There was quite a bit of news as we gear up for the season so let’s get to it.
Monday was a big day for waivers as teams were paring down their rosters to get under the cap and to the roster limit by Tuesday afternoon. Now, remember, that anyone claimed today would have to be on the 23-man roster for whichever team claims them for submission to the NHL, so a team claiming them would effectively be replacing one of their own roster players with the waiver addition. That makes these players unlikely to be claimed.
I honestly have no earthly idea why Baertschi was on waivers over guys like Brandon Sutter or Jay Beagle. They do have to get under the cap and that’s why someone had to be put on waivers – if he’s taken, they’re under – but that it was him instead of much worse players just kind of shows where Vancouver is right now: spinning their tires with a capped-out, average roster.
As far as Ho-Sang goes, he’s more divisive. Some people think he’s never done anything to prove he belongs in the NHL, others believe he was never really given a fair chance (and has performed well on the few chances he’s had). Of course, there was the alarm clock incident or whatever, but I’m hopeful he catches on somewhere that can use him. I still think there’s a very good NHL player here and the Islanders just flat missed it. We’ll see.
Daniel Sprong was also put on waivers but I’m curious to see if anyone grabs him. He couldn’t make it work in two different franchises containing three Hall of Fame centres. Will it work elsewhere (or right back in Anaheim)? I’m not so optimistic.
Some other notable names: Christian Djoos (WSH-D), Nikolay Goldobin (VAN-W), and Nic Petan (TOR) were also all placed on waivers. In particular, I’d like to see Djoos somewhere he can get regular minutes with a good defence partner.
We weren’t expecting Brayden Point back in the lineup until maybe even November, but he was skating on the top line in practice on Monday. Not everyone was on the ice so I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach here, but this could be a big boost for fantasy owners if he’s back after a week instead of a month.
On another injury front, Antti Raanta looks like he may be ready to go for opening night. It’s a good thing for Raanta owners because if Darcy Kuemper were to get early starts and get on a roll, Raanta could find himself on the bench for a few weeks. This way, at least there’s a fighting chance he can wrangle over 50 starts.
Adam Fox is on the Rangers’ roster but Vitali Kravtsov and Filip Chytil are not. One other guy who likely made the team: Michael Haley. Just phenomenal stuff out of New York.
Anyway, having Fox on the roster is pretty exciting. He won’t supplant Jacob Trouba anytime soon (I don’t think, anyway) but secondary PP minutes and some time playing with their star forwards at even strength could lead to a nice season for the young blueliner.
Victor Olofsson is still skating on the top line for Buffalo. I wrote a few weeks ago why I thought he could get to the top-6, but moving Jeff Skinner down to the second line is great for Olofsson’s fantasy value. Not so much Eichel’s or Skinner’s, though.
I’m going to post my rankings for standard Yahoo! leagues (they’re over at FantasyPros) and being in such close proximity to the season is something new for me. While I very much enjoy writing here and elsewhere, these are part-time (and potentially full-time) jobs for some people. It never really hit me until this season that there would likely be people who take my rankings and/or projections and not buy/seek other material. Things like the Dobber guide are what fund this website and I don’t want to keep dollars away from this site or any other.
Anyway, I thought I’d go through some players I’m much higher on than the consensus of experts over at Fantasy Pros.
There are a handful of players every year whose ADP and ranking make absolutely no sense to me and Larkin is one of them. Yes, Detroit will be a very bad team, but the top line of Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha is very good and that’s all that really matters for fantasy. It doesn’t matter a whole lot if the third line can’t score in a drug den with a fistful of hundred-dollar bills so long as that top line stays together. Not to mention that Larkin fills up peripheral stats. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong here, but it sure feels like he’s being widely disrespected.
It looks like Alexandre Texier is going to replace Artemi Panarin on the top line, at least for now. That should give an indication of the drop that Dubois is going to play with. All the same, he still has a perennial 30-goal scorer on the other wing and a corps of very good puck-moving defencemen. I think Dubois is between 19-20 minutes a night with top PP minutes and that’s enough to make him valuable in leagues counting hits or penalty minutes.
It doesn’t really matter if he’s the centre for Vladimir Tarasenko or the winger for Ryan O’Reilly, Schenn is assured top-6 minutes with hefty PP time. While last year was a down year, Schenn showed what he can do even in a down year: 54 points, over two shots per game, 111 hits, and 40 penalty minutes in 72 games. If a down 82-game season sees a player play to a pace that would see him post somewhere around 20 goals/40 assists with 180 shots and 125 hits, what’s going to happen if he has a good year?
I think with Joe Pavelski gone, we see a big uptick in minutes from Meier, if only because that forward group has started to thin out a bit. Also, this guy is already an elite winger with a 30-goal season under his belt where he had 250 shots and very nearly 100 hits. He did all that playing under 17 minutes a night. What if he’s between 18-19 minutes, or even more? Meier looks like he’s going to be the next Tarasenko, and that means this is probably the last season he’s available outside the first four rounds.
I’ve spent so much time talking about Niederreiter through the off season and training camp that it’s not really worth continuing to drone on. Just a ridiculous draft value.
I guess for this one it all depends on what happens vis à vis the final preseason game when he got a misconduct. This guy absolutely cannot help but get himself suspended constantly and there may be another one coming down the pipe. Anyway, he’s a good player who can be extremely valuable on the Washington top line, but he has to stay in the lineup. We’ll see if anything comes out of those incidents on Sunday. A good teammate would tell Wilson to maybe cut back on the coffee a bit.
As I’ve stated before this summer, Josh Anderson infrequently played with Artemi Panarin at any strength (and it’s not like the PP was any good) so I’m not sure why there’s apparently a huge ding to Anderson in leagues counting hits. This guy finished as a top-50 player last year in standard Yahoo! leagues and yet he’s barely being ranked inside the top-50 right wingers. Just stupid-good value.
Honestly, I was really surprised to see my projections for Dumba. I went over and double-checked my inputs and there was nothing wrong. His projections aren’t very far out of line, either. It just really does seem like he’s so good at producing across the board (or expected to, anyway) that it drives up his production. Basically, my projections see Dumba as being similar in production to a full season from when he first got to the Jets (minus some shots), and that’s why my projections are so high for him. He’s a guy that can be consistently had after the first 12 defencemen are off the board and that’s good value to me.
Pionk should bring a lot of peripherals to the table, and that’s a big reason why he should be drafted. Also, the Jets blueline is so depleted that they’re not going to have much choice but give Pionk a lot more minutes than he should probably be playing. Not to mention that there’s a decent chance he can get some PP1 time. This is all bad news for the Jets and their fans, but it’s good new for fantasy owners. Potato/tomato.
I really hate talking about goalies, but I think the Bruins saw the success they had starting Jaroslav Halak as often as they did last year (yes, partly due to injuries) and we’re going to see Halak have a healthy load again. Maybe not 40 games, but 30-35 sounds reasonable, and that many games for an elite team should make for a very good backup goalie. He’s a heavy target for me as a third netminder.
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