21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles
Every Sunday, we'll share 21 Fantasy Rambles – formerly 20 Fantasy Thoughts – from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week's ‘Daily Ramblings’.
Writers: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford, Cam Robinson, and Dobber
1. It’s difficult to think that David Pastrnak will score the 82 goals that he’s on pace for. You could try to sell high, but it might be a John Carlson-type sell high in which you would only receive the very best in return or a package deal that returns multiple impact players. In both cases, a better bet might be to hold, yet still enjoy great (although somewhat reduced) production. Forty goals is a very real possibility, and he might even make a run at 50. (nov1)
2. A healthy scratch on a few occasions this past week, Nikita Gusev watched with former Devil Patrik Elias to analyze the game. Gusev was expected to make an immediate impact in the revamped New Jersey top six. Things have not gone to plan. He’s been shuffled all over the lineup and he nor the team, have found their sea legs yet. I’m not saying go out and buy-low on him, but I’d be keeping a close eye on it. I believe he’s still a super talented guy who should mesh up well amongst their top guys. If you can get him for a song to stash for a minute, go on and do it. (oct30)
3. Last week, J.T. Compher was the guy to pick up in Colorado to move up to the top line after Mikko Rantanen was injured. How quickly things change with the Gabriel Landeskog injury, as Joonas Donskoi is now receiving minutes with Nathan MacKinnon, both on the top line and first-unit power play. Donskoi is worth at least a short-term add as many did with Compher last week. (nov1)
4. On pure talent alone, John Gibson might be a top-5 goalie. However, there’s more to fantasy success than talent. I remember Dobber once mentioning three pillars of a successful fantasy goalie (hopefully I’m not misquoting): talent, team and opportunity. Gibson has two of those elements going. The Ducks, as they often are, were outshot by a significant margin on Friday against the Canucks. Yet Gibson nearly stole the game in regulation but was successful in earning the overtime win in stopping 39 of 40 shots. Not surprisingly, Gibson is among the league leaders with a .926 save percentage. I’m killing it in the save percentage category in one league because I own both Gibson and Tuukka Rask! (.951 SV%). (nov 2)
5. Roope Hintz already has nine goals, but just one assist. At age 22, Hintz is obviously a player to retain in keeper league (depending on your situation, of course). In single-season leagues, however, there’s a sell-high opportunity. Hintz is currently shooting at an unsustainable 27.3%. While I was looking up his hot streak from late last season, I actually discovered that he didn’t score a single goal in his last 11 regular-season games. During that stretch, he did record seven assists, however. Expect a lower goal rate but a higher assist rate soon. (nov 2)
6. Dougie Hamilton has points in all but three games this season, and 16 points over 14 outings overall. The Hurricanes have finally unleashed the beast, and it’s doing wonders for your fantasy team. Or, to put it another way, he’s been aided by Justin Faulk being traded to St. Louis (fantasy impact here). Why oh why couldn’t Brind’Amour have done this earlier? It was getting to the point where I was expecting Jaccob Slavin or Brett Pesce to receive PP1 minutes before Hamilton. Better late than never, I suppose. (nov 2)
7. Victor Hedman missed his second consecutive game on Friday. However, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said that Hedman hopes to play in next Friday-and-Saturday’s Global Series games in Sweden. Because of the travel schedule overseas, the Bolts have a less-than-ideal schedule for the next week and a half. Something to consider if you’re thinking of adding someone Bolts to your fantasy lineups. For more on the schedule of the Lightning and other teams, see our most recent Looking Ahead article. (nov 2)
8. In spite of the early-season goal outburst, Brayden Schenn is shooting at about the same rate that he did last season. This outburst has been driven by four PPG already, which seems like a lot if you consider that Schenn scored four PPG all of last season. However, Schenn was a 17 PPG scorer during his final season with the Flyers, so the overall shooting percentage could regress while he still has time to score more power-play goals. The absence of frequent linemate Vladimir Tarasenko could also negatively affect production here. Schenn is a potential sell-high. (nov1)
9. I had figured that with Brandon Montour back in the lineup, Henri Jokiharju would get the short end of the stick given how many right-handed shots the Sabres have, but it appears that the temporary solution will be just to have Colin Miller played on the left side. That gives the team a pretty good first and third pair, now they just need to figure out the second pair, i.e. trade Rasmus Ristolainen.
While on the topic of the Sabres, just want to point out what a masterful job general manager Jason Botterill did rebuilding that blue line. (Well, maybe just flat-out building it.) They added Miller, Jokiharju and Montour for a second-round pick, a fifth-round pick, Alex Nylander, and Brendan Guhle. Assuming they re-sign Montour after this year (still RFA), they’ll have four legit, top-4 defensemen moving forward, led by Rasmus Dahlin, for at least the next few seasons.
It’s a lesson for keeper and dynasty owners: never be afraid to go for it if you think you have a chance at a title. Even if you fail and have to rebuild, it can be done fairly quickly with the right trades. It’s not to say it’s easy, but it doesn’t take as long to turn a team around as some fantasy owners might think. (oct31)
10. The Rangers are clearly going to be poor this year but the potential for greatness is percolating just under the surface. The youth movement is already insulated by high-end younger vets like Jacob Trouba, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. And they’ll very likely add a high-end prospect from a disgustingly deep 2020 class to their pool.
To add a cherry on top, they boast arguably the top netminder outside of the NHL. Igor Shestyorkin is finding impressive success early in his AHL campaign: 5-1-2, 1.82 GAA, and a 0.932 SV%.
All the elements are there for this team to mimic a Colorado Avalanche ascension up the standings. The gaudy point totals should follow a few of the members around as well – especially those who grace the top power-play unit. Buy early on these Rangers in keeper leagues. (oct30)
11. The Rangers recalled Filip Chytil from Hartford this week. The organization made claims of wanting to ‘over-ripen’ the former first-round selection, but all it took was nine games and nine points in the AHL, a bunch of losses by the big club, and Mika Zibanejad going down with an injury to spark the move.
