Quarantine Update: I'm not going to mince words here, things are getting done around my place. With all these newfound hours in the day without sport or socializing or basically anything, my wife has been finding projects everywhere.
It’s been a nice distraction.
I have also been eating my weight in peanut butter pretzels. So there’s that too.
In a historic moment on Tuesday, the WHL granted exceptional status for the first time.
Historic happenings in the WHL as 14-year-old, Connor Bedard becomes the first ever Western player granted exceptional status for next season.
Bedard had 43 goals and 84 points in 36 CSSHL games. That was tops in the U19 league. #2023NHLDraft
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 25, 2020
Connor Bedard, a North Vancouver native, was donwright dominant against players up to four years his senior and will immediately step in as the first-overall selection when the WHL does their Bantam draft next month.
He, along with Russian Matvei Michkov are the frontrunners to go first overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
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— HockeyTV (@MyHockeyTV) March 23, 2020
I had a Twitter follower ask me to redraft the top-10 from the 1991 crop and I have officially spent far too much time considering it. It led me down several rabbit holes. For instance, I NEED to see all the highlights from the 1988-89 CSKA Moskva club.
We need a network to play the entire ’88-89 CSKA schedule
• Igor Larionov
• Sergei Makarov
• Pavel Bure (17yo)
• Alex Mogilny (19yo)
• Sergei Fedorov (19yo)
• Vladimir Krutov
• Vyacheslav Fetisov
• Valeri Kamensky
• Vladimir Konstantinov
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 24, 2020
But I digress. Okay, let's dive into this. Here's a link to the entire list and their NHL stats. Actual draft spot in brackets.
1st overall (Quebec) – Scott Niedermayer (3rd)
2nd overall (SJ) – Peter Forsberg (6th)
3rd overall (NJ) – Eric Lindros (1st)
4th overall (NYI) – Alexei Kovalev (15th)
5th overall (WIN) – Markus Naslund (16th)
6th overall (PHI) – Ray Whitney (23rd)
7th overall (VAN) – Zigmund Palffy (26th)
8th overall (MIN) – Sandish Ozolins (30th)
9th overall (HAR) – Brian Rolston (11th)
10th overall (DET) – Glen Murray ((18th)
I'll probably take some flack for leaving Forsberg AND Lindros out of the pole position, but that just speaks to how dominant Niedermayer was. It didn't hurt that he played nearly twice as many games as those two. The four Stanley Cups are cool too.
Let's hear it, how would you break down that class? Let me know @Hockey_Robinson.
Rick Roos’ monthly Roos Lets Loose column is still running, and next week is his monthly mailbag, where he answered any fantasy hockey questions. He could use a few more, so this is a great chance for you to ask about keepers or player rankings, or, of course, anything fantasy-related.
To get questions to him, you can either private message “rizzeedizzee” via the DobberHockey Forums or, instead, send an email to [email protected] with “Roos Mailbag” as the subject line.
Oh, what could have been for Quinn Hughes. The good thing is that he’s good enough to break non-rookie records too.
Just how many records was Quinn Hughes going to break before the season was suspended? #Canucks
— Daniel Wagner (@passittobulis) March 24, 2020
Looking to get caught up on the 2020 draft class that will hopefully have a chance to have their names called sometime this summer? DobberProspects continues to churn out terrific analysis and profile updates on a daily basis.
26 years ago today, Mike Legg did the seemingly impossible.
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) March 24, 2020
Now, I know many of you think this is a silly play that should be abolished or met with two-hands across the wrists. Well, to you I say, "boou-urns." I love The Michigan.
Alright, let's check in on a few potential breakouts for next season. Three weeks ago, I dropped a list of four forwards who hit all the markers for a spike in production for 2020-21. This week, let's look at the blueline.
For reference, here are the parameters that I follow when sniffing out value:
Traditionally, we’ve pegged skaters entering into their fourth year as a predictor for a jump in success. I don’t follow that guide too strictly though. I like to look for ‘regular’ players who have a few markers
- Around 200 games played – including playoffs.
- A history of being a high-end production player in lower leagues.
- In a situation, or pegged to be in a situation that can lead to success.
- IE. Scoring lines, power-play deployment, QoT.
- Has shown signs of breaking out.
- Stretches of high-end production when given newer or better deployment, etc.
You’re probably wondering what a ‘regular player’ means. To me, this is a wide net. It’s skaters who came up the longer way. They weren’t top five picks. They played their draft-plus one and probably draft-plus two seasons outside of the NHL. They were not supposed to be truly elite but always had the shine of an offensive upside type.
Then there's the cream.
Players who often bust the mould of waiting until the 200GP mark for varying reasons – they’re top picks and given primo ice immediately. This is a result of their skill level but as well due to the investment the organizations have placed on their teenaged shoulders. They need these types to become pillars and soon.
Charlie McAvoy – Like many things in life, this breakout is dependent on external factors. Namely, will the Bruins be able to afford to sign impending UFA, Torey Krug. Krug will be looking to cash in and if he's not interested in playing ball with Boston's internal ceiling he could easily walk. If he does, the PP1 job will be handed to McAvoy on a silver platter.
Through the first three seasons of his career, the 2016 first-rounder has clicked sustainably at a 40ish-point pace. That's while never seeing an average of two minutes of man-advantage. He was tied for 9th in even-strength scoring this year. Ahead of the likes of Quinn Hughes, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns.
Double his PPTOI and slide him out with the B's top unit and we're looking at a threat to push for 55-plus. The seven points in his final seven games this season were a nice sign of things to come.
He's a high-end producer on the man-advantage. On a per-minute basis on the power play, his 4.6 power-play points per 60 minutes this season sat amongst the top-20 in the league. I expect he has the ability to live in that area and likely push up a bit more.
The real gains will hopefully come at even-strength. If the Avs can remain healthy up front, Girard will have more to work with at 5v5. He produced 21 EVP in 70 games this past season. If he can find a way to push that closer to 30 – where the top-25 guys live, then he should be set up for another step up the ladder.
Additionally, Makar hasn't had the healthiest start to his career. The moment he goes down, Girard's PPTOI goes up.
Mikhail Sergachev – Much like Girard, Sergachev is limited to the level he can reach due to a blockade in Victor Hedman. Also like Girard, the 21-year-old Russian was an extremely impactful power-play producer on a per-minute basis. Even moreso than his Colorado comparable. Finally, just like Girard, a step up in even-strength scoring will be needed to hit the next level.
Sergachev saw his minutes jump nearly 2.5 minutes this past season to 20:22 per game. Nearly all of that came on 5v5. This is a nice indication of where he'll be going long term, and I expect that is upwards. 2018-19 saw him produce 26 EVPs. This past year just 21. He's not as sheltered, but he's also playing more minutes with better players. I like him to be closer to the sophomore total at even-strength next year and a push for 45-50 overall.
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson