It was a busy day for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Morgan Frost was sent down so he will not be starting the year with the team, but Joel Farabee is still with the club. They're not officially down to 23 players yet and have a road trip to Europe coming, so it's not a guarantee that Farabee will stay with the team when the season starts, but it's certainly looking that way. He may slip into the top-6, too, in favour of moving someone like Konecny or JvR to the third line to balance the lineup. That's just conjecture for now, though.
Finally, Nolan Patrick is considered week-to-week with a migraine issue. These are things that can seriously impact the quality of life so let's just hope he can get it cleared up without further issue before he considers a return to the team. All the best to the young man.
Dylan Cozens was sent down by the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. He had lasted far long enough in camp that there was hope the 2019 first round pick would crack the big club out of the gate but it looks like his NHL debut will have to wait.
Bowen Byram sent down as well by the Avalanche, though that probably comes as less of a surprise.
Ryan Poehling was back on the ice for Montreal on Thursday following the concussion suffered earlier in camp. It certainly bodes well that he wasn’t cut following the injury and that he’s back for the team a week later.
It looks like Vegas may start the season with their tried-and-true combos of Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith and Pacioretty-Stastny-Stone.
Yesterday, I went through the Eastern Conference team by team to summarize my thoughts on some players from each squad. The purpose is that tens of thousands of words were written in the summer, and it’s not reasonable to ask people to read everything that was written. Rather, a quick summary not only helps me update my priors but also puts all thoughts in one place for quick referral by the reader. Today, we get to the Western Conference.
In leagues that count hits, Ryan Getzlaf should warrant consideration deeper into drafts. He can put up a sneaky amount of hits and I think there’s a good chance of a rebound this year.
In general, I expect a rebound from Anaheim. Randy Carlyle was a big problem and that’s been solved, and there is a lot of good, young talent. Not to mention guys like Rakell, Getzlaf, and Kase just staying healthy would be a big help for the team.
Max Comtois is a guy who has a pretty easy path to second line minutes, and he can be a monster in the hits/PIM department while chipping in offensively. Not a name to sleep on.
I think the impact of Phil Kessel on the Coyotes is being overstated a bit. This is still a bad offensive team adding one good offensive player who turns 32 years old next week. And in roto leagues he’s being overvalued even further. It was a good addition for the Coyotes, but it’s not franchise-changing.
You’re probably better off waiting six or seven rounds and drafting Clayton Keller than drafting Kessel.
Antti Raanta is once again my favourite goalies to draft this year. I think he’s the 1A in the 1A/1B situation, meaning 50-55 starts and is being drafted way down the goalie list.
There had been mentions all offseason that Elias Lindholm could end up the 3C for Calgary, but we’ve seen no real intention of this so far in training camp.
The time to draft Mark Giordano was last year. Not that I expect him to fall off a map but expecting him to repeat his performance as a top-12 defenceman may be a tall task.
Cam Talbot is a goaltender that can be drafted pretty late and I think there’s a decent chance he ends up with the lion’s share of the starts this year.
It seems the market isn’t getting overhyped on Dylan Strome as he’s going well outside the top-100 picks. This is the right move. Though I think he’s due for regression, there’s almost an overcorrection from the market here. I’d be tempted to take him outside the top-125 picks.
I’m largely avoiding the goalie situation in Chicago. There are concerns about how good this team is defensively and there could be a carousel, eventually including Collin Delia. Pass for me.
Alex Nylander will be given every possible opportunity to succeed. It’s up to him whether he does or not, and it’s up to fantasy owners when they’re willing to take the risk. I am passing.
Nazem Kadri is going to see regular minutes on the top PP unit and that alone will help him rebound from a down 2018-19. He should be a target for those needing a centre once the top-100 players are off the board.
Cale Makar is hilariously good and now that we have confirmation that he’ll be running the top PP unit, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him have a Klingberg-type rookie season, playing to a 50-point pace.
