Ramblings: Lots of Ducks talk, a Ceci rant, potential contract-year breakouts (Aug 6)


Last week I released the Fantasy Guide and so far I’m getting a great response. It’s always a nervous moment hitting that “post” button, so thank you. For two days after that I was making myself blind by staring at the Fantasy Hockey Geek spreadsheets trying to get my projections in there properly. This is my first year doing this – I bought the Geek site last year but then was hospitalized all summer and thankfully I had help from some good people getting that set up (including the founders themselves, who are still quite active and helpful). Long story short – the projections are in there, the rankings work, Fantrax works for automating, Yahoo does not work, and my eyeballs have now fully recovered.

Yahoo, by the way, has been worked on and off for nine months now. But I’m told that a solution to the issue has been found they are just working on it. I had set an August 10th goal for this, but when has a programmer ever met a deadline?

One more thing – if there are any Excel experts interested in helping me every year, please let me know. And I don’t use the term “expert” lightly. I consider myself an expert, so I would want someone my equal or better. Because when I get that Guide out, I want to hit the hammock and open a beer and rest my brain. Having an additional day or two of staring at spreadsheets after the Guide was done? That really sucked. So let me know for next year. I’ll pay. You can email me via (Update: several people have already emailed in – thank you for your help! How did I know that among us fantasy hockey geeks there are lots of people fluent in excel? Haha).


With the usual crunch leading up to the release of the Guide, and then the FHG setup happening directly on the heels of that – I had lost touch with the hockey rumors for a couple of days. So when news that Cody Ceci was awarded $4.3 million I was shocked. And for a few seconds I wondered if the Sens would walk away from that. I mean…why would an arbitrator award that? But minutes later I had learned that he had asked for $6 million (!) and the Sens had offered $3.35 million (!). These are just crazy numbers for a defenseman who is weak in terms of possession and disappointing in terms of offense. My offer would have been a one-way contract – and he’d damn well like it, too. I don’t understand how Ottawa offered what they did. I get it – he’s young, still a season or two away from his prime, blah blah blah. But this settlement, his ask, and their offer, takes the Evander Kane scale of crazy salaries and pushes it to new heights. Now this one is the contract other agents will point to going forward in negotiations. I’m not saying that Ceci can’t be worth it. He’s only 24, he can still shine (though the odds of that are getting dismal with the team around him falling apart). But he’s not worth it today. The NHL and the GM’s have painted themselves into a corner. They pay players based on past performance – overpaying the unrestricted free agents. And now they’re paying players based on potential – overpaying the 24-year-old hopefuls. The only question really, is which year will the lockout happen?


The NHL can choose to end the CBA in the summer of 2020 if they exercise its option by September 1, 2019. The NHLPA can do so by September 15, 2019. If either of them do this, then a lockout or strike happens for the 2020-21 season. If neither of them do this, then the CBA remains until 2022. I think neither will do this, but will start building war chests for a big battle over the 2022-23 campaign. But players seem to mostly concerned with structuring their contracts around a 2020-21 lockout (i.e. they’ve been setting actual salary for that year lower than the other years) so who knows.


Did William Karlsson just sign the same contract that Kevin Hayes signed? That’s pretty nuts. Yeah I know, it’s the “only one year” thing…but okay, take two years then. Karlsson had 103 points in two years to Hayes at 93, and he’s a year younger and scored 49 goals to 42 (game winners he’s up 9-8, too). I think Vegas got a bit of a deal there but at the expense of possibly getting taken to the cleaners next summer. But the Rangers – they overpaid Hayes just a little and they let him become unrestricted at the end of it, too. You’d think they’d get a discount from his agent for helping him do that.


This may be behind a paywall (Athletic) but this article on the growth and origins of Cap Friendly is very interesting. You may remember in the early days they were actually a partner of the Dobber Sports Network before they made an exclusive deal with a bigger fish! Clearly the right move though, these guys have gotten huge.


The John Gibson signing, already discussed at length (Gooding – here) but I’ll chime in, was a good cap hit for the Ducks of course, given his consistent top save percentage. But eight years is a risk given his injury history. He had always been a little under-ranked as a prospect goaltender on my list because he was injury prone. And this was before he stepped a skate onto NHL ice!

2014-15 he missed the middle of the season with a groin injury – 21 games

2015 playoffs he missed seven games with a UBI.

2015-16 he missed two games with a UBI

2016-17 13 games with a LBI (two injuries, or the same one twice I don’t know)

2017 playoffs he missed the last game with an LBI and then had all summer to heal so who knows how much time he would have missed

2017-18 Missed one game (concussion), four games (LBI), three more games (LBI), three more games (UBI)

In four seasons in the NHL John Gibson has sustained nine injuries, after having a reputation as being injury-prone well before he even turned pro. And now he’s locked in for eight years. Good luck Anaheim! Hope it pans out for you and he stays healthy. If so, it’s a steal.


As for the Ducks themselves, they have a top goaltender, a great top four defense corps and a deep group of forwards with good ones on the way. But Randy Carlyle scares me. He is entering his third year with the team. That was the year he lost the Leafs. And his first round with the Ducks he lost the room in Year 4. Be careful how you rate this team as they went from 46 to 44 wins under Carlyle and I can see that becoming 42 – which makes Gibson a .928 SV% goalie who has 31 wins. Corey Perry is no longer a top sixer but he’ll be played there. For more on my thoughts on the Ducks, my outlook on them is here.


While looking at the Ducks, Jakub Silfverberg popped out at me because he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer. Here’s a guy in his mid-20s who has more offensive talent then he’s shown, and is under-used offensively because he’s so good defensively. Players like him always surprise in a UFA contract year – Josh Bailey and Evander Kane sure did it last year. The latter two had expected production of 50 points and they certainly exceeded that. Silfverberg is in that ballpark too. Kevin Hayes another one. In fact, I’m just going to list the guys I think best fit this mold as I go through Cap Friendly. In no particular order…



Derick Brassard

Gustav Nyquist

Marcus Johansson

Richard Panik

Joonas Donskoi

The latter two names would be pushing the term “breakout” but if they get into the high-50s I’d call that a contract year. Jeff Skinner isn’t on this list because he’s already had huge seasons. But I’m willing to bet two or three of the above players really surprise us in a good way.


It took Nail Yakupov just 34 seconds to score the first goal of his SKA career over at the Sochi Hockey Open.


Dog days of summer. Here’s Biz with MacKinnon…


See you next Monday.