Ramblings: Bubble Keeper Week Garage Sale! (July 25)

by Ian Gooding on July 24, 2018


Bubble Keeper Week Garage Sale

A few signings to kick things off:

Brandon Montour avoided arbitration with the Ducks, signing a two-year bridge deal with a cap hit of $3.3875 million per season. It seems fair that this deal was closer to Montour’s ask of $4.75 million than the Ducks’ attempt to buy low at $1.5 million. The Ducks now have to turn their attention to RFAs Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie.

Joel Edmundson also avoided arbitration in receiving a one-year contract worth $3 million from the Blues. I know Edmundson was a reliable top-4 defenseman for the Blues last season. But every time I see his name, I’m reminded of an out-of-left-field bidding war for him last summer between two owners in my auction keeper league. A couple owners from that league will be reading this and will no doubt be getting a good laugh. Every auction has at least one of these types of players.

Marko Dano also avoided arbitration, signing a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Jets.

Brooks Orpik is back in Washington, signing a one-year, $1 million contract. So because Orpik never really left Washington…
 


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Summertime is known for many things, including vacations and hot weather and outdoor BBQs and free agency. It’s also known for garage sales, where folks try to flog unneeded items that someone might find useful. Keeper league owners can relate to this, as they might look for a taker for a player or two before casting the player aside for nothing.

These are players I do not plan on retaining on any of my keeper league teams. As per league rules I cannot offer them in trades right now anyway, so my intent for writing this is not to advertise them to my fellow leaguemates. But every player has at least some value and could theoretically provide value in some way to a team next season – maybe even my own (at the right price). So I’ll be sure to mention where these players could hold value, even if they don’t seem to in a lot of ways.

Henrik Zetterberg (Dobber Top 300 Keeper Skater ranking: 211)

Once upon a time, Zetterberg was a keeper league mainstay, but eventually Father Time catches up to everyone. Keeper leaguers tend to avoid the over-35 crowd like the plague, yet in some cases they can provide some sneaky value. Z is still that kind of player, as he has recorded at least 50 points in each of his last four full seasons. In fact, he has never posted below 0.6 PTS/GP in any season, including last season (56 points, 0.68 PTS/GP).

Don’t reach too much for Zetterberg, particularly in multicategory leagues. The point totals have been assist-heavy for quite some time. Z has not recorded a 20-goal season in six seasons, dating back to the 2011-12 season. There is also the matter of him possibly not playing because of a lingering back issue, which caused him to skip all practices during the second half of last season. Zetterberg has three years remaining on a contract that pays him just over $6 million per season, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Wings to LTIR his contract.

Zetterberg probably isn’t worth targeting until more is known about his situation. But if he returns and is healthy, he should again play a prominent role on the Wings, who aren’t exactly loaded with scorers. So he could be a cheap source of 50 points if he can pull it together for another full season.  

Justin Williams (Dobber Top 300 Keeper Skater ranking: 288)

Like Zetterberg, Williams is also a member of the over-35 crowd who is still quietly putting up decent point totals. In his first season back in Carolina, Williams posted his fourth 50-point season while coming just two shots shy of reaching 200. The irony is that Williams has actually become more durable as he has aged. After missing major portions of three seasons between 2007-08 and 2009-10, Williams has missed just three games over his past seven seasons. So at least you’re getting durability.

Dating back to his two seasons in Washington, Faulk has been remarkably consistent, averaging 50 points and 11 power-play points. At this stage of his career he’s not a high-ceiling option, but at least you know what his floor is. Assuming he remains a middle-six option with second-unit power-play time, you could draft him in deeper leagues knowing exactly what you will get. 

Micheal Ferland (Dobber Top 300 Keeper Skater ranking: 337)

Interestingly enough, Ferland is one of three players on this list who are currently property of the Hurricanes. Maybe they are a team with a lot of players that end up on your fantasy team, yet they don’t provide any studs that you can build your team around. Maybe it’s not a coincidence, then, that Ferland’s value plummets with the trade that sent Hamilton and him to Carolina. It’s pretty simple: Ferland moves from Calgary’s top line (Gaudreau and Monahan) to possibly the third line or maybe even the fourth line in Carolina. Even if Ferland played on the first line, Carolina doesn’t have a scorer of Gaudreau’s ability.

Ferland first made his name during the 2015 playoffs, where he delivered many bone-crunching hits on the Canucks, most notably Kevin Bieksa. Over the past three seasons, Ferland is 18th among NHL forwards with an average of 175 hits per season. So he could still help your team in that category. If he can somehow make his way to 30 points, which would represent a 10-point drop from his total last season, he could still hold some value in deeper leagues that count hits.

Justin Faulk (Dobber Top 100 Keeper Defensemen ranking: 59)

With the Hurricanes acquiring Dougie Hamilton, Faulk was assumed to be on the trading block. Yet here we are nearing the end of July and Faulk is still a Hurricane. So we have to project Faulk as if that is where he will stay. Not only could Hamilton cut into Faulk’s power-play minutes by possibly bumping him to the second power-play unit, but Faulk is also fighting a downward point trend over the past three seasons. That’s not a positive sign for a player who is only 26.

Could Faulk still provide value in multicategory leagues? In spite of another down season, he still finished 12th in shots on goal among defensemen (211). With less power-play time with the arrival of the free-shooting Hamilton, that number could also decrease. He’s arguably still an option as a D5 in deeper multicategory 12-team leagues, particularly those that don’t count plus/minus (he has averaged a minus-21 per season over his past four seasons). But unlike past seasons, I won’t be making a point to draft Faulk again. 

Derrick Pouliot (Dobber Top 100 Keeper Defensemen ranking: 78)

Believe it or not, there’s still some interest out there on Pouliot. On the Dobber Lowdown vote for the Canucks in the Forum, Pouliot received the fourth-highest vote of the 13 Canucks’ players listed (yes I’m aware that there wasn’t a ton of fantasy goodness on that list to begin with). After adding him back in 2012 when he was drafted, I have decided to finally cut him loose. Am I making the right call, or is Pouliot the perfect example of a post-hype sleeper that will prove me wrong?

Much of Pouliot’s value in 2018-19 will depend on whether Quinn Hughes plays for the Canucks instead of returning to the University of Michigan. Among Canucks’ blueliners, only Alex Edler had more power-play points and power-play time per game than Pouliot (9 PPP, 1:35 PPTOI). Edler has one year remaining on his contract, so Pouliot should continue to remain in the power-play mix in some way regardless. So there’s an outside chance Pouliot could play on the first-unit power play, but the second-unit power-play is more probable. I’d be hard-pressed to expect more than 30 points out of Pouliot in 2017-18, but he could provide double-digit power-play points.

Ryan Miller (Dobber Top 100 Keeper Goalie ranking: 72)

Miller is another player whose value is tied to another more significant long-term player. Much of whether I decide to bring Miller back will depend on whether I re-draft John Gibson. So at this point, this might sound like this is just as much about Gibson than it is about Miller.

Gibson reached specific milestones in 2017-18, reaching the 60-game and 31-win marks for the first time. As a result and because of injuries, Miller played in his fewest number of games (28) since the 2003-04 season, when he spent most of the season in the AHL. So at this point, Miller is only worth drafting if you are in a deeper league and need a Gibson handcuff. Nothing more.  

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