20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts

Mario Prata


Every Sunday this off-season, we'll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from our writers at Dobber Hockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week's "Daily Ramblings".

Contributors: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford and Neil Parker


1. Signing a defenceman (Andrei Markov) whose knees are held together with spit and duct tape, and going into his Age 39 season, is usually not a very wise move. Funny thing about this is, when the Habs signed Markov to his three-year deal in 2014, I thought the same thing. Alas, the sentiment was wrong.

It’s not as if Markov has fallen off a cliff and is looking for a pity one-year deal, either. This is a blue liner with 80 points in his last 144 games, which gives him a higher point per game mark in that span than names like Alex Pietrangelo, Justin Faulk, and Rasmus Ristolainen. He has still been incredibly productive into his late 30s.

The biggest question will be a matter of usage. At this point, even with as good as he still is, he’s probably better suited for second-pairing minutes and top power-play time, rather than playing heavy minutes every night. That’s fine – almost every team can use a second-pairing guy who can run a power play.


2. Justin Schultz appeared to be damaged goods after his Edmonton experience but he’s the perfect example of how a player’s fantasy value can improve big time with a move to another team. His production was aided by the absence of Kris Letang yet he was still producing even with Letang in the lineup. The only downside is that salary cap leaguers will now have to budget for a $5.5 million cap hit instead of the $1.4 million 'prove it' contract he signed with the Penguins in the summer of 2016 now that he has proven it.


3. Jonathan Bernier might be the biggest fantasy hockey loser of July 1 free agent frenzy. Signing to be a backup on the league’s worst team will do that. Avalanche management is committed to Semyon Varlamov as the starter but it’s only a matter of time before injuries and poor play force Bernier off the bench. Calvin Pickard is a solid goalie with a bright future but you didn’t want him anywhere near your fantasy team last season.


4. The Jets needed a left-shot defenseman and were willing to pay a hefty price for one (three years, $4.33 million cap hit). Although Dmitri Kulikov showed some fantasy upside earlier in his career, he was held to just five points and a dreadful minus-26 in 47 games last season with Buffalo. In other words, fantasy owners should hope Josh Morrissey and not Kulikov is in the top 4.