, it is hard to justify that feeling.  They also all pretty much predict Jagr to have another solid season.  His lowest ranking is 127th overall, which is still very much quality.  Others have him in the 80s overall, which is quite good.  His age does not seem to deter too many.

Other players are more all over the place.  Cammalleri, Zidlicky, Gelinas, Brunner and Zajac have quite a range for their rankings.  Some believe that they will perform quite competently, while others would not even consider them for a fantasy team.  It is really up to these players to show them this season that the Devils are for real, that they are for real, and that they will do well.  At least, that is my hope.

Finally, I feel like Adam Henrique gets the shaft amongst fantasy projections.  He was a 25 goal scorer last season that is still young and can improve.  Yes he does not play on the top line, and his line mates may cause a slight dip in his production, but I do not believe that it is unreasonable to believe he can reach 25 goals again.  With a solid amount of assists, he has a chance to be a productive fantasy player, never mind a key cog in the Devils' offense.

Your Thoughts

Anyway, those are my thoughts about some of the fantasy projections out there for the New Jersey Devils.  What do you think?  Do you think that these Devils players will play up to these rankings, do better than they are projected, or will they do worse?  Or do you simply believe that it is a waste of time to look at fantasy projections at all?  Please leave your comments in the section below, and thanks for reading.