Eastern Edge: Evaluating Skaters from the Buffalo Sabres

by Cam Metz on July 17, 2018
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: Evaluating Skaters from the Buffalo Sabres

 

It feels like we are all sitting around waiting for the Erik Karlsson proverbial shoe to drop. I’ve been trying to tailor my team previews to teams unlikely to make splash moves that remarkably change the fantasy makeup for the upcoming campaign.  So this week we’ll go with a team that didn’t provide all that much in fantasy production.  Chris Kane wrote about Colorado this week, please give it a read.

Listening to some colleagues this summer I’ve come up with some interesting draft preparation tools, one being “BeerSheets”, some googling has not provided many NHL examples.  There are basic positional tiered sheets but there is also some sheets that incorporate ADP and expected player value.  If you’ve used any tools in the past that you think would be helpful feel free to leave a comment below or find me on twitter @DH_jcameronmetz.

August 1st can’t come soon enough; I’m really excited about the 2018-2019 Dobber Fantasy Guide.  Dobber will have you covered as you start preparing for your drafts on key strategies and players to target to gain a leg up on your league.   The first few pages alone could win you your league by reshaping how you approach playoffs and scheduling.

Next week the Dobber team will be getting you prepared for the drafting in Keeper leagues, we’ll be addressing all of the players that were not keepers and who you should be targeting come redraft time.  The whole week will be a must read for those maintaining a keeper pool.  Get ready for Bubble Week.

Returning to the summer series we’ll take a look at the undervalued and overvalued players on each team.  I hope to combine this commentary with some of my previous analysis on why a specific stat is relevant and what it could mean for the player this coming season. This is not to say a specific player is not valuable to their own team, it is an attempt to show how value can change our mindset on the draft positions for these players, so that you can make sure you pick valuable players throughout the entire draft. 

This week we will stick with Atlantic and take a look at the Buffalo Sabres.

Like for the Wild West series, the ranks are based on a 12 team, head-to-head league, using the categories of goals, assists, power play points, shots, hits and blocks for forwards/defensemen and wins, saves, save percentage and goals against average for goalies. Player eligibility for this series is based on Yahoo, and draft ranks are based on average draft positions compiled from Yahoo, ESPN and CBS by FantasyPros.  Once we can flip the switch and start getting 2018 ADPs we’ll be sure to cover you on the value plays for this season.

 

Recap

How long will the rebuild in Buffalo take? The second prize in the 2015 draft was Jack Eichel and unfortunately for Buffalo the future has taken longer to arrive than expected.  Buffalo finished at the bottom of the Atlantic division last year amassing only 78 points.  The vaunted Buffalo power play of the 2016-17 season did not return as the team went from 24.5% (first in the league 16-17) to 19.1% (20th in the league 17-18). Changes are being made in Buffalo; they shipped Ryan O’Rielly off to St. Louis, signed Carter Hutton rather than retaining Robin Lehner’s services, and they added a cornerstone franchise defenseman in Rasmus Dahlin.

 

Undervalued

Rasmus Ristolainen – When doing the research for this article I recall hearing a fellow league mate complain about the season Ristolainen was having last year.  Surprisingly, Risto actually made good on his ADP vs his return, as he was drafted as the 75th skater but in both hit/block leagues and a point/sog focus produced as the 45th-55th best skater.  Since he only played 72 games last year it seems that Risto has plenty more to give, however with the addition of the other Rasmus (Dahlin), Risto may see his deployment change in this upcoming campaign.  If Dahlin does bite into his PP time, watch out because Risto won’t touch the ADP he will likely warrant this year, unless the deployment risk is already baked in.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

72

6

35

41

0.57

180

3.3

206

23

109

 

Jack EichelI know that the setup of this article should in itself move Eichel to the overvalued, however I am unable to move him to that category only because his rate stats are still worthy of producing elite fantasy value.  Hopefully one of these years Eichel will be able to stay healthy.  It would be wonderful if this year his ADP will be low enough, that with a full 82 game season, those poolies wise enough to draft him in the third round (fingers crossed) will be handsomely rewarded. Last year however his ADP of 32 did not produce any sort of value return as he was overall ranked just barely in the top 100.  Eichel is shaping up to be a must-draft this year.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

67

25

39

64

0.95

246

10.1

52

20

22

 

Sam Reinhart – It seems like it’s only a matter of time before Reinhart puts his mark on the fantasy hockey world. If 50 points his now his floor and he’ll be riding shotgun with Eichel for what we all hope is a full season, 65 points doesn’t seem out of reach.  Even though Reinhart was drafted late or went undrafted in most leagues last year he was able to produce value in all league formats.  Reinhart is gearing up for a great pick this year; a depressed ADP because of Buffalo being viewed as a bad team.  Imagine drafting first overall – snagging McDavid, having Eichel fall to the end of the second round, and then being able to stack Reinhart in the later rounds.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

81

25

25

50

0.61

187

13.3

47

21

42

 

Carter Hutton – I like the opportunity that Hutton has in front of him, a lot of people will be sleeping on Buffalo as a bad team.  Hutton put together a spectacular season in St. Louis and most of his results won’t be repeated on this Buffalo team.  That doesn’t mean he won’t be able to provide support as number two or number three for those willing to skip the goalie run that every league experiences.  An above average SV% would be just enough for Hutton to provide an offensive fantasy squad with the required support in net.

 

Overvalued

Rasmus Dahlin – The kid hasn’t even stepped on the ice yet and he’s getting tagged as overvalued. I think the case is pretty clear why he is overvalued.  It is difficult for rookie defensemen to produce in the league, and it will be harder for him to produce value when his ADP is likely inflated due to him being the number one overall pick.  It’s unlikely he’ll be running a first unit power play to start the year and who he gains ice time with will be a big factor in his fantasy value.  In summary let someone else take the Dahlin bait, you can always draft him in 2019-2020 if I’m wrong.

 

Kyle OkposoSince leaving the Island Okposo has not been able to put together a 60 point season.  Many people thought that last year was the year that he would mesh with Eichel and produce at the levels he experienced with John Tavares.  Unfortunately his advanced metrics don’t show much room for improvement in terms of shooting percentage creating more goals.  Perhaps a full season of playing with Eichel can increase his assist output; I don’t anticipate grabbing any Okposo shares this coming draft season.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

76

15

28

43

0.53

161

9.3

70

20

34

 

Conor Sheary – Sheary had a terrific year in 2016-17, but found himself as a salary cap casualty in Pittsburgh (thanks Jack Johnson).  He was not able to put together a fantasy season of any value last year even though he finally played in almost a whole season.  Looking back at Sheary’s ADP of 105 must give a lot of fantasy owner’s bad memories.  The Pittsburgh connection is strong in Buffalo and perhaps they see Sheary as capable of flanking Eichel at times next season.  I wouldn’t bet that there will be much value for Sheary next year.

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

Points/ Game

Shots

Sht%

Hits

PPlay Points

Blocks

79

18

12

30

0.37

142

12.6

29

3

31

 

Casey Mittelstadt Keep this name on your radar, he might pop early and unless you know the name you might miss watching him on your waiver wire.  The former eighth overall pick looks poised to jump into the role vacated by Ryan O’Rielly on the second line.

 

A reminder to stay tuned for all of the articles next week in Bubble Keeper week. 

 

More from Eastern Edge: Evaluating the Florida Panthers