Ramblings: No Hockey? Then Let’s Field a Bunch of Your Fantasy Q’s… (Mar 16)



I took to my Twitter peeps for today’s content. Here we go!


This is a great question, and it's obviously brought because of one man – Sergei Bobrovsky. Last summer, to me, he was the third best goaltender to own. Florida was a great, underperforming team that just got a lot better with some solid summer moves that included signing one of the best coaches out there in Joel Quenneville. Guaranteed improvement in terms of the win column. Bobrovsky was a proven top goalie and two-time Vezina winner. What could go wrong? Well, a slow adaption to new teammates and a new system, for one. A lack of quality on the bottom three defensemen for another. A lack of depth up front for another. But the latter two aren't issues if Bobrovsky did what was expected. He didn't. He's had a bad year before, so I do expect he will bounce back. But this question is not about Bobrovsky, but about the idea of not wasting early draft picks on goaltenders. This depends on the rules of your league. If it's a points league, then I still believe goaltending is the most important, and that after the elite forwards and defensemen (you know who they are), then you need to secure two Tier 1 goalies. Ditto for roto leagues with 40% or more goaltending categories. All this Bobrovsky crap does is emphasize the importance of using Tiers and not going by a goalie ranking system. It doesn't matter if you own the third-best goalie out there, or the 12th best – as long as both are in Tier 1, they are valued equal. So when I choose a goalie, it is in whatever round I feel that all the Tier 1 goalies will be gone by my next pick. That could be the start of the second round, or perhaps it's the fifth round. But I don't start drafting Tier 1 goalies if none have been taken yet. My only goal is to make sure I get one, and ideally two from that first Tier (and I don't care which ones, because Bobrovsky proves that any could be better or worse than any other).


This is a big question that frankly deserves a column unto itself. And depending on how long this coronavirus takes hockey from us, I may circle back one day and do just that. But it did have me going to my How To Start A Keeper League section to review the rules there. This section has been there for 13 years, and I think since we changed the site over – it has been cut off after the first paragraph. Each set of rules was cut off. Going there late Sunday, I discovered this and removed the code that was doing this. So now all seven sets of keeper league rules are back up and readily available. The rules of my own keeper league is the first one (here) and I updated it with any changes or fixes quickly (if a new rule I added clashes with an old rule that I missed changing in there, just adapt – I didn't have time to go over it carefully).

As for my favorite rules – the other leagues each have one or two very unique and interesting rule that will make you think. You should check them up. But I can speak to three very good rules in my own league that I love. Keep in mind that this is a points-only league that is a full dynasty, and I love that format because I am not tied into setting my roster by a certain time (I'm no good at that), and trade chatter with GM's best mimics real life trade chatter in that assets are taken much more seriously.:

  1. Each team is allowed to 'sign' one unowned player 24 years of age or older. First come first served, but you only get one. You can also trade this "contract", but it only becomes tradeable or useable on (and after) draft day and before the trade deadline. This is a great rule because you're always looking at the unowned players, marking off a watch list, and trying to determine timing. I've taken players in early October and I've taken players in late January. You also look at 23-year-olds who turn 24 before the trade deadline. The fun is in trying to sign the guy as late as possible but before somebody else does. And you cheer when someone else makes a bad signing. Boy was I happy when the owner of a stronger team wasted this signing last January on a minor league goalie who happened to get a couple of wins last January. You may have heard of him? Jordan Binnington? I was also pretty happy in November when an owner wasted his contract signing on Bryan Rust. Yeah, I've learned to stop being happy about these things. This year I managed to wait until early January before using my contract. I had my eye on Dominik Kubalik since the draft – I almost took him in the third round, but in the end went with Conor Garland because Kubalik was 24 and I figured I could just sign him after giving him some time. So happy I got him. This is a fun, engaging rule that is perfect for leagues that don't have weekly lineup settings and free waiver rules. It keeps owners engaged.
  2. This is kind of a two-part rule. The Top 10 (of 15 teams) in the regular season are eligible to win the playoffs. In our leagues, the players we own we also own in the playoffs. So stocking up on Tampa guys is obviously smart. They are clearly more valuable. Ditto for Boston, St. Louis and Vegas players. But how do we keep the Bottom 5 teams interested in May and June? Well, here is the part I love – the points that they get in the playoffs come off their regular season total. This allows a team to move up a spot or even two, in the draft. Granted, these teams would have been picked clean on a lot of their guys with points by the top teams that were going for it. But they'll still get 20, 30 or even 40 points and that could make a difference. This increases the value of the players that the top teams try to pry off them – if those players are also playoff players, the bottom teams will be more reluctant to give them up.
  3. Unlimited trading until the last Sunday of January, then three trades per team until the deadline. This encourages trading in the early part of the season (which had, frankly, dried up) and also sparked a mini-deadline on that particular Sunday night. Owners then had four weeks to use up their three trades (or not use them), and it honestly keeps the trade talks flowing throughout the year.


