Ramblings: Is Mike Hoffman done as a good fantasy own? Hinostroza, Hutton, Rattie and more (June 18)
You’ve had Cam’s take on the Alex Galchenyuk for Max Domi trade (here and here) and Ian's take (here). Since it’s summer – and what else is there to discuss? – here’s mine. I think Galchenyuk is on the cusp of a breakout. Yes, he’s played six full seasons in the NHL, but with injuries (twice) and a terrible team (last year), he’s been held back. Not that Arizona is this amazing Cup contender, but we can all agree they have a lot of good young pieces in place that offer the skill and depth Galchenyuk needs to hit his potential. It was the absolute worse time to trade him – and I mean that for both fantasy hockey and real hockey.
Not that Max Domi is a pushover. I think he’s got plenty more to give and he’s entering his fourth NHL season. However, breaking out on a Habs team with very little talent is different from breaking out on an Arizona team with plenty of potential. If Domi gets 50 points this year, even though he’s done better (as a rookie – 52 points), to me that would be a breakout because of the team around him.
Once again, GM Marc Bergevin loses a deal even though what he gets isn’t “that bad”. Every deal he does, his return is “not bad”. The problem is, it’s never “good”. You can’t succeed as a GM if nothing you do is good. A “not bad” move is fine, mixed in among good ones. You can even get away with a terrible move. But you need to have good moves with some regularity. And Bergevin hasn’t done that.
Here is one former amateur scout recounting some scouting history on Mike Hoffman from back when he was a junior player. In a nutshell, McCagg mentions that Hoffman was let go by Kitchener despite his talent because his teammates didn’t get along with him and no other team wanted him in the OHL so he moved to the QMJHL. Half a season later he wore out his welcome with Hull and was released, to be picked up by Drummondville. No NHL team drafted him in 2008 and he lasted until the fifth round in 2009. It’s an interesting thread of tweets (brought to my attention thanks to the good people in the Dobber Forum – amazing resource). So he is alleged to have some maturity issues and is apparently somewhat arrogant. Still, I can see his being railroaded out of the NHL as we’ve seen happen with players who don’t conform, over the years. Brad Marchand being the lone exception. The media circus becomes a distraction, your behaviour gets under a microscope, and the domino effect begins. You hit a couple of posts, you’re not quite as productive, which leads to less ice time which leads to even less productivity…and so the spiral goes.
Do you think reporters are going to grill Mike Hoffman less in the future, or more? More, of course. And if you ask anyone – anyone at all – more questions, then do the odds of saying the wrong thing increase or decrease? Well, increase of course. That’s just simple math. And once a few words get misconstrued or taken out of context, the person who said them will feel the full weight of millions of fans online. The pressure builds.
Innocent or guilty, girlfriend’s fault or Mike’s fault, I think he could be done. Sure, maybe he posts one more huge season of 65 or 70 points just to immediately prove everyone wrong. But being under a microscope, with so many people looking for the slightest misstep, is going to catch up with him. An injury or slump will get compounded, and maybe Year 2 sees him get just 55 points. And then 40. And then lots of healthy scratches. And then done.
I’m not condemning Mike Hoffman. What I think about that situation is irrelevant. I’m just looking at it from a fantasy standpoint – and in my keeper league I want nothing to do with him. Actually, check that. There is one scenario where I would like to own Hoffman: a trade to Edmonton. But aside from that, today I’m placing pretty strong odds that he has two more fantasy-relevant seasons left. Not a certainty, just strong enough odds that I’m going to steer clear. That’s what fantasy hockey is, it’s about playing the odds. If there’s a 30% chance that X happens, a 25% chance that Y happens, a 20% chance that Z happens and a 25% chance of “other”, then you run your team based on X while still allowing for Y, Z or “other” to possibly take place. Well, Hoffman gradually failing over the next several seasons is (for today) my X.
You may have caught this the other day, the Chicago Blackhawks re-signed a couple of under-the-radar players, the main one being Vinnie Hinostroza ($1.5 million per season, two years). He of career-best 25 points. But he did most of that between December and February, because initially he didn’t even make the team…and then he finished the year off very slow. But there was a stretch there where he posted 23 points in 36 games. He’s a sleeper for 50 points next season and an upside for 60, depending on linemates.
John Hayden was the other guy signed, but his contract was for $750,000 per season which is not a deterrent from the team sending him to the minors. He’ll stick with the big club, but just saying that it won’t be because the contract keeps him there. Hayden’s a potential 55-point, 100-PIM player, but as a big power forward he’s several years away from that. In the meantime, enjoy your 30/90 out of him.
PA Parenteau has announced his retirement. He was part of the AHL-duo that the Islanders saved, from a decade ago, Matt Moulson being the other. Parenteau was stuck in the AHL posting ridiculous points there and barely getting a sniff with the Rangers. The Islanders gave him a shot because, well, they had nobody else. So may as well put this star AHLer on John Tavares’ line. He went on to post 53- and 67-point seasons just in time to sign a massive four-year ($16 million) contract with the Avalanche (there’s always a sucker). So he’s a multi-millionaire thanks to the way the Islanders ran things. He owes Garth Snow a Christmas card!
Arizona is really wheeling and dealing. And every player they brought in could probably help them within two years. Hudson Fasching (from Buffalo for Brandon Hickey) has been a disappointment, but could turn out to be a depth winger in a year or two. The change of scenery will help. It has only been about one year since we were actually kind of high on him as a power forward.
Adam Helewka (from San Jose for Kyle Wood) is a complementary player with a bit of upside, but he really does need quality linemates in order to flourish. But this chance of scenery makes him worth watching for again as a potential third-liner.
And we’ve discussed Galchenyuk at length already.
Arizona is set on defense in terms of the pipeline. I think they’re happy with what they saw from Trevor Murphy and they have high hopes for the tough Russian Ilya Lyubushkin. So assuming those two fill out the Top 7 (I do), they have Kyle Capobianco on the cusp, Jordan Gross a year away, and Pierre-Olivier Joseph two years away. So filling out the depth forward corps seems like a good idea. Trading Kyle Wood and Brandon Hickey now was smart. Hickey, likely because he was looking like he wouldn’t sign and could be a UFA in August. Wood, because he is looking more and more like a future depth defenseman due to his skating.
In his latest article, Pierre Lebrun reports that executives from four different teams opined to him that John Tavares will stay put with the Islanders. I haven’t wavered from that in two years. But I also agree with Pierre that Tavares will wait until July 1 before he signs. He’ll want to hear out other teams first.
If a new team signs Carter Hutton and anoints him their savior…they’ll be as disappointed as Carolina was with Scott Darling. Worse, because I actually think Darling can be a starter under a better coaching system and upgraded defense. I’m not as sure about Hutton.
If you’re like me and Ty Rattie caught your eye at the end of last season you may find the latest from Bruce McCurdy of interest. He puts the on-the-cusp, boom-or-bust winger into perspective. I could analyze this team all day and all night, dig deep on Ty Rattie and decide he only plays 20 games next year and manages eight points. And then I’m 50 points off. Or I could decide he plays 82 games, has amazing health, and gets 60 points mostly on the big line…and be off by 60 points. These situations don’t make it easy, do they…
See you next week
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