Ramblings: Updates on Schwartz, Oshie, Ferland, and Vasilevskiy; Dumba, Carlson, and Edler – December 11

Michael Clifford



The Caps are starting to get healthy as the had TJ Oshie return to a full practice on Monday morning. He skated on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. This comes just a few games after the Capitals saw Evgeny Kuznetsov make his return.

It’s been so long since we’ve seen Oshie on the top line it’s easy to forget that’s where he started his Capitals career. The trio didn’t fare so well in 2015-16, scoring just 2.8 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five. It’s hyperbole to say they did fare well because 2.8 goals/60 is just fine, mind you, but we generally like to see top lines over 3.0 goals per 60 minutes for fantasy purposes.

Anyway, Oshie owners will get him back and with him his PP slotting. Even if he’s not on an elite scoring line at five-on-five, there’s enough scoring elsewhere to make up for it.

Another impact winger is on his way back as Jaden Schwartz practiced with Brayden Schenn and David Perron at Blues practice Monday. Beat writer Lou Korac seemed optimistic that he’d return Tuesday.


Micheal Ferland was back at practice for the Carolina Hurricanes but skating on the fourth line. I’m not sure he’s directly ready to return to game action but we’ll see.


Connor Brown was skating with John Tavares and Mitch Marner at Leafs practice in the absence of Zach Hyman. He could make a decent stream but it’s only two games and they’re both on the road in Carolina and Tampa. Owners would need to be desperate because there’s no guarantee Brown even lasts one game there.


Andrei Vasilevskiy skated and practiced with the Lightning on Monday morning. He didn’t start but with his taking shots from teammates, it seems he should be back in the cage in very short order. I wouldn’t outright drop Louis Domingue unless it’s a shallow league, though. The chance for re-injury is there and I’m betting they back off Vasilevskiy’s work load anyway even with the team not having a back-to-back situation for a month.


Josh Ho-Sang was called up by the Islanders but he was not in the starting lineup. He’ll have to wait at least one more game to make his season debut.


Trevor Daley returned to the Detroit Red Wings. I don’t think this has a lot of fantasy importance except for perhaps Dennis Cholowski. Daley has run the PP for the Wings before and Cholowski has just five points in 18 games since Halloween. The rookie is still running the “second” unit for now, it’s just something to monitor.


Kyle Turris skated Monday morning for the Predators, albeit in a non-contact jersey. He’s inching closer and closer to returning.


After being called up by the Minnesota Wild, Luke Kunin lined up on the third line in practice with Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek. Kunin had 15 points in 21 AHL games this year. He was uncertain to start the year in the NHL coming off a torn ACL and is just now getting his chance.


Derick Brassard and Anthony Beauvillier scored the non-shootout goals in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders. It was a fairly boring game outside of a couple cheap shots.

The biggest note out of this game was Brassard being moved to the top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel for the final 20 minutes. Not that it’ll be a lasting thing, but the Pens have three more games this week, and two of their opponents are Chicago and Los Angeles.


Steven Stamkos continues his torrid hot streak as he launched a hat trick past Henrik Lundqvist in Tampa Bay’s 6-3 win over the Rangers. He might not be quite the player he was 4-5 years ago, especially before the injuries, but that’s 15 goals and 33 points in 32 games for the 28-year old. His 82-game pace since the start of last year is 31 goals and 89 points. All in all, still a very good player even if he’s not among the handful of elite.  

Two assists for Brayden Point, one on the power play, pushes him over 40 points for the year. He’s on pace for well over 30 power play points. Hopefully he remains on the top unit. (Sorry, those of you who drafted JT Miller.

Kevin Hayes had a pair of goals in the loss. After a brief experiment on the top line last game, he was back in his familiar second-line role.


The Kings lost again. They probably should have won the game but Jimmy Howard saved 42 of 43 shots and Detroit managed a 3-1 win over Los Angeles.

Dennis Cholowski, Frans Nielsen, and Dylan Larkin all scored for Detroit. Andreas Athanasiou had a 5v5 assist on Nielsen’s goal, his 15th point at five-on-five this year. A note about AA:



I wonder if the Wings think they have a potential star?


The new-formed line of Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, and Timo Meier did all the damage for San Jose in the team’s 5-2 win over New Jersey. Meier had a pair of goals on four shots while Tomas Hertl had one and one with one shot. Couture was held pointless.

Joe Pavelski had one and one himself, with his assist coming on the power play.

After a cold stretch that ran longer than two weeks, Kyle Palmieri had an assist on Andy Greene’s second period goal. That gives Palmieri four goals and two assists in his last four games. He now sits with 28 points in 30 games on the year.

Evander Kane was held without a shot on goal for just the second time this season.


I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago about defencemen with a couple friends on Twitter. Basically, how many defencemen can we rely upon in fantasy? I don’t mean defencemen you can trot out for 200 blocked shots or whatever. I mean defencemen from whom you know you’re going to get 24 minutes a game, a couple shots, and top PP minutes. Not very many.

