Ramblings: Brady Tkachuk Leaving College, Johnny Gaudreau and Ranking Systems (Aug 12)

by Ian Gooding on August 11, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Brady Tkachuk Leaving College, Johnny Gaudreau and Ranking Systems (Aug 12)

Brady Tkachuk Leaving College, Johnny Gaudreau and Ranking Systems, plus more…

According to John Buccigross of ESPN, Brady Tkachuk has decided to leave Boston University and sign a pro contract with the Ottawa Senators.

In case you’re wondering, the younger Tkachuk is already listed in the Fantasy Guide as playing for Ottawa this coming season. But there’s still a chance that he may not spend the entire season in Ottawa. This could play out by the Senators keeping Tkachuk around for the nine-game trial, then sending him to the OHL’s London Knights, who own his rights. 

In case you’re wondering where Tkachuk might fit in now, the Sens have a number of established NHL-level players at the left wing position. But with the departure of Mike Hoffman, the Sens also lack a true top-liner at that position. So Tkachuk could receive an opportunity to latch on to a scoring line right away.

It's anyone’s guess whether Tkachuk would stay in Ottawa for the full season or not. But it’s worth mentioning that brother Matthew went straight to the Flames right after being drafted and stayed the entire season. So it’s possible that Brady is trying to follow the same path. But ultimately it will be the Senators’ decision. If the Sens are a Canadian tire fire again, then playing in London would be a better option for the 2018-19 season.

One left wing that Tkachuk will be battling for minutes with will be Ryan Dzingel. With all the turmoil in Ottawa last season (and stretching into the offseason), it’s easy to overlook the fact that Dzingel tied for the team lead in goals with 23. There’s lots to like with Dzingel as a potential deep sleeper. Not only is he playing for a contract, but he is also entering his fourth season (if you count his 30-game 2015-16 season). His production climbed as the season went on, which was at least partially due to his deployment with Matt Duchene later in the season.

At this point Dzingel might be the preferred choice on the top line while Tkachuk becomes accustomed to the NHL either this season or next. But long term, he’s probably keeping the seat warm for Tkachuk. In the meantime, you can have fun saying the name "Dzingel!" Doesn't it just roll off the tongue?


ESPN has recently published its fantasy hockey rankings. Although the World Wide Leader isn’t known for hockey in general or fantasy hockey in particular, these rankings are worth checking out, especially if you play in a fantasy hockey league hosted by ESPN. I know, as a company man, I should suggest that you only go to the Dobber rankings, so I’m not going to disparage them in any way. Rankings are not an easy job, since I’ve compiled them myself. But in past drafts, I’ve used multiple rankings sheets, combined with either my personal rankings sheets or simply my own judgment, to get what I think is a better idea of where I should really draft a player.

So to expand on what different rankings systems mean: ESPN rankings are designed for single-season leagues, particularly those using ESPN default settings, which use multiple categories. Dobber rankings such as the Top 300 Keeper League Skaters rank skaters only using the player’s keeper value in a points-only setting. So that should explain to some degree why Johnny Gaudreau is ranked #7 in the Dobber rankings, but #46 by ESPN. Gaudreau will arguably be a top-10 scorer over the next few seasons, yet he is grouped among the following by the ESPN Player Rater (which I realize is down at the moment, but I was able to access a couple nights ago):











Patrice Bergeron









Filip Forsberg









Johnny Gaudreau









Aleksander Barkov









Vladimir Tarasenko









Aside from the power-play points category, you can see where Gaudreau potentially loses value when compared to other peers in non-straight points categories. In fact, most of Johnny Hockey’s points come in the form of assists, which is a category that he dominates when compared to the rest of this group.

So a Gaudreau multicategory owner (or one in a points league where goals are worth more than assists) would need to ensure that he/she is receiving enough coverage in the goals department from other players. Think of that as needing to eat different types of food in order to ensure a healthy diet. Gaudreau has only reached the 30-goal mark once during his four-year NHL career, but he has recorded at least 40 assists in all four of those seasons.

Keep in mind that you are not restricted to the Top 300 Keeper Skaters when it comes to rankings provided by Dobber Hockey. You also have Roto Rankings on the site, the customizable draft list Excel spreadsheet that is included with the Fantasy Guide, and even the Fantasy Hockey Geek that allows you to customize rankings to your league settings.

The message I want to get across is that before you critique rankings, understand how they are constructed. But if you still believe that a player is ranked too high/too low on any of the rankings lists, please post your comments on the rankings page. Public opinion can at least provide some food for thought.


I have to admit that while I was looking up power-play stats over the past few seasons, I stumbled upon the very same stat about Claude Giroux that Cam Robinson did in his previous day’s Ramblings. (Am I allowed to say that great minds think alike?) In case you missed it, Giroux and Nicklas Backstrom are the co-leaders in power-play points over the past five seasons with 168 PPP apiece. Actually, if you go back just four seasons, Giroux leads all players with 131 PPP, seven clear of Backstrom, who is the next highest. And back three seasons, Giroux also leads all players with 94 PPP. Over five of his past seven seasons, Giroux has recorded at least 30 PPP.

Tying into my earlier topic, and maybe this is a coincidence given Gaudreau above: Giroux is ranked number 10 in both Dobber’s Top 300 and on ESPN. Regardless, he’s definitely a name to remember if your league counts power-play points.



Obviously there isn’t a lot of hockey being played at the moment. One exception, though, is the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, the under-18 tournament that just finished in Edmonton. Remember the name Alexis Lafreniere, who captained Canada to a gold medal. He will miss out on the 2019 NHL draft by less than a month, yet he should be at or near the top of the list for the 2020 draft. This goal is worth the minute or so of your time to get acquainted with this super prospect. Don’t just watch the live goal – also watch the replay where he strips the puck from the Swedish player.

Of course, Canada’s win wasn’t without some controversy. Canada barely escaped the semis with a “buzzer-beater” to send their game with the US into overtime. Looks like the clock showed 0.0 when the puck crossed the line, but the officials ruled it a good goal.


For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.