Ramblings: News on Karlsson and Jagr, Two More Mystery Players (Sept 29)

by Ian Gooding on September 29, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: News on Karlsson and Jagr, Two More Mystery Players (Sept 29)

News on Karlsson and Jagr, two more mystery players, plus more…

Bad news for Erik Karlsson fantasy owners, as it doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready for opening night (Ottawa Sun). Having half your ankle bone removed doesn’t sound like a minor injury, so I hope this isn’t the kind of injury that is career-threatening. The good news is that Karlsson is back skating, so fantasy owners should expect him to return to the lineup early into the season.

In the article, Karlsson was asked whether the injury would affect his ability to block shots. Whether he will or not is significant in leagues that count blocked shots, as Karlsson didn’t just provide fantasy owners with offensive numbers last season. He finished second in the entire NHL with 201 blocked shots, so there may be some hesitancy on his part to get in front of a fast-moving puck, at least in the beginning. He did mention that the ankle injury may change the way he blocks shots.

In an interview with TSN 1200, Bob McKenzie mentions the Senators’ top 4 defense to start the season. Cody Ceci and Johnny Oduya are listed as the top pair, while Dion Phaneuf and Thomas Chabot are listed as the second pair. So it appears that not only should Chabot make the team, he could receive some significant minutes to start. Last season’s first-round pick Logan Brown is also in the mix to make the team.


Today’s fantasy impact report for the Robby Fabbri knee injury, which is expected to cause him to miss the entire season: The Blues are kicking the tires on Jaromir Jagr (NHL.com). With Fabbri, Alex Steen, and Patrik Berglund all expected to be out of the lineup on opening night, young forwards like Dmitrij Jaskin and Ivan Barbashev are expected to play a bigger role, while Tage Thompson or Klim Kostin could make the team. But the fact of the matter is that the Blues will probably try to sign another veteran forward or two…

… such as Scottie Upshall, who was on a professional tryout with the Canucks.


Speaking of injuries, just an FYI: Patric Hornqvist may not be ready for the start of the season after offseason hand surgery (NHL.com).


Josh Anderson has reportedly requested a trade from the Blue Jackets (Sportsnet). The Blue Jackets were trying not to expose him in the expansion draft, they wouldn’t include him in a package for Matt Duchene, and the team and player are only $150,000 apart. So what has suddenly led to this?

This doesn’t look good for the agent (Darren Ferris), who also represents the still unsigned Andreas Athanasiou. Hasn’t it been a month since Athanasiou threatened to bolt to the KHL? Kind of an empty threat now.


Here’s another Player A/Player B comparison, similar to what I covered in my last Ramblings.










Player A









Player B










Player A is being drafted much higher than Player B for the most part, but their fantasy values are actually surprisingly close. Player A is a stronger goal scorer and dishes more hits. But I don’t see any other category in which Player A holds a clear advantage over Player B. In the Dobber Fantasy Guide, Player A is projected to finish nine points ahead of Player B, mainly because Player A is considered one of the league’s up-and-coming stars. Player B is actually being drafted on average two spots ahead of Player A on one site, but on the other two sites Player A is being drafted ahead of Player B by three to four rounds.

Care to guess who these players are?











Player A is Patrik Laine, while Player B is Mike Hoffman.

Patrik Laine (ADP – Yahoo: 15.3, ESPN: 32.4, Fantrax: 25.63)

I know I picked on Auston Matthews in my last Ramblings, and now I’m picking on his main 2016-17 Calder Trophy competition in Laine. If both Matthews and Laine make further strides in 2017-18 (as in either scores 50 goals), then I know that I’ll play the fool here. But I’ll just mention that there is also a thing called a sophomore slump. And if that happens, then you’ll really be disappointed that you grabbed Matthews in the first round and Laine in the second round.

You won’t be that disappointed in drafting Laine if he scores 40 goals. His power-play point total should improve with more power-play time, and he could easily build on his shot total. There aren’t any categories in which he’s an anchor for your team (like Phil Kessel with hits), although his 28 assists placed him outside of the top 100 in that category last season. It’s just that there are some categories that he isn’t particularly strong in.

For that reason I wouldn’t draft Laine in the second round as has been happening in Yahoo. I would wait until at least the third round, and I’d be thrilled if he landed in my lap in the fourth round. And for those of you in ESPN leagues, yes, I would draft him ahead of Hoffman. Don’t let the autopick tell you otherwise.

