After a completely unpredictable first round, here’s something a little more predictable: the weekly Capped article for you.
Last week I covered half of the 62 players that were featured in last-summer’s buy/sell series. This week we finish off the second half, covering Minnesota through Anaheim in reverse alphabetical order. Next week we will tie it all together, drawing some conclusions.
I’m going to try to group the recommendations into a hit, a miss, or a pass (generally neutral outcome).
Matt Dumba (Buy): Dumba now has put up exactly 12 powerplay points in each of the last four seasons. However, last year was the first of those where he played less than 75 games – he played 32 to be exact. His breakout campaign was cut short by injury, but he produced well and should bounce back this season. Hit.
Eric Staal (Sell): Staal only put up two-thirds of the scoring output he managed last year, in part because his shooting percentage regressed to a more normal 10.2%. His new contract will continue to be a bargain, but the sell window certainly peaked last offseason. Hit.
Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Quick (Buy): Quick seems to be alternating injured and healthy seasons now, but it looks like he does bounce back in the seasons beginning in odd years. Miss on last off-seasons’ recommendation of a buy, but if he gets dealt as has been speculated on multiple platforms, he could make a better buy this year.
Jake Muzzin (Sell): Muzzin’s start to the year with LA was underwhelming, especially with his powerplay points taking such a hit. The trade to Toronto revitalized him a little, putting up his best quarter of the season. Even with those gains however, he still lost value. Hit.
Mike Matheson (Buy): Better one season too early than one season too late, right? As I stated last summer, this buy would be a slow burn of improvement, and that hasn’t changed. He did pace for 30-points for the first time in his career, and is entering year four this fall. You may have one more summer to get in on him. Mild hit.
No One? Nick Bjugstad (Sell): The rest of the Panthers’ offence really took off, aside from Vincent Trochek (injured), and Nick Bjugstad, who paced for only two-thirds of his production from the year before. He may be in a slightly better situation now in Pittsburgh, and his peripheral counts did increase noticeably. Based solely on last season though, this is a hit.
Oscar Klefbom (Buy): Klefbom rebounded to pace for 38 points this past season, which was a nice increase over last season’s 26-point pace. He has yet to score 40 points though, and with a slightly more healthy season next year, he should get there. I’ll give this a pass as he did improve, but wasn’t “one of the best buys of the summer” as I was hoping for.
Adam Larsson (Sell): Larsson put up similar numbers to last season, but did it in 19 more games this year. Add to that having his plus-minus drop from 10 to minus 28, and we have a successful sell. Hit.
Detroit Red Wings
Gustav Nyquist (Buy): Nyquist notched a career high 60-point season, even while taking a reduced role in San Jose after being acquired at the trade deadline. The contract year certainly came into play this year, and he will be looking to cash in on July 1st (as should you). Hit.
Jimmy Howard / Jonathan Bernier (Sell): Bernier didn’t do much of use this past season, but Howard was at least serviceable, with a 23-22-5 record, some slightly below average ratios, and above average shot volume. Pass.
Stephen Johns (Buy): Johns missed the entire 2018-2019 season with head issues. Not a good sign. Pass.
Alex Radulov (Sell): I missed on this one as Radulov put up an identical 72 points from the season before, but managed to do so in only 70 games. At 32 this is probably the highest we see him go, but another season or two of 70 points could be in the cards.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Cam Atkinson / Pierre –Luc Dubois (Buy): Both put up career highs in numerous stats across the board. Even if all of the star UFAs leave this summer, the emergence of Alex Texier, Oliver Bjorkstrand, among others, offers options on the wing to support the first-line duo. Hit.
Alex Wennberg (Sell): Wennberg followed up last season’s poor campaign with an abysmal one this past season. Only 25 points in 75 games for a one-dimensional centre being paid $4.9 million per year is a recipe for disaster. Hit.
