Ramblings: More on Fiala, Anderson Back in Buffalo, Puljujarvi to be Traded? (Jul 1)

Ian Gooding


Happy Canada Day! We've become so used to that day becoming signing day throughout the years, but of course COVID altered the normal plan. Your normal Canada Day plans (or early Fourth of July plans) of BBQ, beer, celebrations, or simply general relaxation were always accompanied with a flurry of signings. As it stands now, those signings will be on the otherwise unspectacular midweek day of July 13.

The first major trade to go down this offseason was Kevin Fiala moving to LA. I broke down the fantasy impact here.

As I mentioned in the article, Fiala will be given all the opportunity in the world to be a top-line scorer on the Kings. He didn't necessarily have that in Minnesota, as Kirill Kaprizov is the offensive engine of that team and plays the same position. However, Fiala did receive sheltered offensive minutes in Minny (56 OZ% in 2021-22, over 50 OZ% throughout his career), which placed him in situations where he could score.

In addition, the Kings' top two centers already play a more defensive role based on their two-way abilities. Anze Kopitar has been a sub-50 OZ% over his last five seasons (47.6 OZ% in 2021-22), while Phillip Danault has been a sub-50 OZ% player throughout his career (49.6 OZ% in 2021-22). That's going to naturally position Fiala into fewer scoring opportunities. So I'm not quite there on this trade helping Fiala tremendously from where he is now. 85 points is a damn good season and may already be representative of his upside.

If you are counting on Fiala next season, you may want to lower your expectations during the first half of the season (but raise them for the second half!)

2020-21: 1st half – 11 PTS in 22 GP; 2nd half – 29 PTS in 28 GP

2021-22: 1st half – 29 PTS in 38 GP; 2nd half – 56 PTS in 44 GP

If Mike Smith decides to retire, at least one over-40 goalie will still be patrolling an NHL net next season. The Buffalo Sabres have brought back Craig Anderson for one more season at a cap hit of $1.5 million.

Aside from maybe Arizona goalies, Anderson was at the bottom of fantasy draft lists last season and rightfully so because of his age and the fact that he plays for the Sabres. However, his 45.2 QS% was better than that of Carter Hart, Alex Nedeljkovic, Robin Lehner, and Linus Ullmark. Granted, all except maybe Ullmark had notably rough seasons, but they were all drafted in a lot more leagues. Anderson performed admirab