With training camp underway, does everyone have their copy of the 2019-20 Dobber Hockey Fantasy Guide? Now is the time to get brushed up to see what changes may come in the next few weeks. Head to the Dobber Shop to get yours now!
Training camps opened – well, media days anyway – which means we finally got a lot of information on the health of certain players. There are going to be quite a few updates, so just listing them in bullet form is probably easiest:
- Josh Anderson is still nursing a shoulder injury from the playoffs. He passed his physical but is going to need further treatment. He is a guy I was targeting heavily for this fantasy season and now I’m a bit nervous.
- Mikkel Boedker is going to be out a few days but it doesn’t look serious.
- Christian Wolanin has a torn labrum and will be out until after Christmas.
- It appears Travis Dermott could be ready sometime in early November.
- A small note: Connor McDavid isn’t cleared for contact yet. The expectation is he’ll be fine sooner rather than later (as in, well before the season starts), but just something to be aware of.
- Looks like all systems go for Taylor Hall and his knee problem. The team said they’ll be cautious and have him play fewer preseason games but again, it’s just to be cautious, and he doesn’t need more than a couple games anyway.
I don’t think I missed anything else of significance. There were lots of quotes about guys being hungry (someone feed the poor boys!) and getting ready for the grind (like they’re getting low on the dance floor).
Shea Theodore was diagnosed with testicular cancer thanks to a drug test at the World Championships, has since had the surgery to deal with this issue and it appears he’s okay now. You can read his article at The Players’ Tribune here. What a relief that they caught this early.
Jeff Blashill said explicitly that the Red Wings are going to use Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha as a line this year. I normally don’t believe coaches but seeing as this was a line they ran quite often in the second half last year, I don’t see a reason not to believe him. That’s good news for Tyler Bertuzzi dynasty owners. And both Mantha and Larkin are being undervalued in drafts (the latter by a significant amount).
Marcus Pettersson signed a one-year deal with the Penguins for under $900K.
Josh Morrissey signed an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $6.25M. It will start next season. It may be a high price to pay for cap leagues next year, but once Dustin Byfuglien is gone, hopefully Morrissey is running the top PP unit.
Ivan Provorov also signed an extension, this one being six years, and this one carrying an AAV of $6.25M. He might still be worth it in cap leagues that count real-time stats but the actual point production is a real concern.
With training camps starting, just a quick reminder that almost everything you read about it – for fantasy purposes – is useless. Which guy is in good shape, whatever the coach says about the way he wants the team to play, contract negotiations, and a whole host of other issues, are all meaningless. Every player is in good shape, every coach lies, and every GM wants to be able to sign all their players. Outside of players showing up healthy and the evolution of line combinations, everything else is useless. Don’t fill your brain with stuff you don’t need to know.
Last week, I did a single-season mock draft over on Fantrax. (Full board here.) The league was a small one – 12-team league, 16-man rosters – but it goes a long way in showing some of the over- and under-valued players that I’ve been discussing, and where they’re landing. Of course, it’s just one draft and that’s not concrete proof of anything, but it’s just to demonstrate that I’m not just pulling ADPs, rankings, and valuations out of nowhere.
We start five forwards, three defencemen, and two goalies with six bench spots. It’s a points league that favours goal scorers and goalies who win games (as many points leagues do). Categories are:
- Skaters – A = 3, G = 4, SOG = 0.5, Hit = 0.25, SHG = 2, PPP = 1
- Goalies – A = 3, GA = (-1), Saves = 0.25, SHO = 5, Win = 5
(As a small aside: I’m a big fan of Fantrax. They don’t sponsor me in any way but it’s a great spot for mock drafts and best balls, among many other things. Check them out if you haven’t.)
First of all, here is my team. They’re two separate columns, so the left column was my first eight picks and the right column was the latter half of my draft:
Drafting a goalie in the first round is not something I’m ever really comfortable doing. On the other hand, there aren’t many goalies we can rely on for at least 60 starts these days, and Bobrovsky is one of them. As long as he’s healthy and isn’t complete garbage to start the year, I can see him threatening 70 starts. This team – from the owner down to the players – is desperate to make the playoffs, and they’ll do whatever they have to. That’ll mean a boatload of starts for Bobrovsky.
Here are some thoughts on the rest of my picks:
- You’ll notice that David Pastrnak is my second pick, the day after I said I’m nervous about Brad Marchand because of Patrice Bergeron’s health. Let’s just say if that draft were re-done and held today, I would probably take Mikko Rantanen, who was the very next pick.
- Jake Guentzel fell much further than I expected. I have a hard time believing he’ll be picked outside the top-50 in almost any league regardless of scoring format. Even when I think he’s being kind of over-valued, this was a point where I had to take him.
- My plan for defencemen was this: if Brent Burns fell to me in the first round, I’d take him and then wait on a blueliner. He didn’t, but I still waited. From rounds 6-10, I drafted three defencemen and a goalie. I waited on defencemen, not picking any blueliners among the first 10 drafted, and still ended up with John Klingberg, Dougie Hamilton, and Shea Theodore as my three starters, all three I have ranked as top-30 defencemen, the first two in my top-20. I’d say everything worked out rather well.
- As you can see, late in the draft I got some of the players I’ve been discussing as undervalued all offseason, Nazem Kadri and Josh Anderson especially. Now, that shoulder thing for Anderson worries me now but at that price – outside the top-150 – I’d still draft him.
I want to make some notes about other players drafted, focusing on guys I’ve been discussing this offseason.
- Jack Hughes went a few picks after both Sean Monahan and Matthew Barzal. He was also drafted ahead of Jonathan Toews, who had 81 points last year. So, yes, the hype is very real, and you have to think hard about the opportunity cost here.
- I keep thinking Evgeni Malkin is going far too late. In this draft, it was mid-fourth round, but I’ve seen him drafted later. I get the injury concerns but he’s still a point-per-game player when he’s on the ice and it’s easy to replace a centre for a few weeks in shallower formats.
- Artemi Panarin went early in the third round, which is more palatable compared to other spots and this isn’t a format that punishes non-hitters as much. That seems fine.
- Phil Kessel went in the sixth round, and we just have to look at three names drafted in the seventh round to know it’s a bad idea: Sean Couturier, Timo Meier, and Mika Zibanejad.
- Dylan Larkin is going far too late in every format. This guy is a lock for over 20 minutes a night and he’s going to get line mates with whom we’ve seen him perform very well in the recent past. He’s a slam dunk where he was drafted, but I have him valued several rounds higher. The only reason I didn’t draft him is my starting spots were filled and I didn’t see much value in stocking my bench before filling out my defencemen.
- I just have this feeling that in six months we’re all going to wonder just how William Nylander kept falling outside the top-125 picks.
- A few guys I’m high on this year – Bo Horvat, Darnell Nurse, Sam Girard – all went in the final round. I just flat-out whiffed on Nurse because I thought he was drafted much earlier.
- This was the second mock draft I’ve done – and I’ve done one actual draft – and Darcy Kuemper keeps going a few rounds after Antti Raanta. I do think Raanta is the better goalie, but this is pretty clearly going to be a 1A/1B situation as long as Kuemper stays solid, so I don’t mind passing on Raanta to take Kuemper later in drafts.
- Drafting Ryan Suter ahead of Zach Werenski is just bad practice in any type of league.
Anyway, those are some thoughts on this one draft. Disagree? Hit up the comments.