Ramblings – Laine, Shipachyov, Kucherov and more (May 23)



Rambling about Patrick Laine, further thoughts on Vadim Shipachyov, Zack Kassian and more


I have had much to say about the World Hockey Championship this year. I usually don’t because I only put on the game if I’m around a TV (or at my desk) and a game is on. But when it’s over I do like to review some of the performances by the young players. So while I don’t really care how Corey Perry does, I do care how Patrick Laine does. And while Mikko Koivu’s performance doesn’t interest me one way or the other, Cam Talbot’s does. I key in on the prospects and the lesser-proven guys. In the case of the prospects, it’s interesting to see how well they perform against men. Even though many key players are not at this tournament, many teams in it are still good enough to be considered NHL-caliber. So you’re seeing how players do in that environment.

Laine, who is projected to go second overall next month, was named the IIHF MVP of the tournament. He had seven goals and five assists in 10 games. He wasn’t the top scorer, but he was dominant in every game I saw (which admittedly was only two, plus a partial three more). His fantasy value in my eyes has increased dramatically over the last two months. I still think of Auston Matthews as elite to the caliber of a John Tavares – which is one step down from Crosby/Malkin/Ovechkin/McDavid. But I now consider Patrick Laine just a tiny bit below though. Like Stamkos. I don’t think getting a ‘Stamkos’ instead of a ‘Tavares’ is a huge letdown for fantasy owners.

Matthews, by the way, had nine points in 10 games.


The leading point-getter of the tournament is Vadim Shipachyov. According to several sources, including Igor Eronko and Elliotte Friedman, Shipachyov intends to play in the NHL next year. He made about $2.25 million in the KHL last season so I think the bar is set for him to make at least $3 million next season. I doubt a team goes further than two years to start, similar to Artemi Panarin. But Shipachyov is 29 years old so he may be looking for even more security. Shipachyov, who had 18 points in 10 tournament games), plays on a line with Artemi Panarin and Evgeni Dadonov (remember him?). He played with Panarin in the KHL. Friedman said that Montreal was in the lead to sign Shipachyov, but with how well he played at the Worlds, a handful of other teams are now in the mix.

Dadonov, who had 13 points in 10 games, is also looking to return to the NHL. He’s a free agent now, after being Carolina property since leaving the NHL several years ago. He was a 40-point guy with a bit of upside then…and he’s a 40-point guy with a bit of upside now. I have little interest in Dadonov. But sign me up for the Shipachyov