Ramblings: Doughty Signing, Tavares, Reirden Hiring, plus more…

by Ian Gooding on June 30, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Doughty Signing, Tavares, Reirden Hiring, plus more…

Doughty Signing, Tavares, Rierden Hiring, plus more…

Ian here today, filling in for Cam Robinson.  

Just one more day before the fun begins! As the signings are announced, don’t forget to check Dobber Hockey for the fantasy takes on each signing (Yay! I’m the editor that day!) July 1 is always a crazy day, as many of the signings seem to be announced in rapid succession (or at least faster than I can type). But with many signings already rumored to be happening because of the new negotiation period, will there be as many surprises as in years past? We shall see. Christmas isn’t as much fun if you’ve opened most of your presents before the big day.


John Tavares news… or is it really news. He hasn’t decided whether he will re-sign with the Islanders or become a free agent, according to The Athletic via NHL.com. The Islanders, Sharks, and Leafs are believed to be the frontrunners, but the winds can shift. The Isles do hold a hometown advantage in that they can offer an eight-year contract and other teams only seven, but that advantage expires on July 1 if they can’t sign him. Anyone could then sign him to max seven years. So on July 1 we’ll find out how important that extra year is for JT. Nervous times if you’re an Islanders fan.

If Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Boston are considered out of the running, state or provincial taxes resulting in take-home pay don’t seem to be the issue here, assuming all teams are offering the same amount. TSN has actually created a Tavares Calculator, where you can enter an AAV (eg. 8,000,000) and calculate what his net salary would be after taxes. If winning is the most important factor, then would Toronto or San Jose really give him a better chance than Tampa Bay or Boston? Long Island has been his hockey home and the Toronto area is where he grew up, so San Jose must be offering something very appealing to be in the mix.


A few signings were announced on Friday, with the biggest being Drew Doughty agreeing to an eight-year extension with the Kings. The average annual value is expected to be worth just under $11 million per season. The contract cannot be signed until July 1.

Fantasy implications? If you’re a Doughty owner in a salary cap league, you’ve had time to prepare to what should be around a $4 million per season raise. And if you’re an Erik Karlsson owner in a salary cap league, it gives you a better idea of what to expect. From Capped writer Alex MacLean:

Will Doughty be worth the money in salary cap leagues? Well, the contract expires in the 2026-27 season, when Doughty will be 37, so it will probably be difficult to justify then. But take a look at where the now 28-year-old Doughty ranked in a multicategory league last season among defensemen (rank reflects overall player rank in Yahoo league of this type):










Victor Hedman









Drew Doughty









Brent Burns









John Carlson









Shayne Gostisbehere









In this particular league format, the only higher-ranked defenseman than Doughty was Hedman. And although Doughty didn’t dominate in any particular category (at least among this group), he was a solid contributor in every one of these categories. In fact, Doughty did not finish in the top 5 among defensemen in any one of these categories (G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, HIT, BLK). The highest he finished among defensemen in any of these categories was in assists, where he finished sixth. Yet he finished as the second-highest ranked defenseman in this league.

In this particular league (which doesn’t happen to be a salary cap league), I can keep four players. Needless to say Doughty will be one of them, as this is a roto league and I need to try to maximize output in each category. Doughty helps me do that. So Doughty might be expensive starting in 2019-20, but if he continues this production into next season then he is definitely worth the money.

One other positive about owning Doughty: In spite of all the minutes he plays (league-high 26:50 ATOI in 2017-18), he has not missed a game in four seasons. Over those four seasons, he is the only player to have skated over 9,000 minutes. 


Mike Clifford covered the Fantasy Take on the Capitals naming Todd Reirden as the new head coach. Very little surprise here, as Reirden was the only candidate interviewed and the only name mentioned to be taking over the Capitals. With Reirden previously in charge of the defense, I would expect the Capitals’ defense to continue to be strong. That will be good news for Braden Holtby owners, who should now have another reason to feel confident about a bounce-back regular season. Winning a Stanley Cup should already do wonders for that, though.

One signing that should make life easier for both Reirden and Holtby is that of Michal Kempny, who was signed to a four-year contract worth $10 million. Kempny shouldn’t move the needle in any fantasy leagues, but he strengthened the Capitals’ defense after his acquisition near the trade deadline in forming an effective pairing with John Carlson. Sometimes it’s the small moves that pay off more than the big splashes, as the likes of Kempny and Devante Smith-Pelly were difference-makers in the Capitals’ playoff run. Something for teams to think about on July 1.


In my last Ramblings, I ranked first-round picks in terms of fantasy value. I plan to rank more first-round picks at some point during the summer. But in the meantime, it’s worth your while to check out the last two episodes of Dobber Prospects Radio (Episodes 40 and 41), where Peter Harling, Cam Robinson, and Aynsley Scott discuss first-round picks. Something that should be of particular interest is that they identify first-round picks that are worth pursuing in fantasy leagues, as well as first-round picks that were a bit more surprising and probably shouldn’t be picked quite as high in fantasy leagues (at least at the moment). The episodes were recorded last weekend at the draft, but by no means should they be considered out of date.

Worth checking out: Oliver Wahlstrom at Islanders’ minicamp. He’s one player that I would have no problem targeting when considering draft-eligible prospects in keepers.  


Another signing that might be of some interest to deeper league owners: Frank Vatrano has signed a one-year contract to remain with the Panthers. If he played baseball, Vatrano would be considered a “quadruple-A” player. He has dominated the AHL (36 goals in 36 games in 2015-16), yet his NHL career has never really gotten off the ground (10 points in 41 games last season). And with the Panthers adding another top-6 forward in Mike Hoffman, it’s going to be even harder for Vatrano. He is 24, so there is still a bit of time.


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