Brady Skjei, Plus/Minus talk and some players of interest …
Following the Brandon Pirri signing, and the recent criticism Mike and I have thrown at the Rangers not addressing their blueline, it's clear Brady Skjei is highly regarded. Additionally, Skjei is clearly viewed as a needle mover offensively.
No doubt, his skating ability will erase a lot of shortcomings — similar to Morgan Rielly as he entered the league. Skjei's plus-wheels will enable him to jump up offensively and create odd-man rushes.
Unfortunately, by most accounts, Skjei is still extremely raw offensively, which limits his upside as a fantasy asset. Still, he flashed nicely during the playoffs, and with offensively tilted minutes and zone starts, the rookie is a player to watch.
Another angle from the real-world perspective is New York has assembled nice assets and provided an opportunity to take a long look at Skjei and its blue line. If it doesn't jive, the Rangers are in a position to make a move for a rearguard without sacrificing the punch of their forward corps.
There is also a chance it is Dylan McIlrath who the Rangers have faith in, but given Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Kevin Klein all have enough sandpaper in their games, Skjei should break camp as the sixth defenseman.
This was an interesting tweet:
Just stumbled on the fact that a (different) Czech player led the league in plus/minus 5 times from 2000-01 to 2008-09.
— Rob Vollman (@robvollmanNHL) August 25, 2016
It made me wonder about plus/minus. As a general rule, the statistic is panned for fantasy purposes. But, because it is used in plenty of leagues, including at one particular daily site, it's foolish to ignore it entirely.
Here's a quick breakdown of how random it is, though.
Over the past three seasons, only 67 times has a player scored at least 35 points and posted a plus-20 rating. No player has done it in each of the past three seasons, and only Tyler Johnson, Anze Kopitar, Chris Kunitz, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Ondrej Palat, Joe Pavelski, Vladimir Tarasenko, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews and Tyler Toffoli have hit the benchmarks twice.
Looking at the other side, just 30 times has a player scored at least 35 points while positing a minus-20 rating over the past three seasons. No one has done it each year, and Sam Gagner, Elias Lindholm and Keith Yandle have hit the marks twice.
Generally speaking, your plus/minus ratings for fantasy-level players are falling between plus-20 and minus-20, and across a 15- to 25-man roster, it shouldn't be a huge focus. At the same time, it's likely ill-advised to load up your roster with players from teams likely to contend for the draft lottery.
In leagues including real-time stats (shots, blocked shots and hits), there could be an advantage to stocking your final two defense spots with defensemen who tip the scales in the three mentioned stats from good teams. Also, in rotisserie leagues, it is a statistic you can pick away at and address through streaming.
All said, as long as you're not neglecting plus/minus, it won't be your demise.
theScore.ca continues to roll out what will be an impressive fantasy kit. Here are a few takeaways inspired by a quick run through the goods.
Robin Lehner enters his age-25 season with 97 career starts and an up-and-coming team in front of him. He owns the desirable frame and has flashed exceptional upside. He has his entire career ahead of him and very little competition for starts, if he can stay healthy. Given his likely asking price, you could have a fringe No. 1 goalie on your hands at the cost of a No. 3.
Jacob Markstrom isn't worth a roster spot in single-year leagues. Just don't. Taking a backup on good teams who plays 17 games is better than Markstrom's 35 starts with Vancouver. He's going to be your No. 3 or No. 4 goalie and how many nights are your top goalies going to have daunting enough matchups that you're going to confidently roll out Markstrom?
What odds would you need to back Connor Hellebuyck as a top-10 fantasy goalie for next season? Everything lines up perfectly with Winnipeg trending in the right direction, and it'd be nearly impossible to miss as many man games as last season. Hellebuyck paced goalies with at least 1,000 minutes in five-on-five save percentage (.941) last season, after all. Also, if you're worried about Ondrej Pavelec, just remember … the season lasts until April.
Damon Severson is a nice late-round flier. He wasn't utilized properly/enough last season with just 18:10 minutes per game and only 1:42 of power-play time. There is absolutely no guarantee anything will change this season, but New Jersey isn't as abysmal offensively as the masses will think. 30 points are well within reach without much change, and remember, Severson debuted with four goals and four helpers over the first 11 games of his career.
Charlie Coyle is power-play looks away from posting a 50-point season. He notched a career-high six PP points last year despite averaging just 2:05 minutes per night with the man advantage. Head coach Bruce Boudreau should turn to his best players, and there's a legitimate shot he views Coyle as one of the top wingers on the team. For comparison sake, Coyle (1.49) beat Jack Eichel (1.48) in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five last season.
Kevin Fiala hasn't garnered a lot of buzz during the offseason, and he's not glowingly projected in our Prospect Guide (Expected Arrival – Will have cups of coffee with club/get a look this year, full-time in 2017-18). Nashville only has nine forwards on one-way contracts, though, and Fiala could easily prove to be a superior offensive option on a scoring line than Calle Jarnkrok or Colin Wilson. Fiala is a prized piece in the organization and has little to prove at the AHL level after scoring 50 points — 18 goals — over 66 games last year. He's a strong camp away from sticking with Nashville.
Enjoy the weekend, Dobberheads.
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