I have been writing for DobberHockey for over a year and a half now, and it has been a wonderful experience. Looking back over the last 20 months, I have put out about 80 articles, and haven’t really taken the time yet to go back over them, sorting out the hits, the misses and the passes. If you can’t learn from both your mistakes and your victories, what are we really here for anyways?
Having sorted through some of my highlights and lowlights, I will be featuring the player thoughts today, and the contract/salary cap-related ones next week.
It seems as though a lot of my player prediction hits come in the evaluation of buying/selling at the right time after players pass through free-agency. Typically, the strategy of passing on the fancy names, and grabbing the rebound candidates, or others with something to prove will pay off in spades over the long run.
Here are a few examples.
One of the hits I am most proud of is pegging Eric Staal for a bounce back in Minnesota, granted I didn’t expect him to average 70-points the last two years. Staal has been revitalized playing out of the spotlight, with a skilled crop of forwards, and a coaching system that plays to his strengths.
From that same article, we’ll call the Tomas Vanek blurb a hit too, as he certainly was revived in Detroit. He was pacing towards an excellent season before an untimely injury derailed his resurgence.
Unlike Eric Staal, this was a hit for me, but a miss for the players. All three of the above had just signed new contracts in July of 2016. All three have gone on to post disappointing results and continue to be problematic for each team’s cap situation. None of these three were expected to go out and suddenly score a point-per-game, but they were expected to contribute much more than they have to date. Consider yourself lucky if you got out in time.
Some of the other names in this article didn’t fall too far on either side of the expectations, however two nails were hit directly on the head as well. John Klingberg (the buy) finished two above the 65 points I had him pegged for here, due to internal growth, confidence in his own game, and the addition of Alex Radulov to the already lethal powerplay.
On the flip side, Duncan Keith (the sell) royally disappointed this year, almost setting the all-time mark for shooting percentage futility – with two goals all season. With his contract stretching out longer than a piece of gum in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, this is certainly one I hope you got out from under before this point.
Maybe even more so than Eric Staal in the summer of 2016, Yanni Gourde may be the best call I have had to date. I managed to acquire him in every cap-league I play, and boy did that feel good. Nestled in the buy-sell feature (returning later this summer), Gourde was positioned as the potential next Jonathan Marchessault with the Lightning. As was written in that article, Ondrej Palat indeed missed a large chunk of time, Tyler Johnson struggled, and Yanni Gourde seized his scoring opportunity.
As with everything in life, the good comes with a balance of the bad. I have had my fair share of falling on my face with some of my thoughts in these articles. Time to own up to it:
Let’s just give everyone a pass on Vegas. No one saw this coming and we are all still trying to underrate them while all they do is prove everyone wrong. Not much more to be said here.
Skaters at the Trade Deadline
Unless you were looking for a very cheap option to just fill some roster space, I didn’t help you out much here. Of the players listed, some have years left at bargain rates, where they may still help, but on the whole, they were a disappointing bunch of names. Looking back on these two articles hurt, as I targeted a handful of them in my leagues. Had I been a little more aggressive and gone for the bigger fish at the deadline, perhaps things may have been different.
Late Free Agents
For all of my talk above about having a good track record with bargain free-agents, sometimes that can be taken a little too far. With this article from last summer, trying to find some later unsigned bargains in free-agency, I got carried away and overlooked that there were reasons these players were still unsigned three weeks into the free-agency period.
Andrei Markov signed back in Europe after I said he could give the 40-point plateau a run in the right situation.
Jaromir Jagr played through injuries and then had his contract terminated, again after I mentioned the 40-point plateau.
Cody Franson needed a tryout offer from Chicago, and then still only played less than half the season.
No one has a perfect crystal ball, that’s about all that we know for certain. Hopefully what we can take away from this, is that opinions are just that. Mine are based partially on numbers, partially on the eye test and an understanding for the game. However, I do miss some things, so doing some supplemental research to validate what you find in articles online can make a big difference.
What I am going to take away from this, is that there are always bargains to be found in free agency, but just because they are there, doesn’t mean everyone signed for under $3 million will be. There’s usually a reason why they are being paid less.
I also plan to put some good research into the Buy/Sell feature that is a Capped staple later in the summers. It is one of my favourite sets of pieces to get out, and it can be such a great way to start the season off on the right foot. Many times in cap leagues, when trying to get ahead on players such as Marchessault and Gourde, by the time you are aware they have arrived, they are already owned.
Recent Capped article: Candidates to Rebound Next Season
That caps off another Thursday. Stay tuned for the salary related Capped review next week.
If you want to talk hockey, salary caps, or anything even remotely related, you can find me on twitter any day of the week @alexdmaclean
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