Thank goodness, too. Because it was painful to watch New York continually deploy Ryan Strome as their 2C. I can’t imagine him as the top center but that is what we saw last Wednesday versus the Lightning. (oct30)
12. Between the injury itself and a possible arbitration hearing as to whether Dustin Byfuglien’s ankle injury was a hockey-related injury (as mentioned by Elliotte Friedman on HNIC Saturday), it could be a while before Buff returns to hockey action – if he returns at all. My prediction is that I think Buff will play in the NHL again once his injuries heal, but it will be with another team.
In the meantime, if you’ve ever played defense, then the Jets might try to sign you to a contract. Heaven forbid if the Jets get another injury on defense, as Tucker Poolman did on Saturday. That meant Neal Pionk logged nearly 30 minutes (29:24 to be exact) and Josh Morrissey was out there for his usual 25 minutes. Although minutes are great and they result in more opportunities for counting stats, I’d be concerned about overuse if I own either of those players. (nov3)
13. You may have noticed a different look for the Flyers on their first-unit power play on Saturday. Ivan Provorov took over from Shayne Gostisbehere on the first PP and looked effective, scoring a power-play goal in the first period, then adding a power-play assist on Claude Giroux’s goal in the second period. Provorov totaled seven shots while logging a season-high 28:06. The returns looked great, so Provorov’s value appears to have increased assuming he stays on the Flyers’ PP1 for the time being (and subsequently, Ghost’s will take another hit). (nov3)
14. I’m a big-time believer in Carter Hart, but more so than any other position in real life or fantasy, the strength of the team has such a massive impact on netminders. If you’re a decent goalie on a great team, you’re valuable. A great goalie on a medium or poor team? Not so much.
Hart will possess a boatload of value in keeper leagues due to his age, pedigree and early career performance, and I might be inclined to sell on that potential if given the chance. As much as Philly has some decent youngsters on the way up, the discrepancy between that potential youth movement and the ageing star talent on the roster doesn’t bode well for their long term upside.
I’d love to tell you to buy-low on a couple of Flyers – and you could on Sean Couturier, I suppose, but for a player like Shayne Gostisbehere, who has been putrid for nearly 100 games now, the tide doesn’t appear to be shifting in his favor. (oct30)
15. After requesting a trade, Brendan Perlini was shipped to Detroit for prospect Alec Regula. You can read Regula’s DobberProspects profile here. Perlini is still just 23 years old but he hasn’t been able to make it work in two different spots. Will Detroit be different? I’m skeptical. (oct29)
16. A goalie to add to your bench or minors if you have that option (or depth room): Calvin Pickard. He’s 3-2-3, 0.918 in the AHL right now. Meanwhile, the goalies on the pro team – Jonathan Bernier and Jimmy Howard, are struggling to stay above 0.900 SV%. It’s probably going to take an injury, but when it comes to these two I would expect that to happen at some point. (oct28)
17. Florida defenseman Mackenzie Weegar has eight points in his last 10 games. Pretty much around the time when he was paired with Aaron Ekblad. Sustainable? Well, this is heavily reliant on his pairing. He’s not getting any PP time and that may never happen, since Keith Yandle, Ekblad and Mike Matheson are on the team. So it is dependent on how long he can stay with Ekblad. Coach Joel Quenneville seems to like him. But Coach Q also liked Jordan Oesterle briefly during his Chicago stint and we saw Oesterle eventually sputter and fade after 10 good games (back in 2017-18). So you may get a few games of decent production out of Weegar, but don’t count on anything long-term. A worthy short-term pickup, though. (oct28)
18. Nick Paul is a 220-pound power forward who needed extra time to adapt to the pro game (as all big men do). He was a key piece in the Jason Spezza trade to Dallas and the Sens have waited patiently for him to show some signs. Last year, he finally showed it when he notched 39 points in 43 games. This year he had four points in three games down there before getting called up.
Connor Brown, by the way, leads the Sens in scoring right now with 11 points in 12 games. If he keeps it up, it should lead to more PP time, which would help him reach that thus-far elusive 40-point mark. At now 265 career games, he’s right in that breakout wheelhouse too (or a tad beyond it). (oct28)
19. There are a lot of leagues were Martin Jones is very valuable, mostly because those leagues rely heavily on wins and shutouts and are points-only leagues. But he’s gotta be killing Sharks’ fans who are imagining what this team could do if they had even an average goalie between the pipes.
When St. Louis finally gave up their Jake Allen stubbornness, some pretty good things happened. What will it take to do the same in San Jose? It would have to involve a trade, since right now their top available goalie prospect is Josef Korenar, who is having a decent AHL season, but at 21 years old with little pedigree, he’s not going to be a Jordan Binnington. (oct28)
20. Last week, I hyped Dominik Kubalik after he had a 10-shot game and had been pounding shots at the net like nobody’s business. Since those Ramblings he has just seven shots in six games. I still believe he gets to 40 points this year and 200 SOG. The ice time will come as he earns the coach’s trust so the offense may be second-half heavy. (oct28)
21. Brent Seabrook, who has five years remaining on his contract that has an AAV of $6.875M, has been so bad that when he plays he has to be heavily sheltered. He’s being given mostly offensive-zone starts and not creating any offense. But to have him start in his own zone is like giving the other team a goal. The domino effect of having that removed from the lineup is intangible but very real. Those offensive zone starts can go to a player who can do something with them. With Erik Gustafsson or Olli Maatta, the other four players on the ice stand a better chance of picking up points. (oct28)
Have a good week, folks!!
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