Today is the day, Dobber community! Today is the day that the 2019 Dobber Hockey Midseason Fantasy Guide drops (at 3pm EST!). If you haven’t reserved your copy, you can buy it right now. It contains rest of season projections, recommendations, call-ups, trade targets, and a whole lot more. Get the edge you need to put yourself in a position to win down the stretch of the fantasy hockey campaign!
Both Tyler Bozak and Patrick Maroon were scratches for St. Louis on Thursday night, the former due to injury, the latter due to, well, I guess under-performance. Here’s the thing with Maroon: he’s shooting 5.3 percent this year after being a career 11.9 percent shooter heading into the season. Out of 343 forwards with at least 300 minutes at 5v5 this year, Maroon is 342nd in PDO (only Tomas Nosek is worse). I wonder why his season looks so bad.
Patric Hornqvist has been sidelined with a concussion, say the Penguins. There is obviously no timeline for his return. He’s had his share in his career, so at this point let’s just say well wishes and hope there’s nothing lingering from this.
After spending some time on the fourth line, James van Riemsdyk was on the top line for the Flyers Thursday night with Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny. The Flyers change their lines often but let’s hope this can stick for a little while. They are paying him $7M this year, after all.
One more thing to note: Tage Thompson, not Sam Reinhart (who was on the second line), was skating on the top line with Eichel and Jeff Skinner. I will say I’ve been impressed with Thompson this year. The raw production isn’t there but skating 12-13 minutes a game, often in the bottom-6, will not often make a player seem flattering. I’m excited to see what he can do here.
It looks like Detroit defenceman Mike Green could return to the Wings this weekend. I know he’s a favourite punching bag for some but he played at a 41-point pace two years ago, a 41-point pace last year, and had 16 points in 23 games this year before injury. He’s fantasy-relevant, even on a team like Detroit. Maybe scour the waiver wire in case someone got impatient.
After the benchings last game, Florida shook up their lineup, moving Denis Malgin to the top line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, Jared McCann centering the second line flanked by Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov, and Henrik Borgstrom moved down to the third line.
An update on the injured Devils players:
- Taylor Hall isn’t skating
- Cory Schneider just returned to the ice on Thursday
- MacKenzie Blackwood skated in morning skate with the team and will be re-evaluated Friday
The first bit of news to come out Thursday morning was this:
— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 10, 2019
One reason why I hate news releases like this is because this could be anything. Did Bobrovsky miss a video session, was it a heated argument with the coaching staff, or did he get into a bar fight? All the same, the team is sealing up tight about this so I’m not sure we’ll get the real answer anytime soon. It may be another nail in the coffin for Bobrovsky’s tenure in Columbus, too.
Just as a small aside, I find it kind of odd we (fans, writers, media) often talk about Toronto’s impending cap crunch, but not Tampa Bay’s. This is a team with over $73-million in commitments for 2019-20, leaving them with less than $10-million in cap space with Brayden Point to sign. They will also have three regular defencemen coming off the books in need of replacing (a couple will come internally, I’m sure), and new contracts needed for Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne. Someone needs to go but there are very few players on that team with significant money committed and no form of movement protection, be it full or partial NTCs or NMCs. It’s basically J.T. Miller, Yanni Gourde, and Nikita Kucherov. Considering Gourde’s new contract hasn’t even started and there’s no way they’d trade Kucherov, it seems Miller is the most likely bet to be traded. But will there be suitors, and will the team have to sweeten the deal? We’ll see.
Not fantasy relevant in the slightest but I enjoyed this story from Emily Kaplan at ESPN about hockey players having a hard time finding jeans and dress pants that fit. I know I absolutely despise wearing jeans for reasons outlined in the article. It isn’t exclusive to hockey players, so a lot of people can probably identify with this issue.
Mat Barzal continued his recent hot streak posting a goal and two assists in the Islanders road game against the Rangers. That gives him 19 points in his last 14 games, leaving him just shy of a point-per-game pace on the season. Even with the Islanders’ focus on defence this year, Barzal is shining. He’s already one of the outstanding young stars in the game. It won’t be long until he’s mentioned in the same breath as all the stars in the game, period.