A lot of people seem to be on the Roope Hintz hype train and I just don’t see it. He’s not a volume shooter and outside of the Big Three, no player has maintained a top-6 role in Dallas in years, and he’ll get very limited PP time. He’s a sleeper so it’s not a huge loss but there are other players I’d rather take a flyer on.
Miro Heiskanen is being overvalued in one-year roto formats.
I still think there’s more left in Jamie Benn’s tank and I would not expect a repeat of his 53-point performance. Getting someone like Joe Pavelski to play with at even strength should help in this regard.
While the top PP situation has been muddied of late – Persson, really? – I still believe Darnell Nurse is being drafted far too late in roto leagues. He can stuff stats across the board and cracked 40 points in 2018-19 without cracking double-digit PPPs.
I know Kris Russell is a favourite for blocked shots, but I think this is the year we start seeing him finally relegated to the press box. That’s just my guess but be wary of relying on him.
Some people are acting like the team will just stop giving Jonathan Quick starts.
I’m having a real hard time coming up with anything positive to say about any player on this roster, fantasy-wise. Dustin Brown should provide a lot of hits. I guess Tyler Toffoli will be traded eventually? I don’t know. They’re going to be awful, and maybe worse than Ottawa.
It’s probably good to remember that Kevin Fiala is a year removed from a 23-goal season, playing 15 minutes a night as a 21-year old, and grades out as elite in a lot of underlying offensive metrics. He’s being forgotten about, and that is good news for those in deep leagues.
I do believe that Matt Dumba will be a top-10 fantasy defenceman this year in roto leagues. Draft accordingly.
Devan Dubnyk is one of my favourite late targets for a netminder. Minnesota may not be a great team, but they’ll likely be a dull team, and that’s good for goaltending.
All Filip Forsberg needs is to stay healthy and have the PP be anywhere near relevant to show the world he’s one of the best left wingers in the league. He’s a good value in drafts, especially in drafts counting hits.
Viktor Arvidsson is a scoring machine; all he needs is for the power play to right itself. I’m willing to make that bet this year.
Once the elite guys like Kucherov, McDavid, and Ovechkin are off the board, I’m completely fine with taking Brent Burns in the middle of the first round. Very much less fine with taking Erik Karlsson in the second round.
Timo Meier is going to be a roto monster, and he showed flashes of that last year. You’ll be wanting to draft him in the fifth or sixth round.
Vince Dunn is a very good playmaking defenceman but the addition of Justin Faulk just further muddies the power-play situation in St. Louis. At least Dunn is being drafted late enough that it’s not a huge loss if he’s moved around.
It’s more of a pick for points-only leagues, but Jaden Schwartz showed how good he can be in the playoffs.
I know there is (well-founded) concern about Jordan Binnington’s regression, but the Blues were a completely different team under Berube in the second half of the season. He’s no less safe than any other goalie at his ADP.
There is a very good career ahead for Quinn Hughes and he’ll even get some top power-play time, but that doesn’t suddenly make him a top-20 defenceman this year.
This is the year the general hockey public finds out how good Shea Theodore really is. It’s not hard to see a 50-point season coming his way. It just sucks he’s going to be stuck with Deryk Engelland because Theodore will have to carry the pair, and that brings plus/minus concerns.
While I’m similarly on board with Max Pacioretty having a big year, just be worried about his ice time. He’s not playing 19-20 minutes anymore like he was in Montreal.
I don’t think there’s enough (or appropriate) freak out for just how bad the Jets could be this year: they lost half their defence corps and are going to replace them internally (TBD if that works); Dustin Byfuglien might be done playing hockey, or at least he’s going to miss significant time anyway; both Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine still don’t have contracts, making three-fifths of the top PP unit gone. If all of Connor, Laine, and Byfuglien aren’t in the lineup opening night, how many good forwards/defencemen are there left on this roster? Five or six? And then a bunch of replacement-level players? This could get real ugly in Winnipeg.
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