For that reason, I generally treat the bottom of my defence rosters in non-dynasty leagues as a revolving door. I have staples, of course, like Roman Josi or Victor Hedman, but once we get to guys like Shea Theodore, Mikhail Sergachev, or Jake Muzzin, they could find themselves on and off my roster two or three times a year. It’s about dumping them at their highest value and looking for the next guy, ad infinitum.

Here are a few defencemen due for regression. Keep in mind that regression can be both good and bad.

Data and line combinations from Natural Stat Trick and Dobber Tools.


Mathew Dumba

I don’t necessarily know if Mathew Dumba is a sell-high candidate, or was a sell-high now that he’s goal-less in seven games. More or less, I just wanted to write about him because he’s having a fascinating season to this point.

Dumba reached double-digit goals nearly three weeks ago, which is almost unheard of in today’s game. At that point, he had double the goals (10) he did assists (5). Again, not something often seen in today’s NHL.

The shooting regression monster was going to find Dumba eventually, even if his shooting percentage is still over 10 percent at five-on-five. He may go a little while with a goal yet. But what about regression elsewhere?

As of Monday afternoon, Dumba’s secondary assist rate per 60 minutes at five-on-five was 0.11. Out of 122 defencemen with 400 minutes played, that ranks 111th. The lowest mark in any of Dumba’s four prior full-ish seasons was 0.16 in 2014-15 and his three-year average from 2015-18 was 0.40. Were he to be producing secondary assists at his normal rate, you could have 3-4 assists from what he currently has and about 12 assists over the course of the full season.

The Minnesota defenceman has typically enjoyed a higher-than-average shooting percentage. That means he may not drop off too much further from the 11.4 percent he sits overall. But he should pick up a lot more assists, especially at five-on-five, over the balance of the season. He can push, or break, 20 goals even with a declining conversion rate and should rack more helpers. Not all regression is bad. Check to see if the Dumba owner in your league is sick of his current cold streak.


John Carlson

He doesn’t fit our profile but when looking to trade away a roster cornerstone like Carlson, diligence is crucial. It should go without saying but trading away Carlson just because he’s due to regress a bit isn’t the point here. The point here is to recognize an asset whose value will decline over the next four months compared to present-day value in order to fill holes elsewhere on a roster with a package that should return more value over those four months.

The first point of notice is Carlson’s on-ice shooting percentage at five-on-five, or the rate at which the team scores with him on the ice. Obviously, high percentages (usually) mean more goals on which to garner points, but high percentages also mean regression. Last year, no defenceman with over 1000 minutes played cracked 11 percent, only one was over 10.5 percent (Matt Niskanen), and only three defencemen cracked 10 percent (add Jonas Brodin and Anton Stralman to the list). Also last year, Carlson set a five-year high in this regard at 9.4 percent. Carlson’s on-ice shooting percentage this year is 14.3 percent. That’s going to decline considerably.

Secondly, Carlson’s secondary assist rate (which we know to be essentially random) is the highest of any full season of his career at 0.75 per 60 minutes. Last year was his previous career high at 0.63, and his three-year average was 0.39. I’m not saying it’s impossible to set a career-best this year, but nearly doubling his three-year average seems extreme.

Please keep in mind that I’m not saying to run out and trade Carlson. What I’m saying is to not expect him to be a top-3 fantasy defenceman as he’s been so far. If you can trade him as a top-3 defenceman, and get back comparable future value to help fill gaps on your roster, then you do it. It’s all about the needs and the return, not necessarily about the player himself.


Alex Edler

In general, Edler is a sell-high whenever he’s healthy. He’s already missed 15 games, who knows how many more he’ll miss between now and the first week of April. But he’s manning the top PP unit and the shine of Elias Pettersson is rubbing off on him.

Among defencemen with over 200 minutes played, Alex Edler leads the NHL in Individual Percentage Points (IPP) – the rate at which he garners a point when he’s on the ice at five-on-five – at 66.7%. That is, of course, exceedingly high. From 2015-2018, Brent Burns and Kris Letang were the only blue liners over 50 percent and neither cracked 60 percent. Edler has not surpassed 48 percent in any season and his three-year average going into 2018-19 was 33.3 percent. In other words, he’s probably garnering points at double the rate he should, which could be a problem because he has just four points in 17 games at 5v5. He’s not even operating at a 40-point/82-game pace right now and that’s with being extremely lucky.

This is pretty simple. Edler is getting very fortunate with his point totals at 5v5 and even with that good fortune his 82-game pace is 39 points. The Canucks are coming off a beatdown of St. Louis and Edler is currently healthy and running the top PP unit for Vancouver. Not shopping him right now is fantasy malpractice. Don’t just throw him on the block and accept any offer, but be sure to at least test the waters. 


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