Ramblings: Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes re-sign, Evander Kane and a look at prime years (July 23)

by Neil Parker on July 23, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes re-sign, Evander Kane and a look at prime years (July 23)
Connor Carrick - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

Two Rangers re-sign, Evander Kane, Connor Carrick, Radek Faksa and a look at a prime offensive years … 

 

We may not see or hear from Dobber for a few days, as he celebrates the re-signing of his favorite player, Connor Carrick.

Carrick signed a two-year, one-way, $1.5 million deal Friday.

He's the 7th-ranked defenseman in this month's prospect rankings, and Carrick should push for a permanent spot in the top-four group by the end of this deal. He likely signed cheap to grab the one-way deal, albeit after earning it with a sterling playoff run with the Marlies (18 points in 15 games).

Carrick is likely off the fantasy radar in most setups this year, but he's an intriguing player to watch going forward. Dynasty/keeper players should note the penalty minutes he's racked up in the past: 132 in his first full season in the AHL, and 15 minutes through 16 games this year with the Maple Leafs.

 

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Chris Kreider inked a four-year, $18.5 million contract extension to avoid arbitration Friday. It'll carry an average annual salary cap hit of $4.625 million.

Mike talked about Kreider yesterday, and I touched on him Tuesday.

Summarizing the two takes, we both really like Kreider. He needs more ice time, and he needs to shoot more to up his goal total into the 25- to 30-goal range.

Mike highlighted Kreider's strong finish:

 

It's an 82-game pace of 31.5 goals and 52.6 points, which would both be career highs for Kreider and more in line with the 30-goal, 60-point benchmark I highlighted Tuesday.

Additionally, as Mike noted, there is a really nice set off peripheral statistics to make Kreider a high-floor target in the middle rounds. While the window for a huge breakout is closing, another step forward is likely next year.

 

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The Rangers also re-signed Kevin Hayes to a two-year, $5.2 million contract with an annual average cap hit of $2.6 million Friday.

Hayes burned me last year, as I saw the breakout stretch he finished with in 2014-15 as a sign of things to come. He disappointed on the scoresheet, and he landed in the coach's doghouse a few times during the season. Dropping nine points (45 during '14-15, to just 36 last year) is a big fantasy blow for a player in his second season at age 23.

This sets up as the perfect post-hype situation, though, and Hayes' development might have been more acclimatizing to the rigors of the professional game and developing as player off the ice. We can cast it as such and hope for the statistical development to follow, anyway.

The eye test tells me there is more rookie year than sophomore year in Hayes' game, and I'm willing to buy at the same price tag as last fall. That's free, if you don't remember, but it isn't out of the question to just leave Hayes to the waiver wire, either.

 

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Evander Kane was arrested Friday. At this point, there will be no disciplinary action from the NHL. He will be directed to the NHL/NHLPA Behavioral Health professional for evaluation and counselling, if deemed necessary, though.

Remember, Kane was just cleared from a sexual assault charge in March, which stemmed from a December incident. He was also suspended by the team for a game after sleeping in following attended the NBA All-Star game, and general manager Tim Murray isn't impressed with Kane.

"He's going to have to pick and choose his spots when he goes out a lot better than he does, and he's going to have to behave himself a lot better than he has obviously," Murray said.

"Whether he has done these things or not, or he is guilty of these things or not, it's not something I like getting up in the morning and reading about that's for sure."

 

In fantasy, this is a wait-and-see situation. After the NFL and MLB have handed out lengthy suspensions and been hard on players, the NHL might be inclined to follow suit depending on the severity of the outcome.

Stepping back, though, this is the second organization in under two years losing patience with the talented winger. When your general manager suggests better behavor is needed, there are concerns.

Add the inability to stay healthy to Kane's lack of statistical progression over the past four seasons and there isn't a lot to like about his fantasy stock assuming he remains a middle-round target.

Buffalo has a cast of young talents. Role models, and not loose cannons are preferred, I'm sure.

 

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Once Valeri Nichushkin is inked, Dallas has its roster in place, and it's deep up front.

 

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaValeri Nichushkin

Patrick SharpCody Eakin – Brett Ritchie

Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Ales Hemsky

 

Who knows what the lineup will look like this fall, but there is potential for three offensively capable lines, and potentially four given Faksa's strong finish and playoff run.

