Ramblings: Ekblad’s upside, Calder sleepers, best goalie call-ups, Schenn, Buffy, Faulk and more (Sep 10)

by Dobber on September 9, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Ekblad’s upside, Calder sleepers, best goalie call-ups, Schenn, Buffy, Faulk and more (Sep 10)

Ramblings: Ekblad’s upside, Calder sleepers, best goalie call-ups, Schenn, Buffy, Faulk and more (Sep 10)

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The last update of the Fantasy Guide was in on Saturday. But not much was done. I uploaded the Draft List again with the Sekera adjustment, and in the Guide I just added some PTO’s. No biggie. The real stuff begins when camps open this week and you start getting tons of injury news, camp news and all too soon – cuts. I’m starting to see other Guides out there finally promote updates (and it’s about time!) as well now, but I strongly doubt they update more than projections. I update notes, line combos and sleeper outlooks as well as projections.

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On a funny side note, I saw one Guide advertise that they are updating all year! Not just a couple of days into the season, which is as far as I go, but they keep going all year. And that’s a clever marketing ploy. But if you think about it – I have that as well, for free. It’s called Frozen Tools. Every player profile has their projected stats based on current pace. So you can take my updated Guide until mid-October…and at that point switch your research to Frozen Tools. Anyway, that’s what I do.

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Today marks my last Ramblings before this year’s training camps open. So it’s the last time I’m hard up for news worth commenting on. So one last time I went to the Twitter well to answer your questions (follow me @DobberHockey)…

Yes Aaron Ekblad will eventually put together a monster two-way season. No I don’t think he has Pietrangelo potential. Ekblad is a lesser Pietrangelo. From a points standpoint, I would say subtract 10 from AP to get AE. In fact, in terms of pure offensive talent for points, I think Mike Matheson is the future. I say this even though Matheson is getting minimal PP time and is being held back. He’ll break through that, give him two or three years, the talent will win out.

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I have my Calder picks in the Fantasy Guide – the top 50. And if you look past the obvious ones in Rasmus Dahlin, Henrik Borgstrom, Casey Mittelstadt, Dylan Sikura, Andrei Svechnikov and Elias Pettersson, you have to rely on opportunity. If Player A gets hurt for 30 games, then Rookie B gets a shot and suddenly is in the Calder mix. I don’t think there will be any Yanni Gourdes this time around. I could list talented 19 and 20-year-olds all day long who ‘could’ make a splash, from Kailer Yamamoto to Eeli Tolvanen to Martin Necas. But I think what you’re after are the older prospects. So for that I am eyeballing Valentin Zykov, Andreas Johnsson, Antti Suomela, Dominik Kahun (Chicago, a team desperate for wingers) and even Zach Aston-Reese.

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A Russian teenager is usually a crapshoot, but Kravtsov getting drafted inside the Top 10 raises an eyebrow. It speaks to the confidence in New York’s ability to bring him over and get him signed. But from what I’ve seen and heard, he’ll be a bit of a wait. In terms of pure production, what I’m seeing year over year from Pavel Buchnevich is what I would expect from Kravtsov. So three years to come over, and another two years to help fantasy teams. High 70s for upside.

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Goalies who won’t make the team as the backup, but would get called up if the starter or possibly both NHL goalies get hurt – Carter Hart is your best bet, followed by Ilya Samsonov and Tristan Jarry. Further down the line are Eric Comrie and Thatcher Demko. Dark horse is Callum Booth, who would of course require both Petr Mrazek and Scott Darling to get injured – I think Booth is the next best guy, don’t be swayed by last year’s weak numbers. The goalies who need injuries to both the starter and backup in order to get a real shot though are Hart, Demko and Booth. The others I listed will get that opportunity with just the one injury to the main guy.

Update: I forgot the best one – Ville Husso. He won't be the backup, but if Jake Allen gets hurt or crashes and burns, I can see Husso saving the day. Sorry for the oversight – but he's the guy I'm targeting in the minors over anyone I listed above. He's in a promising spot right now.

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Jack Eichel can be a 100-point player. He’s in that small club. And yes the Sabres will get better, but he won’t even need them to as he can do it on his own. But what seem to potentially hold him down are all the injuries. If he can’t shake those he may never hit it. Not this year though, let’s wait until he’s 24 or 25 and has a couple of 75- to 80-game seasons under his belt.

