Pretty much status quo on all of Sidney Crosby, Brian Dumoulin, and Justin Schultz for the Penguins. The first name had a day off while the other two still haven’t started skating. That means there’s still a way to go before this team is healthy, as has been the case almost all year.

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Colorado shook up the top line, dropping Mikko Rantanen down and bringing Joonas Donskoi up. I wonder if these don’t last as the team tries to find balance after getting all their healthy bodies back.

More importantly, they dropped Kadri/Landeskog to PP2 (presumably with Sam Girard) while Burakovsky and Donskoi are up on the top PP unit with Rantanen/MacKinnon/Makar. If that top PP unit gets cooking, could be a hit to some fantasy values. Will be a hit to fantasy values either way if one of the units takes off.

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Newly-called up Kailer Yamamoto finds himself on the second like with Leon Draisaitl as the team moves to the McDavid-Drai-RNH three-centre setup. I’d rather see Yamo on the top line where his goal-scoring talents can be better served, but that he’s in the top-6 at all is a good start.

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Jake Guentzel left Pittsburgh's game on Monday night very late in the third period and did not return. He crashed into the boards very awkwardly after scoring and seemed to be holding his shoulder. We'll get an update later. 

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Having now watched my third Germany game, I just wanted to drop in and say that Tim Stützle is up there for the most impressive players I’ve watched this World Junior tournament. His ability to maneuver in and out of traffic consistently is something that will translate well to the next level. What I worry about is that he’s a guy that seems to love having the puck on his stick a bit too much. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, I just want him to know he doesn’t have to do all the work all the time. Regardless, it’s easy to see why scouts are falling in love with the kid’s skill set.  

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From USA’s overtime win over the Czech Republic, Trevor Zegras continues to do his thing:

 

 

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Jan Jenik seemed to injure his knee in the game against the United States at the end of the second period and he did not return. He had been one of the stars of the tournament so far, at least outside of the typical stars we talk about.

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Be sure to keep it locked to Dobber Prospects for the entire World Juniors. There is content going up every day covering this event from all teams and all levels of prospects.

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John Tortorella will probably be fined/suspended for his comments to the NHL and the officials for blowing the game on Sunday night. Colin Campbell nearly said as much in his statement. I yearn for the day when professionalism and competence are synonyms for each other rather than professionalism and conduct.

I never thought I’d be defending Torts yet here we are. What a weird decade.

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Matiss Kivlenieks was called up in the aftermath of the Joonas Korpisalo, who will be out for “weeks” according to Torts.

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There was only one game in the NHL, plus our World Junior games, which means not a lot to report on. I thought it’d be worth going back to some bold preseason predictions of mine and see where they stand. Remember, these are bold predictions. These are not predicting Connor McDavid leads the league in points.

 

J.T. Miller is a top-75 skater in hits leagues

Whether he finished as a top-75 skater remains to be seen, obviously, but in standard Yahoo! leagues, which count hits but not blocks and penalty minutes, Miller was the 25th overall skater as of Monday afternoon. He currently sits with 14 goals, 36 points, 15 power-play points, 99 shots, and 65 hits in 40 games this year. It’s been a great start to the year.

One of my reasons for being high on Miller this year was that I was pretty confident he’d be setting a career-high in minutes. He’s not a guy who typically played heavy minutes wherever he was, and that was even worse in 2018-19 when it fell under 15 minutes a night. Now, I didn’t expect anywhere close to the 20 minutes a game he’s actually getting, and that’s a big reason why he’s a top-25 skater. All the same, Miller was going to skate in this talented top-6 and get top power-play minutes, so it seemed likely he would pay off his ADP this year, which was way deeper than the top-100.

There are concerns about a bit of regression here but as long as he stays healthy and maintains this ice time pace, then it seems very possible that he sets career-high marks across the board. Heck, a decent hot streak will have him set career marks for shots and goals by the All-Star break.

 

Timo Meier will score 40 goals.

Well, it’s not impossible that he gets there, he just needs a David Pastrnak-type streak. So, yeah, it’s very unlikely he gets there. What a mess the Sharks are this year. Age-related decline is always a factor but it’s as if every defenceman not named Erik Karlsson forgot how to play hockey. Regardless, Meier was a guy I was higher on than most people and I’m going to take a giant ‘L’ on that one.

 

Brett Ritchie gets to 20 goals for the first time

Should’ve said this about Noel Acciari instead. Woof.

