Ramblings – Ovechkin’s KHL Odds, Shesterkin vs. Grubauer, Lafreniere’s best landing spots and more (June 29)

Dobber

2020-06-29

If you haven't already, pick up the Fantasy Prospects Report (14th Edition)!

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We had the draft lottery and it was pretty shocking. I know that "odds" are just that – odds. So Detroit wasn't guaranteed first. And Ottawa having two high picks was also no guarantee. That's the whole point of a lottery, right? But my heart broke for Detroit fans, watching them sink to fourth. And then seeing a non-Bottom-8 team win the Lafreniere sweepstakes? Oof.

Regarding what would happen if the playoffs do not take place. I understand the argument from the top teams: "what did we play for? We didn't get a President's Trophy, we didn't get playoff revenue, or any reward at all whatsoever for playing the regular season. So everyone should get a shot at the lottery pick, including us." I understand it. But I don't agree with it. My take is that the draft is not about rewarding or punishing teams for finishing first or last. It's about balance, parity and fairness. The worst teams should get to choose the best players each year. That helps the cycle of a sports team's success. Teams need to succeed, teams need to fail, and this arrangement needs to rotate on a regular basis through the years. Too much of one and you get resentment from the rest of the fans, and the championship loses its luster. Too much of the other, and you get resentment from your own fans. With what I’ve coined this ‘cycle of success’, the glory of a championship is preserved. So absolutely not – no way a team like Boston, Tampa, or St. Louis should get a crack at Lafreniere.

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This week, I tapped into Twitter for your fantasy hockey questions…

The NHL counts them as playoff points, and so should we. I have spoken to both Fantrax and Office Pools with regards to what they are doing, and both will accommodate for this. And, in fact, will probably default to this. That's not 100% at this point, but that's where they're leaning and that's where I think it will end up. This is the way my league will do it, as we follow the NHL in every way we can.

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I'm going to say 1%. I think there is a reasonable chance he goes there when his production starts to decline, so maybe after the next contract. But he is a generational player who will continue to put up strong NHL numbers for thee or four years at least.

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I'll take the opportunity here to promote our 'compare players' feature in Frozen Tools. For these two players (found here) the stats are neatly stacked one above the other, in three different sections. As an easy shortcut – just go to one player profile, and then in Info/Analysis there is a compare box that quickly auto-fills for you – voila, you have two players on the compare page. You can add more, comparing many players at once.

Anyway, circling back to the question. I can't believe Rust did what he did. I don't buy it and the advanced stats point to that. But he is still a solid 60-point player, adjusting for 82 games, or 50-point player when you don't adjust (he's a Band-Aid Boy). Nylander is a player on the rise and I think a 75-point player trumps a 50-point player when SOG are similar and Hits lean heavily the other way. So Nylander should go first. He should also go first for the sake of trade value – you could get more for Nylander than you would for Rust even if he produces better numbers for you early on next season.

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It will definitely change things. But the world as we know it will change for the better. We'll be better prepared for future pandemics and we will (and do) have contingencies in place. A lot of lessons are being learned right now and we won't be caught flatfooted again. Response to future potential pandemics will be swift, and medical staff will have the tools they need at the ready (task forces are now, of course, in place in each country and part of their scope will be ensuring we have enough PPE in storage – updated so they don't expire, etc.). Testing will be down to a science. Furthermore, once a vaccine breakthrough is found for the first time for coronaviruses, future coronaviruses will be defeated more quickly.

I don't think, for the long term, that contact sports is in trouble.

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Everyone is worth keeping in one league or another. But in many leagues…well, most leagues… I wouldn't bother keeping him. But I think he has some trade value so I would go that route first before dropping him. The upside is there, but he's still going to take a couple of years to get there. But he's an injury risk and a health risk in fantasy, and you have to think that will slow his progression even further. I am not a patient man in my leagues.

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I should clarify the above statement. I am very patient when it comes to the same season. I will wait out short-term, early slumps and stand firm that they will reach the full-season projection. Probably to a fault. But I don't like waiting several years on players, I would rather give another player a chance with better odds of an earlier payoff.

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Igor Shesterkin. Trust me. He will pay off handsomely. He may be, personally, the goalie I would most like to own right now.

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Yes, I think the playoff pool managers will be ready for the 24-team format. I'll be changing my Interactive Playoff Draft List to handle the 24 teams as well. Playoff pool drafts are going to be real fun this year with such a large crop of players to choose from and more teams to spread around your roster.

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This has become Ivan Provorov's team when it comes to defensemen. If the Flyers are unable to trade Shayne Gostisbehere, then he'll get a shot early on just to see if he can find his mojo. If he does, then he can steal it. But would you bet on that? I certainly wouldn't. But 'if' Ghost does regain the old magic, the Flyers will give him loads of PP time because they can't really use him anywhere else. And that would be at the expense of Provorov. But again – I wouldn't bet on that outcome. As for Hart – I always believe young players on the rise will at least slightly improve, year over year. I don’t see why Hart will be any different. He had such an amazing second half.

