I don’t know if this is a hype job, but Bob McKenzie writes that it’s roughly a 50/50 chance that Erik Karlsson is traded by Monday. As much as the rumours have been out there for weeks, it’s still mind-rattling to consider. I never would have guessed that the odds were this high. When was a player this good traded mid-season? Ilya Kovalchuk? Joe Thornton?

You have to feel bad for Matt Duchene, even if he was complicit in getting traded out of Colorado. At least he is producing again. Check out this snipe:


That gives him 22 points in his last 21 games, yet he’s unowned in half of all Yahoo leagues. Insane!


The Nick Schmaltz rollercoaster has hit another low. Just one point in the last eight games, and he was dropped from Patrick Kane’s line. He is still on pace for 53 points, which is awesome in a lot of leagues, but in shallower formats it’s time to shuffle him back to the waiver wire for hotter options.


Back-to-back shutouts for the surging Ducks. Ryan Miller finished off the one against Vegas on Monday and then brushed aside all 41 shots the Stars threw at him last night. He’s been shakier in the second half, but these timely performances are keeping the Ducks in the race. Always consider Miller a spot-start option.


Dougie Hamilton is now up to 20 points in the last 22 games, elevating his pace to 48 points. As I’ve been harping on for a while, Hamilton is a legendary second-half performer. He’s getting to 50 points. I’ve got offers out for him in the two leagues where I can still make trades, but I’m afraid it’s too late.


Another game sat out with illness for James Neal marking two in a row. Meanwhile, Shea Theodore missed his fourth straight and was placed on IR retroactive to the 15th with illness. What is going on there?

With Neal out, Alex Tuch has been skating on the second line with Erik Haula and David Perron. Tuch scored a goal to end a six-game scoreless drought. He’d later add an assist for his sixth point in 19 games since their bye week. Not looking like a great second-half option at this rate.

Ryan Carpenter has quietly rung up six goals and nine points in the past nine games. I’m not too excited as he’s been limited to third-line minutes with no power play time. In deep leagues, maybe you can enjoy this surge, but it likely quiets soon.


How about some glorious news on the injury front?


I can’t imagine Jeff Carter will be game-ready for another week, but he should be close. I am skeptical of how soon he’ll be an impact guy, but I find optimism in the legendary Erik Karlsson return from a sliced Achilles.

Karlsson started playing three weeks after getting back on the ice. He put up 12 points and 44 shots in 13 games, most of which were playoff affairs. Carter’s already been skating on his own for a month now. If they did this right, he could be a swing guy come fantasy playoffs.

Truth is, we don’t know exactly where he is at. You’ll just have to gamble if you intend to use him. I know I will.


I can’t really make heads or tails of the Coyotes trading Tobias Rieder and Scott Wedgewood to the Kings for Darcy Kuemper. They even extended Kuemper for two more years at $1.85M per. It was only a few months ago that they traded a fifth to land Wedgewood while they were dealing with their goalie crisis. I guess Wedgewood didn’t work out, but you’d think they’d have wanted to give Kuemper a trial run before extending him?

Mind you, Kuemper has been exceptional with a 0.932 save percentage. I wonder if perhaps this signing is to get out ahead of the next potential expansion draft, but I don’t believe Seattle would be joining the league until 2020-21, when their building is done. Kuemper’s new deal runs until 2020 only.

How does this affect Antti Raanta? Not much. While he’s an upcoming UFA the Coyotes are actively trying to extend him and aren’t rebuking trade calls. It makes sense for both sides to meet in the middle. While Raanta could go to market this summer, there aren’t going to be many openings. Both sides can lock in some security. I’d count on that going down in the coming weeks.

That means Raanta continues as a valid #3 fantasy option (or #2 in deeper leagues!) He has been unbelievable in the second half running his save percentage up to 0.924!

I also suspect that part of this move is to open up room for young forwards to come up. They are currently giving Josh Archibald some run on a scoring line, but we may see Nick Merkley called back up. The 20-year-old has 35 points in 29 AHL games.

Rieder is unlikely to slot into a scoring role in Los Angeles. He fell out of favour in Arizona, where opportunity was plentiful. He is a useful speedy depth guy who can kill penalties. Basically, a homeless man’s Michael Grabner. Now 25, it’s hard to see him turning into anything better.

Check out Ian’s fantasy breakdown of the trade.


It appears that Eeli Tolvanen will indeed be coming over once his KHL season is done. He’s a goal-scoring shot-generation machine. He currently ranks 34th on Dobber’s list of top prospects, but:

A) there are a bunch of guys listed on the cusp of graduation.

B) there are several guys he’ll leap over with confirmation that he’ll be arriving this spring.

In terms of prospects not currently in the NHL, he’s buzzing around the top 10.

