20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts
Every Sunday, we'll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week's ‘Daily Ramblings’.
Writers: Michael Clifford, Ian Gooding, Cam Robinson, and Dobber
1. Where have all the Shayne Gostisbehere points gone? After going pointless in his last five games, he's on pace for just 31 this year. The 25-year-old led all blueliners in power-play points a season ago with 33. This year, he has eight through 45 contests. Ghost has just one power-play point (an assist on January 3) in the last 25 games. This, despite averaging over three minutes of power-play ice each night.
It boggles the mind. At this point, any hopes of a second-half turnaround are likely built on just hope. He’s proven to be an elite producer in two of his four season-long career. Here’s hoping he wakes up soon. (jan9)
2. Marc-Andre Fleury has been the low-key fantasy pick of the year. The 33-year-old is running away with the wins and shutouts lead and he does it all with a smile on his face. He's an easy guy to root for. (jan9)
Flower leads all goalies with 41 games played (all starts), which would put him on pace for 70 this season. With Vegas likely making the playoffs again, wouldn’t it be wise to rest Fleury more during the second half? Malcolm Subban has played in just eight games this season.
The driving force for goalies managing starts is the team’s starter being fresh for a long playoff run. The last starting goalie to win a Stanley Cup and play over 60 games in the regular season was in fact Fleury, when he led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2008-09 – a full decade ago. So, it’s worth it for teams with Stanley Cup aspirations to manage their starter’s minutes.
Just as we’ve adjusted (lowered) our GAA and SV% expectations for the increase in scoring, we might need to do the same for games played among goalies. In other words, 60 is the new 70. But it could even get to the point where 55 is the new 60. If goaltending starts are spread out more evenly among the starter and backup, then that could decrease the draft-day value of goalies relative to skaters. In other words, no more drafting Martin Brodeur in the first round because he’s a virtual lock for 70 games and 40 wins. (jan12)
3. Mat Barzal has 19 points in his last 15 games, leaving him just shy of a point-per-game pace on the season. Even with the Islanders’ focus on defense this year, Barzal is shining. He’s already one of the outstanding young stars in the game. It won’t be long until he’s mentioned in the same breath as all the stars in the game, period. (jan11)
4. Conor Garland has posted 10 points in his last 10 games. Because he’s not on a deep team like Nashville, Conor Garland he has a shot at expediting his production curve. His AHL curve was a slow one, not really showing signs of ‘pop’ until this season, but he’s translating his sudden AHL numbers into decent NHL production.
Garland is no longer the tiny guy that he was as a teenager, as he’s now up to 5-10, so maybe that is contributing to the faster timeline. He’ll always be a little guy in my heart, though. Anyway, Garland is seeing power play time and is playing on a line with Alex Galchenyuk. (jan7)
5. What a weekend on the West coast for Jake Guentzel. After posting a hat trick on Friday, Guentzel scored another two goals on Saturday, giving him five over back-to-back games. As I mentioned yesterday, Guentzel’s playoff success is now translating to the regular season. His value might take a bit of a hit when Patric Hornqvist returns from his latest concussion but Guentzel looks like he’ll be just fine. (jan13)
6. Almost no one will confuse Marcus Pettersson with the rookie with the same last name in Vancouver, but at least he’s receiving second-unit power-play time in Pittsburgh (good for something?), while providing the Pens with much-needed help on the defense.
The young blueliner was the lesser-known player (at least to fantasy owners) in the Penguins’ trade a few weeks ago that sent Daniel Sprong to Anaheim. He has six points in seven games with a plus-8 over that span. (jan12)
7. Micheal Ferland had a cold November and December (six points in 19 games) after a hot October (11 points in 12 games), but he is starting to heat up again in January (six points in six games). He’s back on the Sebastian Aho–Teuvo Teravainen line, so now would be a great time to add him if someone has dropped him in your league. (jan12)
8. Rick Nash announced his retirement from the NHL after 15 seasons due to concussion symptoms. Nash was a must-own in all fantasy leagues for a good decade, reaching the 30-goal mark eight times and the 40-goal mark three times. Over his career from 2002-03 until last season, only Alex Ovechkin, Jarome Iginla, and Patrick Marleau had scored more goals than Nash (437). As well, only Ovechkin has taken more shots than Nash (3,624) over that span.
