Ramblings: Draft Targets, Quick-Hit Stats and a look at the news from Monday (Aug. 16)

by Neil Parker on August 16, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Draft Targets, Quick-Hit Stats and a look at the news from Monday (Aug. 16)
Ryan McDonagh - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

Draft Targets, Quick-Hit Stats and a look at the news from Monday …

 

Before looking at the latest news, I spent Monday at the Fantasy Sports Network taping fantasy hockey segments that'll trickle out over the next week. As always, here are some of the notes of targeted players I discussed. A lot of these players have already been touched on, but if I'm preparing the work, I might as well share.

I'll also share the videos once they're live.

 

Ryan Johansen

Just 17 players have recorded 60 points in each of the past three seasons, and Johansen is the youngest of the group. He achieved the feat twice with Columbus while pulling up the production of inferior talents – Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson and Scott Hartnell.

Surrounding talent won't be an issue during his first full season with Nashville, and Johansen showed well on the fly with the Predators. He produced at an 82-game pace of 66.4 points following his midseason jersey swap. Additionally, he's just a campaign removed from topping 70 points.

Johansen is a point-per-game threat with a proven and reliable floor. Barring injury, should flirt with a top-10 showing in points, and he can be snagged around Round 4. It's not out of the question to aggressively target Johansen in Round 3, either.

 

Nathan MacKinnon

A 30-goal, 30-assist season with 225 shots isn't an outrageous set of benchmarks for MacKinnon to hit, and last season, just nine players went 30-30-225. It's elite company, and the former first overall selection should fall in drafts because his offense stagnated last season.

MacKinnon ranks 35th in the league in five-on-five points per game among skaters with at least 3000 minutes since he entered the league, and is just entering his prime. A new bench boss is also encouraging for MacKinnon entering his age-21 season and fourth in the league.

Over the past three seasons, we've seen huge breakouts from Filip Forsberg, Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau and Gabriel Landeskog during their age-21 seasons. Look for MacKinnon to follow their lead in 2016-17.

 

Jonathan Drouin

Drouin has proven to be a capable offensive contributor with a points per 60 minutes of 1.95 over the past two seasons, which ranks 53rd in the league among skaters with at least 1000 minutes played. Add his sterling playoff run (14 points in 17 games), and Drouin is ripe for a run at 55 to 60 points.

The strong playoff run should have established his status as a top-six winger with a role on the No. 1 power-play unit. The Lightning should also have a bounce-back season offensively, and expect Drouin to have an impact in the surge.

From the same draft class as Nathan MacKinnon, the also 21-year-old Drouin should take a similar run at a true breakout showing. However, expect there to be plenty of varying opinions of Drouin leading into the season, and it could make him a potential value grab if the hype doesn't get out of control.

 

Mats Zuccarello

The winger shows as somewhat inconsistent because of his drop to 49 points during the 2014-15 season, but a deeper look highlights his lack of power-play production as the culprit for his offensive decline. Zuccarello scored just six power-play points, and the mark is sandwiched by seasons with 17 PP points in 2013-14 and 18 PP points last year.

He's proven to be a high-end weapon at even strength with the 17th-ranked 2.08 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five among skaters with at least 3000 minutes over the past three seasons. It's been an impressive three-year run.

Don't expect Zuccarello to top 25 goals again this year or sustain a 15.7 shooting percentage, though. Still, at where he's going to be sitting in drafts, his floor is extremely attractive. He's an excellent supporting piece to target in the later rounds. 

 

Tyson Barrie

Only nine defensemen have scored 10 goals in each of the past three seasons, and only nine have hit 10 goals and 45 points in each of the past two campaigns. Barrie's ice time has also increased in each of the past two years, and he could see even more time with a new coach entering the fold.

Entering his prime offensive years with an excellent offensive track record, Barrie is somehow undervalued as an offensive defenseman. Remember, he also paced all blue liners with 1000 minutes in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five in 2014-15.

Plus, over the past three years, Barrie ranks seventh with a 1.15 P/60 among all defensemen with at least 2000 minutes. He wasn't a favorite of Patrick Roy's, and Barrie also started just 49 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone last season. There's room for a nice fantasy boost in 2016-17.

 

Ryan McDonagh

Following a career-best season in 2013-14 (14 goals, 43 points), McDonagh has regressed to 33 points and 34 points over the past two campaigns, respectively. However, he's maintained respectable peripheral numbers, especially in the plus/minus department with plus-48 rating over the past two seasons.

Looking to 2016-17, Keith Yandle's departure presents McDonagh with an opportunity to reclaim his standing as the power-play quarterback for the Rangers. During the '13-14 season, McDonagh received 4:18 of power-play time and posted 13 power-play points, whereas last season, he averaged just 1:58 per game with only nine PP points.

With a slight boost in power-play production, and an improvement from the Rangers as a whole, McDonagh stands to provide solid fantasy value. He's posted the 30th-ranked points per 60 minutes at five-on-five (0.91) among defensemen with 2000 minutes over the past three seasons, so the additional power-play time should lead to a rebound showing.

 

Quick-hit stats

Phil Kessel hasn't missed a game in six seasons.

Bo Horvat had seven goals and five helpers in 12 January games.

Sam Reinhart paced the Sabres in second-half goals.

Jarome Iginla led the Avalanche with 13 power-play goals.

Ryan Getzlaf missed the scoresheet in 10 of his first 13 games.

Mikael Backlund scored 16 goals in the second half.

Andre Burakovsky notched 21 points in January and February.

Anthony Duclair scored 20 goals on just 105 shots.

Evgeni Malkin has averaged 62 games played over the past three years.

 

News

Jimmy Vesey isn't expected to choose his digs until Friday, at the earliest. It's the latest in an ongoing saga. In fact, with all the drama surrounding Vesey, his fantasy stock could become inflated because of his consistent appearances in the news.

In reality, he's a rookie with no professional experience demanding a top-six role and a beefed-up salary. Setting remains the most important element to his fantasy value, but outside of casual leagues, you likely won't receive enough of a discount to cash in plus-value with Vesey.

 

Radim Vrbata is set to sign with the Coyotes, but we're waiting for the official word. The fact that it seems like an extremely odd fit could be the delay. Vrbata would seemingly steal a roster spot from a promising youngster, and Arizona shouldn't have playoff aspirations for the upcoming season.

Maybe it's inked Tuesday, but until it is, the odd fit doesn't warrant fantasy analysis.

 

Carey Price is going to be limited to approximately 60 starts this coming season. Talk up the announcement among your leaguemates and hope they undervalue the star goalie. After all, during his career-best showing in 2014-15, Price started 66 games and still returned a league-high 44 wins while pacing the league in save percentage (.933) and goals-against average (1.93).

Al Montoya would then slate in for 20-plus starts, but that's about what was expected anyway. So, while this timeshare isn't in the shocking news department, ensure you don't discount Price. Health is a concern, but it shouldn't keep Price outside of the top tier of goaltenders.

 

Anaheim signed Antoine Vermette Monday, and Dobber hit up the recap here. As noted by Dobber, Rickard Rakell should avoid shuffling down the depth chart now, which is a huge security to his fantasy stock. And from a team perspective, this has to be seen as a solid addition. Vermette is a serviceable bottom-six pivot with two-way capabilities, which will enable the Ducks to deploy two solid top lines.