 

Faksa likely won't be able to grab a big enough piece of the offensive pie to warrant much seasonal value, but he's in a nice spot with Sharp, Hemsky and Eaves all headed to unrestricted free agency following the 2016-17 season. He's a dynasty buy low following his excellent AHL showing (15 goals, 26 points over 28 games) and strong finish last year.

In a best-case scenario, Faksa transitions to the wing and lands in a top-six role. It might be asking too much right now, though. Most likely, he'll be a fun option in daily contests for about 15 games this year.

 

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Kris Versteeg appears to be heading to the Swiss National League. There's a chance he resurfaces in the NHL at some point in the future because he's just 30 and has modest two-way abilities. But this is almost certainly the end of his days as a fantasy asset.

It highlights the realities of the salary-cap ear, too. Why would a team pay for Versteeg when they can roster a younger and faster player for cheaper. Versteeg will likely make similar bread in Switzerland, if not more.

 

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After suggesting peak offensive years were between the ages of 22 and 26 Tuesday in the comments section, there were some dissenting opinions from Dobber and Striker in the comments. It seemed worth digging deeper into the age ranges and sharing the results.

In no way is this some sort of pissing contest, and the findings suggest age-27 seasons are the peak. But, as Dobber suggested in the comments Tuesday, the age of peak production is lowering, and these results agree.

I also only looked at players with at least 60 points. The idea is looking at the premier offensive players, as age shouldn't be a primary factor when deciding between two guys with your 11th-round pick.

Additionally, I looked at the three seasons since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and the three prior seasons to the lockout.

 

Here are the results:

Players with at least 60 points in a season from 2009-10 through 2011-12

Players with at least 60 points in a season from 2013-14 through 2015-16

 

'09-10 through '11-12

There were 162 60-point campaigns

The average age of a 60-point showing was 27.3

12 players 21 or younger scored 60 points (7.4 percent)

67 players 22 to 26 scored 60 points (41.4 percent)

47 players 27 to 30 scored 60 points (29.0 percent)

36 players 31 and above scored 60 points (22.2 percent)

17 players scored 60 points in all three seasons, and their average age was 27.8

 

'13-14 through '15-16

There were 146 60-point campaigns

The average age of a 60-point showing was 27.4

The average age of a 60-point showing excluding Jaromir Jagr was 26.8

Nine players 21 or younger scored 60 points (6.2 percent)

57 players 22 to 26 scored 60 points (39.0 percent)

52 players 27 to 30 scored 60 points (35.6 percent)

28 players 31 and above scored 60 points (19.2 percent)

17 players scored 60 points in all three seasons, and their average age was 27.1

 

Quick Notes

Patrick Kane, Alex Ovechkin and Anze Kopitar are the only three players to score 60 points in all six seasons. Their average age was 25.3.

The 22-26 range is a year larger than the 27-30 range.

Jaromir Jagr's a machine and throws off the results.

Nikita Kucherov and Johnny Gaudreau were the only players to register 60 points at 21 or younger who weren't a first-round pick.

Erik Karlsson, Filip Forsberg, Jordan Eberle, Kucherov and Gaudreau are the only players 21 or younger who weren't top-10 picks to score 60 points.

There were 19 60-point seasons (6.2 percent) from players 35 and over during the two time spans.

44.2 percent of all 60-point showings came from players aged 24 to 28.

64.3 percent of all 60-point showings came from players aged 22 to 29.

 

Parting thoughts

I'm very much willing to be a year early than a year late when investing an early round pick on an older player. We've seen the freefall from fantasy relevance hit a number of veterans almost out of nowhere.

With that said, star power and talent always wins out, if we're sticking to the truly elite talents, they're capable of producing at a high level later into their careers than others. Obviously, I know, but still notable.

When looking at young players, there is a strong correlation between draft position and early results. Again, another obvious observation, but we're teased with the potential of first-round picks cracking rosters annually. It's so rare for them to actually move the fantasy needle at a young age that it should be reaffirmed.

I'm gobbling up as many players aged 22 to 28 as possible.

 

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Here's a quick read on Henrik Borgstrom. He's focused on adding muscle to his 6-foot-3, 176-pound frame during his freshman campaign at the University of Denver. Read more about Borgstrom in his DobberProspects profile.

 

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Adam Proteau shared a nice viewpoint on how advanced statistics should be presented. It seems like the stance most of you Dobberheads take, and it's well worth the read.

It certainly does align interestingly with Brad Richards' comments about the north-south game and putting everything on net. Don't worry about Richards, though. He's doing just fine.

 

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Enjoy the weekend, Dobberheads.