Boone Jenner had a pair of goals on Thursday night in Columbus’s 4-3 overtime win at home to Nashville, adding five blocked shots and five hits for good measure. He’s on pace for over 200 shots and though the hit and PIM totals are down from where he normally is, they’re still very solid for multi-cat leagues.
Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in Washington’s 4-2 win over Boston. It was Ovechkin’s first multi-goal game in four weeks, which I guess counts as a drought? He’s well on his way to a 50-goal season. It’s a wonder if he’ll ever slow down.
Toronto’s top line did what it normally does and suffocated the opponent, this time New Jersey, with offensive pressure. John Tavares had two goals and an assist, Mitch Marner had one of each, and Zach Hyman had a helper in his return to the lineup.
More updates in the morning.
In celebration of the release of the 2019 Dobber Hockey Midseason Guide (be sure to grab your copy!) I wanted to share some of my own tips for the balance of the fantasy hockey season. Most of these will be obvious but please bear with me. Not everyone has been playing fantasy sports for a decade.
Be Honest With Yourself
“We deal in deception here. What we do not deal with is self-deception.”
Bonus points for those who can name from which movie that quote belongs.
Anyway, it’s very important to be honest with yourself. That’s not just life advice, but is especially applicable to fantasy sports, and fantasy hockey. Fantasy owners in 12-team leagues, non-H2H leagues whom are currently sitting in 9th place need to be realistic. Don’t say “well if [this] happens, and [this] happens, and [this] happens, and [this] happens, etc., I can still win.” There may be some confluence of events that could lead to a win but the possibility of that happening is so miniscule as to not be worth considering. Be honest about where you stand with your team, particularly in keeper/dynasty leagues. Once an honest assessment of where a fantasy team stands is done, then the next steps can be taken. Lying to yourself is a quick way to toil in the basement for 2-3 years.
Don’t Overvalue Draft Picks
There was a good read yesterday from our very own Alex MacLean about the value of draft picks. Some people get very excited about draft picks when they’re rebuilding but Alex made some salient points about value and likelihood of getting a good player. This is especially true of “first” round picks in keeper leagues. In a 12-team league if teams keep 8 players, you’re most likely drafting guys outside the top-100. In such instances, most people use their “first” round picks on rookies. That can either go very well or very poorly. A few years ago, after Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine were off the board, it effectively turned into a crapshoot. Maybe you drafted Pierre-Luc Dubois, or Matthew Tkachuk, or Clayton Keller. Good for you. There were people who drafted Jesse Puljujarvi, Olli Juolevi, or Alex Nylander. A couple years ago, after Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel were drafted, maybe someone selected Mitch Marner or Mikko Rantanen. That turned out well. Or maybe they drafted Pavel Zacha or Dylan Strome. That did not turn out so well. Quite often, if you get a first round pick that doesn’t include a chance to draft a sure-fire top-tier player like Matthews or McDavid, you’re flipping a coin. If someone is hesitant to give up their “first” round pick in a keeper league trade, maybe try to ask for their second and third instead. Somebody near the top trading away draft picks isn’t likely to be picking in the top-3 anyway, so stockpiling picks in rounds 2-5 should be the focus rather than just one or two draft picks in the first round. I would rather have 4-5 picks in rounds 2-5 than a couple in round 1. Again, this all depends on how many players are kept, too. A “first” round pick in a 12-team league that keeps 3 players is a lot more valuable than a “first” round pick in a league that keeps 8.
Swing For The Fences
For those at the other end of the spectrum, those looking to win, too often I see people, to borrow a baseball phrase, nibble at the edges. They trade for a fifth defenceman, a third goalie, or a bench winger. I get the idea; shore up depth in case of injuries. But if you’re in fourth place and looking to make a push for first, nibbling at the edges won’t get it done. Sure, it’ll protect you in case of injuries, but it probably won’t help much in actually gaining ground. The difference between a top-50 defenceman and top-75 defenceman isn’t much, and it’s certainly not enough to push a fantasy roster over the top for a league win. Swing for the fences, then. Go trade for those elite guys with bad first halves like Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan Getzlaf, or Shayne Gostisbehere. Don’t trade for Gustav Nyquist, Brock Nelson, or T.J. Brodie.
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