Ramblings: Dougie Hamilton, Second-Half Superstar (Feb 9)

by steve laidlaw on February 9, 2018

 

In yesterday’s ramblings I referenced being high on Boston as one of six teams to play 11 games during the standard head-to-head playoff run from March 5-25. You can use FrozenPool’s fantasy game planner to plan ahead.

Generally, I don’t quibble over the number of games from a star player, because I know I’ll be using him for every game possible. Nine games out of Nikita Kucherov are likely going to be better than 11 games out of a lesser player. In a perfect world, your best players are ones with jam-packed schedules though. Stars off of teams like Boston, Dallas, Calgary, Pittsburgh, Vancouver and Anaheim offer a ton of value in the head-to-head playoffs on teams skating 10 or 11 games, but particularly because of their off-night value.

The most packed nights are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Of Boston’s 11 games, only six occur on those packed nights. So they offer five off-nights. That’s good, but in terms of off-nights Calgary, Dallas, Vancouver and Anaheim each give you eight! Pittsburgh isn’t far off with seven off-night games. Having players off these teams will not only help you get a lot of games, but it will also make it easier to fit in waiver wire pickups from teams who may not have the same favourable off-night schedule.

If you’re staring down a swap as the deadline approaches do factor this in. Of course, you also need to project ahead. The last thing you want is to buy a player trending down.

For instance, in my trade talks from yesterday, where the Henrik Lundqvist owner wanted to bring in some extra help, asking for one of my Carter Hutton, Connor Hellebuyck or Andrei Vasilevskiy. He had forward talent to offer. I asked for one of Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau or Jonathan Marchessault for Hutton. He balked, countering with one of Brock Boeser or Travis Konecny.

Those are two good players, but I ain’t having it. Boeser even fits the logic of getting a player with 11 games during the H2H playoffs, with a hefty off-night schedule. Maybe I should have jumped on him, but I don’t like where his season is headed. He’s certainly a player who will shoot a high percentage for his career, but the whole shooting above 25% for two straight months thing is dead in the water. Even after scoring last night he has just nine points in 15 games since the start of January.

I don’t know that this is “the rookie wall”, but I do think there’s some regression kicking in. I also suspect that since he was named an All-Star that he is the guy opponents are focusing greater attention on. I also think that even with Bo Horvat back the Canucks are still a bad team that will allow opponents to gang up on him. If he’s only going to be a 55-point guy for the rest of the season he’ll still be worth owning, he’d help my roster. But that’s not quite good enough to break up my great goalie trio. I need a home run.

As we stand now, trade talks are dead, but the clock is ticking towards Sunday’s deadline. I have all the leverage as perhaps the only team in a 14-team league with three starters. I intend to wield that leverage. I’ll probably start shopping with other teams to drum up a bidding war, but I absolutely will not re-open talks with this owner. He has to make the move, because I’ve got the scarce asset, and I’m willing to say no to get what I want.  Of the three I’m asking for, I really want Gaudreau for reasons outlined above, and because he’s brilliant.

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By the way, this is two straight times that the Blues have put forth a piss-poor effort leading to Hutton getting shelled only for the Blues to go back to Hutton the next game and him to put forth great numbers. He’s locked in. Jake Allen is still a threat, and for that reason Hutton owners shouldn’t get too cocky, but you should be damned confident, especially if he’s your third goalie.

Vince Dunn is on a bit of a roll lately stealing away sole possession of the lone defenseman spot on the top power play unit. He bagged three assists last night, giving him seven points in the last 10 games. File him under “deeper leagues or desperation”, but there’s value here.

More impactful is how he’s stealing time from Alex Pietrangelo, who was held scoreless in four straight before picking up a goal last night. Pietrangelo has fallen off a bit, after that torrid start, but is still plugging away at roughly a 45-point pace here in the second half. A lack of PP production is notable in that diminished pace. Worth monitoring.

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The Blues chased Jonthan Bernier who hasn’t been the same since their winning streak ended. Of course, losing Nathan MacKinnon hasn’t helped, but with Semyon Varlamov back in the mix I have no confidence in Bernier’s fantasy value.

