Ramblings: Injury News, Mock Drafting (Sept. 4)

by Ian Gooding on September 3, 2016

Injury news leading to the World Cup, mock drafting at Yahoo

One benefit (if you want to call it that) from the World Cup starting hockey earlier than normal is that we will see more descriptive injury news than we normally would this time of year. As in, if hockey were to be played at this time of year, would the player actually be playing? Of course that’s how it is, but it could mean we receive fewer injury surprises than we have encountered in previous seasons.

Having said that, additional games before the “real” season for fantasy owners could also mean more potential injuries for fantasy owners to prepare for. And injuries themselves always come attached with a sense of uncertainty. If you’ve ever owned a player that was only sidelined with a “day-to-day” thing that stretched out into months, then you’ll know what I mean.

Neil had you covered yesterday with some World Cup-related injury news. So here are some Saturday updates:

David Krejci will not play for the Czech team at the World Cup of Hockey, to be replaced by Roman Cervenka (NHL.com). Krejci’s fantasy owners should probably treat this as good news, though, as he is working out and should be ready for the start of the NHL season in mid-October.

If Cervenka’s name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because he had only played one NHL season – the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season as a member of the Calgary Flames. In case you’re any bit curious, Cervenka racked up 61 points in just 49 games in the Czech league last season. But now at 30 years of age, Cervenka will probably only be seen in international tournaments and not in NHL games.

Also from the Czech team, Tomas Hertl and Radko Gudas will also miss the World Cup, although replacements haven’t been named yet (NBC Sports). Without a full deck (even though other countries will no doubt have their absences), the Czechs will likely have a tough time competing in this tournament.

The Hertl injury concerns me a bit more than the Krejci injury for some reason. Although both have spanned the entire offseason, not as much has been said about Hertl’s injury (from what I’ve seen). His knee was injured during the Stanley Cup Final (although in true playoff form the Sharks didn’t say much), yet he’s still not ready to return. It might not be a big deal, but it’s worth monitoring if you’re looking to draft Hertl in the hopes of another big year alongside the two Joes.  

Henrik Lundqvist is still expected to suit up for Sweden, even though there were rumors that he had suffered a golf-related injury (NBC Sports). Yes, you can suffer that kind of injury. And not just from a golf cart mishap, like Erik Johnson.

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Since last Saturday’s Ramblings, Yahoo has cleaned up its rankings to the point where the ratings discrepancies are gone. So no more top-10 players ranked in the 200s! These current rankings make a lot more sense, and you’d be much less likely to lose out if you have to miss your live draft and are forced to autopick.

So I recently took the time to try a Yahoo mock draft. If you haven’t done so and participate in Yahoo leagues, it’s a great practice run to get you in the proper mindset for the decisions that you’ll need to make during a draft. And with these updated rankings, it was actually tougher than I thought!

A mock draft also gives you the chance to identify undervalued players (Hint: sort by ADP in the draft window. Another hint: sort by projections if your league has a points system). Something that surprised me: ADPs allow for goalie runs to occur again and for blueliners to fall. (Remember in a previous Ramblings how I talked about defensemen rising and goaltenders falling in the summer rankings?) So if you’re thinking about waiting five rounds to draft a goalie, you may want to think again. However, try not to revert to the old strategy of ignoring defensemen until later.
 


I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of each pick, but instead take you through my thought process for a few of my picks.

I assigned myself the first overall pick (12 "teams" participating). In hindsight, I probably should have given myself the fifth or sixth or seventh pick to be more realistic (like the other “live” participant did). Regardless, I had to decide then and there who the first overall pick should be. Although Yahoo’s default selection is Patrick Kane, I opted for Alex Ovechkin instead. In a multicategory league, I give Ovechkin the nod because of advantages in goals, shots on goal, and penalty minutes. But if this was a pure points-only draft, I’d choose Kane, acknowledging his far superior assist totals.

This might be up for some debate, but I think that Dustin Byfuglien’s ADP of 37 isn’t high enough, given his ability to contribute in so many categories. I’d be willing to bet that if you plugged in your league settings into the Fantasy Hockey Geek product, it would tell you to draft him higher than that ranking. Think about the goals and shots on goal, along with help in many other peripheral categories. But where you draft him depends on the categories that you need.

Drafting Byfuglien at that point could depend on your need for a goalie. In hindsight (and given the way goalies were coming off the board), I may have been better off drafting a goalie here. But hey, it’s a mock draft. I don’t have to live with that decision all season!

Speaking of goalies, Brian Elliott could fall again in drafts this season, and not for the same reason he has in previous seasons. Calgary just isn’t considered to have the same potential for wins as St. Louis. But Elliott could represent a serious upgrade in the nets for the Flames. If the Flames are considered to have a strong defense, then why isn’t Elliott given more credit here? Remember that Elliott finished first in save percentage (.930 SV%) and third in goals-against average (2.07 GAA) last season. He could provide some real value from where he’s being drafted (currently ranked 71 by Yahoo).

But because we no longer have the Elliott/Jake Allen conundrum, we need a new goalie controversy to enjoy cause us to pull out our hair. That could be Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray. Fleury seems to be ranked very low. I know he wasn’t the starting goalie for the Pens’ Stanley Cup run, but has he really fallen off the map? If you can grab Murray first, perhaps you can sneak Fleury a round or two later. Don’t forget that Fleury could still be your starter. Or it could be a timeshare. Or Fleury could get traded to a team that makes him the starter. Who knows.

If you’re drafting soon, the injury status of Jeff Carter, David Krejci, and Henrik Zetterberg may result in them falling in drafts. That may be unnecessary, as they may be sitting out of the World Cup more as a precaution than anything. Though I totally agree with Neil’s observation that Zetterberg isn’t worth his name value anymore.

I’m guessing that many who draft Cam Talbot before his ADP (158) will be Dobber followers. I still find it hard to believe that he is the 11th ranked keeper goalie on this site, but I’m not saying that because I don’t agree. I experienced some great second-half returns on one of my teams (1.96 GAA in January, 2.00 GAA in March), so I’m thinking I can come back for more.

Morgan Rielly (ADP 156) might provide great value if drafted at that spot, since he is projected for around 45 points this coming season. With Dion Phaneuf gone, Rielly has the first-unit power-play point all to himself and is on track to improve on his eight power-play points from last season. Yet his other peripherals stats could be weak, such as plus/minus, penalty minutes, and hits. Just something to consider if you’re thinking about reaching for him.

For more discussion on my mock draft, you can check out my Twitter feed.

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Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.