Rambling about Jacob Trouba, Rickard Rakell, Robin Lehner, Patrik Berglund, Max Pacioretty and more …
Remember when Jacob Trouba broke into the league and looked like the next coming of a stud fantasy asset with beastly cross-category production? In his rookie year, he posted 10 goals and 29 points through 65 games with 43 penalty minutes, 121 shots, 95 hits and 132 blocked shots.
He's now poised to see more ice time playing on the left side, according to head coach Paul Maurice. It's a smart move by Maurice, and it should prove to provide a slight boost for Trouba's fantasy value with the potential for a decent jump in production.
Trouba averaged a career-low 22:04 minutes per night last season, and he also averaged just 1:17 of power-play time, which was also a career low. Now entering his fourth season in the league at age 22, there should begin to be some statistical growth from Trouba. The extra run will only help. He's a strong late-round target to fill out your roster in leagues including all the peripheral statistics he helps in.
Rickard Rakell isn't eating and is hospitalized with a stomach virus. Obviously, there is all kinds of time for him to return to the ice for the beginning of the regular season, but this is a major red flag. Ducks training camp opens in 10 days, after all.
Not only could Rakell lose weight, this virus may be related to his bout with appendicitis and resulting surgery that cost him the final seven games of last season. It's certainly an early-season concern and sometimes players never fully bounce back following an interrupted/shortened preseason.
Rakell was in line to be a popular breakout target, and he could easily still have a solid showing. However, you're going to hit injury snags with a healthy roster, so making an already ailing player a priority is not my preferred approach. It's still in wait-and-see mode, but even if Rakell is healthy to start the season, it shouldn't be viewed as a shocker if he starts slow.
Patrik Berglund jumps into the Team Sweden lineup in place of Rickard Rakell. The 28-year-old veteran is no longer a legitimate fantasy asset in most settings, but there is some uncertainty in the St. Louis forward group, so this tournament could help him kick-start the season as a secondary scorer.
Berglund is likely to situate as the No. 3 center behind Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera, which isn't a complete wasteland. St. Louis has nice forward depth, and Berglund could find himself playing with Alexander Steen in a shut-down role. Again, it's likely not going to be a fantasy relevant showing from Berglund but 35 points and 15 goals are certainly within reach if all breaks right.
Robin Lehner has shed approximately 40 pounds. It's a huge weight loss, and if he's in shape now, it could help him kick the injury blues this year. There is a lot of buzz surrounding the Sabres and Lehner is definitely a capable goalie with the desired size (6-foot-5) to handle the position.
Additionally, Lehner spent the entire offseason in Buffalo training at a mixed martial arts gym, and he's been working with the Buffalo goalie coach the past month. Remember, last offseason, he was unable to exercise for most of the summer following his concussion.
It's easy to get carried away with optimism surrounding positive news, but there are a few things aligning nicely for Lehner here. Plus, his .924 save percentage from last season shouldn't be overlooked, especially since he's just entering what should be his peak years at 25 with 97 career starts under his belt.
If you wait at the goaltending position and are throwing darts later in the draft, Lehner could easily produce as a No. 2 fantasy goalie and finish the season in the area of the 15th netminder. And barring injury, which seems less likely with his extensive offseason work, Lehner has a nice floor given his volume.
Our boy, Cliffy, found an interesting tweet today, and I asked him to look into it because I don't speak French. Below is his summary.
According to Michel Vileneuve, Therrien had told a few people that Pacioretty is the worst captain in Habs history https://t.co/FQph84R14h
— Vaggeli (@VaggeliMTL) September 12, 2016
@naparker77 "I talked to the people that were at Therrien's table at the golf course and he said he was the worst captain in Habs history"
— Michael Clifford (@SlimCliffy) September 13, 2016
@naparker77 The interviewer asked if his source was certain, and he said "Therrien said it."
— Michael Clifford (@SlimCliffy) September 13, 2016
After being called out by John Tortorella, Max Pacioretty isn't winning any coaches' polls of late. Obviously, Tortorella's opinion doesn't mean much, and Michel Therrien isn't going have a big impact Pacioretty's fantasy value, but it's all a little fishy and odd. If anything, it tells me Therrien is way too complacent in his gig, which he shouldn't be.
Pacioretty owns one of the highest floors in the league after averaging over 35 goals and 63 points the past three years, and he's falling later in drafts. A run at 40 goals and 300 shots with 65 points is almost a given, and Pacioretty is also one of just six players to score 30 goals in each of the past three campaigns.
This was pretty fun:
16 years ago: Stamkos picks Eberle's pocket, goes end to end, gets robbed by Jones ?? pic.twitter.com/UIWMVf6YdW
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) September 12, 2016
The podcast I recorded last week with Chris Morais for The Fantasy Fix is going live Tuesday, and once I have a link I'll share. We discussed about 10 players in depth while touching on all kinds of other players, topics and strategies.
Thanks for checking in, Dobberheads.
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