Every Sunday, we’ll share 21 Fantasy Rambles from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s 'Daily Ramblings'.
Wrietrs/Editors: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford, Cam Robinson, and Dobber
1. In case you missed it, I wrote a Fantasy Hockey Impact article about the NHL’s decision to cancel the rest of the regular season and continue a “playoff” with 24 teams. If you’re still undecided about what to do about your fantasy league, maybe I can offer a tip or two in here. It’s also worth mentioning that you shouldn’t feel the need to make a decision right away. Although the play-in round matchups have been decided, we’re still a long way from actual games. (may30)
2. Prior to the pause, I had brought up Kevin Fiala multiple times because of the heater he had been on. In case you missed it, Fiala had posted 16 points in his last 11 games and 26 points (including 14 goals) in his last 18 games. Fiala’s production was a far cry from what it had been to start the season with just one point over his first eight games. However, the hot streak was enough to elevate Fiala to be the leading scorer for the Wild (54 points in 65 games). That’s a 69-point pace.
What I’d rather focus on is what to expect from Fiala going forward. If you’re expecting the over-a-point-per-game pace going forward, that isn’t going to happen. Fiala doesn’t have a collection of elite centers from which to pick from (Eric Staal, Luke Kunin, Joel Eriksson Ek), and he’s been a streaky player throughout his career. In addition, Fiala has benefitted from a 13.1 SH% and a 9.7 5-on-5 SH%, which should result in some regression from the February/March pace.
However, Fiala has had the benefit of training in Sweden, which could help once the season resumes. In addition, Fiala’s icetime has increased over three minutes per game since the coaching change from Bruce Boudreau to Dean Evason. Also, the Wild’s power play is sneaky good, as it ended the season just outside the NHL’s top 10. Fiala was a major contributor to that, as 11 of the 26 points he scored over his last 18 games were on the man advantage. He also finished tied for the team lead in power-play points (18) in spite of finishing seventh in total power-play ice time.
Going forward, Fiala has established himself as a first-line option for a Minnesota team that has played to its potential, especially under Evason. A 50-point floor seems likely, with 60 points a reasonable bet. (may30)
3. Among players who played at least 20 games, 22 players were able to score at least a point per game in 2019-20. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins just missed out on that, scoring at a career-best pace of 61 points in 65 games (0.94 PTS/GP). He was on pace to finish close to his career high of 69 points set last season. Prio