 

Jordan Kyrou outscores Robert Thomas

I wonder what this would have looked like if Kyrou was called up a few weeks into the season rather than a few months. If everything breaks right, this could still happen this year. However, the team has seemingly pushed Kyrou down the lineup of late and, for a young player, that could mean a demotion back to the AHL soon. It’s weird because I’ve made a point to watch as much of him as I can since his call up and at the very least, his line has played very well, and he helps add a much-needed speed dynamic. It’s a team that preaches defence-first and his trio has put up very good defensive numbers, both by traditional metrics and just plus-minus of goals: they’re allowing 1.7 expected goals per 60 minutes (great) and are outscoring their opponents by more than a 2:1 margin (also great). So, Kyrou being pushed down the lineup made little sense to me. Alas, not much about this world does.

 

Sam Reinhart breaks both 30 goals and 70 points

It’s still possible he gets there but he’ll have to play at nearly a point-per-game pace over the second half of the season. Again, not impossible when you’re playing alongside someone like Jack Eichel both at 5-on-5 and on the power play. Even when he was moved off the top line it took about two periods for him to get back there.

It’s surprising how badly the Sabres struggling at sustaining offence when they added so many good puck-moving defencemen over the last couple years. I guess that’s just how bad their forwards are offensively outside of a handful of guys. That has nothing to do with Reinhart, just something I found interesting.

 

Travis Konecny is a top-75 skater in hits leagues

As of right now, Konecny is the 63rd overall skater in the league described above for J.T. Miller, and that was with a few games missed due to injury earlier this month. Konecny has lived up to my lofty expectations for this year, and then some.

One thing I worry about is Konecny’s defensive issues. We have multiple years of data telling us his defence is poor even as his offence is top-end. I know that defence doesn’t really matter for fantasy, but it does if it limits the player’s ice time. Konecny probably needs to be attached to Sean Couturier to maintain his fantasy value, because I’m not sure Kevin Hayes is good enough defensively to carry that portion of the game for Konecny. That this is how they’ve lined up lately is a concern.

Regardless of the defensive woes, Konecny has been great this year when healthy and there’s no reason to think that doesn’t continue for this season. He’s even an all-star now!

 

So far, not so bad. Meier and Ritchie are gigantic misses, Konecny and Miller are hits, and Kyrou/Reinhart is still kind of up in the air. As far as bold predictions go, pas si mauvais.

But then it’s at this point that I remembered I did a bold prediction post for defencemen only, and boy, these aren’t good. Let’s get to it.

 

Shayne Gostisbehere will be a top-10 defenceman in roto leagues

Oh. Oh man. Oh no.

 

Shea Theodore breaks 50 points

Right now, Theodore is on pace for 45 points, and that’s following a start that saw him put up five points in 14 October games. There’s a lot more here to give, so I’m not giving up on Theodore.

One thing that has surprised me is the lack of ice time for Theodore. I mean, it’s a career-high of 21:30, but he’s 72nd in 5-on-5 ice time per game among defencemen, below names like Devon Toews and David Savard. He’s being given second-pair minutes and there’s a good argument he’s their best defenceman.

 

Erik Cernak is a top-25 defenceman in multi-cat leagues

Nooooooooooooooooooooooope. (Though I’m still high on him for future seasons, this season is toast.)

 

Sam Girard ends up with more points than Cale Makar

I thought Girard would be running the PP early in the year and really wanted to cement that point home with this prediction. Did I get a bit over-zealous? Probably. Will I change my process? I probably should, obviously!

 

Aaron Ekblad will be a top-15 defenceman in multi-cat leagues

Funny thing is, I think if he maintains his hit rates from his career, he’s probably somewhere close to this? But he hasn’t, as he he’s on pace for like 30 hits this year despite breaking 80 in four of his five previous seasons, and 114 last year. That he’s completely abandoned this aspect of his game kills his value because he won’t put up uber-elite offensive numbers like John Carlson or Roman Josi to make up the difference in value. So, unless Ekblad starts pounding the opponent with considerable regularity, this is probably a missed prediction.

 

Mathew Dumba finishes a top-3 Western Conference multi-cat defenceman

No matter how much I tried to parse this one, it’s not going to get any better. I still think Dumba can be a monster fantasy contributor over a full season, but it certainly doesn’t look like it will happen this year.