9. It’s unfortunate that Nash’s name has been added to the growing list of players whose careers have been cut short due to concussion symptoms. There is a lot more awareness of the long-term health effects of concussions than there were when Nash started his career, but I believe that the NHL still has a long way to go in how headshots are addressed. Hopefully this isn’t something that takes a major toll on Nash’s quality of life. (jan12)
10. Alexandar Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist have basically been splitting starts (with Lundqvist being pulled twice during that span). I’m not high on Rangers’ goaltending as a whole but Georgiev could be worth a flier if you need goaltending help. Lundqvist, meanwhile, has struggled mightily since the New Year, with a 6.43 GAA and .786 SV% over those three starts. The veteran goalie should be firmly parked on your bench right now. (jan13)
Don’t forget to purchase and immediately download your copy of the 2019 DobberHockey Midseason Fantasy Guide while it’s still hot off the presses! Rest of season projections, tips, call-ups, and a whole bunch more to get you through the stretch run of your fantasy campaign. Check out the Dobber Shop today.
11. Just as a small aside, I find it kind of odd we (fans, writers, media) often talk about Toronto’s impending cap crunch, but not Tampa Bay’s. This is a team with over $73-million in commitments for 2019-20, leaving them with less than $10-million in cap space with Brayden Point to sign. They will also have three regular defensemen coming off the books in need of replacing (a couple will come internally, I’m sure), and new contracts needed for Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne.
Someone needs to go but there are very few players on that team with significant money committed and no form of movement protection, be it full or partial NTC or NMC. It’s basically J.T. Miller, Yanni Gourde, and Nikita Kucherov. Considering Gourde’s new contract hasn’t even started and there’s no way they’d trade Kucherov, it seems Miller is the most likely bet to be traded. But will there be suitors, and will the team have to sweeten the deal? We’ll see. (jan11)
12. Question: If everything breaks right for Ondrej Kase, what is his upside?
We’re kind of seeing that already this year with 20 points in 27 games — just four power-play points. I wouldn’t expect Kase to spend much time on the top power play unit, especially with Rickard Rakell back in the lineup, and definitely when Corey Perry eventually returns.
As for his upside, under the assumption he’s not seeing prime PP minutes anytime soon, I would look to Jason Zucker’s 2017-18 season. The latter finished the campaign with 33 goals and 31 assists, with just 16 of those points coming on the PP. He was playing a little bit more per game than Kase is right now by about a minute, but I think it’s an apt comparison.
A very talented scoring winger (though Kase is good defensively, as well) that can land a lot of shots on goal, leading to 25, 30 goals or more. (jan10)
13. Captain Sidney Crosby has been on quite the roll of late. He has 23 points in his last 15 games and is on pace for his best season since the concussion-shortened 2012-13 campaign, where he recorded 56 points in 36 games. Thirty-one-year-old Sid is feeling it. (jan9)
14. Nikita Kucherov is up to 75 points in 45 games. I don't even know where to begin.
We haven't seen a player click along at this pace since Jaromir Jagr posted 70 in 38 outings back in 1999-00. If the talented Russian maintains his pace, he'll finish the season with 137 points. We haven't had a player break 130 since the mid-90s when Mario Lemieux and Jagr were running roughshod.
15. I’m still bullish on Robby Fabbri’s future; we’ve seen him be very good in long stretches before. But it seems like the plug can be pulled on his 2018-19 fantasy relevance. Maybe he needs a full year to really get his legs back under him after all the injuries. (jan8)
16. Hello, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. Nice to see you again. The two goals that Kopitar scored on Saturday represented his first multi-point game in over a month. However, Kopitar has been remarkably consistent recently, scoring nine points over his past 10 games. He shouldn’t have been expected to repeat his 90-plus points from last season, but you should be able to acquire him for a fraction of his usual cost.
Carter, meanwhile, scored a goal and added two assists, but you probably can’t be blamed for missing out. Carter entered this game with just six points in his last 19 games. Carter’s season shooting percentage of 8.1 percent is well down from his 12 percent career average, so he could also be due for a market correction in the second half. (jan13)
18. Erik Gustafsson now has 22 points in his last 23 games. I still have some fears that he could eventually lose his plum PP spot to one of the incredible kids who are on the way, though (i.e. Henrik Jokiharju, but there are a couple of others such as Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell, Chad Krys). (jan7)
19. Rocco Grimaldi is not in the NHL for good, no way I would put a single cent on that…but I like the small, skilled guys and I always preach that they take longer than regular players. He’s still not playing with anyone decent and he’s still getting zero for PP time. But for the first time in three years, he has caught my attention. (jan7)
20. Senators’ highly-touted prospect goaltender Filip Gustavsson is trying to get things figured out at the AHL level, and with Marcus Hogberg up in the NHL, he’s getting in plenty of game action. I still believe in Gustavsson but the wait is going to be a couple of years longer than I had originally thought. (jan7)
Have a good week, folks!!
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