20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts

by Mario Prata on November 4, 2018

Every Sunday, we'll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week's "Daily Ramblings".

Writers: Michael Clifford, Ian Gooding, Cam Robinson, and Dobber

 

1. Those drafting Max Pacioretty and hoping for a bounce-back have been discouraged with the fact that he has recorded just two points (both goals) over his first 10 games as a Golden Knight. Now that he is sidelined with a day-to-day injury, fantasy owners might be in the unenviable position of deciding whether to cut bait. Obviously, it’s more ideal if you can bench him or place him on IR (if/when he is eligible) should he need some more time to become acclimatized to Vegas.

The fact is, though, that Pacioretty has been mediocre for over a season now. In terms of points per game since the start of the 2017-18 season, Patches isn’t even among the top 150 (minimum 70 games played). Players with a similar points-per-game-played total include Kevin Hayes, Alexander Kerfoot, Kevin Labanc, Alexander Wennberg, and Bryan Rust – all players that were drafted long after Pacioretty in single-season leagues. That’s simply not getting it done, particularly in shallow leagues where a higher-scoring option likely resides on the waiver wire.

Things could get better for Patches in Vegas. He should still be on the first power-play unit once he returns. Paul Stastny will also return from injury at some point. And maybe, just maybe, he even cracks the top line somehow. But when someone in the Forum inquired about dropping Patches for Anders Lee (among other choices he listed), I said I was fine with that. So, if you're in a shallow league, go ahead and make the move if you need to. (oct31)

 

2. I think Brock Nelson’s value receives a boost with John Tavares gone. His ice time is up nearly four minutes per game, and he’s consistently playing with better quality linemates, in particular Anders Lee. In fact, I have enough faith in him that I’ve added him in one of my leagues. (nov2)

 

3. Mikko Koskinen, who I believe is the only NHL goalie I’ve ever seen with a number in the teens, posted a 40-save shutout on Thursday and his third win of the season in as many games on Saturday. This is yet another situation in which the backup now has better numbers than the starter. Cam Talbot has played at least 65 games over the past two seasons, but of concern to fantasy owners is the fact that his struggles from last season have carried over to this season. In fact, his save percentage has gotten even worse. Talbot shouldn’t lose the starting job outright but if Koskinen is the answer as a solid backup, I wonder if Talbot’s games played total drops to somewhere in the 50s. (nov2)

 

4. You may recall that Pontus Aberg was picked up off waivers on October 1 by the Ducks after being a somewhat surprising cut from the Oilers – Edmonton previously acquired him during last season’s deadline because the Predators couldn’t find room for him. Since the waiver claim, all Aberg has done is match his goal total from all of last season (53 games) over the past few days.

If you drafted Aberg as a sleeper, it would have been because of the outside chance that he would receive the prized Connor McDavid golden ticket. Now he’s on Anaheim’s top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell, which isn’t quite McDavid but it’s much better than what he’s used to. If still available, he’s worth an add in deeper formats. (oct31)

 

5. Both Keith Yandle and Evgeni Dadonov have been impressive for the Panthers early on this season. Yandle is up to 12 points in 11 contests. That puts him in a tie for sixth in defenseman scoring. Dadonov, meanwhile, just extended his point streak to eight games and 10 points. The 29-year-old is clicking along to the tune of 13 points in 11 games. He’s seeing all of his ice next to Sasha Barkov and making many people eat crow who figured the addition of Mike Hoffman would diminish his returns. (nov3)

 

6. As for Hoffman now has a nine-game point streak with exactly one point in each of those games. He has taken 27 shots over his last four games and leads the Panthers with 42. His fantasy stock may have fallen because of the circumstances surrounding his departure from Ottawa and concern over a reduced role in Florida, but so far he has thrived in Florida with six goals and nine points in eleven games. (nov2)

 

7. Sophomore forward Brock Boeser has been hampered early this season by a nagging groin injury which has taken the fizz out of his speed and shot. He may not be 100 percent just yet but he'll get points playing with EP40, and when he is fully healthy, watch out. The young Canuck is up to four goals and 11 points in 13 games. (nov3)

 

8. Jason Pominville won’t ever forget his 1000th game, not just for the pregame ceremony but also for what happened on the ice. Pominville scored two goals and added an assist while taking six shots on goal on Saturday. This isn’t just a one-off for Pominville, either. After a slow start that saw him record just one point over his first seven games, Pommer is scorching hot with 13 points (7g-6a) over his last seven games. As long as his linemates are Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner, he deserves to be added in many formats.

