July 22, 2015

steve laidlaw

2015-07-22

The fantasy implications of expansion, Holtby's elite status, a few breakout candidates and much, much more…

 

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Laidlaw here checking in for a dump of thoughts mid-way through my summer hiatus. First I want to thank all the guys filling in for me. I've been checking in and you are all doing excellent work. Way to keep up the high standard! I'd love to tell you that I kept today's ramblings short and sweet but you all know that's just not my style. Buckle in.

 

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With expansion looking like a reality, lots of folks are wondering what sort of fantasy impacts that will have. It's impossible to tell for sure but if we look back at previous expansion we can suss out a few things to watch out for.

 

The most obvious thing is the expansion of the player pool by something around 20 skaters and a couple of goalies per team. Assuming two expansion teams, that's 40 players and four extra goalies to consider. Those jobs will go to mostly bad players on bad teams. How bad, no one can say for sure.

 

If we assume these expansion rosters will be historically bad like last year's Sabres then you'll get no more than a couple of extra fantasy-relevant players and that also depends on your league size. Tyler Ennis led the Sabres with 46 points, followed by Matt Moulson with 41.

 

For most leagues a few extra 40-point players won't have an impact at all as those players are waiver fodder. In larger leagues it could add a couple of extra bargains. Whether or not that levels the playing field or increases the disparity between haves and have nots will be league dependant.

 

If however, we assume just run-of-the-mill badness like last year's Arizona Coyotes or Edmonton Oilers then the field of fantasy-relevant players expands that much more. Each of those teams boasted legitimate young stars like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle along with a smattering of other intriguing options like Mikkel Boedker, Nail Yakupov, Shane Doan, Antoine Vermette, Martin Hanzal, Sam Gagner and Justin Schultz. Most of those players were ultimately waiver fodder in most leagues but guys like Eberle and Yandle had impacts in 95% of fantasy leagues.

 

Looking back at previous expansion teams:

 

The Nashville Predators had Cliff Ronning average 59 points over their first three years of existence and