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Just so you know, I have all the upsides and 3YP (three-year likely average peak seasons) listed for all the players and key prospects in the Fantasy Guide for each team. Great to reference all year long – or until I update them in the Midseason Guide.

Also keep in mind that upsides are for long term – for a couple of these you will be waiting three or four years before they do anything in fantasy hockey and seven or eight years before they hit these upsides. Here are the rankings, based purely on upside:

Kirill Kaprizov

Henrik Borgstrom

Kristian Vesalainen

Martin Necas

Cody Glass

Logan Brown

For the record – Vesalainen, Necas and Glass each have the same upside according to my template and notes. So to split hairs I just went with my own personal gut.

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I watched the Bob McKenzie interview with Kyle Dubas (I’ll stick it below) and learned a few things. Besides immediately grabbing the two books that Dubas recommended, I also learned more about the man. His patience, and how he sticks to the plan and ignores the pressure. He has a number in mind for William Nylander and he probably even has a ballpark date as to when he will get that number signed. “Trust the process” am I right?

I have Phil Kessel projected for 82 points. That’s tied for the second-highest of his career. I haven’t seen any other projections as I haven’t picked up any hockey books yet. He had 92 points and the deeper numbers indicate that’s sustainable. But my numbers factor in all the data and came out with 82 points. And since he was already playing on a great line last year and will do so again this year, I don’t have a lot of wiggle room to tweak the numbers. But that’s what is good about my formula, it does its best to keep my biases out of it.

Besides Sidney Crosby, of course, I would say John Tavares. That power play will be ridiculous.

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I have never been a fan of Justin Faulk and was really turned off from him last year. Getting Dougie Hamilton makes it even worse. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole right now. If he gets traded then he may have a resurgence for a couple of years. But I don’t trust him long-term and I don’t trust him with Carolina.

As for Jake Bean, he concerns me. Not only because his production went backwards last year despite being a man playing against teens, but also because of what Jeff Marek said a few months back on his podcast about a certain recent first-round pick in junior hockey who was so addicted to video games that his GM didn’t think he would ever be an NHLer. When you look at all the prospects and the given criteria, you come up with four names that fit that mysterious description and Bean is one of them. I am not saying he is the prospect who loves his video games, I am just stating that he is one of four or perhaps five candidates who fit the described player speculated by Marek. That alone isn't enough to sway me, but his production going backwards a bit in conjunction with that risk and frankly I just won't bother.

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Really no idea here. It’s Marc Bergevin though so you can bet he will be traded for an older, slightly lesser player. My opinion is that they should re-sign him, but I’m not the GM.

Update: Murphy's Law, of course, made certain that Pacioretty was traded an hour after these Ramblings were posted…because all trades are announced at 1am ET, right? Pacioretty to Vegas for Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar and a 2nd rounder. Fantasy Impact article coming up…

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I’m not impressed by him at all and have no interest in owning him in any format right now.

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Schenn’s outlook improves because I think he keeps his linemates and now he has an awesome second-liner who can and will shoulder the tougher assignments. Just like this time last year when I had so many people questioning my 70-point projection on him, I am bullish about Brayden Schenn.

I think Buffy, 33, has one more 50-point year in him and then you will see the slow decline. Maybe 45 points when he’s 34 and 40 points at 35 and the contract is up. Then he signs for something inflated for three or four years, and that stretches him out as a 40-point guy as a 36- and 37-year-old before he Zdeno Charas his way further down the points list

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Exciting announcement. Some of you may be familiar with Rob Vollman, hockey analytics expert and frequent partner of DobberHockey. And you may know that he was hired by the LA Kings to be their senior stats analyst. And as with any analytics guy who goes to an NHL team – all his stuff disappears from the internet. WELL, he has kindly offered it to me. And what better place to put the Player Usage Charts than in with the other awesome Frozen Tools. That section is just getting better and better and we’re starting to leave the other stats sites behind! Eric Daoust, our Frozen Tools miracle man, is understandably excited. Look for that in the coming weeks!

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See you next Monday.