Killorn signing, fantasy hockey mailbag, plus more…
Sunday is usually a slow news day, but there was one significant signing. Alex Killorn avoided arbitration in signing a seven-year contract worth $4.45 million per season. I had honestly thought Killorn would be a bridge contract player after arbitration, considering that Nikita Kucherov is still unsigned and set for a huge payday (along with Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Nesterov). I’d be surprised if the Bolts don’t let Ben Bishop’s contract run out (more on him later).
So what kind of production will the Bolts be getting over the next seven years (or less)? Killorn has never scored more than 41 points in a season. With point totals of 41, 38, and 40 over his three full seasons, you’d have to think that his point total in 2016-17 won’t be that much different. There hasn’t been any additional opportunity created for him, although Steven Stamkos leaving Tampa Bay would have been huge for him. At age 26, what you see is probably what you’re going to get. But at least you know what you're going to get.
One other transaction of note: Viktor Tikhonov’s return to the NHL was relatively short-lived, as he has signed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.
Go have a read of Demetri’s latest installment of the Contrarian, if you haven’t already.
Some thoughts I’d like to add on the Canucks’ situation: I get the feeling that ownership does not want any part of a rebuild (as in the Toronto or Edmonton model). The fear is that although fans in Vancouver say they want a rebuild, they would not be willing to pay full price to watch a team struggle for 2-3 more seasons. So ownership would rather sell a competitive product.
In addition, the Sedins will still be around for at least another two seasons. They would be extremely difficult to trade, so a full-on rebuild may not be possible when two veterans of their ability are still on the roster. The best the Canucks could do is to not re-sign them after 2017-18, even if they make it clear they want to stay. That’s similar to what happened with Dan Hamhuis recently.
To operate under this non-rebuild, management seems to be taking an “anti-advanced stats” approach with the acquisitions of Brandon Sutter and Erik Gudbranson, among others. Think of it this way: While many other teams are attempting the strategy of jumping into the fancy stats fast lane, the Canucks are attempting a contrarian (sorry to borrow your term, Demetri) strategy of staying in the slow lane, hoping that they can extrapolate the drawbacks of advanced stats themselves, just as teams using advanced stats hope to use them to find irregularities.
(I use the same strategy when I drive to work in the morning. Stay in the slow lane or the merge lane with the big trucks and watch the cars pile up in the fast lane.)
Let this sink in… P.K. Subban in a yellow Predators’ jersey. And I thought yellow jerseys would disappear forever when the Canucks and Kings got rid of theirs during the late 1980s.
P.K. Subban came to Nashville today and was singing Johnny Cash in mere minutes.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 18, 2016
Let’s hop into the mailbag now. I received a few more submissions that I needed, so the questions that I received that I haven’t posted on here have been replied to. Thanks for all your submissions, by the way.
If reading someone else’s questions is not your thing, there are still at least a couple questions on here that could be relevant to everyone. So there might be something in it for you anyway. Here goes…
Will Ben Bishop be traded before the season starts? (from Sam)
I mentioned in yesterday’s Ramblings that I thought Bishop would be on a new team by next summer because of the expansion draft. But will he be on a new team before the season starts?
I believe that the three teams that were identified to have a need in goal this offseason were Calgary, Toronto, and Dallas. The Flames have since acquired Brian Elliott, while the Leafs have since acquired Frederik Andersen. That leaves the Stars, who are still stuck with the goaltending duo of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi.
Could Dallas make a pitch for Bishop? It’s entirely possible. If they have spoken to the Bolts about Bishop, then they have no doubt at least kicked the tires on Marc-Andre Fleury, who is in a similar situation. So if the Stars attempt to shore up their goaltending (and in my opinion, their defensive woes aren’t entirely on the goalie), that goalie won’t necessarily be Bishop.
Respondent “Mark” in the comments suggested that Arizona could use Bishop. In theory that deal could make a lot of sense, since the Coyotes could use an upgrade on the Mike Smith/Louis Domingue duo if they are to be a playoff team. I think the team’s internal cap would prevent that from happening, not to mention that a buyout of Smith’s contract would probably be needed, and that hasn’t happened yet.
The other side to this is that the Bolts may not be totally confident in Andrei Vasilevskiy as a full-time NHL starting goalie yet. Since the Bolts seem like a strong contender, there has to be a short-term strategy that involves hanging onto your very best. Bishop was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, so that should not be lost here either.
It’s entirely possible that another unknown team could be interested in Bishop. But there’s no real benefit for a team to keep two starting-level goalies on their team. So it’s going to be difficult for Bishop to be moved before the season starts. I’d put the odds at around 25 percent.
