21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles

Mario Prata

2020-02-23

Every Sunday, we’ll share 21 Fantasy Rambles originally 20 Fantasy Thoughts from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s 'Daily Ramblings'.

Editors: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford, Cam Robinson, and Dobber


 

1. Let’s start with Sunday morning's big news. Playing the Devils, Alexander Ovechkin scored his 700th NHL goal. I remember a few years back when he turned 30 years old. There was much debate about his future, as he was coming off a 33-goal, 69-point season, and fantasy general managers were preparing themselves for his decline. However, the greatest goal scorer in NHL history has been able to keep up a torrid pace the last few years.

When you think of how close he is to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal scoring record, remember that he lost a season and a half to two lockouts. He easily could be hovering around 760 goals right about now if there were no work stoppages. (feb23)

 

2. I really, honestly don’t think the Rangers are far away from being a Cup contender. The top-6 is legitimately great, Adam Fox has turned into a top-pair defenceman, and Igor Shesterkin has been great since his recall. If their young duo on the third line in  Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko can come along, and the team adds one more true top-4 defenceman, I think they’re right there.

I think this rebuild is much further along than some people might suspect, especially if those people think this is the same Rangers team that was getting pummeled nightly earlier in the year. If they go sign a top-4 defenceman and Chytil/Kakko take a big step forward, this is a dangerous, dangerous team. (feb22)

 

3. Edmonton’s second line continued their torrid pace in Friday's loss, as  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put up 2+1,  Leon Draisaitl put up 1+1, and Kailer Yamamoto put up 0+2. While Draisaitl is getting the press for the Hart Trophy, and Yamamoto some ink for his play since the recall, it’s very much worth mentioning that RNH has 28 points in his last 20 games going back to New Year’s Eve. I wonder where he fits into Edmonton’s plans moving forward. (feb22)

 

4. A great story in Edmonton is in fact that tremendous chemistry Kailer Yamamoto has had with  Leon Draisaitl and  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Yamamoto now has 20 points in 20 games this year and has firmly established himself as an NHLer. This is tremendous for Edmonton, who have been desperate to find any kind of skillful help in their top-six.

This has so many obvious repercussions. It allows Draisaitl to tear himself away from McDavid. This second line (first line? Whatever you want to call it, the label is meaningless) is a huge threat. And McDavid is a huge threat even if I was on one wing and you were on his other.

So, now Edmonton legit has two lines. When was the last time you could say that? Yamamoto is now averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game and with McDavid out, he is now firmly implanted on the top PP line too. (feb17)

 

5. Jordan Eberle scored his first hat trick in nearly three years as the Islanders mathematically eliminated the Red Wings from playoff contention on Friday. He played 20:35 and managed five shots on goal while skating on the top line.

It’s very much worth noting how much Eberle’s ice time has climbed of late. He has played at least 19 minutes in five straight games, averaging 20:50 in that span. There are injuries going through the Islanders lineup and it looks like until they get healthy, Eberle,  Mat Barzal, and  Anders Lee are going to play all the minutes they can handle. (feb22)

 

6. I truly believe that if Ondrej Kase can play 17-18 minutes a night on Boston’s second line with top PP minutes, he’s very capable of 30-goal, 65-point seasons. It’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t put up peripherals – he has 35 PIMs and 51 hits over his last 145 games. A guy putting up like 20 PIMs and 25 hits doesn’t move the needle in multi-cat formats.

In those leagues, he really needs to put up goals, shots, and points to be valuable, and he’ll need commensurate ice time to put up those goals, shots and points. If he’s playing 15 minutes a night on the third line with secondary PP minutes, I’m not sure how much fantasy value he’ll have in Beantown. If he can stay healthy, stay in the top-6, and get top PP minutes, he’ll get closer to his fantasy ceiling much faster than he would have in Orange County. You can also read Ian’s take on the Kase trade  here shortly after the trade was consummated. (feb22)

 

7. The Kings have been busy helping other teams with their playoff runs, shipping off Alec Martinez and  Tyler Toffoli to Pacific Division rivals this week. That represents opportunity for some new faces. One new King fantasy owners might be interested in is  Gabriel Vilardi, who provided instant returns on his first-ever NHL shift on Thursday.

