Ramblings: Dylan Larkin, Travis Zajac, Derek Stepan, Sebastian Aho and more (Aug. 19)

Neil Parker

2017-08-19

 

Next weekend, I'll be attending and presenting at The Fantasy Sports Show taking place at The International Centre Hall in Mississauga. Please, if you're in the area, stop by and say hello. It has the makings of an excellent event, and it would be awesome to see some Dobberheads. I'll be doing a number of fantasy hockey shows with Chris Meaney of the FNTSY Network.

 

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News out of Detroit is that Dylan Larkin is going to play third-line center behind Henrik Zetterberg and Frans Nielsen. More importantly, Larkin is welcoming the gig.

For our fantasy purposes, this probably isn't earth-shattering news. In the majority of settings, the Red Wings only have five relevant forwards, and Larkin dropping down the depth chart at even strength only means he faces softer five-on-five matchups. There's always the potential that he's stuck with inept wingers, and Detroit has plenty, but it's more likely that Larkin is flanked by youngsters — Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha, etc. etc. In that case, it's probably a better virtual setup for Larkin to be slotted in down the depth chart.

Regardless, he has just 22 goals and 39 points through his past 108 NHL games, so expectations should remain in check. The upside is obvious, but he shouldn't be confused with a universal asset, either. Because of Larkin's fast start in a major hockey market he's likely to be overvalued in the majority of circles.

 

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Travis Zajac is set to miss four to six months following offseason surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle. The timeline will keep the pivot out for the first two months of the season at least and potentially through the entire first half of the season.

The 32-year-old pivot is hardly a go-to fantasy commodity, but he has carved out a significant role with the Devils, and he's logged significant minutes each of the past five seasons. While he won't be missed in the majority of virtual setups, New Jersey isn't as good without him in the lineup. He posted a 3.6 Relative Corsi For percentage last year, after all.

What's important is the ice time he opens up out of the gate. The obviously beneficiary is Nico Hischier. However, the No. 1 pick is going to crack the lineup and log minutes regardless, so it's more likely that Pavel Zacha's top-si