Philipp Grubauer (Buy): Grubauer took a while to get adjusted to life in Colorado, but once he did, he was one of the fantasy MVPs from mid-February to the end of the season. After a long layoff between starts, Grubauer put up a shutout against Nashville on February 23rd. Between that game and the end of the season, he posted a 1.44 GAA and a 0.956 Sv% with nine wins in 14 appearances. We’ll give this a pass though, as the first three-quarters of the season were a little rough.
Alex Kerfoot (Sell): Kerfoot posted almost identical stats this year as he did in his rookie year the season prior. We can likely expect another year of similar production next year before a breakout in season four. Small miss.
Nick Schmaltz / Dylan Sikura / Victor Ejdsell (Buy): Big miss here, but just because I picked the wrong youngsters. Schmaltz was traded to Arizona (and subsequently injured) for Dylan Strome and Brandon Perlini who both put up successful campaigns. Sikura flopped to the tune of eight points in 33 games. Ejdsell didn’t make it into a single game.
Patrick Kane (Sell): Another miss on the star player who somehow managed to just about live up to his $10.5 million cap hit. Kane put up a career high 110 points. Jakub Voracek was one of the players I suggested trying to deal him for in a one-for-one. Voracek put up 66 points. Ouch. The other name I tossed out was Phil Kessel. Saving $2.5 million there for 28 less points wouldn’t have been too bad depending on what you did with the cap space.
Valentin Zykov (Buy): Zykov failed to really make a splash on any team he was on during the course of the season, and only managed five points in 28 games. Miss.
Justin Faulk (Sell): Faulk received an even larger share of the powerplay time this season, but flopped from 19 to 10 powerplay points, though the rest of his production remained stagnant. Pass.
Mark Giordano (Sell): Yeah… that’s a miss. He’s going to win the Norris.
Alex Nylander (Buy): Twelve games and four points for Nylander represented a little progress. He also marginally bumped his AHL totals and should be in a good position to win a roster spot in the fall. As with Matheson, better a year too early than a year too late. Pass.
Jeff Skinner (Sell): Skinner managed to hit his ceiling again this season, matching his career high of 63 points. However, the sell-high window has closed, as entering free-agency, Skinner will get a raise, and it will be almost impossible for him to find a slot next to a better centre than Eichel. There’s nowhere to go but down after this productive season. Pass.
Danton Heinen (Buy): Heinen dropped in production from 47 points to 34 points as the whole secondary segment of the Bruins’ offence really failed to show up in the regular season. Miss.
John Moore (Sell): Not only did Moore’s offence continue to dry up, but his peripherals took a hit too. His ice time was down almost 1:30 per game, and the loss of that time coupled with added time on the penalty kill meant his hits, blocks, penalty minutes, and shots all regressed. Hit.
Vinnie Hinostroza (Buy): Hinostroza’s first season with the desert dogs was a solid one, posting a career high of 39 points. He appears poised to continue his growth, surpassing 40 points, and maybe even more next season. Hit.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Sell): Ekman-Larsson’s stat lines from the last two seasons look eerily similar. Even without a visible drop in output, his value is going down due to his approaching raise. OEL is currently set to be the third highest paid defenceman in the NHL next year (though Karlsson will pass him too). He isn’t even the third most productive defenceman in his division, let alone in the league. Hit.
Ondrej Kase (Buy): Kase’s issue has never been his scoring. The 23-year-old put together a career high 0.67 points-per-game, but injuries only allowed for 30 games. Next season will be important for Kase to showcase what he can do over a full year, but in the meantime, he has shown he can be a big part of a team’s offence. Hit.
Adam Henrique (Sell): Herique has alternated 40- and 50-point seasons the past few years. This year was no different, dropping down to 42 points from 51 the year before. His assists were almost identical but taking 30 fewer shots over the course of the season and seeing a slight drop in shooting percentage meant regression for the 29-year-old centre. Factor in a new contract kicking-in next season, and Henrique’s value has tanked. Hit.
For those counting, that was 16 hits, eight passes, and eight misses in week one, 15 hits, seven passes, and eight misses in week two, for a total of 31 hits, 15 passes and 16 misses.
Tune in next week for some conclusions!
Previous Capped articles:
That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.