Frozen Pool Forensics: Draft Day Steals
Everyone has their own favorite I’m sure with 2017-18 seeing some great production from several players at bargain prices on draft day. All of us have one or two of those players where we pat ourselves on the shoulder for that selection at the start. Below, you’ll find some names that should be highlighted for what they provided off later-round grabs. Keep in mind these players do not represent leagues with more than 12 teams as a steal per say. Perhaps next week sees a dive into 14-plus team steals.
I honestly would have loved to own two thirds of the Islanders top line with John Tavares this year. Lee being goal-heavy and Bailey assist-laden would have made them a well-balanced duo to possess. A combined 133 points between the two, with 53 coming on the power play, made for a great investment for the owner of either. Tied for seventh overall in goals scored with 40, Lee has turned into a prominent goal scorer in the NHL over the past two seasons alongside becoming a top multi-category option in fantasy. Like Lee, Bailey hinted as his progress as a player in 2016-17 with 56 points but 2017-18 was otherworldly for the complementary player of past. With 71 points and an elite level 3.2 pts/60, he produced like a star forward and made all of us take notice. Yes, the presence of Tavares certainly plays a large role in both of them being what they are but there’s no denying they can play. Though the Islanders goaltending is a dumpster fire, should Tavares remain in Brooklyn these two need to be on your radar in 2018-19. Should he leave, suppressing expectations is advised yet Lee and Bailey will still be relied on heavily to fill his potential void and could find themselves with Mathew Barzal.
Edler did his best Rasmus Ristolainen-lite impersonation in 2017-18. Providing 34 points, 68 PIM, over 24 minutes per night, 172 SOG, 152 hits and 203 blocks, the fact he was a waiver wire add for many is absurd. It’s been a long time since his 49-point campaign back at the peak of the Vancouver Canucks title window in 2011-12 but Edler showed us he’s still got something in the tank at 32 years old. Leaned on heavily on a rebuilding squad, Edler made for a quality depth option on your blue line that stuffed the stat sheet. Any player in multi-cat settings who provides 150-plus hits, shots and blocks must move up higher on your draft ranks. Many may dwell on his minus-18 but this is negligent in comparison to all the positives he provided owners. Though his 40-point days are most likely over, there’s real solid value in a 30-point defender with elite peripherals such as his.
Barely drafted if at all in 12-team or lesser circles, Boeser provided an injection of offense into any fantasy roster thirsting for goals. Seemingly possessing one of those generational releases like Phil Kessel, the 21-year old looks poised to tickle twine many times over the next several seasons. Though his goal scoring ways slowed in the new year, one can account for fatigue as he never played such a grueling schedule in college. From mid-November through the end of December though, he was scoring a goal almost every game lending its hand heavily to his 1.6 goals/60. Boeser won’t ever be strong in the peripherals it seems but every squad needs a high scoring winger so he’s a young gun to build around confidently in keeper settings.
No prayer for Norris consideration with his minus-15 but Barrie’s offensive brilliance from the blue line is cream of the crop. 57 points in 68 games for a defender is Erik Karlsson-type production but not the first time he’s hit 50. But three seasons removed from a 50-point campaign, Barrie will enter 2018-19 at the tender age of 27 ready to contend for top blue line production once again. An ADP on ESPN of 199th overall, he provided far beyond his price and then some with 0.84 pts/game. Yes, Barrie is just an average defender but he makes up for it by being an elite puck distributor with high-end skill. By all means a first-rate offensive defender, his 30 power play points were good for seventeenth overall and only bested on defense by fellow stud power play quarterbacks John Carlson and Shayne Gostisbehere. For those drafting Barrie know he’ll never be a source for plus minus though take solace in the offense provided along with healthy ice time and blocks.
Seeing as it’s dark times in Montreal these days, it’s nice to highlight what was a great season for the diminutive forward Brendan Gallagher. Hitting the 30-goal plateau with 31 total and providing 278 shots, Gallagher really asserted himself as a top offensive option for a thin Canadiens squad. Despite the team not being competitive, his 54.33 CF% makes for six straight campaigns above 52. We’d love to see Gallagher get bigger minutes and with them so thin at forward how he plays any less than 18 a night is baffling. With an ADP that saw him getting drafted beyond Round 15 in many 12-team settings, landing the 30-goal scorer was an absolute steal. With the likely departure of Max Pacioretty this offseason, Gallagher will be looked to even more so for his goal scoring abilities.
John Carlson was an absolute murderer in 2017-18. His production as the top fantasy defender made him worthy of drafting in the top four rounds but his down two campaigns prior to his 55-point outburst in 2014-15 allowed him to be taken in the territory of the tenth round. Highlighting the importance of identifying players in a contract year, Carlson went on to have a career best 68-point season and is poised to be paid handsomely this summer. Always a silky distributor, his 53 assists were a career best as were the 15 goals. 33 points alone came on the lethal Capitals power play with him seeing over three and a half minutes per night quarterbacking the top unit with their bevy of scoring options. John Carlson comes with a warning sign going into drafts as this will likely be his best year ever smack dab in his prime at 28 years old so expectations should be tempered. He managed to stay healthy this year but he’s been known to go down in the past. Once the ink dries on the new contract don’t be shocked to see the injury bug return. Beyond points he was an excellent source of shots with 237 and blocks too with 146. Hits and PIM are not his forte, but nobody is complaining about his top six forward production from the back end.
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