Ramblings: Laine Contract Stall, Weber Comparable, Undervalued Players in CBS (Aug 17)

by Ian Gooding on August 17, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Laine Contract Stall, Weber Comparable, Undervalued Players in CBS (Aug 17)


Will Patrik Laine really be playing somewhere other than Winnipeg next season? Listen to his comments and you be the judge.
 


Laine also said during the interview that he does not expect to have a contract before training camp and that he and the Jets have not begun negotiating a contract. Obviously things can change between now and then, but this doesn’t sound like things are headed in the right direction. The Jets also need to find a way to sign Kyle Connor, although it sounds like Connor might be the priority over Laine at the moment. If that’s the case, a key reason might be second-half production (see below).

Connor: 41 GP, 20 G, 17 A, 37 PTS

Laine: 41 GP, 6 G, 12 A, 18 PTS

If you’re one of those that has a way-too-early draft soon, you might already be moving Laine down your rankings, given his deep slumps last season (no goals between January 15 and February 20, one goal after March 1) and now this news.

Here’s Laine’s crazy shooting percentage deviation, if you remember that 18 of his 30 goals in 2018-19 were in November.

October and November: 21 G in 24 GP, 21.4 SH%

After that: 9 G in 58 GP, 6.1 SH%

What will Laine’s shooting percentage, and for that matter, goal total be in 2019-20? Your guess is as good as mine.

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This might fall into the category of sliding the news in right before the weekend when not as many are paying attention in order to reduce the backlash. According to Elliotte Friedman, the Canucks have extended GM Jim Benning’s contract.
 


Whether this is the right move or not for the Canucks is a highly polarized topic, especially among Canucks’ faithful. Those who support Benning will point to his draft record, in which he has brought in high-end young talent such as Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Quinn Hughes. Benning’s detractors will point to the fact that he can’t be trusted to make trades (Erik Gudbranson, Brandon Sutter) and overpays significantly for mediocre free agents (Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle).

A silver lining for those Canucks’ fans who don’t like the extension is the fact that Benning won’t go into the season as a lame duck GM making desperate moves to try to save his job. In other words, he’s going to have more reason to take a long-term view. Even though the track record for free agents has put the Canucks in a worse situation cap-wise than a rebuilding team should be, we have yet to see how the acquisitions of J.T. Miller, Micheal Ferland, and Tyler Myers will play out. We also have yet to see what kind of contract Boeser will sign and if it will be in time for the season, as well as whether there is a plan regarding what to do with Eriksson. So Benning still has a lot of work to do.

Whether you think this is the right move, the Canucks’ ownership is obviously happy with the direction that the Canucks are heading.

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My Top 100 Roto Rankings, August edition, were posted on Thursday. Have a look and let me know what you think.

Responding to feedback in the rankings:

In a one year timeframe Shea Weber should be here shouldn't he? (Did I skip over him?)

No, you didn’t skip over him. Weber isn’t in the top 100. Should he be? Let's see. 

After making his season debut in late November following offseason knee surgery, Weber scored 14 goals and 33 points in 58 games. His 0.57 PTS/GP grouped him among d-men such as Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan Suter, and fellow Habs’ blueliner Jeff Petry, whose production declined upon Weber’s return. Perhaps the closest comparable to Weber in 2018-19 in terms of roto-relevant stats was Alex Edler. Check out how the two are nearly identical in games played, points, and hits.
 

 

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

PPP

HITS

SOG

Edler

56

10

24

34

+3

54

17

127

128

Weber

58

14

19

33

+15

28

6

129

166

 

Now I would place Weber ahead of Edler fantasy-wise given their track records when it comes to scoring. But it was very interesting to see how the number one defensemen on each of these teams compared to one another. This is not meant to disparage Weber, as Edler had a very underrated season in multicategory leagues.

With a full season, Weber could be an undervalued commodity in fantasy drafts. However, the recent injury history is the reason I haven’t included him in the top 100. Although Weber was the picture of health during his Nashville days and his first season in Montreal, he has basically averaged half a season over his last two seasons. There’s always the possibility that Weber could rebound and play a full season, but the reality is that he has just turned 34 and has significant mileage on his body (only 75 games short of 1000 games).

Weber can certainly be in the discussion for top 100 inclusion. Yahoo has him ranked at 80, which is a bit high for my liking. If you plan to draft him there, just know the risks.

By the way, Edler, who also carries significant injury risk, is ranked at 172 by Yahoo. If Edler can fend off Quinn Hughes and maintain PP1 time for most of the season, then the gap between the two should be much smaller.

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It’s probably too early for single-season fantasy drafts; after all, some of us still have summer holidays to use up. But it’s not too early to check out the rankings of various fantasy providers. I’m going to start with CBS, the home of my main keeper league. Keep in mind that the fantasy providers do have time to update their rankings, so these observations may no longer apply by the time your draft rolls around.

Here are some undervalued players in CBS leagues (I’ll cover overvalued players specifically in the near future). You’ll find both studs and sleepers on this list.

Jack Eichel (CBS ranking 41): When potential elite-level talent is available in that spot, I’m going to grab it.

Brent Burns (CBS ranking 44): There are a number of defensemen who could be considered undervalued by CBS. In fact, the highest-ranked blueliner on their system at the moment is Dustin Byfuglien (37). I wrote about Byfuglien last week, and it’s fair to say he’s not my highest-ranked blueliner.

Sergei Bobrovsky (CBS ranking 85): Some might disagree, but Bob would easily be one of my top-5 ranked goalies. To give you an idea, Martin Jones, Petr Mrazek, and Philipp Grubauer (among others) are all ranked higher than Bob on CBS.

Victor Hedman (CBS ranking 93): I realize Hedman has never played 80 games in a season, but during the last four seasons he has ranged between 70 and 79 games. I don’t know if that’s the reason he’s pushed down the rankings.

Mathew Barzal (CBS ranking 125): Barzal hit the sophomore slump with a decline of over 20 points from his rookie season. He’s also an assist-heavy point producer, so he shouldn’t be in your top 50. Still, this seems like solid value for the Calder Trophy winner of a season ago.

Phil Kessel (CBS ranking 126): Phil the Thrill’s fantasy value is believed by many to have decreased with the trade to Arizona. However, it can’t possibly fall that far, can it?

John Gibson (CBS ranking 143): I know the Ducks might be going through a rebuild, but Gibson’s talent and ability to keep the Ducks in games should have him ranked higher.

Patrik Laine (CBS ranking 145): Could Laine fall this low? Possibly, but you’re going to need to draft him much higher if you’re willing to roll the dice.  

Thomas Chabot (CBS ranking 156): Chabot might be minus-100 by the time the long season in Ottawa has ended. Yet he’ll still score enough points to justify a spot in your fantasy lineup.

Pierre-Luc Dubois (CBS ranking 157): His late-season slump had a lot to do with the Matt Duchene acquisition. Now that Duchene is gone, expect his numbers to bounce back as he is leaned on more heavily.

Joe Pavelski (CBS ranking 163): He may be in for a decreased role in Dallas, but he still scored 38 goals last season. That has to mean something.

Shea Weber (CBS ranking 179): See above on Weber.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson (CBS ranking 181): Some like OEL more than others. Even those that don’t might be willing to draft him here.

Nick Schmaltz (CBS ranking 198): Likely bumped down due to injury.

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.