With the holiday break over, there was a sleigh-load of lineup information to get to. Let’s not waste time.
The Nashville Predators got significant reinforcements back in the lineup as both Viktor Arvidsson and PK Subban returned for the team. The former has played one game since Halloween while the latter has been out for about six weeks. Despite the significant injury issues the team has sustained, they’ve played very well basically all year and now they’re getting two all-world talents back with another yet to return. They’re going under the radar and should terrify fans of other teams in the West.
The Bruins got reinforcements of their own as all of Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk, and Kevan Miller returned to the lineup. Boston went back to their usual forward alignment, which means loading up the top line and having Krejci/DeBrusk on the second line.
Charlie McAvoy missed the game but the team said it’s related to a blocked shot and nothing serious. Consider him day-to-day.
The latest update on Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck is that he could return as a week or two after the All Star Game. Considering the injury he suffered, that’s pretty good news for both him and the Panthers.
Jake Guentzel has signed a five-year extension with the Pens for $30-million, giving him an AAV of $6-million. The deal will kick in at the start of next season so cap leaguers can start preparing right now.
Just when the Kings were getting healthy (and I recommended yesterday to look at him as a buy-low opportunity), Jeff Carter missed Thursday night’s game with an upper-body injury. We can probably scratch him off the buy-low list for now.
While Alex Pietrangelo and Robby Fabbri did not return for the Blues on Thursday night, they are both on the cusp of returning. Expect them in the lineup either next game or the one after. Coach said the latter was closer to returning than the former, for clarity’s sake.
Taylor Hall (and Marcus Johansson) missed New Jersey’s game on Thursday night. As for Hall, the team said it was the same injury that kept him out of the lineup a couple weeks ago. That this is a lingering issue is a bad sign for everyone involved. Let’s hope it’s just a flare up and nothing more.
Kevin Shattenkirk skated for the Rangers on Thursday morning but is not ready to return just yet.
Ottawa has recalled goaltender Marcus Hogberg from the AHL, an indication that Craig Anderson probably won’t be playing in the next few days at least due to a concussion. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious or lingering for the elder statesman of the Sens. Fantasy owners will have to make other arrangements for the time being. I’m not sure Mike McKenna is the answer, either.
We’ve had a lot of holiday-themed Ramblings and articles over the past couple weeks and rightly so. Let me add one more to the pile. Before Christmas, I wrote about my wish list for a handful of players for 2019. Let me expand on that and write a quick wish list about actual fantasy hockey leagues in 2019.
More Auction Leagues
Over the last 4-5 years, I’ve personally gotten more involved in auction leagues in fantasy baseball. Let me tell you this much: I absolutely love them. It makes a lot of sense when you realize that traditional snake drafts inhibit how a player can construct their team. If a fantasy owner is playing in three leagues and happens to be drafting outside the top-3 in all three leagues, that person has no chance at drafting Connor McDavid. If that person drafted outside the top-5 in all three leagues, that person had no chance at drafting McDavid or Nikita Kucherov, and on and on it goes. Also, if someone is at a wheel pick (first or last), they’re not at risk of missing out on runs of goaltenders or defencemen. It also creates fun rivalries within the fantasy league before the season even starts because of bidding wars.
I understand a lot of people don’t want auction leagues because of how involved owners need to be. You need to evaluate each player within the parameters of your league, you need to have discipline to not over-spend on “your” guys, and the drafts themselves can take hours. It all depends how much time a league’s members want to put in. All the same, I think fantasy hockey owners, especially Industry Leagues, should start using more auction formats.
Replace Penalty Minutes with Penalty Differential
I personally never had a real issue with using PIMs as a category if only because it helps expand the useful player pool. On the other hand, I’m very well aware that we’re rewarding something that hurts teams in real life. Why not do something that achieves both expanding the player pool and not reward something that is a detriment? Penalty differential makes so much sense.
This is something I believe Steve Laidlaw has been discussing on Twitter from time to time. We can easily keep track of these things from existing public websites and we can dispense with the absurdity of rewarding face punchers.
I know the popular sites like Yahoo or ESPN might not be able to track it easily. We’ll let them figure it out.
Move to point scoring
Ok I’m going to say something that may be sacrilege: I don’t get the appeal of roto scoring. What I mean by roto scoring is how traditional non-head to head leagues are constructed and that’s by awarding, say, 12 points in a 12-team league to the leader in goals, 12 points to the leader in assists, 11 points to the runner-up in total goals, 11 points to the runner-up in total assists and so on. I really don’t understand why people do this. If Team A has the most goals in a 12-team league with 1000 and second-most assists with 1500, and Team B has the second-most goals in the league with 700 and most assists with 1501, these are equal fantasy rosters? No, they’re not, and scoring them as such is ridiculous.
Everything should be assigned point values. Two points for a goal, one for an assist, 0.25 for a shot, two points for every positive or negative penalty differential integer, and so on. Every team knows and abides by the scoring and constructs their team accordingly.
This doesn’t get rid of categories it just changes how we value what fantasy rosters do. This can apply to traditional roto leagues or head-to-head formats.
Punishments for last-place teams
It happens in every fantasy sport. We get near the halfway mark of the season and teams just start checking out. The last few teams stop setting their lineups and responding to trade requests. Not that I haven’t done it, either, I definitely have. It’s just something we should try to disincentivize.
This can be achieved any number of ways. I have a baseball league where the last place team has to buy the beer and chips for the following year’s draft. If you play on a site with a managing fee, the last place team can pay next year’s fee (you can ensure this by forcing everyone to send an extra $20 or whatever the fee is with their buy-in to be returned at the end of the year to everyone but the team finishing last). Social media humiliation is also a good one. If the person refuses, just kick them out of the league and move on. No hard feelings.
We need to ensure that teams keep playing through the end of the year to maintain integrity for the people racing for a title. Punishments can help in this regard.
That’s my quick wish list for fantasy leagues. What are your wishes? Let us know in the comments.
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- Ramblings: Kadri returns; Dahlin and Werenski updates; elite players; Laine's season - December 12