Rambings: Trouba Trade Fall Out, Hayes Signs in Philly, Ristolainen, Niku, & Draft Week (June 19)

by Cam Robinson on June 18, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Rambings: Trouba Trade Fall Out, Hayes Signs in Philly, Ristolainen, Niku, & Draft Week (June 19)


From all over North America, General Managers, scouting staffs, and shot-callers have begun to descend on Vancouver. The host city of the 2019 Entry Draft offers spectacular west coast imagery, friendly people, legalized ganja, and no ride-sharing options (it can’t all be good). It’s also appeared to have lubricated some of the trade wheels.


On Monday afternoon, a major domino fell. After Erik Karlsson re-upped for eight years and 11.5 million per, the free agent market took a big hit. It’s now spun up the trade market on right-shot defenders. The first to go was Jacob Trouba. Mike did a great job of breaking the deal down here. But I’d like to add some more content.



The Rangers are just 18 months removed from publicly announcing their intent to rebuild the original six franchise. All they’ve done since is put themselves into the position to challenge for the top prospect pipeline in the league, added a top-pairing right-shot defender, and are gearing up to dump a major offer at Artemi Panarin.


With the way the Metro division is trending  (down), New York has a wide-open run at some deep runs in the not-so-distant future. But how does Trouba’s insertion into the lineup affect the fantasy landscape?


Well, first of all, Kevin Shattenkirk’s value will continue to fall. If there’s a team looking for a power-play specialist, he’s likely to be acquired for relatively cheap. The Rangers will extend Trouba and then give him all the prime ice he never received long term in Winnipeg. His stock has grown in a big way here. That said, it may not be all doom and gloom for Shatty.


The top power play on Broadway sat 17th in the league last season. For much of the year, they ran some combination of Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Mats Zuccarello, and Shattenkirk. Next year it will infuse Kaapo Kakko at the minimum.


Whoever lands the point spot on the second unit will be surrounded with some very reasonable talent. If Shattenkirk is around, it’ll be him. But it could be the youngster, Adam Fox. What’s clear is that one of Fox or Tony DeAngelo will not be seeing any tangible minutes on the man-advantage.


As a restricted free agent, DeAngelo needs a new contract. He produced at a career-high 0.49 points-per-game last season with 30 points in 61 games. 10 of those points came on the powerplay where he saw under two minutes a night. That was good for 5.1 power-play points for every 60 minutes of power-play deployment. Of regular contributors, that placed him ahead of Mark Giordano and just slightly behind Kris Letang at 16th overall.


Once considered a player needing a great deal of shelter, the 23-year-old flipped the script last year while playing the best hockey of his career. After averaging nearly 60 percent offensive zone starts, 2018-19 saw him begin just 44.7 percent of his draws in the fun side of the rink. He’s likely another trade chip for the Blue Shirts as they’ll see his value as a power-play contributor and if they can’t carve out that time, his value will slip precipitously.


And so to recap. I like this trade for Trouba. And I think whoever lands the second PP gig on the blueline (perhaps two if they run a 3+2, which is plausible) is in a better spot than many PP2 guys. I do not like this trade for DeAngelo, but feel he could have sneaky value in a real-life trade and thus improve his fantasy upside.


On the Jets, I see this as a nice opportunity for former AHL Defenseman of the Year, Sami Niku. The 22-year-old doesn’t immediately jump up the lineup with the departure of the right-shot Trouba, but it does move him up the power-play pecking order. With Tyler Myers potentially leaving on July 1 (for far more money and term than he should receive), suddenly Niku is the third offensive defenseman option for the Jets. That will all but assure him consistent PP2 time and the potential to see that top squad if (when) Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey go down with their annual injuries.



Have you bought the Fantasy Prospect Guide yet? The draft is this week, people. There are over 500 player profiles in that bad boy, including over 100 draft-eligible profiles. Find out everything you need to know for your home team and your fantasy squad. Pick it up at the Dobber Shop. 



Over in the rumour mill, apparently, Buffalo is opening the phone lines and listening to offers on Rasmus Ristolainen. Pierre Lebrun wrote that Tampa Bay is sniffing around. Rick Dhaliwal reported that Vancouver is in the mix. Depending on the cost of acquisition, Risto could provide a club with a unique skill set – so long as he's deployed appropriately. 



The 24-year-old has only played one season above a 50-percent ozone start average. Last year he saw just 44 percent of his starts at the fun end of the rink. That's ludacris to me. Ristolainen is consistently buried at even-strength. According to Evolving Hockey's model, Ristolainen has produced a single season (2016-17) as a positive GAR player at even strength.


For those who don't know, Goals Against Replacement (GAR) is a tabulation which spits out a number that encapsulates how valuable an individual player is in terms of on-ice play, relative to a ‘replacement level’ player. A replacement level player is a player of a caliber such that they are readily available and can be acquired quickly and easily. For reference, a player who shuttles on waivers every year, or are considered emergency call-ups from the farm.


Last year, Ristolainen's -1.4 even-strength GAR (his third best full-season output) sat 200th out of defensemen with at least 1000 even-strength minutes. That's not good. However, his GAR of 3.0 on the man-advantage was ninth best for all defenders with at least 100 minutes on the man-advantage. 



It doesn't take a genius to conclude that Ristolainen positively impacts the game on the man-advantage, and struggles to drive play at even-strength. With the arrival of Rasmus Dahlin last season, Risto saw his power play ice dip by 40 seconds per contest. He was often found on the second unit. This negatively affected what could have been a career season. 


If Ristolainen does find himself on the move, one would likely expect (hope) his new club would place him in positions to succeed. That means a healthy dose of offensive zone starts and a gig on the team's top power-play unit. The blocks may dip for you multicategory folks, as he shouldn't be eating biscuits all night in the d-zone, but his offensive value should improve. 



I've been slowly releasing my Final 2019 NHL Draft Rankings on DobberProspects. You can see the breakdown of picks 3-93 already, and the final instalment drops first thing Wednesday morning. 


Part 1 – #28-93

Part 2 – #13-27

Part 3 – #3-12

Part 4 


Kevin Hayes inked a seven-year deal for 50 million (7.14 per) with Philadelphia on Tuesday. That is a MONSTER contract for the big centre. One that will surely afford him consistent offensive minutes in the City of Brotherly Love. He won't be pushing out Sean Couturier though, so his wingers will likely still be secondary. 


My main question is where this leaves Nolan Patrick long term? And also, that's a ton of dough for a player who didn't impact the game all the well while playing with high-end skaters in Winnipeg down the stretch. 

Philly is swinging hard on his upside. 


Read more on the Hayes signing here



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