Ramblings: Impact of a new family on production. Also, the kids are arriving – Tolvanen, Andersson (Mar 26)

by Dobber on March 25, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Impact of a new family on production. Also, the kids are arriving – Tolvanen, Andersson (Mar 26)

Ramblings: Impact of a new family on production. Also, the kids are arriving – Tolvanen, Andersson (Mar 26)

***

Morning Update! The Minnesota Wild have signed prospect Jordan Greenway to a three-year ELC, turning pro after his junior season with Boston University. Greenway is one of the best "real" hockey prospects in the world and in fact was one of five players named by The Hockey News as the best outside of the NHL. He had eight points in seven games for Team USA at the WJC and he was one of the better players for Team USA at the Olympics. That being said, from a fantasy standpoint his rise to prominency may be Chris Kreider-like. He's a 6-6 giant power forward who will chip in suitable production early, but don't expect him anywhere near his upside for five or six years. See our fantasy scouting report on Greenway here.

*

I was reading a Wyshynski article last week where he interviewed Ryan Getzlaf (link here). Regarding Corey Perry: “He has a family now. Last season was his first year with a kid. And that adds a different element to the game. It can change your preparation away from the rink and all those kinds of things. I think it all contributes into it.”

Getzlaf on his weak season 2011-12: “my first year as a dad was one of my worst years in the NHL. [Getzlaf had just 11 goals and 57 points in 82 games, and the Ducks missed the playoffs.]” And then: “there's really not a whole lot that can prepare you for parenthood. You have to just live it. Especially in our world, with how much it changes your daily life and how much more important things feel for you away from the rink.”

As I said on Twitter a few days ago, I would bet good money that a player sees his production drop significantly when he has a second or third child when one of the other children are toddlers. Significantly. No data available on this, of course. But my thinking is that if a player has a couple of tough years and then suddenly has a good one, I would check on his family – did he have a kid during that first tough year? If so, I’d be more inclined to believe that the good year is the norm and not an anomaly. The toughest year of my career (other than the last one obviously – ha) was when my oldest daughter was two and my youngest was born. Very hard – “terrible twos” is a label for a reason! Imagine being an athlete used to a workout regimen in the summer – I don’t know, three hours per day? Now suddenly it’s a couple of 30-minute sessions and a broken-up 10-minute attempt as you try to juggle.

Anyway, I found it interesting, it got me thinking and I wanted to share this new perspective. After I Tweeted these thoughts, I was quickly reminded by some followers that Cam Talbot had twins this year. So…hmmm…

*

Jordan Weal had a three-point game Sunday, which drives me nuts. I’m always panning for hidden gold, and Weal has come up on several occasions. A prospect who was a bit of a long shot, Weal dominated junior hockey. But most players who do that still fail to become fantasy relevant. However, he took to the AHL quickly with 139 points in 149 games in his second and third years there. Then he had a strong training camp with some clutch goals back in the preseason of 2015. Plus, he had to clear waivers that year to be sent down, so I drafted him as a late sleeper. But Weal became one of those guys who still needed another AHL season yet couldn’t be sent down there because he would get claimed – so the Kings played him sparingly and later when he went to the Flyers in the Lecavalier trade he was used sparingly there too. A complete lost season. And that almost always kills a player’s upside. So I dropped him…

Then last year, after clearing waivers and again dominating the AHL, he was called up and played his way onto the top line, tallying eight points in the final 10 games and 11 in his last 16. And that was going into a UFA summer for him. He earned a two-year contract and again I slapped on the “sleeper” status to his name. But he’s been brutal this year, even with decent linemates (often Wayne Simmonds and Nolan Patrick). Last season’s tease was good enough to get him re-drafted in my league and I re-acquired him in January as a throw-in, playing a hunch (which until Sunday had completely failed). I’m in a deep keeper league and with five draft picks I’ll need to choose between dropping Weal, Lars Eller or Jordan Staal. Or I acquire two more picks and drop all three? It was an easy decision to drop Weal until he gets these three-point games and you realize he is entering his prime and his fourth NHL season. Not a life-changing decision, but one of those meaningless ones that could surprise. And of course it will kick you in the teeth if you make the wrong one. Fantasy hockey is fun!

*

You laugh at the name Lars Eller, above, but he’s going to end up with 42 points which is by far a career high. And at the age of 28 he’s in his prime and could likely be semi-counted on for 45 next year. That number out of a playoff player has some small depth value in a league like mine.

*

It took Sean Couturier 16 games of sitting at 29 goals before scoring his 30th, but now that the monkey is off his back he scored number 31 just two games later.

Nolan Patrick has 12 points in his last 19 games. The 19-year-old is finally finding his footing.