Travis Sanheim is also one to watch, but I don't feel he will get a good chance next year unless Provorov gets hurt.

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Dougie Hamilton is in that 4-7 range, for my money. He has arrived and can be counted on. Don't forget, this was the first time in five years that he's been hurt, so he's pretty reliable that way.

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This is an interesting thought. Because, as noted above, Igor Shesterkin is my favorite fantasy goalie own now. And Ilya Sorokin is the top prospect goalie in the world. And Yaroslav Askarov is the top draftee goalie that I've seen since Carey Price. If Sergei Bobrovsky finds his mojo next year and he and Andrei Vasilevskiy are both nominated for the Vezina, Russia will have this unbelievable group of goaltenders – I dare say the best we've never seen before.

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Victor Olofsson – A hard-working, skilled, over-achieving player who will probably have a career like Mike Hoffman in terms of production, with upside somewhere in the 70s thanks to likely playing with Jack Eichel very often. I tried very hard to draft him last summer and then later acquire him. In both my full dynasty drafts (keep everyone) he was literally taken one pick before me. Both times. In fact, having learned my lesson in the first draft, I traded UP in the second draft to make sure I got him. And still didn't get him.

Oliver Bjorkstrand – The highest upside of the three. He doesn't need linemates to help, he IS the linemate to help. A year from now you'll see – superstar.

Kevin Fiala – He had 47 points in his last 49 games. This is the player that the Wild went after. He is panning out, and they will continue to give him every opportunity to continue panning out. I think he'll be better than Mikael Granlund was for this team.

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I don't know if teams are speaking with him, but I would like to think that several are. I am a huge believer in teams pouring tons of budget into a big and talented scouting pool. I mean, if having the best scouts costs you $3 million per year and you can't afford that…then get rid of a $3 million player on your team! Those scouts will replace that player 10 times over.

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The Fantasy Prospects Report is a great resource for this. I would be looking at players like Josh Mahura (ANA), Joey Keane (CAR), Ty Dellandrea (DAL, if he falls that far), Tyler Benson (EDM), Jesse Ylonen (MTL), Kieffer Bellows (NYI), P-O Joseph (PIT), Sasha Chmelevski (SJS), Lucas Elvenes (VGK).

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I let former DobberHockey manager Steve Laidlaw field this one, as I have no experience with it…

Though, to his last point, I think a Zoom call or a Skype call with screen sharing would eliminate the need for an automated email. You wouldn't even need the full group of owners, just (for example) six. I would find it hard to believe that anyone would accuse six of you with colluding and gaming the system. But if you have an untrustworthy league like that, then just make sure the six aren't buddies or a clique.

The Ontario Pick Four Draw – that's, uh, pretty over the top lol.

By the way, Steve is celebrating his birthday today. Happy Birthday old friend.

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They improved this year, but John Chayka's failing was to identify declines. That being said, what else could he get for Alex Galchenyuk? And you must also consider the "please the fans" factor. Adding Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall were huge names that created buzz, and I'm sure Chayka has had pressure to do that. But in the grand scheme of things, those moves have slowed Arizona's already-slow build to a contending team. To really move forward, the Coyotes need a few bounces: Kessel having a great workout regimen during the offseason (yeah right), Victor Soderstrom having an amazing rookie year, Nick Schmaltz and Darcy Kuemper staying healthy and taking another step forward, and Conor Garland coming into his own as a top sixer.

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Take a flier, late (very late), on Yakov Trenin. Not so much shots, but points look like they could be decent to go along with solid Hits.

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  1. Edmonton. And that would be ridiculous. And 1-2 are interchangeable.
  2. Pittsburgh. And that would be ridiculous.
  3. Rangers. This is going to be a high-flying team, and soon. Sooner with Lafreniere.
  4. Vancouver

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If you're not happy with your league and/or some of the owners in it, this is the time to do this. I'm happy in the one that I run, and we just follow the NHL's lead for everything. In the league that has been running for 30 years – I'll let our commissioner decide. So far, there's been no talk of a blow-up and I doubt that would happen.

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I don't believe so. I think Kaapo Kakko's rookie season was much, much worse than Andrei Svechnikov's. I would be happy with Kakko just getting regular third-line playing time and getting into every game. And 40 points would be nice. If he does that, then I could see Year 3 going down the way Svechnikov's sophomore campaign went.

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I would rather take Toffoli's upside over Pearson's nice, confidently-expected low-50s. As for Jake Muzzin – no, now that he's staying in Toronto I would have no interest in him for fantasy hockey.

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I hate to say it, because Karlsson's upside is the highest of all the D…but yeah, I agree. A Top 7 defenseman is a safer guy to keep.

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See you next Monday. Be safe!

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UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency TOR Players
21.3% ZACH HYMAN AUSTON MATTHEWS WILLIAM NYLANDER
17.5% KASPERI KAPANEN MITCHELL MARNER JOHN TAVARES
11.8% PIERRE ENGVALL ALEXANDER KERFOOT DENIS MALGIN

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