20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts

Mario Prata


Every Sunday until the start of the 2018-19 regular season, we'll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week's "Daily Ramblings".

Writers: Michael Clifford, Ian Gooding, Cam Robinson, and Dobber


1. The Isles are blessed to have a replacement top line center waiting in the weeds. Being able to slide Mathew Barzal up the depth chart won't make losing John Tavares any easier but it's a luxury that very few teams have. I was asked recently how Tavares’ decision will impact Barzal. If he leaves, does the elevation up the lineup push the 20-year-old soon-to-be Calder Trophy winner into superstar status, or does it hurt to lose out on playing with such a great talent?

The answer is layered. Tavares leaving will indeed force the upcoming sophomore into a top line role. He’ll be afforded the pick of the winger bunch. But does that mean he simply inherits Anders Lee and Josh Bailey? It seems safe to assume will be Lee on the left side. His style is unique on the team and remains unchallenged for the foreseeable future. The right side is a little hazier. Jordan Eberle lined up next to Barzal for over 70 percent of his even-strength ice time last season and bore strong results. Barzal was on the ice for 41 or Eberle’s 49 even-strength points. Maybe it’s Eberle bumping Bailey down the depth chart next season. And that would coincide with Bailey’s need for Tavares to prop him up. 

If Tavares leaves, Barzal will become the No.1 priority for opposing defensive schemes. The kid is an amazing talent, so that focus was bound to come sooner or later, but the insulation Tavares provides at even-strength was massive in Barzal ripping it up as a rookie. The second season can be daunting for some players and losing the team’s best player and captain won’t help that out in any way for Barzal. For that matter, it won’t be too helpful for anyone on the Islanders.

Who knows, maybe we won’t even have to worry about all this (Ed. note: Tavares is currently focusing on negotiations with the Islanders regarding an extension). (june16)


2. How much, or how little, will