I still have some questions about what kind of impact he might have this season (or even next) as he re-adjusts to North American ice and to the NHL game. I’m also not in love with his skating (you’ll hear mixed reviews on that), however, I have few questions about his upside. Even if skating proves to be an issue, that means he tops out at Mike Hoffman levels. Yeah, that’s a good player. The upside goes even higher. Read more about Tolvanen here.


Another depth defenseman pickup for the Capitals yesterday, this time trading a fifth-round pick in 2019 for Jakub Jerabek. The 26-year-old defenseman was sought after as a free agent this summer coming off a season with 34 points in 59 games in the KHL.

He didn’t do much in Montreal, skating 17 minutes per game with no special teams usage. He put up four points in 25 games, spending some time in the AHL as well. His AHL figures are mildly intriguing with 11 points in 17 games, following the script of him being roughly a 40-point defender at levels just below the NHL.

Could Jerabek be a 30-point guy in the right spot? Probably, but like I addressed with the Michal Kempny addition, there will be no cracking Washington’s top three of John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov. I suppose Jerabek is a threat to Christian Djoos as the “next guy up” if there’s an injury but becoming the third man on that list still results in limited upside.


More interesting stuff in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts:

12. At times, the Red Wings have shown an inclination to move Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar, but not both.

We’ll see where it goes, but while Nashville has shown interest in Tatar, there may be others who like Nyquist better because he’s got one year remaining as opposed to Tatar’s two.

Nyquist controls more of his future at this time with a no-trade, while Tatar’s doesn’t kick in until July 1.

I think there’s merit to trying to steal either of these two out of Detroit. There’s no questioning that their offensive protection has suffered playing on some bad Red Wings squads the past two years. It’s also notable that there two were among the league leaders in scoring after the trade deadline last season. That’s when Henrik Zetterberg went on his nutty run of assists, but those two contributed as well. Put them alongside the right centerman and watch the sparks fly.

I’m far more interested in Nyquist than Tatar, but both have scoring value.

Tatar has scored at a second-line rate for the entirety of his career until falling off a cliff:


P/60 (5-on5)












That is mostly shooting percentage based, but his power-play production has countered the effects. Overall, Tatar is shooting 12% (his career average is 13.2%) but half of Tatar’s 16 goals have come on the PP. He’s only 27. While this is the start of his decline it shouldn’t be the cliff.

Nyquist’s scoring rates have been more volatile:


P/60 (5-on-5)












At an aggregate, Nyquist too is a second-line level scorer, but as a playmaker, the 28-year-old’s game should age better. A lot will depend on team fit, however.


It would appear that William Nylander lost some kind of Olympics bet:



Interesting read on the latest developments in the battle between shooters and goalies:

"There are guys 5-10 feet in front of you, and if you just leave a rebound right there you can get in trouble," Reimer said. "So you give it extra juice and your guys are on the other side."

A big rebound can sometimes be a good rebound, especially on a low shot. Equipment companies understand this and are developing leg pads to make those long rebounds easier to achieve.

The philosophy behind this change in thought is simple: A longer rebound gives a goalie more time to recover for a potential second shot, and a puck coming off the leg pad at a higher rate of speed at close range is more difficult for an opposing forward to bat back toward the net.

This makes intuitive sense. The most talented and smartest goalies are going to look to put rebounds (in situations where they can’t prevent one) into areas where their teammates can corral them. I never would have thought to build equipment in such a way to enhance this strategy though. Something to watch for the next time you sit down for a game!


Some great stuff in Cam Robinson’s latest prospect mailbag, including some Andrei Svechnikov vs. Filip Zadina chatter. I’m on team Svechnikov, and I’ll take it one step further suggesting that I would take him first overall out of the 2018 draft class in fantasy leagues. That even means going ahead of Rasmus Dahlin.

It is so much easier for wingers to translate scoring at the next level and Svechnikov is scoring at unruly levels in the OHL. Even though Dahlin is the best defenseman prospect to come around in years, we still don’t know exactly how his game will translate. He’ll clearly be awesome, but will he be fantasy awesome?

We’ve had some great rookie defensemen step in over the past few seasons, and they’ve topped out at around 45 points. So much of defensemen value is related to situation, because outside of freak seasons, you’re not getting more than 10-15 goals from a defenseman. Just look at Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Arizona. He’s a gem but has yet managed only one season with 50+ points. Maybe my tune changes if Dahlin lands somewhere juicy, but there’s just a lot to overcome for Dahlin’s fantasy value to match his real-world value.

I feel confident that I’m getting seasons of 20+ goals and 60+ points right out of the bag from Svechnikov. Dahlin needs to be a 50-point guy right away to beat that for fantasy value, and he could be that! I’m just not going to gamble on it.


In case you are wondering where the development of Thatcher Demko is at:


He remains one of the top goalie prospects in the game. I wouldn’t sour on him at all. This merely gives you an updated timeline.


Thanks for reading! You can follow me @SteveLaidlaw.