First, some news ahead of Sunday’s Game 6.
Robert Thomas is listed as a game-time decision for Game 6. With Ivan Barbashev suspended and Vladimir Tarasenko away to welcome the birth of his child, here are the lines from the Blues’ Saturday practice:
* Tarasenko and Steen not skating
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) June 8, 2019
Even with the new arrival, Tarasenko will be in the Blues’ lineup for Game 6.
Meanwhile, here are the Bruins’ lines from Saturday’s practice:
#NHLBruins practice lines:
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes/Kuhlman
Johansson – Coyle – Heinen
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Acciari
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Moore – Clifton
Grzelcyk – Kampfer
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 8, 2019
I won’t pick a winner for this game because my game picks have sucked for much of the playoffs (particularly the first round). But if St. Louis finishes the job on Sunday, my Conn Smythe pick is Ryan O’Reilly. My Boston pick remains Tuukka Rask if the Bruins can repeat 2011 and win Games 6 and 7 of the final.
This isn’t surprising news by any means, but according to Pierre LeBrun, the Anaheim Ducks are considering either trading or buying out Corey Perry. Getting something back for Perry would be the most ideal scenario for the Ducks, but he’s currently earning over $8 million for two more seasons. That’s considerable cap space for a player who scored just ten points (6g-4a) with a minus-16 in 31 games last season, a season that didn’t get going until February because of knee surgery.
Perry’s point totals have been on the decline for the past three seasons: from 34 goals and 62 points in 2015-16 to 53 points to 49 points to 10 points in 2018-19. From where he is now, he’s not a player to target in fantasy leagues, and he is even one to flat-out avoid in salary cap leagues. The Ducks need to go in a younger direction and have the options at right wing to do so (Jakob Silfverberg, Ondrej Kase, Troy Terry, Daniel Sprong). So finding a way to part with Perry isn’t a bad idea, even if it means the Ducks retain part of his salary in a trade. Moving to a new team may even spark some kind of rebirth, although that might depend on how well his surgically repaired knee can handle a now faster NHL.
There are several more hot stove items in LeBrun’s Notebook, which you can find over at The Athletic. Included are mentions of a Milan Lucic-for-Loui Eriksson trade that’s been discussed for a while, and the Arizona Coyotes as a potential surprise aggressive bidder for some top-name free agents, including Matt Duchene.
Potential top-10 draft pick Peyton Krebs will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a sliced Achilles tendon earlier this week. Krebs isn’t projected to start the season in the NHL anyway, so it may not push his ranking down all that much. However, the injury could mean that he falls outside of the top 10. The recovery time is expected to spill into the season, which would push his development back a bit. As a result, a team could use that as a reason to choose another similarly-ranked player over him.
The mock drafts that I’ve looked at have averaged Krebs at about the 9th-10th pick, so we’ll have to see what happens from here. Jokke Nevalainen from Dobber Prospects has Krebs at #11 in his mock draft posted May 24. You can view Krebs’ Dobber Prospects profile here.
Congratulations to the Charlotte Checkers, who won the AHL’s Calder Cup with a five-game final series victory over the Chicago Wolves. Andrew Poturalski was named as the AHL playoff MVP with 23 points in 18 games, while top goalie prospect Alex Nedeljkovic backstopped the Hurricanes’ farm team to their league victory. Both Poturalski and Nedeljkovic, although with other members of the Checkers, can be found in the Fantasy Prospects Guide, which is now available.
Poturalski at Dobber Prospects
Nedeljkovic at Dobber Prospects
As I mentioned yesterday, the Top 100 Roto Rankings will be returning next weekend. In the meantime as well as after I post these, I’ll be writing about some of my decisions in ranking players. Today, though, I’m going to cut right to the chase and give you my top 5. Remember, these are multicategory rankings, not pure points. Non-keeper. Categories I’m using are goals, assists, plus/minus, power-play points, shots on goal, and hits, which are the default categories in Yahoo leagues.
1 – Alex Ovechkin
Never mind right now, Ovechkin has been the best player in roto leagues for the past decade. I’m not giving him the top honor because of his all-time status, though. Ovie finished the season as the league leader in goals (51), third in shots (338), and in the top 20 in hits (223). I believe the hits stat puts him over the top here, as no one ahead of him in hits even came close to him in scoring categories, while no one in the top 30 in scoring had more than 90 hits. That ability to dominate three categories like that among the top scorers puts Ovie in a league of his own. Remove the hits stat, though, and I’d be willing to bump him out of the top spot. Age is also a concern – how long can the 33-year-old Ovechkin keep this up?
2 – Nikita Kucherov
The league’s leading scorer has to be among this group, right? Kucherov led the league in scoring (128 points) by a full 12 points. He obviously didn’t lead in goals (Ovechkin did), but his 87 assists was also 12 ahead of the next-highest total. That 128-point total was also the highest of any player of the salary cap era and the highest total since the mid-1990s. Maybe Kucherov lets off the gas a little in 2019-20, as he and the Lightning try to save something for the playoffs. Yet there’s absolutely no reason to wait on a player who scored over a point and a half per game (1.56 PTS/GP). Don’t forget about the linemates at his disposal in T-Bay, either. In pure points leagues, he’s arguably your first overall pick.
3 – Connor McDavid
Widely considered the best player in hockey, McDavid has posted three consecutive 100-point seasons compared to Kucherov’s two. Should the Oilers stack their top line and place Leon Draisaitl on McDavid’s line all season, McDavid could be your scoring leader by the end of the season. In 2018-19, Draisaitl was on the ice for 52 percent of McDavid’s even-strength minutes, but he was on the ice for 86 percent of McDavid’s even-strength points. Don’t worry about the Dave Tippett hiring having a negative impact on McDavid’s scoring either. After all, he went through nearly a full season of Ken Hitchcock and came out fine. For what it’s worth, McDavid is also entering his fourth “full” season (he missed about half of his rookie season due to injury).
4 – Nathan MacKinnon
Mike made a good argument in a Ramblings about a month ago about MacKinnon being the second overall pick in fantasy leagues behind Kucherov (with a good discussion also following). He mentioned that over the past two seasons (and you should be looking beyond last season when you make projections) that MacKinnon has averaged 40 goals, 58 assists, and 325 shots while exceeding over 30 power-play points over the past two seasons. That places MacKinnon third in points (behind Kucherov and McDavid), third in shots, and fifth in power-play points. With Colorado primed to climb up the standings next season, MacKinnon could easily be hanging around with McDavid and Kucherov by the end of the season.
5 – Brent Burns
I was initially tempted to go with Burns at #4, yet I wonder how much the Sharks stand to lose from their roster this offseason. Not to mention that Burns is now 34 and could start to experience some wear and tear soon. Whether Burns deserves a Norris Trophy nominee is one thing, but Burns is simply the best blueliner to own in a roto league (my ten-year-old hockey nut of a nephew told me this, so I know he has to be right). Burns led all defensemen in points (83) while being the only blueliner to average over a point per game, while he has taken over 300 shots for four consecutive seasons. To compare, no other blueliner has reached the 300-shot mark over that span. Position scarcity is an important factor as I make my live draft selections, which is why I’ve had Burns very high on my list the past few seasons.
Those will be my top 5 for my June roto rankings. Of course, these will be subject to change over the summer.
Enjoy Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight (and Game 5 of the NBA Finals the next night, if you’re into that, which I know not all of you are…)
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.