I wanted a bunch of easy questions with one-off, bang-bang answers and instead I get great questions that require extra words (and brain power)! I love these questions and really want to answer them, so I'll keep going…

This is obviously about the Calgary Flames (and Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets, but I'll address the Flames because that one got me steamed first). What we have is a team with an arena half funded by the city. The people. And we have a group of millionaire owners, with one billionaire in Murray Edwards. The owners weren't initially going to pay arena staff and part-timers. Since the public shaming, they've come around. But this should be an immediate no-brainer. If chipping away a million dollars off of the top layer of your gold bars that you have in the vault means that 1000 people can by food and pay rent, then do so. I mean – citizens making $50,000 a year are donating $100 to this in Go Fund Me efforts, what is $1,000,000 to you when you have $1.2 Billion (as Eugene Melnyk has)? I mean, sure, maybe it takes an extra week or two to pay off the mortgage of that fourth winter home, but wouldn't that be worth it? What can a fan do to the owner in this case? Just keep pleading. Be polite, because I don't like the idea of 10,000 people bullying somebody, even if he is a greedy Scrooge. But keep the pressure on. There is really nothing else you can do, but the pen is mightier than the sword here. Write blogs, letters, tweets and posts.


100%. Great points guy, and great PIM guy. And now he's broken through. I have him No.6 in my Top Keeper League Defensemen list.


You have to keep Steven Stamkos and Mika Zibanejad here. Jacob Markstrom is tempting, but for reasons explained above in my goaltending note, just go with the safe forwards here.


It's probably time to give up on El Nino Niederreiter, who will enter next season as a 28-year-old. He'll bounce back, but is 50 points any big whoop? As for Andreas Athanasiou, it would depend on the rules of your league. In my league, I would keep him for another year and see. But his plus/minus borders on hilarity, and getting demoted on a team like Edmonton that is dying for wingers really says something. But he's still young enough (enters next season at 26) to see if he can still build on last year's 30-goal season.


<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-conversation=”none” data-cards=”hidden” data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>What do you see from Fox NYR points wise next year? Would you keep him over Pietrangelo?</p>&mdash; JLD (@jldtwo) <a href=”https://twitter.com/jldtwo/status/1239295765941497856?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 15, 2020</a></blockquote>

I think Fox will be a regular visitor of the 50-point club, but I don't think that happens next year. To me he is a prime candidate for a sophomore slump due to the fact that the Rangers have an elite option in Tony DeAngelo, as well as a highly-paid Golden Boy in Jacob Trouba they can turn to. So Fox will have to work his own way out of any tough obstacles commonly faced in a second season, and I figure it will take him a big chunk of next season to do that. Without a full analysis, I would say 38 points (his full-year pace this season was 49 points).


Victor Olofsson I believe is a 70-point player who plays with Jack Eichel, which naturally brings him up to the 80-point stratosphere. But so far I get the impression that he is prone to injury, so my early guess is for something close to 70 games and just under that for points. There may be a sophomore slump to be faced next season, but he's the type of over-achiever to beat that relatively quickly. Oliver Bjorkstrand has 90-plus point upside to me. He's the driver, not the passenger and I would rather own him for that elite upside. However, his injuries this year worry me just as much as they do with Olofsson. So again I'd pencil in 70 games, with points that match or even exceed those games. Playing for Columbus may hold him to a point-per-game, but he really is capable of much more. I am very high on both of these players and I hope they shed that proneness to injury rather than feed that hunch.


Elite. Mika Zibanejad has ascended. I don't think he's a 40-goal scorer as his S% is very high (19.7%). But I think he's a 100-point player and 35-goal guy. However, he does get hurt a lot so I still consider him a 70-game guy, but still getting 90 points.


Kevin Fiala has arrived. He is now the face of the Minnesota franchise. Kirill Kaprizov has the elite upside (I think better than Vladimir Tarasenko or Evgeny Kuznetsov). But Fiala is too good for Kaprizov to hold him down, and he'll probably prop him up. I think Fiala will be a point-per-game player.



I think Kahkonen will be a really good goaltender and he has a strong chance of becoming an NHLer in some capacity. Very promising, in a world where there are no guarantees. Ilya Sorokin is much, much better. As close to a guarantee as you're going to get. He's a step below Igor Shesterkin, but boy could this become close. It will be interesting watching the Three Russians Who Start With "I" battle it out over the next decade: Ilya Samsonov, Igor Shesterkin, Ilya Sorokin (my money is on Shesterkin winning this battle more years than not).


See you next Monday. Be safe, and take this pandemic seriously. The sooner this is contained, the sooner we can have hockey. And that can only happen if we are all on board with the precautions, no exceptions! As soon as you read "Zero New Cases Today" as a headline about your province or state, know that at that moment the road to getting hockey back begins.


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  Players Team GP G A P
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7


  Frequency EDM Players