I know it doesn’t feel like it, but fantasy hockey draft season begins in just a few short weeks. It’s just a little over three weeks until September and the long weekend, and then it’s full steam ahead.
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The Sharks signed the recently-acquired Trevor Carrick for two years. It’s a two-way contract for both years so it doesn’t seem as though he’ll figure heavily into their future plans, though we’ll see.
Yesterday’s Ramblings saw a discussion of players who should be a good value at the draft table next month largely because of a lack of digital ink being spilled in their cause. Offseason narratives and storylines can drive up ADP, but a lack of digital ink being spilled can suppress ADP.
Today, it’s probably worth discussing the other side, or the players who’ve been discussed a lot this offseason. Again, I think I have a good pulse on who is getting covered via articles, blog posts, and podcasts, and who is not. Maybe I’ve missed on a few players, so don’t be afraid to hit up the comments and let us know.
Here are some players whose ADP will likely be inflated because of the discussion surrounding them this offseason.
(Note: a lot of these will be younger players, as is often the case.)
Sergei Bobrovsky, G-FLA
One thing we need to remember about Florida: this wasn’t a good defensive team last year. Their expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5v5 (2.35) was in the same neighbourhood as teams like Pittsburgh (2.32), New Jersey (2.35), Philadelphia (2.36), and Edmonton (2.38). One reason for that is they allowed a lot more shots than average from the mid-slot area, or one of the most dangerous areas of the ice. That’s something they’ll want to tidy.
The rationale that including him on this list makes me nervous is that when I look around the league, there aren’t a lot of goalies that can be pegged for at least 60 starts. As long as Bobrovsky is healthy and not atrocious, he should pass 60 starts. Getting that level of starts from a team with a lot of offensive ability can lead to a lot of wins in the fantasy game.
There has obviously been a lot of chatter around Florida with the massive contract they signed Bobrovsky to, and the expectations that come with it. I have no issue saying that Bobrovsky is a top-10 goalie off the board this year. But will expectations for the team push him into the top-3? We’ll see when ADP data comes out.
Ondrej Kase, RW-ANA
I’ve already written this offseason why I’m nervous to draft him, and it’s not because of him as a player or even the team he’s on. What worries me is that all the hype around him will over-inflate his ADP to the point where he’s no longer a value. Everyone has an upper limit, and I’d really hesitate drafting Kase anywhere near the top-100 in multi-cat Yahoo! league. It certainly looks as though that’s the direction things are trending.
Andrei Svechnikov, LW-CAR
One thing that I’ve said about Svechnikov is that I see him as the next Steven Stamkos, and I mean that. The problem we run into is that when I say “he’s the next Stamkos,” a few people might think he’ll be a 50-goal scorer in 2019-20 as Stamkos was in his age-19 season. It’s not that simple.
When Stamkos broke out for over 50 goals and 90 points in his age-19 season, he also played 20:33 per game. That’s a monster number. Consider that last year, the only Carolina forward over 20 minutes was Sebastian Aho at 20:09. In fact, no other forward was even above 19 minutes a game, and only Jordan Staal and Nino Niederreiter were over 18 minutes. That is to say, I don’t think Svech gets 20 minutes a game next year. My projections have him just under 18 minutes a night.
Also, in Stamkos’s monster sophomore season, he shot over 17 percent and had over 40 power-play points. Neither mark is a realistic target for Svech. So, when I say he’s the next Stamkos, I mean more his talent level and less what his actual production will be.
I think Svech is a burgeoning star and is a very good candidate for 30 goals and 60 points. Just don’t let the hype get out of control.
Jack Hughes, C-NJD
It’s that time of year again where we have to review how hard it is for 18-year olds to succeed to a level high enough for significant relevance (all from Hockey Reference):
- The number of 18-year olds with 20 goals and 60 points in the last 30 years counts four: Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Jeff Skinner, and Patrik Laine.
- The number of 18-year olds with 30-goal seasons in the last 30 years counts three: Crosby, Skinner, and Laine.
- The number of 18-year olds with 25 goals, 35 assists, and 200 shots on goal in the last 30 years counts one: Crosby.
And remember, even with Laine having 36 goals, 64 points, and over 200 shots on goal in his age-18 season, he may not have been a top-100 player depending on the type of league because of meager plus/minus, penalty minute, and PPP totals. And that was in an era with less scoring than now, meaning 36 goals and 64 points would be even less valuable now than it was two years ago.
I know it’s hard for some people to really accept it, but just because a guy will be a franchise cornerstone for over a decade does not mean he’ll be a super valuable fantasy option at the age of 18. We went through this literally a year ago with Rasmus Dahlin. If Hughes is anywhere near the top-100 players in roto leagues, I will be passing.
Pavel Buchnevich, RW-NYR
Seeing Buch’s name out there so much this summer has been a bit confounding to me. Remember that the coaching staff last year, on a team that was being stripped down to spare parts in order to rebuild, saw Buchnevich as a healthy scratch at times. Even after Mats Zuccarello was traded, Buchnevich only spent about half of Mika Zibanejad’s 5v5 time on the top line. Now that the team has added Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov, both direct competition for Buch’s ice time both at 5v5 and on the PP, Buchnevich is now suddenly going to get a featured role? Or something?
Listen, I am a big Buchnevich fan. I think he’s been mis-cast basically his entire tenure with the Rangers and think he’s earned a shot at the top line. The problem is that there’s now way too much internal competition to have any sort of confidence not only in Buchnevich, but in the coaching staff to have faith in Buchnevich. And don’t forget that if Kakko lines up with Zibanejad, and Buch the RW2, that means he’ll have… Strome? Howden?… as his centre. Not ideal.
This isn’t a bad gamble because Buchnevich shouldn’t be expensive at the draft table. I’d even be willing take the chance on him at the right price. I don’t think the right price will be inside the top-150 players, though, and I fear that’s where he ends up.
Sam Girard, D-COL
We’re almost starting to get to the point of the offseason where Girard has completed the value life cycle of starting perfectly valued before Barrie was traded, to undervalued after he was traded, and now he might be to the point of overvaluation.
This one is more tenuous than the rest because I don’t think Girard ever gets to the point where he’s not worth drafting just because the upside is so high, but it may get to the point where you’re sacrificing a more sure thing to chase that upside. I don’t necessarily have a problem with doing it, it’s just being aware of what’s going on.
We’ll really have to see when ADP rolls in. I didn’t think Girard would have to be taken among the top-30 fantasy defencemen. Maybe he will be.
Jaden Schwartz, LW-STL
This is a combination of two things: a great postseason run and a lot of offseason ink.
It’s kind of like with Buchnevich, under a different circumstance. Whereas Buch could never stay high in the lineup consistently, Schwartz could never stay in the lineup consistently. And after a hard-luck 2018-19 regular season, he had a huge postseason, being one of the reasons for St. Louis’s Stanley Cup run.
I think Schwartz, in real hockey, has been one of the more underrated players of the last five years, largely due to the injuries. The problem in fantasy hockey is those injuries, in addition to not adding much for peripherals. Consider that he’s never cracked 200 shots, has one season with more than 55 hits, and has never had 30 penalty minutes. He could have the role, and he has the ability, to put up 70 points, but they’ll be a very empty 70 points, killing his roto value.
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