Ramblings: A Busted Jaw, A Playoff Breakout, & A Chance For Increased Deployment Next Season (June 5)
Let’s start this off with some news (bad if you’re a Bruins’ fan, good if you’re from Missouri). Zdeno Chara has a broken jaw.
Now, players have slapped on a full cage and played with a broken jaw before. And they’ll do it again. But not usually two days after it happens. With Matt Grzelcyk already out with a concussion and now potentially Chara, the left side of their backend is vanishing quickly. At 42 years old, Chara isn’t the dominant player he once was. However, he continues to swallow nearly 70 percent of the team’s penalty killing assignments. And that will be very difficult to replace.
The team may have to run a backend unit without a player over the age of 30 for game five. They may look at dressing an 11F/7D scheme as well.
Charlie Coyle is on a heater. When the Bruins dealt Ryan Donato and a 2019 fifth round pick for Coyle in late February, many questioned the long-term focus of the deal. Donato had previously played at a Hobey Baker level, before coming into the NHL and scoring five goals and nine points in 12 games to close out 2017-18.
A slow start and a dip down the lineup fostered the trade for Coyle, but the question remained: What were the Bruins really acquiring?
Coyle was on his lowest point-pace since his sophomore season in 2013-14. He was losing far more faceoffs than he won. Hitting less, blocking fewer shots. He wasn’t contributing substantially in any single area.
His 21 regular season games with the Bruins weren’t any better. Two goals, six points, and even fewer hits and blocks. But as it does every year, the calendar turns to spring, the postseason begins and an unheralded player or three turn it up a notch. After 12 goals in 81 regular season games, Coyle now has nine goals in 21 playoff games.
The 27-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and has been seeing nearly all of his even-strength ice next to Danton Heinen and Marcus Johansson. It’s been an effective third line, and the trio has come together to chip in with the odd power-play goal as well.
Heading into 2019-20, Coyle may get a small boost in fantasy drafts due to his positive post-season. But he’s a horse I won’t be betting on. The career 9.5 percent shooter usually averages around two shots per game. During the playoffs, he’s put 1.7 shots on goal per game while converting on 25 percent of them.
That will not last.
Granted, we’ve seen a 56-point season from the 6’3 forward back in 2016-17, so we know he has the goods to produce at fantasy-relevant levels. But with MoJo likely on his way out via free-agency, Coyle’s potential linemates dip in interest.
If he can break 40 points with some medium peripherals, I’d call that a win for deep leagues.
I'll just leave this here for hilarity sake. "Nazeeeem Kadri and Jacob Trooobda". Never change, Sean Avery. Okay, maybe you can do a little self-improvement.
I have no idea if he is legit or not (I’m gonna go with probably not), but Sean Avery says that Nazem Kadri has been traded for Jacob Trouba. pic.twitter.com/EXXugh8vAl
— 51Leafs (@51Leafs) June 5, 2019
The 2019 Dobber Hockey Fantasy Prospects Report has arrived! Just a ridiculous number of rankings, profiles, future production, charts, and a whole lot more for fantasy owners in all types of leagues. Don’t let your competitors get an upper hand! Find it in the Dobber Shop now.
Here's a sneak peek.
Speaking of Ryan Donato, keep an eye out for him next year. He could be sniffing around sleeper territory. While the trade took a while to inspire Coyle, Donato was immediately transformed. The 23-year-old scored four goals and 16 points in 22 games with the Wild. He also managed to put three shots on goal per game while seeing around 15:30 per contest – a three-minute increase from his Boston days. Virtually all of those minutes came during even-strength play.
He did so while converting on just 6.3 percent of his shots while in a Minny tarp. This is a player who had previously proven capable of finishing at a high rate in the NCAA, and during his early foray into the NHL. I would comfortably project his finishing zone to be around 9-12 percent. If he’s putting 2.75-3.0 shots on net per game, we’re looking at 22-30 goals in a full season. Of course, the deployment needs to be there. And that’s looking promising as well.
The Wild have already dealt Nino Niederreiter, and have actively and publicly been shopping the team’s top left-wing, Jason Zucker. That’s going to open some juicy deployment opportunities for Donato and fellow newcomer, Kevin Fiala. There’s a world where Donato sees top power-play deployment next season as a triggerman. That kind of value later in drafts is very interesting.
I'll also add, that Zucker is a highly interesting player heading into next season. After pumping 33 goals in 2017-18, he dipped to 21 last season while watching his shooting percentage fall by five points. This is another player begging for a regression to the mean – and that means back in the 12-13 percent range. Where he ends up playing in 2019-20 is anyone's guess, but I'd wager wherever that is, will put him in a position to shoot the puck a lot.
He's another one who will have sneaky upside in drafts next fall.
For those who don't know, I teach grade 6-9 on a small Gulf Island in BC. Quite often to begin the day, usually, after a weekend, we do a little something that the kids call, Story Time with Mr. Cam. I shared this little tale on last week’s episode of Prospect Central, but I’ll give it one more chance to see the light of day in print as well.
So, last year in Dallas was my first year attending a live draft. Hell, it was my first time applying for any real media credentials at the pro level. Dobber did the heavy lifting and it was easy breezy. Creds approved, flights booked. Good times were had by all.
This year, the event is taking place in my proverbial back yard – VanCity. Something of a hockey hotbed. Off goes the application in April with not a cloud in the sky. I’d booked harbour flights, podcast interviews, shows on Sportsnet, and all the evening fun-stuff that accompanies draft week.
But then, the email arrives. Credentials: Denied.
I consider myself a fairly calm and cool guy, but my pulse dipped a bit when I read that. I believe the exact quote was, “Oh shit.” In a flash, Dobber was a man with a plan. He had already appealed and remained confident. All we needed was for the NHL to read the email in time. I, remaining oh-so-cool, of course, had plenty of patience and certainly didn’t email Dobber 15 hours later (most of them spent overnight) to blast obscenities at the NHL for not having answered us yet.
His response, “Haha rest easy my friend. The Dobber's got you.” And did he ever. A phone call to the league offices; a whisper in the ear of some higher-ups, and by 3 pm, Peter Harling and I had our credentials approved.
Thanks, Dobbs. I owe you one.
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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