Pominville can be a very streaky scorer, though. Last season, he scored 11 points over his first nine games and ended the season with six points over his last seven games. But during a stretch in January and February, Pominville went 17 games without a point. You will probably need to bench him or drop him outright once the signs of another dry spell appear. (nov4)

 

9. The Juuse Saros era in Nashville will just have to wait a little longer, if it happens at all. Pekka Rinne has signed a two-year, $10 million extension to remain with the Predators. This contract could potentially keep Rinne in Nashville for the rest of his career.

Both Rinne and Saros are now locked up until the end of the 2020-21 season, which would make Rinne 38 and Saros 26 by the time both contracts end. So, if you’ve been stashing Saros in the hopes that Rinne would not be re-signed, this is a bit of a blow. Unless he is traded, Saros should continue to be one of the league’s top backups and at least a streaming option every time he starts. (nov4)

 

10. Dylan Strome recorded just his first assist and third point of the season on Friday – not exactly the breakout many were hoping for from the 21-year-old Coyote. Granted, he's not getting the even-strength deployment you'd like to see but he is seeing over 50 percent of the team's power play time. The now-or-never period is approaching for the former third overall pick. (nov3)

 

11. The Lightning re-signed soon-to-be unrestricted free agent and underdog champion, Yanni Gourde, to a six-year deal worth 5.166 million per season. The 26-year-old is a lesson in dedication. The undrafted forward has produced at every level and earned himself a shot at the big time.

Since being there, he's been a terrific swiss army knife on the Cup-contending squad. Over the past two seasons, he ranks sixth in WAR according to Evolving-Hockey. He produces at a terrific point-per-60 clip, especially at even-strength. His 2.731 ESP/60 last season ranked 22nd in the league.

I love this deal. Gourde can play all three forward positions, he's a great even-strength producer, and he's worked his bag off to get it. (nov3)

 

12. In case you picked Ryan Donato as a sleeper and you missed it this past week, he’s been officially demoted to the AHL. Those of you in single-season formats may have already moved on anyway, considering that Donato had just a goal and no assists in 11 games. He’ll come back stronger once he receives more playing time in the AHL, so you’ll still want to retain him in your keeper league. (nov2)

 

13. Flames’ Mike Smith may have earned a win on Thursday but it covered up another poor outing. Smith allowed five goals on 26 shots, but if not for a five-goal outburst by the Flames in the third period, fantasy owners who started Smith would have come home completely empty-handed. I think we see some more of David Rittich, at least in the short term. Smith: .871 Sv%. Rittich: .927 Sv%. Move Smith to your bench until he figures it out. This has to be a full-blown goalie controversy in Cowtown. (nov2)

 

14. I like the poll questions on the DobberHockey Facebook page and try to answer them whenever I can. One of the more thought-provoking questions was which player is better: Bo Horvat or Dylan Larkin? Although I chose Horvat (my Canucks bias, of course), Larkin’s recent production should grab your attention. With 15 points (6g-9a) in 14 games, he is easily the Red Wings’ leading scorer. Larkin may have to carry the Wings on his back as they continue along their rebuild. (nov2)

 

15. Is there anything that can stop Elias Pettersson right now? The kid is up to nine goals and 15 points in just nine games. At this point, if you think he’s a flash in the pan, then you need to watch him and you’ll be convinced otherwise. Let’s just say he’s far surpassed what I usually draft in the 15th round (176th overall) in a single-season fantasy league.

