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Past Fantasy Outlooks
With one year and $1 million remaining on his two-year contract with the Rangers, Asham was placed on waivers. There were no takers. The 14-year NHL veteran is expected to open the year with Connecticut (AHL). He has little or none fantasy value.
In signing with the Rangers, Asham has now completed his tour of the Atlantic Division as he's previously played with the Flyers, Penguins, Devils and Islanders. The 34-year-old winger doesn't provide much offense as he only tallied 16 points in 2011-12, but he has the potential to make a a difference for fantasy owners in the penalty minutes category, as evidenced by his totals of 155 and 126 in 2008-09 and 2009-10, respectively. He's a defensive forward in the truest definition of the position.
Last year, Asham battled injuries and a concussion following a productive campaign in Philadelphia. The winger suited up for only 44 games, scoring five goals and 11 points. His hidden value lies in the hits category, where he finished with 107 in limited play. By scoring three goals and an assist in the first four games of the playoffs, Asham showed why GM Ray Shero originally signed him a summer ago, and so the Pens re-upped his contract in June. Somewhat surprisingly, Asham had played in at least 72 games in six of the past seven NHL seasons and a rebound season could be in store for both Asham and the Pens in 2011-12.
Asham has averaged 140 penalty minutes the last two years and 2010-11 figures to be no exception -- so long as he doesn't fall in love with the notion that he's a big-time offensive threat. Past players like Georges Laraque have fallen away from what got them to the NHL after coming to Pittsburgh. Asham has shown a bit of offense at times in his 11 NHL campaigns. His 24 points (10, 24) in 72 contests with Philly last year turned out to be Asham's best per game production. Unless he finds some unusual chemistry with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, however, Asham figures to finish with between 25 and 30 points.
Asham will play a fourth line role for the Flyers and he won't be alone. Together with other "sand paper" types on the Flyers, Asham will make Philadelphia tough to play against. Don't expect much offensive contribution other than a few PIM's.
Asham is a grinder that should find a regular role on the Devils' third or fourth lines, in addition to the penalty kill. He's a solid veteran who was brought in to help with checking, so don't look for anything more than 25 points.
Playing mainly on a line with Alexei Yashin and Miro Satan, Asham rolled off 20 points in the first 32 games of the 2005-06. However, when he was shifted off the line, his stats came back down to Earth and he finished with 24 points in 63 games. Unless the team tries that combo again, he should only be considered in terms of short term pickups.
Asham is a good player to have on a real NHL team. He has a strong work ethic, plays physical, can chip in some points here and there, will drive the zamboni, etc. However, he doesn’t excel in any aspect on the stat sheets, so he needs to remain off your cheat sheets on draft day.