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Holy smokes, here comes Sam Reinhart! The forward has 13 points in the last 10 games. He is back on a line with Jack Eichel and has reclaimed his net-front spot on the Sabres’ rejuvenated power play. I still have some skepticism in Reinhart’s long-term viability, but he’s a former lottery pick, only 22 and in just his third season, so he gets some benefit of the doubt.

Kyle Okposo has cooled off a bit with Reinhart grabbing his Eichel minutes, but he’s still picking up PP points. 13 points in the last 12 games for Okposo.

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Nico Hischier update: the rookie has 13 points in 29 games since the start of December. Hopefully, you have been following along and jumped out on him weeks ago, but if not, understand that it isn’t getting any better. I don’t totally blame Hischier either. He’s a really good player and gets exposure to Taylor Hall at even strength. However, he isn’t used on the top PP unit and his numbers are middling as a result.

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Notorious second-half assassin Dougie Hamilton continues to roll here in 2018. The defenseman has 12 points in 15 games since the start of January. He should be heavily targeted not only because of his second-half steeliness, but because of Calgary’s favourable H2H schedule as noted above.

You might even find that you can get Hamilton cheap as his current pace has him only getting 43, but I’d bet on him hitting 50.

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Konecny’s second-half heroics are also on point. He has 17 points in 18 games since Christmas. Two quibbles: a lack of top unit power play time (Philly’s second PP unit is awful) and what happens if he gets bumped from the top line. Ride him while he’s hot.

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An overtime score kept the Matt Duchene/Mike Hoffman engine churning. Hoffman has a five-game scoring streak going, while Duchene is up to 15 points in his last 15 games. Have these two found chemistry, and will it be enough to spare Hoffman from the chopping block? For at least this season I have to figure that Hoffman is safe. It’s just so much easier to complete a blockbuster in the off-season, especially when the league is inundated with rental options.

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Adam Erne is the latest Lightning youngster to get a crack, and this season going the way it has, he of course scored in his season debut. Of course, he only saw 11 minutes of action, similar to what he saw during his 26-game cameo last season that saw him total a whopping three points. This Lightning team is in better position to assist a young talent though, so he could be more productive this time around. Bottom line, he has scored at roughly a 45-point pace at the AHL level for three years running. It’s tough to see him eclipsing that. He should offer some multi-category value as a guy who has averaged over 1.0 PIM per game in the AHL. Read more on Erne here.

Alex Killorn hasn’t been very consistent this season, but he did have that five-point explosion against Calgary last week. Now he has points in back-to-back games. Perhaps signs of warming up. He’s getting a bit more top-six time, skating with Kucherov and Brayden Point last night. More importantly, Killorn has been used on Tampa Bay’s top PP unit as the bumper option for most of the season. He probably should have more than just eight PP points.

Kucherov’s 11-game goalless drought is now over. That shriek was the rest of the league gasping in horror.

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Arizona’s competent second half continues. They are 4-5-4, with a goal differential of only minus-eight since the start of January. That’s run-of-the-mill bad! A huge improvement. A big reason is a healthy and confident Antti Raanta, who is back playing after missing a game following a car accident earlier this month.

Raanta has started 10 of the last 13 games and is providing some consistent netminding. His save percentage has climbed to 0.916 thanks to a string of six quality starts in those 10 games. Not a terrible option if you need a third goaltender, although I suspect wins will still be scarce.

Not doing much in the second half: Arizona’s offense. Here are their leading scorers since January 1:

 

Points

GP

Derek Stepan

10

13

Christian Dvorak

9

13

Nick Cousins

7

12

Christian Fischer

6

12

Brendan Perlini

6

13

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

6

13

Clayton Keller

5

13

Alex Goligoski

5

12

Kevin Connauton

5

10

 

You gotta hand it to Stepan for remaining effective in a league so reliant on speed. He moves like he’s dragging a loaded cart with a busted wheel behind him.

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There is some indication that Roberto Luongo will return for the Panthers next week. This sets up an awkward situation with James Reimer back this week, and Harri Sateri rolling so well. That alone may be reason enough for the Panthers to be extra cautious with Luongo and allow him to take his time. Reimer and Luongo combine to make over $8M this year, so no matter how good this little run from Sateri has been, he’s the odd man out.