Alex Lyon gave up two quick goals early in the second and got pulled. The 25-year-old has virtually no chance of making his mark in the NHL as a part of this organization because they have three proven NHL goaltenders plus Carter Hart on the way. So he needs to make his mark while he can – the two Band-Aid Boys have made it possible to get this audition. He’s been okay in seven games, but not strong enough to make a lasting impression.

*

Derick Brassard has points in each of his last six contests.

Since the Penguins acquired Brassard, Jake Guentzel has 10 points in 13 games. That being said, he had six points in the three games leading up to the trade (so 16 in 16 in all) and his season was turning around anyway. But this move certainly freed up Guentzel, as has been alluded to here on several occasions.

Sidney Crosby is seven points away from reaching 90 for the first time in four years and he has six games to do it – so it’s in the bag. Funny how it’s still not enough to get him into the top seven or eight scorers. That’s how this year has been  – Vegas has added to the player pool of strong scorers and overall scoring is up seven or eight percent.

*

Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil have been called up by the New York Rangers. This is especially interesting in fantasy circles because the Rangers play four times this week. This is also the time of year where non-playoff teams start piling on ice time for their prospects to give them a taste during meaningless games. In my one league I had picked up Chris Tierney Sunday afternoon and dropped Adrian Kempe. An hour later I had to drop Tierney to make room for Andersson who could no longer sit in my minors. Wasted transaction. Anyway, Andersson has 14 points in 24 AHL games for Hartford while Chytil has 31 in 45. Read up on Andersson here and Chytil here.

*

That being said, those two are small potatoes compared to this guy. Eeli Tolvanen’s Jokerit team was eliminated from the KHL playoffs on the weekend and he can now sign with Nashville. He supposedly has one in place already, now we just need official word on the signing. Tolvanen can play as many as nine games this year – including playoff games – without burning the first year of that contract. My guess is that he will get into the lineup for several regular season games so the team can gauge whether or not he’s ready for playoff action and can make enough of a difference to burn that first year and give him a regular playoff roster spot. My second guess is that while he will be good enough to do that – I’m not so sure that they will. Traditionally, Nashville is cautious with their prospects. But I think he’ll make his mark in the regular season and make them think long and hard about it. His 19 goals and 36 points as a KHL rookie were the highest by any player under the age of 19 in that league’s history. He also had six goals in 11 KHL playoff games. Read our scouting report on Tolvanen here. He is the No.1 prospect on my Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards list.

*

Continuing on with that theme, the Chicago Blackhawks signed their top prospect Dylan Sikura to a two-year ELC. Sikura just finished his senior year with Northeastern and tallied 54 points in 35 contests. He’s ranked 40th on my Prospects List. Read more on Sikura here.

Warren Foegele had a great training camp and has been an excellent AHL rookie so far for Charlotte (42 points in 65 games, with 26 goals). Carolina has called him up and he’ll likely make his NHL debut Monday. He’s ranked 86 on my prospects list and you can read our scouting report on him here.

Washington isn’t a team out of the playoffs, so when they signed prospect Shane Gersich on the weekend it wasn’t to play him and “see what they have”. He may get into the lineup once a playoff spot is clinched, but training camp is the time to keep an eye on him. His upside is capped. He had 37 points in 40 games a year ago, but that’s because his teammates were Tyson Jost, Brock Boeser and Tucker Poolman. With those three gone, Gersich slipped to 27 points. He’s earmarked for a future checking-line role. Read more on Gersich here.

CJ Suess was signed by the Jets. Although he had 43 points in 40 games for Minnesota State, he’s a bit of a long shot. Not only are the Jets deep with young forwards, but Suess himself is 24. He was drafted in 2014 as a 20-year-old. So he has a short window to make an impact, with little opportunity to do so. He was Minnesota State’s team captain the last two years.

*

With two more points Sunday, Viktor Arvidsson has 21 points in his last 18 games.

Here were Nashville’s line combos Sunday night:

#1

21.2%

ARVIDSSON,VIKTOR – FORSBERG,FILIP – JOHANSEN,RYAN

#2

18.8%

FISHER,MIKE – HARTNELL,SCOTT – SALOMAKI,MIIKKA

#3

16.4%

FIALA,KEVIN – SMITH,CRAIG – TURRIS,KYLE

#4

16.4%

BONINO,NICK – HARTMAN,RYAN – SISSONS,COLTON

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Calle Jarnkrok and Austin Watson out with injuries, I’m looking at the above depth chart and wondering where Tolvanen slots in. A checking line would be useless, so perhaps he gets in there for Craig Smith on the second line, bumping Smith to the Fisher line and taking Salomaki or Hartnell out of the lineup.

*

Patrice Bergeron returned to the Boston lineup for the first time since before the trade deadline. So it was interesting to see the line combinations with Ryan Donato and Brian Gionta around.

