The NHL gave the NHLPA a comprehensive 288 page document aimed at ending the lockout this past week and there is hope that the two sides will be close enough that there will be NHL hockey within the next three weeks.
While there should be negotiating from both sides over the next week, it looks like there is enough offered by the owners for the players to finally accept a deal and get back to playing hockey, so we can get our hockey pools going!
As always, stay tuned, but if you need a hockey fix in the next week, watch the AHL where the future stars of the NHL are on display.
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Brent Connolly -(RW)- Connolly was drafted sixth overall in 2010 and after a season in Tampa Bay at age 19, he is honing his craft with the Syracuse Crunch this year. Connolly is benefitting greatly from the AHL as he is getting a lot more ice time as a top six forward and should be ready to take on a similar role in the NHL. He has 12 goals and 27 points thus far in 30 games. He was drafted as an offensive dynamo and has great on-ice awareness to go along with strong leadership qualities. While this may not be his breakout season in the NHL, Connolly deserves to be selected in all keeper leagues.
T.J. Brennan (D) – Brennan was the first player chosen in the second round in the 2007 Draft and has been a stud offensively for the Sabres minor league team in Rochester this season. The 23-year-old blueliner has 12 goals in the early going, in addition to 17 assists and is going to make a push to stick with Buffalo once the lockout ends. Brennan played 11 games with the Sabres last season in five different stints with the club and scored his first NHL goal. He is not worth taking in any pool but could be a good waiver wire pickup if he sticks with Buffalo.
Chad Kolarik– (RW)- Kolarik has bounced around a bit after being selected by the Phoenix Coyotes with the 199th pick in the 2004 Draft, seeing action with Columbus and the New York Rangers as he has played six games in The Show, picking up one assist. Kolarik missed all of last season after getting hurt in training camp with New York but he has not missed a step this season with 12 goals and 26 points in 30 games for the Connecticut Whale. He is unlikely to see much action at the NHL level unless the Rangers get a multitude of injuries up front.
Jakob Silfverberg – (RW) – The 22-year-old Swede was drafted in the second round of the 2009 Draft and has performed like a high first round pick since. He was named the MVP of the Swedish Elite League last season after popping 24 goals and adding 30 assists in 49 games and then set an SEL record in the post-season with 13 goals. The Senators brought him over at the end of the season and he managed to show off his skill in a couple of playoff games despite being held off the scoresheet. He got off to a slow start in the AHL but a recent hot streak that saw him score nine times in ten games has shot him up in the scoring standings with 13 goals and 25 points in 28 games. He is someone to grab late in fantasy drafts this season if there is an NHL season.
Mark Arcobello – (RW) – After a four year career at Yale University, Arcobello signed with the Edmonton Oilers as an undrafted free agent. The diminutive (5’9”) forward had 22 points in 26 games with Oklahoma City in 2010-11 and then potted 17 last season in 73 games with 26 assists. This season he has broken loose once again as he has nine goals and 26 points in 28 games. Edmonton is brimming with top-six talent and his size does not bode well for a bottom six role so it appears that Arcobello will need to find another organization if he hopes to have a chance to play regularly in the NHL.