Ramblings: Flames extend Tkachuk; summarizing the Eastern Conference – September 26

by Michael Clifford on September 26, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Flames extend Tkachuk; summarizing the Eastern Conference – September 26

 

The Calgary Flames have come to terms to a three-year bridge deal with RFA winger Matthew Tkachuk. He comes in at $7M annually, making Brayden Point’s contract look like even more of a steal. Anyway, the Flames still have some work to do with their cap, but it looks like all their pieces are finally in place and now Tkachuk can practice and play with his line mates.

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Last year, one of my more popular Ramblings of the offseason was summarizing some things I had written over the summer, as well as updating my priors. I understand that not everyone has the time to go back and parse through tens of thousands of words for the information necessary, and this is for those people.

I’m going to go team by team and select a few players I’ve discussed over the last few months, whether for good or bad reasons. Today we’ll do the Eastern Conference with the Western Conference to follow tomorrow.

 

Boston

I’m at the point where I cannot draft Patrice Bergeron. Needing months to recover from a groin injury, and not being fully recovered yet, makes it hard to spent significant draft capital on this pick. This has a cascading effect on guys like Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

Jake DeBrusk is going to be a good value at the draft table, and he continues to be.

Charlie McAvoy is a wonderful real-life defenceman; probably top-15 in the league. In fantasy, though, he leaves a lot to be desired and is being very much over-drafted.

 

Buffalo

This is probably the last season that Jack Eichel isn’t a consensus first-round pick in the fantasy game.

Victor Olofsson is someone who could make his way up the lineup and into the top-6, if only because there’s no depth beyond Jeff Skinner to whom the team is committed. In fact, Olofsson has been skating with Eichel in practice and games of late.

I still do not understand why people are drafting Carter Hutton at almost any point in the draft. Fantasy owners are better off drafting backup goalies in most cases.

 

Carolina

Nino Niederreiter is flat-out a better draft value than Teuvo Teravainen in any draft format, and he is often being drafted several rounds later. Last warning.

Martin Necas is also being undervalued but it takes much more of a leap of faith. He is the team’s only right-shooting winger and is supremely talented. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him in the top-6 eventually this year.

There is a pretty wide range of outcomes for Andrei Svechnikov, but he is both very good and will post a lot of shots. Do with that information what you will.

 

Columbus

The loss of Artemi Panarin (and Matt Duchene to a lesser degree because that was only a couple dozen games) will hurt, but something to remember is that Josh Anderson didn’t often play with Panarin and was still a top-50 fantasy option in roto leagues in 2018-19. He’s a lot better than he’s getting credit for in drafts.  

Panarin going to New York will hurt Pierre-Luc Dubois’s point production per minute, but a big uptick in minutes should be expected and that could help offset the drop in rate production.

 

Detroit

Dylan Larkin continues to be underrated in both real and fantasy terms. In standard roto leagues, I have him as a top-15 skater, while he’s being drafted outside the top-100 players. It’s utter insanity.

I really do like Andreas Athanasiou but be wary of the lack of peripherals outside of shots. It greatly adjusts his value across different formats.

I’m on board with everyone else that Filip Hronek should have a good year but it seems like Mike Green is being forgotten about. He can be a very productive defenceman when he’s healthy.

 

Florida

While I’m not big on drafting goalies early in general, I don’t have a problem with taking Sergei Bobrovsky if your pick is towards the end of the first round. He’s one of the few goalies I feel comfortable projecting for over 60 starts and he’s arguably the best goalie on the planet.

There is a lot of offensive talent on this team which makes it easy for Frank Vatrano to get lost in the mix. He’s firmly in the top-9 now and is a guy who can bring a lot of shots and hits. He won’t bring Blake Coleman-level hits, but he had 24 goals, over 200 shots, and 139 hits last year. That’s very good for roto as a late wing addition.

 

Montreal

There are areas where we’ll see Max Domi regress this year but it’s not really shying me away from drafting him, especially where he’s going well outside the top-100 picks.

Artturi Lehkonen may play the role on Domi’s line that Andrew Shaw did last year, and that got Shaw by far the best offensive season of his career. Lehkonen can bring shots and hits; if he starts producing alongside Domi/Drouin, look out.

