Ramblings: Colin Miller Signing, Who Is Jan Kovar? (July 8)

by Ian Gooding on July 8, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Colin Miller Signing, Who Is Jan Kovar? (July 8)


Colin Miller Signing, Who Is Jan Kovar?

Hey there, I’m back after spending a few days at the lake. So although I was able to follow what was generally happening on Twitter, I still feel like I need to get my game legs back after getting out the car just a few hours ago. So for lack of other topics, I’ll focus on some general news topics from the last day or two.

Saturday’s most significant news was of Colin Miller signing a four-year, $15.5 million contract to stay in Vegas. A cap hit of $3.875 million per season seems very reasonable given his production in one season in Vegas, even if that means a $2.875 million raise for salary cap leaguers.

Back on April 8, Miller was the feature in our weekly Geek of the Week feature. In the article, Scott pointed out that Miller was the 46th-most valuable skater in a league that counts goals, assists, shots on goal, power-play points, and hits. Miller’s goals and assists total wasn’t nearly as high as the players he was ranked near (Vladimir Tarasenko, Johnny Gaudreau, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Artemi Panarin). But his hits total (160) boosted his value in that particular league format.

Perhaps why Miller seems like such a bargain for a 40-point defenseman is that prior to 2017-18, he had never scored more than 16 points in a season over his previous two seasons (only 61 and 42 games played in those two seasons). If he can maintain this production, then this contract could be a steal for Vegas as they attempt to build on their unusually successful first season. Upon being selected by the expansion Golden Knights, Miller’s icetime increased about three and a half minutes per game, with a power-play icetime increase of over a minute per game.

Of course, one ongoing concern for Miller owners is the growing presence of Shea Theodore on the first-unit power play. During the playoffs, Theodore averaged more power-play time (3:01 PP TOI/GP) than any other Vegas skater, including Miller. Theodore possesses higher offensive upside, so I’d lean toward him as the blueline option should Vegas go with a 4F-1D format on the first-unit power play. Still, Miller should be a solid option again next season now that he is a fixture on the Vegas defense, particularly in multicategory leagues that count hits.

Having said that, the potential acquisition of Erik Karlsson would significantly cut into the value of both players (assuming neither is part of the return package – wait, maybe they would lose value if they went to the mess that is Ottawa, although players can still post big numbers on bad teams – I won’t go any further on that hypothetical, though).

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Speaking of which, unless you’ve been living under a rock or way out in the wilderness, you’ll already know about the Karlsson trade rumors. In yesterday’s Ramblings, Cam does fantastic work in breaking down what the fantasy impact would be should Karlsson be traded to what are considered his three most likely destinations (Tampa Bay, Dallas, Vegas). If you don’t have time to look, both Victor Hedman and John Klingberg could lose value, particularly Klingberg, should either team use a 4F-1D format on its first-unit power play.

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In other news:

Filip Zadina has signed his three-year, entry-level contract with the Red Wings. You can check out his Dobber Prospects profile here.

Dmitrij Jaskin has avoided arbitration and signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Blues. In four NHL seasons of at least 50 games, Jaskin has yet to reach the 20-point mark. Much of that has to do with a lack of icetime (career average 12 minutes per game) and power-play time (career average 23 seconds per game). With the Blues bringing in just as many veteran forwards as they lost, don’t expect much to change unless there are a rash of injuries.

The Flyers have signed RFA goalie Alex Lyon to a two-year extension. Because of the Flyers’ issues with injured goalies, Lyon managed to get into 11 games for the Flyers. He figures to start the season in the AHL, although don’t be surprised if you hear from him again in 2018-19. Michal Neuvirth is a Certified Band-Aid Boy and Brian Elliott hasn’t played 50 games since the 2010-11 season. But before you get too excited about Lyon, remember that the Flyers have Carter Hart (Dobber Prospects profile), who should get a long look in the AHL this season.

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If unearthing viable options in your deep keeper league is a difficult undertaking, you might be interested in the following:
 


Agent Walsh then goes on to post the following:
 


So who is Jan Kovar? With player transactions clearly slowing down, I thought I’d take the time to investigate. He is a 28-year-old center, coming off a bit of a down year with just seven goals and 35 points in 54 games in 2017-18 (Hockey DB). But as Walsh said, Kovar has been a point-per-game player over his five KHL seasons. The KHL stats page doesn’t provide the ability to display points-per-game aggregate stats over the last five seasons, but I managed to pull out that Kovar has been a top-10 scoring option in four of his five KHL seasons.

For a comparison to Kovar, Ilya Kovalchuk has also played his last five seasons in the KHL with similar point-per-game numbers (370 points in 367 games) if you take into account both regular season and playoffs. Do the math above and Kovar’s total for the exact same sample is 377 points in 368 games.

Kovar’s declining production is a bit of a concern, and at 28 he’s too old to be considered a prospect. But while fantasy owners target the now-35-year-old brand name Kovalchuk, Kovar is a player that could fly completely under the radar. So he could be worth taking a flier on, depending on where he lands. At the very least, pay attention to where he signs.

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If you’re into hockey podcasts, you’ll want to check out the latest 31 Thoughts Podcast. Although I haven’t had time to listen to the entire podcast, there are some interesting takes on the various player transactions over the past week. Many times are listed, so you can also pick and choose the ones you are the most interested in. For example, if you’re a Canucks’ fan, you can find out why in the world they would sign both Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel to four-year contracts. There’s also a tidbit on how the James van Riemsdyk signing (fantasy take here) could affect both Wayne Simmonds and Ivan Provorov. And oh yeah, lots of Leafs talk, including an interview with Kyle Dubas.

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