21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles
Every Sunday, we'll share 21 Fantasy Rambles — formerly 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. It has been a downright awful week for Frederik Andersen (I’m experiencing this firsthand), but at least he earned a win on Friday. It’s not often that a goalie earns a win after allowing six goals, but that’s the kind of game it was.
Andersen was pulled in his previous two starts after allowing four goals before the midway point of each game. He’ll probably be fine over the long haul, though he could be wearing down a bit after an extremely heavy workload. Entering Saturday action, Andersen had a higher save total (1584) than any goalie, while only Connor Hellebuyck had faced more shots than Andersen (1725).
If defense wins championships, then the Leafs will have a tough time making it out of the Atlantic the way their blue line is currently constructed. (mar16)
2. Since being traded to the Leafs about a month and a half ago, Jake Muzzin has 14 points (4g-10a) in 23 games, so he’s already been more productive with Toronto than he was with Los Angeles (21 points in 50 games). This in spite of logging about a minute and a half less ice time with the Leafs than he had with the Kings. So, fewer minutes, but the minutes have been more productive. (mar16)
Drouin was held without a point again on Saturday, which means that he has been held without a point in his last eight games and 15 of his last 16 games. He did record four assists in that one game, and he had recorded nine points in the three games prior to the deep freeze. However, we are now in the thick of the ‘what-have-you-done-for-me-lately’ portion of the season. (mar17)
4. I grabbed Vinnie Hinostroza in one league and added him to my lineup, literally forgetting about him until Thursday night, when he recorded a hat trick while firing eight shots on goal and leading the Coyotes to yet another win. Sometimes, forgetting is a good thing because I could have just as well removed him after he went four games without a point earlier in the month.
Since January 20, Hinostroza has 11 goals and 21 points in 25 games, which easily makes him the highest-scoring Yote during a stretch in which Arizona has fought their way into a Western Conference playoff spot. So, that means he’s been playing with the Coyotes’ big guns (whoever they may be), right? Sure, if their names are Brad Richardson and Michael Grabner. The Coyotes don’t offer much else when it comes to scoring, unfortunately. (mar15)
5. Blackhawks’ Brendan Perlini is cruising after some tough times earlier this season. Perlini recorded just four points (3g-1a) in his first 29 games with the Blackhawks after being traded from Arizona.
Since then, he has been red hot with eight goals and 10 points over his last seven games, including another goal on Saturday. It helps that Perlini has recently been matched up with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, both of whom have been scoring at about a point per game as Blackhawks. (mar17)
6. Anaheim rookie Troy Terry won Third Star from the NHL last week for his two goals and five assists.
I had a lot of hope at the outset of the season for many of Anaheim’s rookies, namely Sam Steel. Terry has loads of skill but I was concerned about him being stuck behind Corey Perry, Jakob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase, whereas I saw Steel as the potential 3C. Needless to say, that hasn’t exactly worked out.
Terry’s fantasy upside is a fair debate because he’s not a guy who has shot much in the AHL (92 shots in 41 games), or the NHL (20 shots in 23 games). As a rookie, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt but there aren’t a lot of guys who can have significant fantasy relevance while averaging under two shots per game. From what I can tell, there is one skater in the top-100 players in standard Yahoo! leagues averaging under two shots per game, and that’s Brandon Tanev, and he’s exactly the 100th player – he also has 232 hits, a total which Terry may not amass in his entire NHL career.
Again, there is time and room for growth here. Terry has played well since Randy Carlyle was replaced (as the team has been better), so there’s lots to be encouraged about here for 2019-20. (mar12)
7. Vince Dunn scored twice for the Blues in Saturday’s victory – goals number 10 and 11 from him. While Jordan Binnington is receiving a ton of the credit for the Blues’ turnaround, we should also give props to the defense.
The Blues currently have three defensemen with double-digit goal totals: Alex Pietrangelo (12), Dunn (11) and Colton Parayko (10). As of Saturday afternoon, no other team had more than two. As well, the Blues were leading the NHL with 44 goals from defensemen.
In just his second NHL season, Dunn has been quietly productive, reaching the 30-point mark in 67 games. (mar17)
8. We will need to wait at least one week for the debut of Canucks’ hotshot prospect, Quinn Hughes. As a result of an injury from last weekend’s University of Michigan game, Hughes has a bone bruise and was to wear a walking boot for at least a week.
The silver lining is that with his NHL debut being delayed, Vancouver fans won’t have to worry about the team inadvertently sticking him in the lineup for more than 10 games, which would make him eligible for the Seattle expansion draft. There should be absolutely no rush on the Canucks’ part to get Hughes into the lineup. (mar15)
9. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hughes makes an impact quickly once he gets some NHL action. The Canucks are desperate for a puck-moving defenseman. I posted my Top 50 Fantasy Prospect Defensemen this past week and Hughes is No.2 on that list. (mar11)
10. So, it’s that time of year where guys who are property of a franchise, be it in college or overseas, start making their way to the NHL to get some games in.
