21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles

by Mario Prata on October 6, 2019

Every Sunday, we'll share 21 Fantasy Rambles from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week's ‘Daily Ramblings’.

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

 

1. It doesn’t really matter if Brayden Schenn is the center for Vladimir Tarasenko, or the winger for Ryan O’Reilly, Schenn is assured top-6 minutes with hefty PP time. While last year was a down year, Schenn showed what he can do even in a down year: 54 points, over two shots per game, 111 hits, and 40 penalty minutes in 72 games. If a down 82-game season sees a player play to a pace that would see him post somewhere around 20 goals/40 assists with 180 shots and 125 hits, what’s going to happen if he has a good year? (oct1)

 

2. Derek Stepan, who has played over 20 minutes in each of the Coyotes first two games, could be in for a bounce-back if he sticks alongside Phil Kessel and Clayton Keller. Before dropping to just 35 points in 2018-19, Stepan had been the definition of consistency, recording between 53 and 57 points in each of his previous five seasons. At just 12 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, Stepan could provide some great hidden value, particularly if he sticks with Phil the Thrill (yup, I just added him in one league as I finished this sentence). (oct4)

 

3. Fantasy owners might want to check the waiver wire now that Pheonix Copley was put on waivers, making Ilya Samsonov the backup. Braden Holtby has had down years in back-to-back seasons and hasn’t started more than 58 games in either season. It seems that as long as Samsonov doesn’t fall on his face, we can pencil him in for 25 starts. It seems like there could be more starts beyond that if Holtby goes on a cold stretch like he’s done often of late. (oct3)

Samsonov didn’t disappoint in his NHL debut on Friday. The 22-year-old Russian netminder stopped 25 of 26 shots he faced in the Capitals’ 2-1 win over the Islanders. For more on the 2015 first-round pick, you can check out his Dobber Prospects profile. Samsonov spent last season in the AHL after some impressive seasons in the KHL. It’s also worth mentioning that Holtby is in a contract season, which should provide the veteran with some added motivation if the kid continues to play well. (oct6)

 

4. In case anyone had hopes that the Columbus power play wouldn’t be an absolute embarrassment this year, they started the season with Gustav Nyquist in a shooting role on one unit, Alex Wennberg in a net-front position on that same unit, and Pierre-Luc Dubois on neither PP unit. I don’t know what exactly I was expecting out of the power play, but this certainly is not it. (oct3)

 

5. The Devils’ Blake Coleman has some great peripherals. You could consider him to be Tom Wilson lite if you meant to draft Wilson but didn’t. Last season Coleman took 71 penalty minutes, dished 225 hits, and took 213 shots, the last category being significantly higher than Wilson’s total. Coleman is owned in 41 percent of Yahoo leagues, but he’s someone who needs to be owned in most bangers-and-mash leagues.

The negative: Zero power-play minutes on Friday. Only 0:44 PPTOI last season, and that was before the Devils’ roster was upgraded with Jack Hughes and Nikita Gusev. I know Coleman scored 22 goals last season and he’s off to a head start in a quest for another 20 goals. However, I wouldn’t reach for him in pure scoring leagues for those two reasons. (oct5)

 

6. Remember when we used to talk about adding Conor Sheary from the waiver wire? Could we be doing so again soon? (Sheary is 2% owned in Yahoo leagues.) I don’t know about that, but it was quite a season debut for Sheary against his former club. Sheary scored two goals, including one on the power play, in the Sabres’ 3-1 over Pittsburgh.

