Ramblings: EK Fallout, Nylander’s Contract, Avs’ Crease, Tolvanen, Simmonds, & Zetterberg (Sept. 15th)

by Cam Robinson on September 14, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: EK Fallout, Nylander’s Contract, Avs’ Crease, Tolvanen, Simmonds, & Zetterberg (Sept. 15th)

Photo Courtesy: @S7Dsn

 

The Dobber Fantasy Guide has been updated after all the recent moves (apparently there was a substantial one yesterday?). It will continue to be updated throughout camps, preseason and as we move through the early portion of the year. Buy it and never look back.

 

While you're at it, grab the Prospect Report as well. This is a young man's game and you can never know too much about what's coming down the pike. 

**

 

Michael Clifford broke down the Karlsson to San Jose trade yesterday. I’d like to echo his sentiments that it seems nearly unfathomable that Peter DeBoer would leave Burns or Karlsson on the bench when the first power play unit steps onto the ice.

 

Sure, we can look at Nashville and see how splitting Subban and Josi onto two units has been successful for the team and both players. However, with no disrespect to Roman Josi, he is not Brent Burns.

 

 

Having Burns blast away from that left circle will be insane. Evander Kane might be considered the best goal scorer on the team by many, but for my money it’s Burns. Being able to receive passes into his wheelhouse from Thornton and Karlsson may lead to him flirting with 30 goals again. He almost got there (29) in 2016-17.

 

My lifetime (32 years) has only seen three defenders break 30-goals. Kevin Hatcher (34 in 1992-93), Mike Green (31 in 2008-09), and Paul Coffee (30 in 1988-89).  I’d like to see another.

 

I also share the viewpoint that Timo Meier is a great beneficiary of this deal. I expected him to continue to elevate his play, but his place beside Logan Couture should now be solidified. He’s a volume shooter with a high-end pedigree and a nose for finding the back of the net. Plus, now he has EK creating magic during five-on-five. Which is never a bad thing.

 

For more coverage on the trade, I broke down the prospects involved on DobberProspects.

 

**

 

It was announced on Friday morning that Henrik Zetterberg has played his final NHL contest. We had heard the rumours that his back had prohibited him from training this offseason and he was in danger of missing significant time.

 

It’s a shame that a player of his ilk was denied a farewell tour or at least a lasting standing ovation. While he didn’t hit the 500-goal or 1000-point benchmarks, his Conn Smythe Trophy, Triple Gold Club membership and King Clancy Award should be enough to send him into the Hall in the future.

 

Enjoy retirement, Hank.

 

**

 

As training camps opened around the league, there are a handful of familiar faces missing. Elliotte Friedman reported on several restricted free agents who have yet to put pen to paper and as such are MIA from camp.

 

The most fantasy-relevant being William Nylander. By the sound of it, Nylander and his camp want no part in a bridge-deal and are seeking something in the Leon Draisaitl 8-plus million dollar range.

 

As Freidman mentioned, Draisaitl had accumulated 128 points in the two seasons leading up to that monster eight-year, 68 million dollar (8.5 per) deal. Nylander has racked up 122. Most can agree that Draisaitl is overpaid, but with inflation coming into play, it’s not outrageous to ask for such a number. That’s what agents are for; asking.

 

We’ll see how this shakes out but I’m guessing Nylander isn’t overly interested in missing out on the offensive gravy train that's bubbling in Toronto these days.

 

I’ll put my best guess at a long-term deal worth 7.5 per.

 

I spoke about Nylander's point projection and likely deployment last week. 

 

**

 

So, who gets the lion share of the starts in Colorado this season? It’s a question every poolie with a pulse has been muttering to themselves this summer. After trading for the long-time Caps’ backup, the Avalanch have put another question mark next to Varlamov’s name. The Russian netminder has refused to stay healthy and/or consistent. He’s a volatile fantasy asset that few chase.

 

At this point, they probably give Varly the opening night gig if both play reasonably well in preseason. Then it’ll be all about the hot hand. If one goes on a long enough roll, they’ll build up some goodwill with the coaching staff and likely gain a longer leash.

 

Graubauer is my pick to finish with more starts, but nothing is certain in the world of goaltenders – especially ones who haven’t ever been given the ball on a long-term basis.

 

**

 

I released my Top 315 Skater Point Projections earlier this week. It’s two bucks for the whole shebang. Cheap Cheap.

 

**

 

Once a multicategory darling, Wayne Simmonds’ stock has fallen significantly. 2017-18 was a down season for the 30-year-old. Normally Simmonds is a near-lock for 25-plus goals, 50-60 points, triple-digit penalty minutes and over 200 shots on goal. However, last season saw his totals drop precipitously across the spectrum.

 

Five-year lows in goals (24), points (46), and shots on goal (176). His 57 penalty minutes were the lowest of his career – including the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. A good chunk of this can be chalked up to his playing the season with a torn pelvis. That would not have been a fun challenge. He’s had the surgery and is ready to begin training camp.

 

There are a few more looming questions around the Flyers winger though. The first is contractual. He’s heading in into the final season of a six-year contract that paid him 3.975 million per. That’s turned out to be a sweetheart deal for the Flyers. And it's without question that Simmonds will be looking to cash in on what is likely his last big contract.

 

Second is the infusion of JVR into the lineup. The two play incredibly similar styles and there Is really only room for one net-front presence on the top power play. `Philly is paying van Riemsdyk a hefty salary and they won’t be paying him to see secondary minutes.

 

So, what comes next? Well, Simmonds' value will likely plummet in drafts this year. The concerns are justifiable. It’s unlikely that he sees three-plus minutes of power play deployment on the top unit next season as per usual. However, his overall game should rebound. Expect a return to the pugilistic and hardnosed player he’s always been. Rejuvenated shot metrics and around 50 blocks.

 

At his best, he was a 60-point player who needed top man-advantage deployment to contribute 30-plus percent of that production. Without the deployment, expect something in the 40-45-point range.

 

The wild card is if the Flyers decide to move the asset before seeing it walk for nothing in the offseason if they’re not prepared to pay him his ask. If a contender buys him, he will see a nice uptick in value. Something to watch as the season unfolds.

 

**

 

A popular pick to be in the Calder contention as Rookie of the Year this season is Eeli Tolvanen. We’ve all heard about his exploits last season in the KHL. Hell, I dedicated a weekly space at the end of my DobberProspects’ Ramblings to shine a light on the bushel of goals he’d racked up over that stretch.

 

However, his place in the Predators’ roster remains unclear.

 

No one is going to be pushing Filip Forsberg out of the top left-wing spot. He, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson are a package until something fundamentally stops working.

 

That leaves Tolvanen to battle it out with Kevin Fiala for the right to slide in beside Kyle Turris on the second line. Turris and Fiala formed a nice secondary wave of offense in Nashville last season. They both provide the strong two-way ability that Tolvanen still lacks. Fiala has been building the long way and his 23-goals a year ago could be just the tip of the iceberg. 

 

If Tolvanen is unable to secure a spot in the top six, his outlook from the third line and second power-play unit should be muted. As mentioned earlier, the Preds have enough talent to spread between two man-advantage units. The 2017 first rounder's release will be the focal point on the left circle, while Ryan Ellis’ blast will work the right side. That should be able to bump his numbers up, but expecting much more than 40 points may be asking for trouble.

 

**

 

That’s all for now. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson