Ramblings: Karlsson Trade Impact on Senators, Blackhawks Injuries, Keeper Decisions (Sept 16)

by Ian Gooding on September 16, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Karlsson Trade Impact on Senators, Blackhawks Injuries, Keeper Decisions (Sept 16)


Karlsson Trade Impact on Senators, Blackhawks Injuries, Keeper Decisions

Don’t forget to purchase your Fantasy Guide before your draft comes and goes! And if you purchased it a while ago, download the latest copy from the Downloads page. Read through some of the articles. Have a look at the projections, including the updates made to Ottawa and San Jose as a result of the Erik Karlsson trade.

Speaking of which, you’ll want to check out Mike’s piece on the fantasy impact of the Karlsson deal for both teams. From the Ottawa side, I’ll agree with Mike that I don’t think this deal itself helps anyone outside of Thomas Chabot, although another injury will help another player heading to Ottawa. More on that shortly.

Chabot might end up with a plus-minus of about minus-100 playing for a dreadful Ottawa team (yes, I’m exaggerating on that number, but you get the idea). The Senators lack veteran d-men that can take on the tough minutes. But I believe the Karlsson trade adds about 5-10 points to his projected point total and 3-4 minutes of icetime per game while vaulting him onto the first power-play unit. Whether he’s ready or not, he’ll be jumping head first into the water this season. He should already be owned in keeper leagues, while he’s worth drafting in the later rounds in single-season leagues.

The Jean-Gabriel Pageau injury (out six months with a torn Achilles) likely moves Chris Tierney up to the second line. Tierney was a bottom-6 forward for the Sharks, but he’ll be leaned on heavily and seems a good bet that he’ll start the season on the second line, although Colin White could work his way up into that role. Drake Batherson’s changes of making the Senators should also improve because of this injury. All three forwards’ fantasy values improve with the injury news, as Pageau could be out all season.

Some news on Karlsson: He’s expected to receive an eight-year contract offer from the Sharks (NHL.com).

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We finally know more about Corey Crawford’s injury, and the news isn’t good. Crawford has been sidelined with a concussion, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be ready for the start of the season. This isn’t good news for fantasy owners who drafted him at a discount hoping that his ability would outperform his draft ranking, which had already fallen with the speculation that he still hadn’t recovered from a concussion. Crawford was having an impressive season (16-9-2, 2.27 GAA, .929 SV%), so this also isn’t good news for the Blackhawks’ playoff chances.

Cam Ward is worth taking a flier on in the later rounds of your draft, but how effective will he be? Ward hasn’t had a save percentage above .910 over his past six seasons, so your expectations shouldn’t be high. This included a .906 save percentage in 43 games last season, which came in spite of the Canes allowing the fewest number of shots per game (28.9) of any team. The Hawks were a top-10 team in terms of shots allowed in 2017-18. With a defense that is led by the aging Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, Ward will be in tough for improved numbers with his new team.

Connor Murphy’s injury (out eight weeks with a back injury) improves the chances that 2017 first-round pick Henri Jokiharju makes the Blackhawks out of training camp. Keep in mind that Gustav Forsling is also expected to miss the start of the season with a wrist injury. Jokiharju scored 71 points in 63 games last season for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. Check out his Dobber Prospects profile here.

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Keeper decisions are fast approaching, so I’m going to take you through my thought process in one of mine. It’s a 12-team league in which the categories are Goals (G), Assists (A), Plus/Minus (+/-), Powerplay Points (PPP), Shots on Goal (SOG), Hits (HIT), Blocks (BLK), Wins (W), Goals Against Average (GAA), and Save Percentage (SV%). These are relatively common settings in multicategory leagues.

I get to keep four players, with maximum one goalie. Brad Marchand will be my first keeper based on his high goal total and preseason ranking (currently 5th in Yahoo leagues).

So I might as well get right to the goalies. I need to pick between Tuukka Rask, Ben Bishop, Antti Raanta, and Craig Anderson. Let’s compare their numbers from last season.

 

W

GAA

SV%

Rask

34

2.36

.917

Bishop

26

2.49

.916

Raanta

21

2.24

.930

Anderson

23

3.32

.898


I think we can eliminate Anderson right off the bat given his numbers last season the Sens’ current state. That leaves Rask, Bishop, and Raanta. The Coyotes’ goalie had the lowest win total of the bunch (even lower than Anderson), although he missed portions of the first half due to injury. This might fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but I would actually rank Raanta ahead of Bishop and put him close to Rask in this format. Two of the three goaltending categories are GAA and SV%, and Raanta has the top GAA (2.20) and SV% (.927) for the 46 goalies that have played at least 100 games over the past four seasons.

