Ramblings: Friday Recap, Sedin, Hamilton, Fleury (Feb 18)

by Ian Gooding on February 18, 2017

Friday Recap, Mailbag: Sedin, Hamilton, Fleury, plus more

Only three games on Friday, so a recap of those followed by a few mailbag questions.
 


Ryan Murray and Ian Cole were two of the goal scorers. So although a 2-1 game ending in OT is better than a 1-0 shootout win, it wasn’t a whole lot better for teams stacked with Penguins and Blue Jackets.

The other goal scorer was Brandon Dubinsky, who scored the overtime winner while dishing out a very Dubinsky-like six hits. He now has four goals and ten points in his last eight games. He’s good at irritating Sidney Crosby, so he’s a sneaky daily play when the Jackets face the Penguins. My seven-year-old son learned the meaning of the word “dangle” after watching that goal.
 


 

Since his return from injury, Evgeni Malkin has five points in three games. One silver lining of this dead puck era is that there are some very tight point races. Even though he has missed seven games, Malkin still sits fifth in NHL scoring. Among players who have played at least 50 games, Malkin sits second with 1.18 points per game. So as I told someone on the Forum who was having buyer’s remorse about trading Jack Eichel in a keeper league for Malkin, he could be the difference-maker that you need in winning a championship. If. He. Stays. Healthy.

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With his OT winner, Mikko Rantanen scored his first goal since his hat trick against Montreal earlier this month. So that was his first goal in six games.

Jeff Skinner scored just his second goal in his last 12 games. Included in that stretch was a six-game pointless drought.

Speaking of cold Canes, Victor Rask has completely fallen off the map. He hasn’t recorded a point of any kind in 12 games and counting. At the center position, he shouldn’t be in your starting lineup at the moment (although the Canes’ fantasy playoff schedule looks favorable, if you can save him until then). The Canes are basically three lines deep of good-but-not-great scoring options. So you can’t really blame his linemates or his usage. If you have an opinion, you can weigh in on this Forum thread.

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During the Panthers/Ducks broadcast, the question was asked as to how much longer Roberto Luongo is a legitimate starting goalie. Lu has struggled mightily recently, having allowed at least three goals in seven of his last eight starts. Meanwhile, James Reimer has allowed one goal or fewer in four of his last five games. If the playoffs started today and Florida was in them, who would start in goal?

Over their last four games the Panthers have now scored 19 goals. Panthers’ brass might believe that the increase in offense is due to the team’s increased concentration on analytics from firing Gerard Gallant. But it has more to do with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov arriving on the scene five games ago. By the way, this is the first game all season that Huberdeau was held without a point.

Watching some of this game, I was impressed by the Panthers’ overall speed. Those who normally watch the Panthers might assume that Jaromir Jagr can’t keep up with his much younger linemates listed in the previous paragraph. But that seemed like a moot point on this goal, where he robbed Josh Manson blind and showed incredible patience before waiting for John Gibson to give.
 


 

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With Friday being a slow night for games, I asked for some questions and received a few. So thank you to those who submitted, and hopefully my answers are of some help.

I just have one small request, though, for future questions (though it doesn’t pertain to any of the questions below, though). I often get asked to evaluate trade offers. Often these trades include “draft picks.” If that’s the case, I would appreciate a description of the relative worth of the pick before I provide my take. I’m sure the others, like Steve and Dobber, would appreciate the same.

For example, a “first-round pick” means different things in different leagues. Would you be receiving a future franchise player (eg. Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews), or would you be receiving the equivalent of an unprotected player in the upcoming expansion draft? As you know, that’s a major difference in value.

If it’s not that clear, providing information such as how many players are allowed to be kept and how many teams are in your league gives me a better idea. Or else give me the name of a similar pick from last season’s draft. If you play in multiple fantasy leagues, you’ll know that leagues come in all shapes and sizes.

Here we go…
 


I’ll start this out by saying that playing as the third Sedin isn’t what it used to be. Alex Burrows, Jannik Hansen, Radim Vrbata, and even Anson Carter have all manufactured career years out of playing on the Sedin line. But that hasn’t been the case this season for any one player. In fact, you could argue that the Canucks’ top offensive weapon is now Bo Horvat, who leads the team in both goals and points.

One sign that the Sedins are on the downside of their careers: Henrik Sedin is now owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Daniel Sedin is owned in less than 75 percent of Yahoo leagues. Henrik was dropped in one of my leagues and cleared waivers. If you think about it, this makes sense. Henrik has a very assist-heavy point total, has a brutal minus-19, and he offers very little in the way of peripherals such as shots on goal and hits. The Sedins have never been the fastest players, and they are consistently being exposed now that they have lost a step in a league that is now operating at a faster pace.

Markus Granlund has turned out to be a better player than many thought he was when he was acquired from Calgary for Hunter Shinkaruk. But we’re talking about a player whose upside is more second-line than anything. He will probably stay on the Sedin line if he continues to produce (points in five of his last six games), and he may be a great fit since the Sedins desperately need a goal scorer (14 goals this season). But his own minus-17 is also an anchor, and it likely won’t improve this season. So he’s a deep league add at best.
 


From a team value standpoint, the best type of player to trade would be one that you believe you have gotten the best out of and one that perhaps holds some name brand value. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t had a season this bad since his sophomore season of 2005-06, and it’s clear that the Penguins have switched permanently to Matt Murray as their starter. I’ve also moved on from Fleury, having dropped him in one league when Roberto Luongo became available. (I know Luongo is struggling, but he should still start more often than Fleury over the rest of the season.)

But how owners value Fleury could vary widely. The reason is that there are two scenarios where Fleury could still hold value this season, and another owner’s perceived value of him would depend on how likely he/she believes that these scenarios could play out: 1) Fleury is traded before the deadline, and 2) Murray is injured again. It might make sense for the Penguins to try to trade Fleury so that he’s not exposed in the expansion draft, but imagine a scenario for the Penguins in which Murray is injured and Fleury has been traded. With such little activity before the deadline, I’d have to assume Fleury stays put at this point.

So you’re stuck with a struggling goalie that’s going to start once a week at best. I could see your other three goalies (including Jimmy Howard once he’s activated) starting more often than Fleury. See if you can peddle Fleury to an owner who is more convinced that the Penguins have no choice but to deal him or that he’ll simply rebound.
 


For the reasons you listed, Dougie Hamilton is a desirable fantasy commodity. Hopefully you took the Geek of the Week’s advice back in September and drafted him on your team.

In the comments section of that article, there seemed to be some debate as to Hamilton’s value based on his power-play time. Currently Hamilton has the third-highest power-play time per game among Calgary defensemen, behind Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie. Since Hamilton likes to shoot, and since Giordano and Brodie have not been having the kind of season that Hamilton has, I kind of wonder why he’s generally not used on the first-unit power play (which is not the first puzzling coaching move I’ve seen from Glen Gulutzan in his time with Calgary).

Hamilton is currently on pace for 48 points, which I think he should reach given that his shooting percentage is about where it has been for his career (5-6%). If Gulutzan decides to use him on the first-unit power play, Hamilton could become an Oliver Ekman-Larsson (pre-2016-17 season) multicategory beast with a 55-point ceiling. Since Hamilton is only 23, there’s lots of time for this to happen.

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Enjoy your Saturday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.