Ramblings: Thoughts on Voynov, Zetterberg, Gustafsson, why Krug is underrated, and more (Aug 27)


The last update of the Fantasy Guide was in on Friday night. This one just had a few tiny player moves, plus I put in my projected team goals-for (I projected another increase overall, but was conservative at 2.2%). I explained my reasoning with thoughts on goalie equipment rule changes…


Thursday will be my first re-birthday. When I reach the anniversary of my stem cell transplant on August 30 I will provide my readers with an update on my health, what all has happened in my battle with leukemia and where things stand. So be sure to look for that. (Spoiler: it will be good).

I’m going to try to get away with the family for a couple of days this week. I did that last week and no kidding within an hour of getting to the cottage all that site security crap hit and the emails came flying at me. Got most of it straightened out a few hours later (once I found out about it) with the rest fixed the next morning. Hopefully things work out better this time when I leave! *crosses fingers*


Slava Voynov has not yet received clearance from the NHL to play this year, according to several sources who quote Bill Daley. And the teams that need him the most and can afford him (Toronto probably the most, but also Ottawa and others) will be vilified for signing him. Especially in Toronto, a city that just got rid of Roberto Osuna (Blue Jays). His wife, who is standing by his side and has all these years, didn’t want Voynov charged to begin with. Does that help matters any? We will see. I have a feeling that there will be a team that takes the plunge, and that the court of public opinion will not like it at all. If you have lots of draft picks using one on them towards the end on him could pay off because he has a lot of offensive upside for a defenseman. He is not currently projected in my fantasy guide nor anywhere on my draft list so he truly is a sleeper pick right now, a huge risk and quite the long shot.


NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika is reporting that Henrik Zetterberg is still unable to train and will probably not be cleared to play. He adds that Zetterberg would be cleared to play later, so don’t write him off for the season just yet. If Zetterberg cannot play, Andreas Athanasiou moves to center.

I don’t see Michael Rasmussen in the NHL this year, but Filip Zadina’s odds just increased. I really like what this does for Athanasiou as he moves from third-line winger with minimal PP time to second-line center with secondary PP time. Rasmussen’s odds certainly improve and now he may get a nine-game trial, I just don’t think he’s ready to stick. Dark horse long shot: Joe Veleno.


Notes from Twitter this week…

1) Someone commented on how Jaden Schwartz and Mark Stone are going very late in mock drafts. This is explainable by the fact that they are both Band-Aid Boys and so projected total points have them lower than they’d be had they played 80 games. Therein lies the flaw with projections. You print out your sheet (or plug them into the draft room online) and they are in the order of their season totals. But if your league has an IR you have to account for that, and this is where your own brain has to step in and make adjustments. Would you rather draft a player projected for 58 points in 66 games or a player with 65 points in 82 games? If you have an IR then you want the 58 guy because he will get more points when he’s playing and you can replace him at likely half the value or better via the waiver wire when he’s hurt. And who’s to say that this won’t be the year he stays healthy? Prognosticators can only give their best guess on games played based on track record, but this really is a variable. Go through your list if you have an IR and move up some of the players projected to miss 10-15 games. You can still get them at great spots, just don’t move them up too high.

On a side note further to that, if I project 80 points in 80 games for a player and another magazine projects 40 points in 80 games…but then he breaks a leg and ends up with 40 points in 40 games – is the other magazine better than I? Some who rank projections will say “yes” according to their formula. This is why I preach content, sleeper odds and updates as being more important than projections. Most projections for most players will be within a few percentage points of each other across prognosticators. It’s the meat of the sandwich that matters. And I say this even though I’m generally one of the more accurate people.

2) Someone wanted to know my thoughts on Erik Gustafsson. I love this question and immediately made a mental note to answer it here. The 26-year-old has improved steadily in the AHL and thrived last year with 17 points in 25 games. He finally got into the Chicago lineup on January 20 (likely delayed by Jordan Oesterle going supernova briefly before flaming out) and tallied two points. That earned him enough goodwill to keep him in the lineup for another 11 games but he managed just one point. That got him scratched. Gustafsson returned to the lineup February 19 and stayed in the lineup from that point onward, posting 12 points in 22 games with ice time that eked steadily upward to close to 20 minutes per game towards the end. Impressive!

All Chicago did in the offseason to address their lack of depth on defense was to sign Brandon Manning, who is hardly a threat to Gustafsson. I have him penciled in for 31 points in 67 games and as a strong sleeper for topping 40. Look at the team – Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are in decline, but they are still 1-2. After that, competition for PP time is with Jan Rutta, Connor Murphy, Gustav Forsling and Brandon Manning (I don’t think the Hawks rush Henri Jokiharju). These are all No.6 defensemen on a lot of teams, as is Gustafsson. But it’s his spot to lose, which is the No.3 guy for PP ice time.


Everyone has fallen in love with Charlie McAvoy and think that his arrival will spell the end of Krug. Injury issues aside (I have concerns, but I also have concerns about Krug so that’s a wash), McAvoy is not stealing the PP job from Krug anytime soon. I find that fantasy owners get hunches and while these hunches may turn out to be absolutely correct they almost never do within the timeline they expect. If they think “this year” it ends up being “four years from now”. Krug had 37 points in the second half last season! Thirty-seven! It’s true, look it up. Does that sound like someone on the decline? And for those who respond “Yeah, but that’s because McAvoy was hurt” – come on! McAvoy could return as an enhanced cyborg and it’s not going to remove a defenseman from his place on the roster after the guy got 37 points in 41 games to end the season!


There has to be a reason Ross Johnston was signed to a four-year contract. Maybe he only plays 12 games but he’s going to get 40 PIM in those games. Sometimes you just gotta follow the contract.

(PS – Torey Krug makes $5.5 million this year, another reason to feel good about his standing with the team)



Robin Lehner


Yes and yes. Here is a direct quote from my Fantasy Guide (c’mon, buy it!):

“Dunn started slowly from an offensive standpoint, but he had 17 points in the second half (36 games). His ice time went up by about one minute per game and his power-play time gradually increased quarter-over-quarter until it was 2:14 per game in the fourth quarter.”


See you next Monday.