One of these seasons, Brendan Gallagher’s ADP will align with his talent and production. This is not that season, as he’s being undervalued once again.

 

New Jersey

What was said about Brendan Gallagher in the prior section? Ditto for Kyle Palmieri.

This is going to be the true breakout season for Nico Hischier and those grabbing him later in drafts will be rewarded. Do not be surprised to see him cruise past 60 points and push for 70, all while putting up solid peripherals.

P.K. Subban, in my opinion, is being very much overvalued. Even if we assume that he’ll play 75-80 games, he’s being drafted like he’s some sort of lock for 60 points, 200 shots, and 100 hits. He’s far from a lock for any of those marks, let alone all three.

 

NY Islanders

It seems kind of obvious that there’s going to be some goaltending regression for the Islanders, but neither of Semyon Varlamov or Thomas Greiss is being drafted highly at all, making them both (Varlamov especially) good values right now.

My bet is that Devon Toews is eventually running the top PP unit, removing Nick Leddy from the role. Keep Toews in mind for waiver wires as the year wears on.

 

NY Rangers

There is a lot of excitement around the Rangers, and rightfully so. Just remember that this team is still going to be bad defensively, which is a problem for everyone’s plus/minus, and goaltending in general.

I’m still not convinced that Pavel Buchnevich spends the year on the top line. I hope against hope that he will, but history has taught me otherwise.

Chris Kreider is being straight disrespected by ADP. It reminds me of Anders Lee last year: no, he won’t hit the highs we’ve seen, but even pulling back production doesn’t justify the ADP crater.

 

Ottawa

In leagues counting plus/minus, it’s tempting to just not draft anyone from this team. At least Brady Tkachuk should be fine? I wish I had more nice things to say.

 

Philadelphia

The positional flexibility and upside of Claude Giroux should make him a favourite draft pick of many this year. Maybe he doesn’t bring the hits and PIMs like he used to, but the production and the shooting is still there.

It’s kind of hard to believe Shayne Gostisbehere’s ADP. He’s being drafted around the likes of Sergachev, Suter, and Schultz, while Ghost has the same points/game mark over the last four years as Yandle and Giordano (with more shots/game than Yandle or Gio). Drafting him as a second or even third defenceman is almost stealing.

 

Pittsburgh

I’m not convinced Alex Galchenyuk spends too much time on Evgeni Malkin’s wing. I think we see him move up with Crosby or down to the third line before long.

Jake Guentzel’s ADP seems to have eased a bit and now he’s back in the fourth/fifth range. That is a very agreeable spot to nab him, especially in leagues counting hits.

I find myself drafting wanting to draft Kris Letang more and more. I know the injury risk but he’s sliding pretty far at times and I think it’s worth the risk.

 

Tampa Bay

Over the summer, I’ve written that this may be the year Steven Stamkos gets moved to the wing full-time and Anthony Cirelli moves into the top-6. With Brayden Point’s injury, we’re going to get a top-6 Cirelli to start the year. It’ll be a good chance to see what he can do further up the lineup.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of two goalies (Bobrovsky) I feel comfortable drafting in the first two rounds of the draft.

Yanni Gourde has gone from undervalued to overvalued and back to undervalued in three years. It’s pretty impressive, really.

 

Toronto

Andreas Johnsson is the slam-dunk mid-to-late pick that will outperform the ADP. Grab as many shares of him as possible.

Tyson Barrie is being so overvalued in every format he’s basically Bizzaro Larkin.

On the flipside, in leagues with peripheral stats, I think Jake Muzzin is being very much undervalued. In fact, I think there’s a decent chance Muzzin is outright more valuable than Barrie in standard Yahoo! formats by the end of the year.

 

Washington

Jakub Vrana is a somewhat popular pick this year but until he cracks that top PP unit – which may not be for years – there’s a serious cap to his upside.

I know there are concerns about Alex Ovechkin’s age, but this guy is still an absolute monster in leagues counting hits. He’s still the first overall pick for me in that type of format.

In leagues counting hits and/or PIMs, Tom Wilson is still being undervalued. At this point, people need to accept he’s going to stay in their top-6 and is good for 15-20 goals and 35-40 points. Add that to his monster hit/PIM totals, and there’s a real good value here.