#1

28.2%

BERGERON,PATRICE – MARCHAND,BRAD – PASTRNAK,DAVID

#2

22.1%

HEINEN,DANTON – NASH,RILEY – WINGELS,TOMMY

#3

21.5%

DONATO,RYAN – GIONTA,BRIAN – KREJCI,DAVID

#4

14.9%

ACCIARI,NOEL – KURALY,SEAN – SCHALLER,TIM

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then…what does this tell us? Since David Backes, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk are out, we still can’t get a feel for what the playoff line combos will be.

What was most interesting is the fact that Ryan Donato was part of a four-man PP unit to go with that top line and Torey Krug.

With two more points Sunday, Brad Marchand has 80 in 60 games. His 1.33 points-per-game average is second in the NHL behind Nathan MacKinnon (1.37) and ahead of Connor McDavid, Nikita Kucherov and Evgeni Malkin. Remarkable. Earlier, I had stroked him off my Hart Trophy voting list of five players. Time to tap the UNDO button on that one.

*

Tyler Myers has just one point in his last 15 games. He ‘had’ been on track for a career high in points. He’s still getting solid secondary PP minutes, but he’s not producing there. Nearly half his total points came via the power play, so if he’s not getting it done with the man advantage then he’s not going to give you much production otherwise.

*

Embarrassing. Dallas has free-fallen out of a playoff spot by losing eight games in a row in mid- to late March. And that includes a loss to the Canucks Sunday. Not officially out yet, but…pretty much yeah. Two teams have 89 points right now and only one of them will get in – and Dallas has 84 with six games remaining. Anaheim tying the Oilers late Sunday night and winning in OT put another nail in that coffin, too.

*

Is Ty Rattie playing his way into an NHL job for next year? Often I would say no to this and I would say it quickly and easily. After all, he’s 25 now and has had his chance. Just another failed highly-touted prospect who is making a mark on a non-playoff team when games don’t mean anything. Usually, you’ll see that team re-sign him but also sign (or trade for) other players to fill the ranks on the wing, thereby forcing him to the press box or the minors. Or to a depth line and dismal production. In other words, my Jordan Weal example, above. But I suspect that this team could fire their GM in the summer. In which case, the philosophy changes. The focus should be on defensemen and if deals and signings are geared towards that, then maybe they count on Rattie lining up with McDavid. Why not? The Penguins did that with Conor Sheary and Sidney Crosby and it worked just fine. Draftable? If your league is deep enough, I think he’s worth a flier in the final round when hunches are played. Unless something massive happens to change things among Edmonton forwards in the summer.

Ethan Bear had his first NHL goal here:

He also added an assist and has four points in 14 games. While I don’t see more than a 25-point year as a rookie next season, I do really like his long-term value with this team. The Oilers are dying for a puck-moving defenseman and he’s a very promising one. I assume they make a play for a game-breaker like John Carlson, though, if they can afford him. If only they didn’t have that Kris Russell contract…

*

I’ve been asked when the Interactive Playoff Draft List will be available. This list, which was the first thing I ever started selling on this site way back in 2005, should be available by Thursday April 5. I have the structure in place and the players, I’m just going through it and tweaking expectations and filling in notes. I will update this list on April 7 and April 9, so you can re-download it. Not only does the Excel sheet have my own playoff list, but it also allows you to run your own scenarios and create as many different lists as you like – the player projections will auto-fill based on your playoff tree. I generally run two playoff scenarios and then bring both lists into my draft. Then, based on who is taken (and which teams have the most players available) when I make my second-round pick, I throw away one of the lists and just go with one. This way I’m not tied down to a certain scenario and just go with the best situation (of the two I ran) based on how the draft is going. You can pre-order the IPDL here. Only six of you bought the Ultimate Fantasy Pack because I had to pull it from the shop due to my cancer situation. A common question I’m asked is “is this included in the package I bought last summer?” Chances are you bought the Keeper League Pack, so no – it is not included in that. Unless you were one of those six who got in early before I could pull it, you bought the Keeper Pack. At the time, I didn’t know if I would be around or if I would have the ability to put together this Draft List so I couldn’t in good faith sell a package that included it.

That being said, I feel great, things are going great, and you can expect the Ultimate Fantasy Pack to return for 2018 and come out on sale in May!

*

Announcement: I will be making this Draft List available FREE during all 2018 Montreal Canadiens playoff games.

(Sorry, saw that joke in social media, thought it was a marketing masterpiece! Had to share)

*

Another thing I’ve been asked – will I have the free playoff box pools available again this year. The answer is: yes. Look for that in a week or so. You can follow the box pool Facebook Page for the announcement when that is out.

*

Here are the latest 20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts. See you next week!