The 2017 first-rounder also added an assist on a  Martin Frk goal while finishing that game with 15:10 in ice time and second-unit power-play time. Vilardi was sidelined for almost all of last season with a back injury, but he scored 25 points in 32 AHL games this season.  View his Dobber Prospects profile. (feb21)

 

8. Max Pacioretty now has eight goals and 11 points over his last eight games. After two seasons of underwhelming returns, Pacioretty is making a case for comeback player of the year in fantasy. He’s at a 0.94 PTS/GP pace, which is the highest number of his career. In addition, only Nate MacKinnon and  Alex Ovechkin, with 285 each, have more shots than Patches (279). That’s impressive value for a player who was on average drafted outside of the top 100 in Yahoo leagues, behind  Jeff Skinner (oops!). (feb21)

 

9. Phil Kessel is on pace for just 44 points, and for the first time in his career he’s on pace for fewer than 200 shots. His fantasy value sunk like a stone with the move to the desert, but we told you that might happen. (feb21)

 

10. My waiver-wire pickup of the week was  Mackenzie Blackwood. I know I shouldn’t lean heavily on a Devils goalie, but he’s been red  hot lately with six consecutive quality starts and a 6-0-0 record. I know Dobber isn’t huge on him, but he is an RFA this offseason and playing for the chance to be the Devils’ permanent  starting goalie. The Devils might be playing for pride, but  hot goalies can emerge from anywhere. Ride this train while it lasts. (feb21)

 

11. One name on the trade bait board that really intrigues me is  Andreas Athanasiou. He’s having a bad year, of that there is no doubt, but I think AA can do very well but it has to be in the right circumstances. Like, I’m not sure he’s a player who can play 18-19 minutes a night on the top line tasked with defensive responsibility. On the third line in a sheltered role with actual NHL linemates who can get him the puck? He could do a lot of damage. It’ll be interesting to see what Detroit decides to do here. (feb20)

 


 

12. The TRADE DEADLINE is tomorrow, so I wanted to give some readers a heads up on how exactly we cover it here at DobberHockey. Returning readers will be familiar, so this is more for new readers that we may have picked up over the last year.

Basically, the entire Dobber editing team – myself, Ian, Cam, and of course Dobber – are going to be around during Deadline Day. When fantasy-relevant trades occur, one of us will be breaking it down in an article here on the site, usually within an hour. Sometimes, if there is a flurry of trades in a small window, it can take a few hours (especially if there are a bunch that come in right at the deadline), but that’s something that occurs with infrequency. By and large, we have articles out with a quick turnaround time.

Now, what exactly constitutes a “fantasy-relevant” trade is obviously subjective. We just try to use our best judgment because there can be a lot of swaps that occur and not everyone from the editing team is available all day long (a national holiday would be nice). Last year, for example, we had Cliff Pu traded for futures,  Adam McQuaid for a couple late-round picks,  Michael Chaput for  Jordan Weal, and so on. Those aren’t types of trades that will appear with analysis on the site.  Tanner Pearson for  Erik Gudbranson? Yes. Kevin Hayes to the Jets? Of course.  Mikael Granlund for  Kevin Fiala? Absolutely. Sorry to all of you dynasty leaguers with 1200 players rostered; we’re not going to be breaking down a trade of an AHL forward for an ECHL goalie.

Beyond that, there is sometimes more than one opinion breaking down trades. When a big trade happens – say,  Mark Stone to Vegas – the editors are usually fighting over who gets to write about it. (Not actually fight; Ian could pound the hell out of me, I’m certain.) And then the email chain will start with some input from around the group. While people will see one name as the author of every trade breakdown, sometimes it is a collaborative effort to try and get the best/most relevant information to the readers.

We like to think we do a good job of breaking down everything fantasy owners need to know about Deadline Day. So be sure to check back frequently, especially in the few hours leading up to the deadline itself when trades really get rolling in. (feb20)

> Go here for a breakdown of this year's 2020 trades…

> Go here to revisit last year's 2019 deals…

 


 

13. Carey Price made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season on Saturday. While many Habs fans are upset over his usage, it’s great if you own him in fantasy. Price has started 15 straight games and 18 of the team’s past 19. In those 18 games, he is 10-7-1 with a 2.16 GAA, a .930 SV % and three shutouts. He’s also averaged 29 saves per game. He may be overworked, but it’s better than having a goalie that is in a timeshare. (feb23)

 

14. In case you missed the news, Ryan Ellis made his return from a concussion on Friday night. It was his first game back since getting elbowed in the head by Corey Perry during the Winter Classic on Jan. 1. Ellis was on pace for a 55-plus-point season before the injury.

