Ramblings: Hughes for Kakko Trade, Scheifele, Gallagher (Aug 10)
There isn’t a lot of hockey going on in the dead of summer, but those looking to get their hockey fix can follow both the World Junior Summer Showcase (for under-20s) and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (for under-18s). If you need to catch up, Tony Ferrari has plenty of details for both in his Friday Prospect Ramblings.
On Friday, Cole Perfetti led Canada into the Hlinka Gretzky final with two goals in the game plus three shootout goals. You can watch these over at TSN. You can also view 2020 draft prospect Perfetti’s profile over at Dobber Prospects.
With the lack of real hockey news at this time of year, I’ll turn your attention to one of my fantasy leagues. Many keeper leagues administer an “entry draft”, where draft-eligible players can be chosen by teams, either in reverse order of the standings or some form of draft lottery. Last summer our league voted for a draft lottery tournament in which the non-playoff teams would battle it out in actual head-to-head matches for draft order ranking. So this was the first draft following a draft lottery tournament.
The entry draft for this league started today, but there was an interesting twist right before the draft started. The teams holding the first and second overall picks decided to swap picks. You might be wondering what the price of obtaining the first overall pick would be in case you are trying to acquire it for yourself, so this trade might give you some sort of idea.
Before I do, I wrote a decision-making guideline on choosing between Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. I know both owners fairly well, and they both brought up points that I had listed here earlier about why they had made the trade. I consider both owners to be friends, and they’ve both given their blessing on me writing about this trade here. Hopefully we are still friends after this analysis, although I don’t think I’m being too critical of either owner here.
The owner holding the second overall pick wanted Hughes, so he seemed to be the one to initiate the trade. He is admittedly a Devils fan, which can add some obvious bias. However, he told me that he had projected that Hughes would be the better player, giving me his point totals on both players for both this season and in three years. I don’t necessarily disagree with his numbers. After all, the team that acquires the best player almost always wins a trade.
The owner that gave up the first overall pick seemed a little more undecided as to who to pick first overall and seemed happy with receiving either player. This is a CBS league, so there are an overabundance of forwards that qualify only at the center position. As a result, auction bidding often goes too high on wingers and too low on comparable centers in this league. If Kakko matches Hughes in scoring (or is even under by just a little), then this trade is a win for him just based on positional eligibility. Positional scarcity should be an important factor to you if you want to kill it at your draft.
No one that is holding the first overall pick in their right mind will swap it straight across for a lower pick without getting something else in return. The only scenario in which I could see first overall being traded for second overall is if the picks were already made and the first overall owner was already having second thoughts about that first overall pick.
I realize that I haven’t shared the rest of the trade with you, and it may be the part that you’re really waiting for. So I won’t delay it any further. Or maybe I will. Blah blah blah. Just kidding.
The sweetener in this deal was Anze Kopitar, so the deal was Kopitar and Kakko for Hughes. Just to add some context, this is an auction league in which players can be awarded multiyear contracts, so number of years remaining factors into a trade just as amount does. Kopitar’s contract is for two more years. The amount is a bit on the expensive side for a center, although it certainly won’t kill this owner’s team. The contract was awarded after his 92-point season in 2017-18, which explains why it’s on the higher end of the scale. I wrote about Kopitar in the July 21 Ramblings, so I won’t expand on that any further since there’s nothing new to report on him. But to summarize, something in the middle of Kopitar’s 2017-18 season and his 60-point 2018-19 campaign seems like a reasonable projection for him.
What are your thoughts on the deal? Have any of you seen a trade in your league involving the Hughes and/or Kakko pick? I know that leagues have their research tools for you to find out who certain players have been traded for, but they may not be available with leagues not being open for business right now. So it’s nice to be able to share this information.
In case you're wondering who the rest of the picks were, I'll share that once the draft is complete. It's only a 12-pick draft, so it's not the deepest draft in Dobberland.
Mark Scheifele has been a point-per-game scorer over the past three seasons, even though that production has been just above the point-per-game mark in each of those three seasons (1.04, 1.00, 1.02 PTS/GP). That consistency makes it very easy to project another 80-point season for Scheifele.
However, 80-point seasons aren’t what they used to be. In 2018-19, 28 players reached the 80-point mark. Two seasons before when Scheifele broke through (2016-17), there were only seven. It doesn’t mean that Scheifele can’t increase those totals or benefit from this scoring inflation, but it has decreased his points-league value relative to other players over that span.
There are additional reasons to drop Scheifele down the Roto Rankings from his spot at #14. His 12 power-play goals and 23 power-play points from 2018-19 were both career highs, but prior to that he had never reached the 20 PPP mark, a number that 61 players reached in 2018-19. Also, Schiefele has never taken 200 shots in a season. His career high in shots is 199, set in 2018-19, which helped him reach a career-high 38 goals. This is a result of having a shooting percentage that has averaged around 19 percent the past three seasons. In addition, he doesn’t take a huge number of penalty minutes, hits, or blocked shots. And he’s also a center, which is the easiest position to find replaceable scoring options.
Scheifele has been a top-20 scorer in his two previous full seasons, which is where he could theoretically be drafted in points leagues. However, he doesn’t stand out in many roto categories, so could be considered overvalued in multicategory rankings relative to what he actually brings to a fantasy team.
Meanwhile, Brendan Gallagher’s multicategory league value might be higher than his points league value. Gallagher’s 52 points placed him just outside of the top 100 in overall scoring. Yet it is his contributions to specific roto categories that help his value.
Gallagher has now reached 30 goals in back-to-back seasons, which gives him 64 goals over the past two seasons. Only 21 other players have scored more goals than Gallagher over the past two seasons. Gallagher scores that many goals because he shoots the puck a lot. His 302 shots was sixth in the NHL in 2018-19, and only six players have taken more shots than Gallagher over the past two seasons. As he has been establishing his reputation as a player who can get under other players’ skins, his hit totals have also been gradually increasing to over 100 for the first time in 2018-19.
Now the weaknesses. In spite of playing all 82 games, Gallagher did not reach 20 assists in 2018-19, which was for the second time in three seasons. In addition, he was held to just seven power-play points in 2018-19, which is a result from the Habs’ 30th-ranked power play (13.2% success rate). That number should improve since the power play has nowhere to go but up. Aside from an outlier 17 PPP season in 2017-18, Gallagher has never exceeded 10 PPP. Yet he should reach at least that number if he stays on the first unit.
Gallagher is by no means dominant in every fantasy category. Yet there are a number of categories that he will fill the statsheet, which makes him an underrated player to target.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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