I decided to look up Yahoo’s Trade Market feature to find out what Pettersson is worth on the trade market. Pettersson was traded 1-for-1 for the following players: Jordan Staal, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jonathan Marchessault, Leon Draisaitl, and Aleksander Barkov. The Staal deal seemed like highway robbery, but the other deals seemed fair. Ristolainen can provide help on D in certain multicategory leagues, while the last three are proven commodities that should be able to reach 70 points (barring injury). So, if trading Pettersson, I would aim for about that caliber of player.

With that in mind, I decided to accept the offer that was presented to me last Tuesday: Pettersson for Jack Eichel. As much as I would like to marvel at the super sleeper sitting on my roster all season, I pocketed the closer-to-sure point-per-game production and crossed my fingers that top-50 pick Eichel doesn’t fall victim to the injury bug again. (oct31)

P.S.: If you don’t think I made the right decision on trading Pettersson for Eichel one for one (hello, Cam Robinson), I will mention that this is a non-keeper league with no money involved. So, I only have to live with my decision for the rest of the year and I don’t jeopardize my kids’ college fund in any way. Or, maybe it won’t be that bad of a decision. We’ll see. This kind of thing makes the game more fun and discussion livelier, though. (nov4)

 

16. Another two goals for Timo Meier, including the overtime winner, against Philly on Saturday. With 11 goals on the season, Meier is now tied for the league lead with four other players. Meier has recorded points in 10 of his last 11 games and appears to be on the verge of a true breakout. Even though his goal-scoring pace might cool off a little (23.9 SH%), the signs were there. Meier took over 200 shots last season while scoring 21 goals, and he’s been on a solid scoring unit with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. (nov4)

 

17. Auston Matthews’ injury has to be a little bit concerning for Leafs fans and fantasy owners. This is back-to-back seasons with a serious shoulder injury, to each shoulder, on top of Matthews’s well-known back issues going back to Switzerland. At this point, he’s one of the truly elite players in the game and we all hope that injuries don’t begin to derail what was starting to look like a Hall of Fame career. Let’s hope that these are just a couple bumps in the road rather than a sign of things to come. (oct30)

 

18. Vladislav Namestnikov’s fantasy value beefed up in the first quarter last season when he played with Nikita Kucherov in Tampa Bay, and at this point it’s pretty clear that he’s a complementary player. Great to have if he’s complimenting the right player but there is nobody on the Rangers who fits the bill. If he’s traded to Pittsburgh and plays with Evgeni Malkin, then sign me up. But otherwise, I just don’t care about this guy in any league format. (oct29)

 

19. Speaking of Malkin, I held onto that guy for a dozen years and he won me a couple of trophies in that particular keeper league. But the last few years he had been killing me with injuries in the final months, so I traded him last summer (2017). Naturally that means he never gets hurt again and is back to his dominant self. (oct29)

The dude is feelin' it. He missed four games last season and hasn't sat out yet in 2018-19. At 32 years of age, his propensity for injury should be ramping up. However, he may be going all Benjamin Button on us and turning his Achilles heel into a strength. If Geno can be a consistently healthy player, his value, even in keeper leagues, is through the roof. Near-generational players – and that's exactly what he is – have a prolonged shelf life. I won't be betting against him replicating a near-100-point-pace for the foreseeable future. (nov3)

 

20. I am not, and never have been, a fan of Los Angeles being a landing spot for Ilya Kovalchuk. I had picked him up last January with the expectation that he would sign somewhere and was disappointed at his eventual destination. But, that being said, I am certainly comfortable with him getting to 60 points this season. Even with a slow start I didn’t think anything of it. He’ll have his hot and cold moments and fall above and below that mark, but ultimately I think that’s where his destination lies. Something to keep in mind if he ever gets ahead of that pace by a large amount – if you own him that would be the time to shop him. (oct29)

 

Have a good week, folks!!

 

 

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