Ramblings: Parting thoughts for the season, the Washington centres, St. Louis retires
It’s interesting to see that the Caps have lined Evgeny Kuznetsov on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and TJ Oshie, moving Nicklas Backstrom down to the second line with Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams. This could be seen as an issue for Backstrom’s fantasy value, but I’m not so sure.
Over the last three seasons, Backstrom has managed an astounding 171 assists. The thing is, of those 171 assists, 95 of them have come on the power play, or well over half. Taking him off the top line at even strength does not mean he will be removed from the top power play. As long as he remains there, his assist totals should still be plentiful.
Backstrom’s assist rate at five-on-five isn’t as elite as some people may think. From Hockey Analysis, of 95 forwards with 3000 minutes played at five-on-five over the last three years, he’s 35th in assists per 60 minutes (1.15), trailing names like Carl Soderberg (1.25), Scott Hartnell (1.24), and Josh Bailey (1.20). As long as his minutes don’t go down, and he’s still on the top power play unit, I think this “demotion” doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. In fact, if some fantasyowners hear he’s on the second line, Backstrom may come at a discount at the draft table.
It was announced that Martin St. Louis will indeed have his number retired by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a game against Columbus this year. Though the franchise doesn’t have the long history of some others, in its own history, St. Louis is one of the most important players to don a Lightning uniform. He won two scoring titles (almost a decade apart), an MVP, three Lady Byngs, and was an integral part in the team’s only Stanley Cup win to date. The way he left the team wasn’t exactly ideal, but his career there was storied.
This brings me to Steven Stamkos. The team still hasn’t found a replacement for St. Louis since he was traded, and are likely hoping that Jonathan Drouin is that surrogate. Think of these splits with the range of the start of the 2009 season until the day St. Louis was traded, and then from the day he was traded until the end of last season (from Corsica Hockey):
Stamkos (five-on-five, from 2009 until March 4, 2014): 329 games played, 114 goals, 98 assists for 2.62 points/60 minutes.
Stamkos (five-on-five, from March 5, 2014 until now): 209 games played, 55 goals, 38 assists for 1.91 points/60 minutes.
Even taking to account a decline league-wide in scoring, a drop of more than 25-pecent in rate production is extremely significant. They just signed Stamkos to a long-term deal, so he had better find some chemistry with Drouin (or maybe Ondrej Palat) soon.
Today is my last day for the offseason work here at Dobber. As it was last year, this was a great summer to be around the fantasy hockey community. I really enjoy my time working with