One guy dynasty owners were hoping for was Vitali Kravtsov, the 19-year old Rangers first rounder from the same draft. It appears that his KHL team will not terminate his contract, allowing him to join New York this season. Rangers fans and fantasy owners are going to have to wait until next season to possibly see him in the lineup. (mar13)
11. If you were counting on Antoine Roussel for a few points and a lot of penalty minutes, he is done for the year with a knee injury suffered Wednesday. Roussel was receiving second-line minutes with Bo Horvat and, as of Thursday morning, was second in the NHL with 118 penalty minutes.
The Roussel news seemed to be overshadowed on Vancouver sports talk radio by the topic of Loui Eriksson’s first healthy scratch as a Canuck. There’s a very short list of players that have less value than Eriksson in a salary cap league. If you can think of any, feel free to list them in the comments below.
Mercifully, this could be the beginning of the end for Eriksson in Vancouver, though a buyout this offseason will hardly help the Canucks financially. Eriksson also has a full no-trade on his contract, which has a $6 million cap hit. Ugh. (mar15)
12. Caps’ Brett Connolly is just one goal away from reaching 20 for the first time in his career, while he has already set a career high with 40 points. The 2010 sixth overall pick hasn’t lived up to his draft-day potential and is already on his third NHL team, but he’s still showing signs of having a productive career (though I’m not as sold on him for fantasy purposes as others might be). (mar15)
13. If you’ve been carrying Kyle Turris this long, you’re safe to drop him for any more immediate help. Turris was ‘healthy scratched’ for each of the Preds’ last two games, Thursday and Saturday.
With just seven goals and 22 points in 46 games, Turris has produced less than half a point per game. Surely, you can do better for your fantasy team, particularly at the center position. This is not the kind of production that the Predators should expect from their second-line center as they near the playoffs. (mar15)
14. It might be a little too late for the Panthers to make the playoffs, so they are seeing what they have with young goalie Samuel Montembeault. The rookie has made four consecutive starts, all wins. Still, unless the Panthers find a way to get out of either Roberto Luongo’s or James Reimer’s contract this offseason, it’s difficult to forecast where Montembeault fits in long-term. (mar15)
Montembeault is a goalie that I have been a fan of for quite some time. Right now, he is Florida’s best option in the pipeline and, since this is a young team on the rise (yeah, I’ve said this for two years now but it’s gonna happen), this could end up being the perfect storm. (mar11)
15. It's been a poor year for most Devils, though injuries are certainly a factor. With that said, it’s been a sublime season for Damon Severson. His 11 goals are a career-high, as are his 37 points (he had 31 in 2016-17). He’s been hard to roster in leagues counting plus-minus but has been very solid otherwise. With him and Will Butcher, there are nice pieces on the Devils’ blue line.
That second name seems to be a forgotten prospect to some people as Henrik Borgstrom solidifies himself with the Panthers but, as Jokke points out, Heponiemi is among the Liiga scoring leaders and just turned 20 in January.
This has been a spectacular season for Heponiemi and if he can crack the roster in October, could go a long way in lengthening the lineup and making Florida even more dangerous offensively. There are a lot of bridges to cross between now and then but it’s still a very solid effort from the young Finn. (mar13)
17. Just before his arm injury this past week, Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was having a very solid year in this his second full season, helping the Bruins drive the play forward and being a good starting point for their attack.
Luckily, the injury doesn’t seem to be too severe and he should be back soon. Not that he’s a key cog because they do have guys like Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy and John Moore, but having more good puck-moving defenseman is never a bad thing. (mar13)
18. I was a big believer in Brandon Saad’s rebound from last year and he’s currently sitting with 23 goals and should probably have more. Assists are a problem (just 18) and the lack of PP production, as it has been for most of his career, is an ongoing issue. He’s still a very good five-on-five player, though even I’ll admit that at this point he’s a better real-world player than fantasy option. (mar13)
19. It’s as if signing the big contract has helped Jakob Silfverberg turn the corner. He has points nine points in the eight games since. And that’s on a team that is really just not scoring.
We know this song and dance already, though. Every year without fail, in either the first or the second half, Silfverberg produces like a 70-point player. In the other half of the season, he produces like a 20-point player. If only we could get an advanced heads up on which half will be which.
With GM Bob Murray coaching the team right now, I feel pretty comfortable with Silf continuing for the duration. Murray needs to make his latest big signing look like a good one and you can see it in Jakob’s minutes – both at ES and on the PP. (mar11)
20. Jared McCann also had two points Sunday and he has eight in his last seven games.
I remember when poolies jumped on Jared McCann really quickly when he surprisingly made the Canucks as a 19-year-old in 2015. He was rushed. The Stratford native (as am I) is now in his fourth NHL season, though he was mostly in the minors for one of them, so I consider this his third.
These days, he’s clicking with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. We’ve learned from Conor Sheary (and going further back – Colby Armstrong) that there is no guarantee with this plum placement. I do have more confidence in McCann’s upside and pedigree than I had with Sheary, though. And 10 times out of ten, I would roll the dice on just the ‘chance’ that it continues on into next season. (mar11)
21. One big injury update from Wednesday was that Ottawa star defenceman Thomas Chabot has been diagnosed with a broken toe and is week-to-week. The team has 12 games left and were this any other organization, I would say that rushing back the franchise cornerstone player from a broken bone in a completely lost season so he can suit up with an AHL roster isn’t possible. But this is Ottawa, so whatever the worst possible option is, it’s definitely on the table. (mar13)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, folks!!
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