Sheary played on a line with Casey Mittelstadt, who assisted on both of Sheary’s goals. The part that I’m concerned about is that the pair each played only nine minutes. Obviously Mittelstadt has upside and shouldn’t be playing those kind of minutes forever, while Sheary has proven to be a low floor/high ceiling option that benefits from strong linemates. Case in point 2016-17, when he scored a career high 53 points while tagging along with Sidney Crosby. So we’ll have to wait and see whether this duo can form anything more than short-term chemistry. (oct4)

 

7. You might be wondering why Mika Zibanejad,, a center who had never cracked 55 points before last season, was a top-100 player in many fantasy drafts. It’s because of the possibility of playing alongside Artemi Panarin, the kind of playmaker that the Rangers didn’t roster last season. Guess what: It happened, and so far the returns are there. (oct4)

 

8. I rely on the projections in the Fantasy Guide for my own roster decisions, and I would assume that many of you will, too. However, there’s nothing wrong with you believing that a player was projected either too high or too low. Opinions will vary. So by saying this, I’m going to pick on one player that I believe that Dobber (or his secret projector) has been too generous with and would rank lower. That player is Cam Talbot, who he projected to play in 53 games with 29 wins, both higher than David Rittich’s projected total.

Big Save Dave lived up to his nickname on Saturday, stopping all 34 shots he faced in the Flames’ 3-0 win over Vancouver. Rittich looked particularly strong over the third period, stopping 18 Canucks’ shots while the Flames also had to kill three penalties. I know this is one game, but at the very least I see a timeshare here. With this shutout, Rittich should have the upper hand as the Flames’ goalie to own (at least for the moment). Talbot has something to prove this season, so it will be interesting to see how he fares when he does start. (oct6)

 

9. Mike Hoffman continues to score goals. He’s already up to four goals after scoring a career high 36 goals last season. It seems as though the trade out of Ottawa was a positive career move. Any worries about him not receiving PP1 time with the Panthers should be dispelled, as Hoffman scored 17 PPG last season and already has 2 PPG this season. (oct6)

 

10. Nikita Gusev:

– People can talk all they want about Vadim Shipachyov. They can ramble on that he’s proven nothing in the NHL, but this dude is going to feast in NJ.
– He’s locked to either Nico Hischier (who I think takes another big step this year), or Jack Hughes.
– Top PP with the bunch of them and Taylor Hall.         
– Honestly, there's little reason to expect less than 60 points, and 70+ isn’t out of the question. (oct2)       
   

11. Kevin Fiala:

– A big spike in PPTOI occurred when he landed in Minny (3+). That should continue this season.
– Has always been a highly skilled player. Now he’s the top young offensive player on a team built to win never. That’s not ideal, but he should eat up all the fun ice.         
– I think 25 goals and 60 points is doable. Should be a safe 50. (oct2)   
   

12. We can only hope that the Jets use Jack Roslovic as the 2C instead of say, Andrew Copp. If they do, Roslovic flanked by Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine could be darn juicy. Roslovic produced very well on a per-minute basis in a limited sample during the 2017-18 season. Not so much last year. With over 100 games under his belt, he may be getting ready to take this role and run with it for a time. But he needs the shot first. (oct2)

 

13. Still with the Jets, Neal Pionk should bring a lot of peripherals to the table, and that’s a big reason why he should have been drafted in your leagues. Also, the Jets blueline is so depleted that they’re not going to have much choice but give Pionk a lot more minutes than he should probably be playing. Not to mention that there’s a decent chance he can get some PP1 time. This is all bad news for the Jets and their fans, but it’s good news for fantasy owners. Potato/tomato. (oct1)

BTW: The Jets added a defenseman in Carl Dahlstrom via waivers. Could the 24-year-old left-shot defender's acquisition be writing on the wall for 18-year-old, 2019 first-round pick, Ville Heinola? The latter has looked terrific thus far but there isn't much to be gained in rushing a D+1 defender into the bigs. (oct2)

With assists in back-to-back games, Heinola is stating his case to remain with the big club. For the moment, he’s being paired with Pionk and is being used on the second-unit power play. For more on Heinola, check out his profile on Dobber Prospects. (oct5)

 

14. I think the Bruins saw the success they had starting Jaroslav Halak as often as they did last year (yes, partly due to injuries) and we’re going to see Halak have a healthy load again. Maybe not 40 games, but 30-35 sounds reasonable, and that many games for an elite team should make for a very good backup goalie. He gets heavy consideration for me as a third netminder. (oct1)

 

15. Adam Fox is on the Rangers’ roster but Vitali Kravtsov and Filip Chytil are not. One other guy who likely made the team: Michael Haley. Just phenomenal stuff out of New York.

