Ramblings: Trophy Finalists, Flood Damage to Rogers Place, Late-Round Playoff Pool Picks (July 17)
The Lady Byng Trophy finalists were announced on Thursday: Auston Matthews, Ryan O'Reilly, and Nathan MacKinnon. To fantasy owners, being nominated for this award should mean "move these guys down a notch in your rankings if your league counts penalty minutes." If you believe the league will use a points-to-penalty minutes ratio to pick a winner, Matthews will take this award home. Matthews scored 80 points to just eight penalty minutes all season. O'Reilly recorded 10 PIM with 61 points, while MacKinnon recorded 12 PIM with 93 points.
The Masterton Trophy finalists were also announced on Thursday: Stephen Johns, Oskar Lindblom, and Bobby Ryan. All three players are deserving nominees since they have dealt with significant life challenges while trying to continue their NHL careers. It's difficult to pick a winner here, but I'll leave moments from all three players here.
Hopefully this doesn't become a bigger story. Either the gods are telling the NHL not to play hockey this year, or they're telling the Edmonton CFL club to change its name.
The belief (at least for now) is that damages will be repaired in time for the play-in series. But with the kind of year 2020 has been, all bets are off.
Former Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin has signed for one more season in the KHL. He was rumored to be seeking a one-way contract with the Canucks, who because of their cap issues have more important players to focus on than the 6-7 defenseman. With the KHL season still starting in early September, Tryamkin couldn't wait much longer to make his decision.
One of my favorite recent hockey memories of a game I've seen in person was watching Tryamkin and Jamie Benn square off in what was an otherwise dull game.
If you haven't already, purchase your DobberHockey 2020 Interactive Playoff Draft List today! As has been the case in previous seasons, you can customize the teams that advance, or if you're not sure you can go with Dobber's picks. There will also be updates, based on injuries and updated player news.
Also, I updated the Top 100 Roto Rankings for the month of July earlier this week. I didn't make too many changes compared to the previous month, but there are some new names and players moved out. As I've mentioned before, provide me with any feedback regarding players ranked too high/too low/included/not included. You might notice something that I don't. I just want to make these rankings the best they can be.
I recently wrapped up a playoff draft that went 24 rounds with ten teams involved and one pick from each of the 24 remaining NHL teams. You can view the results of the draft in the Forum on this page. I've commented on my other picks in my previous Ramblings, but as of my last Ramblings last Saturday I had yet to make my final three picks. These picks might barely get off the ground, but they always have at least a glimmer of hope of turning into the next Fernando Pisani (or from an earlier time period, Chris Kontos or John Druce). I do dive into a few rabbit holes regarding the teams, so these sections aren't just about the one player.
Late Saturday night, I determined which teams I still needed players from (Florida, Minnesota, Chicago). Of those teams, I needed to determine which players would be the best remaining players to choose from, and in what order I would pick them. My theory was that if every other owner had picked a player from a team that I still needed, then I could wait on that pick. At that point every other owner had picked a Florida player, while one other owner still had a Minnesota or Chicago pick to make. This explains why I waited until the final round to make my Panthers pick.
For Western Conference players to watch in the play-in round/playoffs, check out Dobber's Ramblings from Monday.
Round 22 – Luke Kunin – Wild
I wrote about Kunin in my first-ever Ramblings article about top-searched players on Frozen Tools, so you can find much more about him there. If he's used in a top-6 role for the Wild, then he might be worth it in this spot. Other Wild I had considered for this pick included Joel Eriksson Ek (who was chosen four picks after) and Alex Galchenyuk (remember that he got traded there later in the season?)
I didn't know this when I made the pick, but Kunin has Type 1 diabetes and could theoretically be deemed unfit to play by the league. Kunin has not opted out and is expected to play, though. This is the same situation that Max Domi is in, although Domi has been given some time to consider his decision on whether to play. Because of Domi's uncertain situation, he fell all the way to Round 20 in this draft.
On a side note, I had also given a bit of thought on using this pick on Kirill Kaprizov. He has signed with the Wild and will join the team for their play-in series with the Canucks, but it doesn't sound like he'll be able to play. If for some reason the NHL changes its mind, and he were able to make a similar splash that Elias Pettersson did when he debuted with the Canucks, I think that the Wild would have a very good chance at knocking off the Canucks in this series.
Round 23 – Alex Nylander – Blackhawks
It was down to either Nylander or Kirby Dach for this pick. Not long after I decided on Nylander as my Blackhawk and right after my Kunin pick, Dach was selected. So the choice was made for me here. If you have to pick between the two in a keeper league, you'll want Dach. However, in a league of right now (or soon to be now), I thought the 22-year-old Nylander was a slightly safer option than the 19-year-old Dach. I'm really splitting hairs here though.
While we're on the subject of the Blackhawks, Corey Crawford has been deemed unfit to play. That would put one of Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia, or Kevin Lankinen in net for the series against Edmonton. It wouldn't be unprecedented for an unproven goalie to go on a playoff run, but I would have a difficult time picking the Hawks to win this series if Crawford isn't available. I wrote about Crawford in a May Ramblings, suggesting that his strong pre-COVID-19 shutdown play could make him a threat against the Oilers.
Round 24 – Brett Connolly – Panthers
Simple reason – he's the best Panther remaining. All the big names you'd expect were gone, and even guys like Frank Vatrano and Erik Haula were grabbed in the later rounds. I could maybe wait for a prospect that I think would make the team for the play-in round, but quite frankly there's as little Panthers news coming out of Florida as its state government's COVID-19 hospitalization numbers (until recently). I'll just go with the safe option in Connolly here and assume the Panthers don't make a 1996-like Stanley Cup run.
Mr. Irrelevant (the final pick)
And the true Mr. Irrelevant of this entire draft was… picked at 240th overall… Morgan Geekie of the Carolina Hurricanes! I can tell you two things about Geekie: 1) I saw him play as a junior for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL (I had never heard of him at the time, but he looked like a solid player with an easy-to-remember name), and 2) If you go to Frozen Tools and sort by PTS/GP, he appears at the top of the list with 2.0 PTS/GP, thanks to his three goals and assist in only two games. Yes, there's a minimum game played filter on Frozen Tools, so he doesn't have to appear at the top of the list if you don't want him to.
For more on Geekie, you can check out his Dobber Prospects profile here.
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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