Fantasy seasons to learn from and a recap of the Monday news …
This is the slowest news week in sports. Only the PGA saves us. For many industry writers, it's a timely opening for a vacation.
With that in mind, I wanted to try and have a little fun with these ramblings and look at some fantasy seasons from individual players that can skew our projections and expectations for other players.
The idea sort of popped up because of the contrasting expectations Cliffy and I have for Alexander Radulov. He's pessimistic, and I'm overly optimistic. The likelihood is Radulov slots somewhere in the middle of our expectations.
It's all about establishing floors and ceilings for players and identifying when you're willing to pull the trigger on upside or settle for the floor during your drafts. It is an underrated skillset.
Here are three ceilings from the past three seasons that can't be counted on.
'13-14 Ryan Getzlaf
The late-20s resurgence could soon become a thing of the past. Getzlaf certainly had an explosive lockout-shortened campaign the year prior with 49 points through 44 games, but finishing second in league scoring with 31 goals and 87 points in his age-28 season was a rare feat.
In fact, only Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have scored 80 points between the age of 28 and 35 since the 2012-13 season. It's just extremely rare. And since, Getzlaf has declined offensively in consecutive showings bottoming out at just 63 points — 13 goals — last year.
When we start to rank established stars in this age range for next season — Anze Kopitar, Claude Giroux, Nicklas Backstrom, Blake Wheeler among others — there is reason for concern given the trend of offensive declines beginning in a player's late 20s.
Ryan Getzlaf proved it is possible, once, but when Crosby and Ovechkin are the only players capable of approaching the 80-point mark annually, it's likely a benchmark reserved for elite talents.
Last year, only eight players aged 26 to 29 hit the 65-point mark, after all. Nine players 25 or below, and six players over 30 also reached 65 points. Joe Thornton is an outlier form this season, but given his 1341 career points, he likely fits into the same category as Crosby and Ovechkin.
'14-15 Andrew Hammond
Out of nowhere, the Senators backstop transformed into the 'Boulin Wall and won 20 of 23 starts with a .941 save percentage and a 1.79 goals-against average. He was a fantasy savior and likely paved the way to a number of trips to fantasy title town.
Sure, there have been a few other breakout stretches from backup goalies, but the idea of counting on them is absured. First, it likely took three or four starts before decideding to add Hammond in most cases, and then owners were likely selective with his matchups for another four or five starts, and next thing you know, those 23 starts were actually cut down to 15.
This year, there wasn't a Hammond savior. Matt Murray was a must-add goalie upon his arrival, and Thomas Greiss should have been drafted in most leagues. Maybe Michal Neuvirth counts, and no doubt, Jhonas Enroth started hot, but no one had the impact Hammond did.
New flash, there wasn't a similar case during the 2013-14 season, either. Going back to the 2012-13 campaign, Ray Emery (17-1 record with a .922 Sv% and a 1.94 GAA) and Viktor Fasth (15-6-2, .921 and 2.18) could count.
Relying on finding the next Andrew Hammond from the waiver wire is a flawed fantasy approach.
'15-16 Artemi Panarin
The writing was on the wall in training camp when Panarin settled on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, and if he wasn't drafted, he was added quickly after registering eight points through his first seven games of the season.
Panarin averaged 18:31 of ice time, including 3:02 with the man advantage. Additionally, he started 76.2 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone. Those opportunities are rarely handed to rookies, especially 24-year-old imports from another league.
Here's a list of rookies between ages 22 and 26 with at least 25 points dating back to the 2013-14 season:
It was the absolute perfect situation for Panarin to step into, and he excelled. It's unlikely anyone is going to look at Roman Lyubimov and lock him in for 65 points for the Flyers this year.
However, because Panarin has made the jump and been a fantasy star, "looking for and finding the next Panarin will be a thing. There will likely be multiple lists titled, "Who is this year's Artemi Panarin?"
Aim higher, this was a one-off situation.
There was some minor news in the league Monday, so here's your quick-hit rundown.
The dates for the 24 players who opted for salary arbitration was released Monday, and GeneralFanager also has a tracker.
Roman Lyubimo signed a one-year, two-way contract with Philadelphia worth $925,000 Monday. He scored eight points through 10 games during the World Hockey Championship, and he also tallied eight points through 15 playoff games with CKSA Moskva in the KHL playoffs.
He is unlikely to make enough of an offensive impact to carry fantasy value outside of cavernous setups. However, he could prove to be a nice two-way player to round out a bottom-six role with the Flyers.
Philadelphia's 2014 first-round selection Travis Sanheim has added muscle to his frame and is set to play his first professional season with the Phantoms. He's currently 6-foot-4 and 201 pounds.
He finished with 68 points in just 52 games during his age-20 WHL season, but as noted in the Dobber Prospect Guide, he's likely firmly behind Ivan Provorov and Shyane Gostisbehere for offensive minutes in the coming years.
Sanheim is a player to shop in dynasty/keeper leagues for that reason.
Zach Sanford signed his entry-level contract Monday. Remember, Washington traded three picks to move up to select Sanford 61st overall in the 2013 Draft. He's unlikely to see much time in Washington, and he likely projects as a bottom-six center long term, so there isn't oodles of fantasy upside.
However, he is clearly viewed highly within the organization and has the size to be a solid two-way player, if his offense can translate to the professional ranks. Last season with Boston College, Sanford had 39 points through 41 games.
Nick Schmaltz and Tyler Motte are being billed as potential top-six forwards for Chicago this fall, and given the state of the organization's depth chart and cap situation, there is an opening.
Schmaltz would be my bet because he's a first-round pick and is 6-foot-1 versus, Motte who's 5-foot-9. However, Motte's a year older and weighs more, so it could be a situation where whoever wins in training camp between the youngsters and Richard Panik skates with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
It's obviously a situation to watch extremely closely.
The charges against Ryan O'Reilly for an alleged impaired driving incident were dropped Monday. Continue to view O'Reilly as a low-end center option or mid-tier winger — depending on his positional eligibility — leading into the season.
Barring injury, O'Reilly should be one of the safest bets for 20 goals and 60 points in the league among the players likely to be selected around him in drafts.
Dylan DeMelo inked a two-year contract extension Monday, with the key caveat being the deal is a two-way contract for the 2016-17 season and a one-way deal for 2017-18. Financial terms were undisclosed.
There is limited fantasy value here in the short term, but the signing does confirm DeMelo should be a full-time player following this season.
DeMelo projects to battle Mirco Mueller to be the seventh defenseman this fall.
Two interesting notes before calling it a day.
Thanks for tuning in, Dobberheads.
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