Who do you see as the top 5 sleepers like Artemi Panarin was? I drafted Panarin in the last round of our draft last year and now a fellow team member said to me that if that draft was redone today Panarin would be the #1 pick. (from Onetimer)
Everyone seems to have their own definition of a sleeper, as evidenced by the comment below yours. To keep it simple, I’ll answer this question by using the wide-angle definition of a player that a) was not a major fantasy contributor last season, and b) has the potential to well surpass pre-season draft rankings.
Respondent “Striker” in the comments provided an interesting list of names. I’ll eliminate Auston Matthews from the list, since he is a must-own in keeper leagues and should also have a relatively high ranking in single-season leagues as well. Shayne Gostisbehere (who was also listed) is no longer a sleeper; in fact, he was listed in the top 50 of one single-season fantasy hockey ranking listing that I viewed recently.
Whether a player is a sleeper for you depends on where you draft the player. Robby Fabbri and Jonathan Drouin proved that they can play at another level during the playoffs. If you can draft one of them outside of the top 100, then they might pay off for you. The same could be said for Tomas Hertl, as long as he’s on the Joe Thornton/Joe Pavelski line again. I also mentioned Brendan Gallagher in last week’s Ramblings, which you can read about. A deep sleeper that you might want to consider in your final rounds would be Elias Lindholm, who showed signs of a possible breakout last season.
These aren’t necessarily my top 5 sleepers for the season (to be honest, I hadn’t created a list). So there may be more names that come to mind before the season, but these are just a few that I like.
Simple keep six question for you. I'm a perennial middle of the pack finisher, due to goaltending woes. Our system employs a possible four-point game for goalies, so they are pretty important. I plan to keep Connor McDavid, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Ryan Johansen (who I could look to deal).
My question lies in my last two keepers, where I am deciding on the following netminders: John Gibson, Cam Talbot, Sergei Bobrovsky, Connor Hellebuyck, and Jacob Markstrom. Barring another fortuitous trade, I think Gibson is a no brainer, so the front runners for the last spot are Talbot and Bob. I've had some interest from other GMs in Talbot, as my leaguemates reside in Edmonton (email submission)
I agree with you in that Gibson makes the most sense out of your group of keeper “keepers.” The Ducks should be a playoff team again, and Gibson should have the starting job all to himself, which should mean plenty of wins.
As for your other goalies, Hellebuyck might still be another year away, while Markstrom could be splitting time with Ryan Miller. Because of his recent injury history and the uncertain ability of the Blue Jackets to win games, Bobrovsky may be difficult to rely on. Which leads us to Talbot.
I wouldn’t discount the emotional connection to Talbot in the Edmonton market either. On the same token, he is a goalie on the rise (#10 on the Dobber keeper goalie rankings – Gibson is #11). What I might do is offer Talbot in a deal for an owner that you think might overpay (although some in Edmonton may not be that confident in Talbot yet either). Acquiring another goalie or another player is fine. If you’re not able to find the right deal, I think I would keep him over your other goaltending options.
Points only keeper league with 12 teams, can keep 5. Who would you keep from Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Johansen, Jakub Voracek, John Klingberg, Ondrej Palat, Alex Galchenyuk, Aleksander Barkov, Henrik Sedin. Also, which of these guys would you be willing to trade for Max Domi if he could fit as one of my five keepers? (from Ricketts)
Respondent “Matt Vandenbrand” suggested keeping Malkin, Johansen, Voracek, Klingberg, and Galchenyuk. I’d agree with him on four of the five players, except for Galchenyuk. I think Barkov should be a higher-ranked player than Galchenyuk if you consider the following point totals from last season:
Barkov: 66 GP, 59 PTS (0.89 PTS/GP)
Galchenyuk: 82 GP, 56 PTS (0.68 PTS/GP)
This is only one season, but that looks like a fairly significant difference. The Panthers also appear to be a team on the rise, so there’s lots to like about Barkov going forward.
By the way, you have a solid group of keepers there. Assuming that you select the five I’ve listed, I wouldn’t trade any of them for Domi (as much as said I liked Domi yesterday).
Where do you see David Perron slotting in back with the Blues? Points-wise and in terms of ice time opportunity? (from Doozer)
Perron’s total last season (12 goals and 36 points in 71 games) doesn’t inspire confidence, but his 20 points in 28 games with the Ducks was useful for fantasy teams. So his physical style might make him a better fit for the Western Conference than he was in Pittsburgh.
Despite the losses of David Backes and Troy Brouwer, the Blues still look fairly deep at forward. So I wouldn’t see Perron as any higher than the second line with the Blues. There should an opening on the first-unit power play with Backes gone, but I’d have to think that Jaden Schwartz (who missed much of last season due to injury) would receive that opportunity before Perron.
Don’t forget that young forwards like Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaskin are also knocking on the door, and Robby Fabbri seems primed for a breakout. So it won’t be easy for Perron. I’d put him at a modest 15 goals and 45 points with around 16-17 minutes of icetime per game.
Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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