Every Sunday, we’ll share 21 Fantasy Rambles 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. I’m not convinced Jack Hughes is a top-line centre for 2020-21. And if he’s not getting top-line minutes (and the linemates that go with it), I’m not sure how much raw upside there is; it’s hard to see 70-point seasons playing with Miles Wood, Jesper Boqvist, Jesper Bratt, and the like. There are good real-world players on the roster, but with Taylor Hall gone, Kyle Palmieri is the only proven winger. We can probably throw Nikita Gusev into the mix as well, but I’m less certain about his upside and there’s no guarantee he’s even on the roster for next season. In that sense, I’m very worried about Hughes’ quality of teammate and that’s going to keep his projections tempered for the near-term.
2. In my bones I felt that the 2019-20 season would be the year Nico Hischier, Hughes' young teammate, had his full-fledged breakout. His rookie season saw 20 goals and 52 points, a very solid output for a 19-year-old rookie center. He followed that up with 47 points in 69 games in 2018-19, which actually represented an increase in points/game. Even with Hughes in the fold for 2019-20, I assumed Hischier would play 18-19 minutes a night on the top unit with Hall and Palmieri eating top PP minutes, as well.
It’s not that 2019-20 was horrible, but his points/game declined slightly, he missed time due to injury, and the Devils as a whole basically floundered. Hall was traded, the team restarted the rebuild, and Hischier’s season was basically lost.
I still think he’s an excellent player but here, as well, the void of offensive talent, particularly on the wings, is an issue for his fantasy value. I’m also nervous that Hischier will be used mostly in a defensive role with similarly-inclined wingers, whil