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Just when Michael Hutchinson had worked his way back to the NHL, he is out with a concussion suffered in practice. He joins backup Steve Mason who is also out with a concussion. You never know how long a concussion will last. Paul Maurice indicated that it’s too early to say that the Jets are in the market for goaltending help.

Top prospect Eric Comrie has been called up to fill the backup spot for the time being. Comrie’s AHL numbers are quite solid but he shouldn’t be considered a threat to Connor Hellebuyck. Read more about Comrie here.

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Some bigger names on waivers today with Brendan Smith, Marcus Kruger and Josh Jooris available to all teams. None of these guys are fantasy relevant, and none are likely to get claimed. What’s interesting is how quickly remorse has set in for the Rangers who signed Smith to a four-year deal this summer and the Hurricanes who willingly took on the two years left on Kruger’s deal in a trade with Vegas. While these are useful players teams still need to learn to avoid spending on bottom of the roster talent.

I’ve discussed the Rangers’ rebuild ad nauseum so I won’t go too deep here, but they did release a letter to their fans outlining their intent to rebuild. Check that out if you haven’t yet.

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Thanks for reading! You can follow me @SteveLaidlaw.

 

  • Karl Paquette

    Thats one of the worst offers Ive ever heard man. Im not trying to be rude- but I dont think you’ll get anywhere near that and I definitely dont think Id be bragging about it. I skipped down just to ost that- lol! Im not trying to be rude- but thats mortifying- lmao!

  • Striker

    I would need to know your format to weigh in on your goalie system & value.

    I’m in a 20 team league, we dress 14 players 3 forwards at each position, 4 D & a G. All offense & wins & shutouts. Another 16 team league same format except 1 less point for G wins.

    Goalies rarely get traded & if they do their value nominal at best. Now there aren’t enough RW’s for everyone to have even 3 reasonable starters putting their value off the charts.

  • Striker

    I don’t share your concerns about Reinhart unless Housley try’s to turn him into the #3 C again. Housley incorrectly judged; that Buf the lowest scoring team in the league for 5 years & counting, could spread what little scoring they have over 3 lines for a great portion of the season before finally relenting & moving Reinhart back to RW with Eichel.

    Buf can’t ice 2 full scoring lines, they are 1 player short of doing so never mind 3. If Reinhart plays RW with Eichel he will produce almost anyone would. He he has to play as the 3rd line C he won’t. Really very simple.

    Can anyone tell my how Buf can still be this bad? Arizona 2 for that matter. Watching Buf play the system they play is brutal, dump the puck out of your zone turn over possession, dump & chase in the offensive zone turn over the puck & this from a player who was an offensive Dman in the NHL.

    Housley apparently missed the memo, the NHL is a transition game based on speed, retaining puck possession as much as possible. There is a time to dump or dump & chase just not almost all the time. Borringgggggg

  • anonymouse

    With all due respect, if I had Gaudreau and/or Kucherov and you asked for one of them in return for Hutton I’d straight up tell you to fuck off. Insulting offer. The only player you mentioned who you could reasonably ask for in return for hutton is Marchessault.

    • …and frankly, I would be insulted by Marchessault as well. I would need more pieces, or I would just tank my season and give up due to crappy goaltending. I would never trade a top star forward for a top backup or even a backup who ‘seems’ to be stealing No.1. I still don’t trust Hutton. I always thought he was the worst backup in the league (even liked McElhinney better). His hot streak to me is still just Hammond Part 2.

      I say this, also, with all due respect! I’d rather just lose than do a deal like that!

      • starz31

        March for Hutton isn’t that crazy of an idea, for the Hutton owner that is.

    • TWeezy

      I had to re-read that paragraph three times to make sure i understood that he wanted Gaudreau or Kucherov for Hutton. Friday morning laughs

    • starz31

      Yeah, I thought the exact same thing. Steve lists the three goalies like they’re all on the same tier. One of these things is not like the others lol.

    • Karl Paquette

      Oops I posted above this. Yea that offer is crazy. I wouldnt be holding my breath for that owner to get back to you- lol!