Bishop’s ADP is 54.7, which I could only justify if he plays enough games to make his way off the Band-Aid Boy Trainee list. Raanta’s is criminally low at 135.1. I would be tempted enough to reach for Raanta within the top 100, as there are a number of goalies with an ADP higher than Raanta that I would definitely not draft before him. This group includes Henrik Lundqvist, Mike Smith, Corey Crawford, Semyon Varlamov, Cory Schneider, and Roberto Luongo.

Yet I’m going to keep Rask, and here’s why. First, I’m almost certain that Rask’s win total will be higher than Raanta’s (barring injury). Ratios aren’t always as predictable. Also, if I leave Rask unprotected, I know he’ll get drafted in the first round (technically the fifth round, as the first four rounds are the keepers). However, I’m going to bet that Raanta will probably fall at least another round or two. The experts in this league might be on to how strong a goalie Raanta really is, so he might also get scooped up quickly. But not as early as Rask, who is universally perceived as the better fantasy option.

Yes, perception from other owners of where a player is ranked should affect where you should draft the player.

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I’ll lump the rest of my players together. I can keep two of the following players: Drew Doughty, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Jakub Voracek, Ryan Getzlaf, Brayden Schenn, and Clayton Keller. Let’s list out their numbers from last season:

 

G

A

+/-

PPP

SOG

HIT

BLK

Doughty

10

50

23

20

205

127

128

Hamilton

17

27

1

12

270

83

80

Krug

14

45

0

24

197

79

73

Voracek

20

65

10

35

228

23

32

Getzlaf

11

50

20

13

117

96

57

Schenn

28

42

10

19

210

154

37

Keller

23

42

-7

20

212

7

28


With the exception of Getzlaf (who played just 56 games), almost all of the players in the list played a full 82 games, while the lower games played total was 76. So this should be a fairly accurate representation of each player.

Out of the group of defensemen, I would go with Doughty. His point total and power-play totals should be relatively similar to that of Hamilton and Krug, but where he really stands out is in the physical categories of hits and blocked shots. I realize I can easily fill those categories later in the draft, but if you’re stuck between two or more similar players scoring-wise, the tiebreaker should be the peripherals. Hamilton has the high SOG total and should take on first-unit power-play minutes in Carolina, but his highest PPP total in a season is 16. Doughty simply does everything when he’s on the ice, which pays off in multicategory leagues.

You could argue that I could pick two forwards over Doughty, but I like balancing out my positions (G, D, F) over the first few rounds anyway. That way I’m not left high and dry at any one position, unless I’m extremely confident in my later-round picks (which depending on what’s left over after the keepers, I might not be). So I’ll basically go process of elimination for the remainder.

Keller might have the highest scoring upside of the bunch. But his scoring total is rather assist-heavy, his plus-minus might not be strong playing for Arizona, and his hits and blocked shots remind me of Phil Kessel (who I decided not to keep in a previous season for that reason, although that was a decision I came to regret later).

Schenn is the multicategory beast in this league. But his projections are somewhat similar (or are not much higher) than Keller’s across the board, except for in hits. I’d rather load up on scoring than on hits in the earlier rounds because I know that scoring will be harder to find in the later rounds. I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Schenn in the early rounds, though. I mentioned him as the one guy that I’d be willing to reach for in fantasy drafts in multicategory leagues. By and large I wasn’t disappointed by doing that, although he cooled off significantly after the first quarter of the season (26 points over his first 21 games, but 44 points over his last 61 games).

That leaves me to pick between two other assist-heavy scorers in Getzlaf and Voracek. Both averaged over a point per game last season, with Getzlaf’s total slightly higher (1.09) than Voracek’s (1.05). In spite of the fewer games played, Getzlaf was easily the more physical player as well, topping Voracek in both hits and blocked shots in spite of playing fewer games.

Yet Getzlaf isn’t overly strong in several scoring-related categories. Over the past three seasons, Getzlaf has never scored more than 15 goals, although he has recorded at least 50 assists in those three seasons. As well, he hasn’t recorded 25 power-play points in his past seven seasons. That’s not a terrible number, but it’s not elite either. But something else that concerns me is his lack of shots. Getzlaf has taken fewer than 200 shots over each of the past four seasons. To compare, 87 players took at least 200 shots last season. For those reasons, I’d be more tempted to draft Getzlaf higher in a pure points league than a multicategory league.

That leaves me with Voracek. He’s been a bit of an up-and-down scorer throughout his career, but he consistently takes over 200 shots, finished 13th in scoring and 9th in power-play points last season. He’s also less of an injury risk and will probably play around a higher-scoring group than Getzlaf. Plus the hits and blocked shots that I would have gotten from Getzlaf I can easily pick up with Doughty, though I know I’ll need to fill all categories later in my draft. As well, if a center and a winger are similarly ranked, and my league uses separate center and winger positions, I’ll take the winger, everything else remaining equal (unless I’m already thin at center).

So there you have it. Marchand, Voracek, Doughty, and Rask are my keepers.

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