Anyway, having Fox on the roster is pretty exciting. He won’t supplant Jacob Trouba anytime soon (I don’t think, anyway) but secondary PP minutes and some time playing with their star forwards at even strength could lead to a nice season for the young blueliner. (oct1)

 

16. Some notable forwards hit waivers last week. For example, I honestly have no earthly idea why Sven Baertschi was on waivers over guys like Brandon Sutter or Jay Beagle. They do have to get under the cap and that’s why someone had to be put on waivers – if he’s taken, they’re under – but that it was him instead of much worse players just kind of shows where Vancouver is right now: spinning their tires with a capped-out, average roster.

As for Josh Ho-Sang goes, he’s more divisive. Some people think he’s never done anything to prove he belongs in the NHL, others believe he was never really given a fair chance (and has performed well on the few chances he’s had). Of course, there was the alarm clock incident or whatever, but I’m hopeful he catches on somewhere that can use him. I still think there’s a very good NHL player here and the Islanders just flat missed it. We’ll see. (oct1)

 

17. Daniel Sprong was also put on waivers but I’m curious to see if anyone grabs him. He couldn’t make it work in two different franchises containing three Hall of Fame centers. Will it work elsewhere (or right back in Anaheim)? I’m not so optimistic.

Some other notables: Christian Djoos (WSH-D), Nikolay Goldobin (VAN-W), and Nic Petan (TOR) were also all placed on waivers. In particular, I’d like to see Djoos somewhere he can get regular minutes with a good defense partner. (oct1)

 

18. While preparing for my drafts, I noticed good young players still not cut from training camp with only 1% drafted status in Fantrax! Fantrax, of course, being the place where all three of my leagues are tracked. In many deeper leagues, these players should be considered, especially in keepers, because they may be able help sooner than you think…

Christian Dvorak, Arizona, 2% – Arizona is underrated. They won’t lead the NHL in scoring by any stretch but last year they weren’t as terrible as they seemed. Looking at the last 75 games, they were still in the bottom third of NHL scoring but they weren’t as bad as 27th. Dvorak leads the charge in terms of rebounding. His Breakthrough Threshold is now, and putting my money where my mouth is, I drafted him in the Forecaster League. My lowest pick was in the seventh round and I wanted him, even though he probably would have been taken in the 11th or 12th rounds. I have him for 41 points this year but he is one of the top Sleepers in my entire Fantasy Guide at 20% confidence. (sep30)

 

19. Rasmus Andersson, 1% – Andersson had a strong second half last year, a very good postseason for Calgary this year, and I have him in the Guide for 28 points. While that’s ho-hum for defenseman, he does have upside and I have him as a pretty strong sleeper pick for 40 points. I would have thought that worthy of 5% ownership, with all the deeper leagues out there. (sep30)

 

20. Cody Glass, Vegas, 4% – Right from the start, I had Glass making the Knights and getting on the third line. I think he eventually gets some good PP time, as well. And at the rate Paul Stastny gets hurt, are you kidding me? Glass is worth sticking on your bench just for that moment alone. I have him for 31 points but you can make that 45 if Stastny gets injured earlier instead of later. (sep30)

 

21. A few more interesting observations:

Ryan Pulock was the second-top drafted Islander at 89%, behind only Mathew Barzal.

Justin Faulk was drafted in 96% of leagues on Fantrax. People obviously didn’t get the memo that he’s overrated and has no business being owned half that much.

William Karlsson was drafted in 93% of Fantrax leagues, while Andreas Johnsson was drafted in 32% of leagues. And I kept Johnsson. I sure went out on a limb there. (sep30)

 

Have a good week, folks!!