There hasn't been much news this week, but there are a few items worth mentioning.
According to the team, a second unnamed Ottawa Senators player has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. There have been more players experiencing symptoms, and the team is awaiting further results from testing. All the best to the Senators during this time, as this health crisis is having a significant impact on their team.
In what should be a surprise to no one by now, the IIHF has cancelled the World Hockey Championship (National Post).
Dobber's Top 100 Keeper League Goalies have been updated for March.
Yesterday I discussed assist-heavy forwards from the 2019-20 season, which you can read about here. I'll take this time to some follow-up questions about what I wrote. I might be paraphrasing, so hopefully I'll cover the general idea.
Neither Tarasenko nor Schwartz was mentioned as having heavy assist per goal totals, yet Tarasenko made his way into the article as a linemate last season of Ryan O'Reilly. The Tarasenko injury has had an impact on numerous Blues. Schwartz's icetime has remained constant, yet over a similar number of games he has doubled his goal total while also increasing his assist total. So instead of 36 points (11g-25a), Schwartz has 57 points (22g-35a).
There are a number of factors driving the improvement. First, Schwartz's power-play icetime percentage has increased from 46.1% to 61.4%, which might have something to do with Tarasenko's absence. That's not a major jump, as it has resulted in about an extra 30 seconds in power-play time. Yet the increase in power-play points has been astounding, from just 2 PPG and 5 PPP in 2018-19 to 9 PPG and 20 PPP in 2019-20 – both career highs.
Also, Schwartz's shooting percentage was an abysmal 6.0% last season, yet has returned to 13.6% this season, which is more in line with his career averages. You may also remember that in spite of the disappointing regular season, Schwartz was on fire for much of the playoffs with 12 goals and 20 points in 26 playoff games. It's fair to say that the success, or the confidence that has resulted, has carried over into 2019-20.
I haven't addressed injuries, which must factor into how confident you feel about him going forward. Schwartz is on the Band-Aid Boy list, yet he's managed to play in every game this season. If we remove injuries from the equation, then you could say that the 2018-19 regular season was more of the outlier for Schwartz when it comes to points per game.
Overall, I wouldn't worry about Schwartz's production once Tarasenko returns. Also remember that the two have been frequent linemates in the past (see his line combinations on his Frozen Tools page), and the two also play opposite wings.
I was surprised that Jonathan Huberdeau wasn't in the headline (of assist-heavy forwards).
Huberdeau had ranked 16th on the list of assists per goal this season. However, no player on that list had more goals than Huberdeau (23). In fact, no one else on that list had reached the 20-goal mark. So what about other seasons?
Here are 2018-19 assists per goal using the same criteria I had before (forwards only, minimum 20 assists):
And here are the totals for 2017-18, using the same criteria:
In case you're wondering, there are no names that appear on the top 25 for all three seasons (something that surprised me). There were a number of players that appeared on the list two out of three seasons. Huberdeau did not crack the list in either 2018-19 or 2017-18.
Although it may look as though Huberdeau doesn't score many goals, he has averaged nearly 27 goals over the past three seasons. His 80-goal total places him 38th in that category, which certainly isn't terrible considering that he's more known for assists. His goal total might look worse than it is because he's 13th in assists over the past three seasons. That assist total gets even better over the past two seasons, where only six players have more assists than Huby.
Huberdeau might produce considerably more assists than goals. Yet it's not going to hinder his fantasy value the way it will for someone like Alexander Wennberg or Joe Thornton. In a multicategory league, you should probably rank Huberdeau below players with similar point totals that are more frequent shooters and more goal heavy as a result – Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel are two players that come to mind. However, we're not talking about dropping Huberdeau well below Matthews and Eichel either. (Also keep in mind that Huberdeau is a LW and Matthews and Eichel are C's, which further narrows the gap – Top 100 Roto Rankings here).
For what it's worth, Huberdeau's 5-on-5 shooting percentage (11.3%) is a bit higher than normal. He's scored his 23 goals on just 152 shots. Over a full season, his shot total projects to 180 SOG, which would be his lowest total over the past three seasons. That shot total is something that will need to increase; otherwise, he could be in danger of failing to reach 20 goals next season.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.