The NHL Board of Governors had a call on Thursday afternoon but there wasn't a lot of traction. This was not a call to offer a proposal to the players, but rather a call to start sorting out the affairs on the side of the owners before they send a proposal to the players. There wasn’t anything new to us a they reiterated the target of New Year’s Day, but that’s still a moving target.
One note from ESPN's Greg Wyshynski:
The pro-rated salaries are an issue. Players aren't paid on a per-game basis, but rather twice per month through the regular season. In other words, whether they play 82 games or are a healthy scratch for 30 games, as long as they're in the NHL, they get their full NHL salary for that year.
The likelihood of 82 games for 2020-21 seems quite low and obviously there will be fans either not at the arena at all or in a reduced capacity. Owners will lament the drop in revenue and may ask players to take quite a significant pay cut. Grab some popcorn.
Pierre LeBrun over at TSN somewhat confirmed what has been suspected all along:
He later explains that on the call, one solution presented was a baseball-style travel schedule, with multiple games in each city per trip, should it not be a hybrid bubble.
Unless something very drastic changes in the next couple months, it seems likely we're going to have an all-Canadian division. That is exciting for a lot of fans. One thing worth remembering is whether in Toronto or in Edmonton or in Vancouver, wherever the Canadian bubble is, there will be fans who won't be able to watch their team at a reasonable hour. I imagine the NHL will do everything in its power to ensure teams stay in primetime slots in their respective time zones, but with (again, likely) multiple games per day, there is only so much that can be done. Some fans will have to miss some games.
The Stars loaned prospect Ty Dellandrea to JYP Jyväskylä in Finland.
I bring this up because the NHL, at least publicly, still seems committed to a January 1st start date. That means training camps open a month from now, with players having to show up in three weeks or so to start quarantine. These are tight deadlines with a lot of travel.
Bubble Keeper Week rages on here at Dobber Hockey. The team has been doing a great job from the Ramblings every morning, to our weekly columns like 'Goldipucks' and 'Capped'. There are still a few more days to go so we're going to keep rolling along with these Ramblings.
One question from Twitter that is a little shallower than we're looking for but I do my best to answer every question, so here it is:
This seems an easy one to me: Eichel, Ovechkin, and Vasilevskiy. John Carlson has had a great run these last three years but the team continues to age without replacing much of that age with younger skill. Now, that would intuitively also include Alex Ovechkin, but I am not betting against Ovechkin, I am betting against the team in general. Ovechkin shoots and hits so much he could probably score 40 with Evgeny Kuznetsov as his pivot if Nicklas Backstrom takes a step back or T.J. Oshie/Tom Wilson decline in effectiveness. I keep Ovechkin until he proves me wrong.
Eichel is one of the top owns in fantasy, full stop.
The one that is of concern is Vasilevskiy and that's because we are constantly told that goalies are voodoo. While that has a lot of truth behind it, the truth is also that, I believe, the Lightning are in the midst of a perennial contender run, much like the Bruins for the last decade. How often have the Boston goalies been bad fantasy options over the last 10 years? And Vasi has three straight top-3 Vezina finishes with this same core. I should say I’m also assuming two goalies here.
It would be understandable substituting Vasi with Mika Zibanejad. Ziba's problem is he's coming off a season where he shot 19.7 percent after having never surpassed 13 percent before. Artemi Panarin is an all-world talent to have on the wing but almost no one repeats near-20 percent shooting. (Shout out to Alex Tanguay. That guy had eight seasons shooting at least 20 percent. Maybe it’s a bad idea to introduce an exception to my own argument.) Not that I think Ziba will fall on his face; I bet my projections (when done) will have him as a point-per-game player. He just won't be as valuable as Eichel and keeping a pair of centres in a league where there are just three keepers per team to throw back Vasilevskiy isn’t the right thing here.
I get the hesitation on keeping goalies in general, and specifically this year with what should be a season loaded with B2Bs. I would drop Carlson and Ziba but have no real qualms keeping Ziba instead of Vasi.
For fun: the Dobber Guide has Vasi with 40 wins and Ziba with 42 goals.
An interesting question out of our forums from 'sweetcelly':
The reason it's interesting is not just because of the players but their roles. Dahlin is a lock for Buffalo's top PP unit while Heiskanen will be in a battle with John Klingberg for those minutes. In a vacuum, I think Heiskanen will be a better player and a better offensive play-driver than Dahlin in the upcoming season. But because of uncertainty with his role and an aging core, it's far from a sure thing he'll be more valuable in fantasy than Dahlin.
First, let's break down the multi-cat part. In 150 career regular season games, Heiskanen has 229 hits+blocks. In 141 regular season games, Dahlin has 286 hits+blocks. Assuming constant minutes and 82 games, based on these paces, Dahlin would put up 40+ more hits and blocks than Heiskanen. That is a sizable gap. Beyond that, Dahlin had 38 PIMs in his sophomore season alone while Heiskanen has 32 for his career.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, Dahlin has PP1 on lock while Heiskanen is more uncertain. To that end, I'm not sure that PP1 is even Heiskanen's best use of his talents. He's an engine; a roamer. I think he'd be more useful below the goal line than on the blue line.
Out of hits, blocks, PIMs, and PPPs, or half the skater categories, Dahlin has a sizable edge in three with Heiskanen having an edge in blocks. We will also give Heiskanen a sizable edge in shots. So, it's 3-2 right now for Dahlin.
Face-offs are irrelevant here so the final two categories are goals and assists. Heiskanen probably has the edge in goals but Dahlin the edge in assists. (Remember that Buffalo was a higher-scoring team than Dallas last year, and the Sabres have added Eric Staal, Taylor Hall, and possibly Dylan Cozens while the Stars have stood pat. There isn't much reason to think Dallas will exceed Buffalo in goals in 2020-21.)
My final tally has FOWs as irrelevant and Dahlin with a 4-3 edge in categories so that's my answer. I hate the thought of giving up Heiskanen, though, which makes this decision so hard.