Be sure to purchase your Dobber Hockey Fantasy Guide if you haven’t already. It’s available in PDF digital format, but you can print it out if you like. In case you’re wondering why Dobber won’t mail you a printed copy, it’s so that your fantasy guide includes the latest updates. For example, updated projections for both Montreal and Vegas after their Sunday night trade.
Some of my own takeaways on the deal:
If Pacioretty is projected to start on the second line with his new team because the top line can’t be broken up, it’s possible that Vegas’ second line outperforms Montreal’s first line. It’s also possible that Patches moves up to the Golden Knights’ first line, which makes the trade a win for him regardless. If nothing else, he’s much happier to be out of the mess in Montreal. Trust me, that counts for something.
I think this trade helps Tomas Tatar. Vegas might have accomplished something in dumping his $4.8 million contract, but he’s scored at least 20 goals in each of his last four seasons. He might have been a healthy scratch for a good portion of the playoffs, but he easily fits on the second line in Montreal and could even move onto the first line. On a better team, Tatar won’t ever see the first line. But the Habs had the leagues’ 29th-ranked offense last season (2.52 goals per game) and just traded a consistent (until last season) 30-goal scorer. Simply put, they don’t have a whole ton of options.
As for Nick Suzuki, it might seem like his chances of playing full-time in the NHL this coming season improve with the trade. As a Suzuki keeper owner, my first reaction when hearing about the trade was positive. Vegas is a much deeper team than Montreal scoring-wise, and I don’t like to hang onto non-NHL prospects more than about two years if possible (my roster has max 35 players), as there are always other tempting options available. (Suzuki's Dobber Prospects profile here.)
But if you’re thinking Suzuki is a slam dunk to make the Habs this season, not so fast.
— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) September 10, 2018
Given the lack of scoring options in the Montreal pipeline at the moment, we should also probably temper our expectations for Suzuki once he is a full-time Hab. But between Suzuki and first-round pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi, at least Bergevin is attempting to address a position that has been a weakness for quite some time. I’d expect to see Suzuki full-time in the NHL by 2019-20.
There was lots of hockey news to talk about on Tuesday. Let’s start with the Ottawa Senators’ video that dropped on Monday evening. In case you missed it, this video of Eugene Melnyk and Mark Borowiecki sharing happy thoughts about the Sens’ rebuild plans had Twitter abuzz.
The Ottawa Senators are proud to share the vision for the future of our team and this organization. We are about to launch an exciting plan to rebuild our team and we are inviting you to be a part of our rise to new heights. #OttawaRising pic.twitter.com/hok2jYCUVi
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 11, 2018
There are no doubt lots of different takes on this discussion, so here’s a couple of mine:
- Melnyk: “There are people saying, oh, he’s going to move the team.” Ummm, didn’t he say last season that he himself would consider moving the Senators? I can see why Sens’ fans have a hard time trusting this owner.
- When Melnyk discusses having 10 new players this season and 15 new players next season, where does that leave Borowiecki? It’s kind of like being in a room with your boss when he drops a hint that you’re about to lose your job while sounding very nonchalant about it. Unless Borowiecki is the one remaining veteran that will stick around for the rebuild.
- No discussion about the elephant in the room (Erik Karlsson), though I would assume that a rebuild plan would not include Karlsson.
Steve Yzerman has decided to step down as Lightning GM and take on a role as senior advisor, with assistant GM Julien BriseBois taking over as GM. Since the Lightning are not hiring an outsider to be the GM (BriseBois has been in the organization since 2010), I don’t expect that this managerial change will have much, if any, fantasy ripples. Business as usual, as BriseBois said.
The rumor mill is churning about the possibility of Yzerman returning to the Red Wings now that he is moving back with his family in Michigan. However, I’ll take him on his word that he would like to spend more time with his family.
Although the players involved are hardly fantasy relevant, there was a noteworthy trade on Tuesday with the Bruins sending veteran d-man Adam McQuaid to the Rangers for defenseman Steven Kampfer, a 2019 fourth-round pick, and a conditional 2019 seventh-round pick. McQuaid is a veteran NHL defenseman, but he should only be considered as a penalty minute/hit/blocked shot specialist. However, his arrival/departure could affect the bluelines on two different teams.
This is not what a rebuilding team's defense should look like. Especially with a number of young defensemen on the cusp.
— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) September 11, 2018
So that leaves Neal Pionk, Anthony DeAngelo, Fredrik Claesson, and John Gilmour to fight it out for the Rangers’ final two d slots (one possibly as a seventh defenseman). I liked Pionk as a potential deep blueline sleeper after a late-season surge that saw him score 11 points in 15 games during March. Now maybe not so much. Pionk is waiver-exempt, so there is now a greater chance that he could start the season in the AHL.
This news also hurts DeAngelo’s fantasy value. I had traded DeAngelo away from my keeper team last season, and that owner has since dropped him. It might still be too early to give up on him, since he’s only 23 as of next month and still possesses considerable upside from the blueline. But the former first-round pick is running the risk of disappearing down the same path as Derrick Pouliot. There’s considerable fantasy upside, but I can stand behind you replacing him if you can’t hold your breath much longer.
The Bruins are already used to life without McQuaid, as he missed half of last season. Considering that McQuaid didn’t play any kind of offensive role and neither should Kampfer, the move will probably only affect bottom-pairing defensemen. Jakub Zboril’s and Jeremy Lauzon’s chances of making the Bruins could improve slightly here, but without McQuaid the Bruins still have seven NHL-level defensemen on the roster (eight if you include depth defenseman Kampfer).
Finally, the Humboldt Broncos return to the ice today, playing their first game since the horrible bus crash that claimed 16 lives. The game will be broadcast live on TSN starting at 7:30 ET (I believe the actual game starts an hour later). If you have a chance today, watch the 12-minute TSN Original called 2 Roads to Humboldt, which is a very powerful video about the two returning players: Derek Patter and Brayden Camrud. Very powerful stuff. All the best to Derek and Brayden as they continue their hockey career, as well as new coach Nathan Oystrick and his squad as they continue the legacy of hockey in Humboldt.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.