Wideman was a very easy defenseman to overlook. Although he’s never scored more than 17 points in a season over his three-year NHL career, he was actually scoring at a half-point per game pace (eight points in 16 games) before a torn hamstring ended his 2017-18 season. Wideman was also an AHL standout with 112 points over his last 148 AHL games and the league’s top defenseman in 2014-15. Wideman averaged only 11 minutes of icetime per game and may end up as a third-pairing blueliner again, but there could also be some second-unit power play time in his future. He’s a potential sleeper in very deep leagues.
I was targeting Ceci as a potential sleeper two seasons ago, but the Sens decided to groom him for a more defensive role instead, where he has failed to reach 20 points over the past two seasons. Now he’s expected to take on first-pairing minutes and could also add a few more points as a result. If your league is deep enough and also counts both hits and blocked shots, then Ceci is an option. Ceci was the Senators’ runaway leader with 171 blocked shots and finished second on the team to Mark Borowiecki with 163 hits. Ceci has an outside chance of reaching 30 points, particularly if he earns additional power-play time as a result of Karlsson’s departure.
I’ll admit that I got sucked into purchasing shares on Heed after he took the NHL by storm with seven points over his first 10 games. After that he recorded just four points over his last 19 games while spending some time in the AHL. If I had known that Karlsson would have been traded to San Jose, then I probably wouldn’t have kept him. As it stands, I could see Heed as a seventh defenseman that is frequently healthy scratched but will see second-unit power play time when he’s in the lineup. The offensive potential is there, but you simply can’t rely on him being in the lineup on a nightly basis. One comparable that I have in mind from the Sharks’ divisional opponents is Brad Hunt in Vegas.
I’m pairing these together as there may be some discussion that the acquisition of Karlsson may cannibalize the point totals for both. Personally I think that both can coexist and give the Sharks one of the top power-plays in the league (they were middle of the pack last season). This isn’t an exact comparison, but there was some thought that Nikita Kucherov’s power-play point total last season would decline with the return to health of Steven Stamkos. In fact, the opposite came true, as Kucherov’s power-play point total actually increased to 36 PPP while the Bolts boasted one of the top power plays.
If I’m worried about anything with these two defensemen, it’s age and health regardless of the presence of one another. For Burns, it’s age. He’s now 33, an age where far more defensemen decline as opposed to improve. With Karlsson, it’s the ankle injury that affected him last season to the point where he wasn’t the dominant force that he was during the previous two seasons. Both are top-tier fantasy defensemen and should be drafted as such, but that doesn’t mean that their point totals won’t dip slightly anyway. Whether that’s from playing on the same team or from the other factors listed in this paragraph, we might never really know anyway.
For a very detailed breakdown of the Karlsson trade, you’ll want to check out the latest Keeping Karlsson podcast. Of course it’s detailed, because the podcast is named after Karlsson! By the way, I don’t know how those guys are able to bring so much energy for two hours! If you haven’t checked out Elan and Brian’s podcast yet, it is both entertaining and informative.
There was some actual hockey being played on Tuesday night. A whole bunch of games, in fact.
Some guy, I can’t remember his name but he’s kind of a big deal in Canada’s largest city, was playing his first game for his new team. Oh right, John Tavares, who scored two goals and added an assist against the Karlsson-less Senators. Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists of his own in this game.
Here’s one of Tavares’ goals (cover your eyes if you’re a Leafs hater).
It didn't take John Tavares long to get his first goal in a #Leafs sweater.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 18, 2018
For much more on Tavares, I’m sure you can turn on your TV or computer to find out (if you live in Canada). Fantasy wise? I think he’ll be just fine. For example, see below.
Auston Matthews believes he'll be part of a PP unit with Tavares and Marner this season. So Leafs are loading up a top unit I guess.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) September 18, 2018
What an embarassment of riches for JT. I don’t know why the Leafs wouldn’t do this, but I’m sure someone who follows the Leafs more closely may be able to provide a more technical answer. This arrangement could lead to more power-play time for the two returning Leafs Auston Matthews and Marner. The top nine PPTOI totals for the Leafs only varied between 1:59 and 2:12 in power-play time.
The Leafs spread out their power play time so much last season, no Leaf finished within the league’s top 150 in PPTOI (although the Leafs had the lowest amount of power-play time of any team in 2017-18). Marner finished in 191st place, while Matthews finished in 204th place, each averaging just over two minutes of power-play time. Matthews in particular has room to grow with just 13 PPP last season, compared to Marner who led the team with 27 PPP.
I know it’s preseason and it’s against the Canucks, but Dobber might use this as Exhibit A as to why Cam Talbot will have an impressive season.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) September 19, 2018
Yes, that was Elias Pettersson with the sweet pass (Dobber Prospects profile here). What a toolkit Pettersson has on him. Never mind keeper leagues, you might want to get on this guy in single-season leagues.
I’ll mention that the Canucks are trying Pettersson as a center and he’s listed on Yahoo as a center, even though he spent much of last season in the Swedish Elite League as a winger. His chances of succeeding in the NHL quickly are better on the wing, although the Canucks will be better served to take a long-term approach.
Not to be outdone, linemate Sven Baertschi scored an impressive goal on Talbot later.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) September 19, 2018
Nope, can't say I'm that hardcore, surprisingly. But that could make for an interesting type of pool.
The line of Pettersson – Baertschi – Nikolay Goldobin was worth watching in this game. Could the natural talent of Pettersson prop up one or two Canucks that are kind of in that bubble of finding a firm long-term role? Players like Baertschi and Goldobin can’t play on checking lines. They’re either going to be top-6 forwards or they won’t be in the NHL at all. So if you’ve invested anything in either player, it’s encouraging to see that they are being given time with the Canucks’ top prospect.
Ty Rattie scored two goals in this preseason game. And he even did so without Connor McDavid, even though you might be targeting him because of the chance that he’ll play alongside McDavid. So succeeding without McDavid could only help Rattie’s chances of playing on the McDavid line, right? Now’s a good time to remind you that Rattie scored nine points in 14 games late last season, all of which were on a line with McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Here’s a nice goal from Andrei Svechnikov, who is attempting to solidify a spot with the Canes.
WOW. A gorgeous goal for Carolina, as Wallmark centered the puck to Di Giuseppe and PDG spun a beautiful pass to Andrei Svechnikov, who buries his first goal of the preseason. 4-1 Canes. pic.twitter.com/jk6t4XzUDI
— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) September 19, 2018
On a side note, I am so turned off by teams wearing white jerseys on the road that I’m at the point that I’d like to see more “color on color” arrangements like this one. Anything to get rid of a parade of white jerseys coming into a home arena.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.