He was excellent in Saturday’s game against Columbus, notching an assist, a plus-two, four shots and three blocked shots in almost 24 minutes of ice time. He also scored in the shootout (I know there are at least a few leagues that count shootout goals). (feb23)

 

15. Troy Terry is the guy I’m interested in on the Ducks. In a small sample last year, he had good micro stats like entries/exits with possession. That trend has continued in a small sample this year. Now, just combining two small samples from two different years doesn’t prove anything, but it does show that Terry is capable of the things we need to see for him to have fantasy value.

I think Terry has the skills to be a top-end playmaker in the league, but the Ducks are just lacking so much talent up front, especially with the constant injuries, that it’s hard to see him having a breakout season soon. I would be looking to acquire him for cheap in dynasty with the understanding that it could be a couple years before he has any real impact on my fantasy roster. (feb20)

 

16. Everyone is talking about  Quinn Hughes and  Cale Makar – and for good reason, but Rasmus Dahlin is six months younger than Hughes and 18 months younger than Makar. His true breakout is coming. And in the meantime, the 19-year-old has 16 points in his last 17 games and is clicking at a 60-point pace. (feb19)

 

17. Habs' Nick Suzuki is up to 40 points in 64 contests. That mark sits tied for third in rookie scoring with  Victor Olofsson. Suzuki has become a steady contributor as the season has worn on, especially on the man-advantage. He has 34 points in 47 games ranging back to November 12. Serious production for any forward let alone a raw rookie. Suzuki is the most important piece of this Canadiens team moving forward. That is, until they select in the top-five in June. (feb19)

 

18. After stumbling to 37 points in 62 games last season, Nikolaj Ehlers has returned to his 60-point pace of year’s past. All while continuing to be shunned from the top power-play unit. I’m telling you, this kid would be a star in another organization. (feb19)

 

19. New York Rangers acquired forward Julien Gauthier from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Joey Keane.

– This is a pure prospect for prospect deal which is interesting. The Rangers have a bevy of impressive defensive prospects coming and obviously saw Keane as expendable.

– That said, the 20-year-old Keane is acclimatizing extremely well as an AHL rookie. His 32 points in 51 games are tied for first with Evan Bouchard for U21 defenders.

– The Rangers grabbed themselves a burgeoning power forward in Gauthier. The 22-year-old is 4th in the AHL for goals (26) and is on the precipice of landing a full-time NHL job.

– I can fancy the Rangers are already viewing Gauthier as a future replacement for Chris Kreider when he inevitably leaves at the deadline. (feb19)

Although I didn’t catch the whole game, I did make it a point to catch a few of Gauthier's first shifts with the Rangers this week. Even on the fourth line, you can tell he has the power, speed, and skill to create goals on his own. Impressive. (feb20)

 

20. Rocco Grimaldi is really finding his comfort zone. His IPP is 71.4% this season and was 92.9% last year. The IPP tells us what percentage of goals that a player is on the ice for that he got a point on. It indicates how much of a role he plays in the offense, and Grimaldi plays a large role. If he ever gets a bump in ice time and PP time, I think he can surprise. He was a very highly-ranked prospect in his day. (feb17)

 

21. Since Sid the Kid returned from his two-month injury stint, he’s fired off 23 points in 15 games. With a generational player like this, you pretty much need to subtract five years off of his age and then worry about his age accordingly. At 32, he’s hitting his stride the way a 27-year-old ‘regular’ star would. At 1.25 points-per game this season and 1.27 last year, both numbers exceed any of his prior four campaigns.

What I’m thinking about  Sidney Crosby right now is that this guy is about to roll into the playoffs with just about 54 games played and hitting midseason form. Now that he has a seemingly capable winger (Jason Zucker) riding shotgun, the Penguins could be a surprise team in the East. (feb17)

 

Have a good week, folks!!

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency WSH Players
28.4% EVGENY KUZNETSOV ALEX OVECHKIN TOM WILSON
19.6% NICKLAS BACKSTROM T.J. OSHIE JAKUB VRANA
16% NIC DOWD GARNET HATHAWAY RICHARD PANIK

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