Mike Hoffman (ADP – Yahoo: 61.5, ESPN: 30.0, Fantrax: 52.33)

Ever since Hoffman burst onto the scene with an out-of-the-blue 27-goal campaign in 2014-15, he’s been one of the most reliable goal scorers in the NHL. He’s never scored 30 goals, yet he’s always scored at least 25 over those three full seasons. Combined over the past three seasons he’s finished just outside the top 20 in that category, finishing ahead of the likes of Blake Wheeler, Phil Kessel, and Johnny Gaudreau.

Hoffman seems to be carving himself a niche as a 25-to-30 goal, 30-to-35 assist guy. His decrease in shots taken (242 to 224 last season) was offset by nearly a minute more of power-play icetime per game. If he can push his shot total up to 250 while keeping his first-unit power-play time, he could finish at the higher end of the point range listed above.

You should be content with drafting Hoffman in the fifth round. If he’s still around in the sixth round, even better.


Deep sleeper alert: Brett Connolly. These are the Capitals’ lines from their Wednesday preseason game against New Jersey. And at this point, the preseason lines are starting to more closely resemble the regular-season lines.

You may remember Connolly as the sixth overall pick back in 2010. Yet so far he hasn’t been able to put up anything more than 25 points in a season, so at age 25 he won’t receive any more opportunities like this one. He would likely need to beat out up-and-coming Jakub Vrana and gritty Tom Wilson for the role, but the fact that he is being auditioned on the Alex Ovechkin line is a good sign for his fantasy prospects.


If you haven’t seen the Michael Farber interview with Paul Kariya, called Surfacing, it’s worth your time. Before Kariya was a staple on my fantasy hockey teams, I can remember him as a supremely gifted junior and college player, so it’s extremely unfortunate how his career ended. I thought the best question Michael Farber asked Kariya in that interview was, “Why doesn’t the league hire someone like you in player safety…?”


Lastly, some rare fashion news in the Ramblings. If this isn’t a complete ripoff of the Canucks’ retro logo, then I don’t know what is.

I have two of these jerseys in my closet. One of them is a Pavel Bure jersey. Do you think I could get $1200 for each of them?


For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.



5 responses to “Ramblings: News on Karlsson and Jagr, Two More Mystery Players (Sept 29)”

  1. Steven says:

    So, I have a dilemma. I draft at #4 in a fantasy league where D-men have much more value than most leagues (extra points for nearly every category, including hits, blocks, etc.) In fact, last year the top 2 players in fantasy points in our league was Burns and Karlsson and it wasn’t even close (like 50 points ahead of everyone else). Karlsson is also one of my favorite players. He will definitely be there at #4 but probably not at #21. I’ll certainly take Burns at 4 if he’s there, but I doubt it.

    So, do I take Karlsson at #4 or gamble that he’ll fall to #21?

    • Ian Gooding says:

      In your case I’d grab him at #4, if he will receive more points in your league than the elite forwards still available. Right now it doesn’t sound like he will miss a major portion of the season.

  2. estarr31 says:

    The Karlsson news sounded pretty bad, but we have to remember this is also coming straight from Erik’s own mouth. He’s surprisingly upfront and honest about his injury and recovery, refreshingly so, but after my initial shock over this being a career-threatening injury, I was thinking, maybe he just exaggerated a bit for effect? He’s skating again and just had his first full practice, so I don’t expect him to play next week, but 2-3 weeks from now is realistic, missing the first 6 or 7 games..

    I’m just saying maybe his brute honesty here makes it seem like a much worse injury than he’s describing. I’m sure there’s a slow adjustment period to getting your foot back to what an elite athlete expects it to be, especially since he was off his skates all summer. Takes time. It’s certainly a reminder that these guys are all human and it’s not just about getting healthy, it’s about getting to a point where you can then begin training at a high level in order to play professional games.

    • Luke P says:

      Disclaimer: not an expert, just some Googling.

      So we heard that Karlsson was playing with two hairline fractures in his foot during the playoffs last year. What we didn’t know at the time was that he had also torn or partially torn tendons in his ankle (a tendon connects muscle to bone). The purpose of Karlsson’s procedure was to install an artificial tendon (as opposed to fixing his own). In order for surgeons to access and replace the tendon, part of a bone had to be removed. I’m not 100% sure which, but it’s likely the talus, which sits between the tibia/fibula and the heel and acts as the “hinge” of the ankle.

      I’m sure he is exaggerating when he says that “half” his ankle bone was removed, but certainly a substantial portion could probably be removed without compromising the structure of the ankle. The real challenge is getting the artificial tendon stretched into shape without stressing it too hard before it is ready. As he has said, there’s no pain, just some odd feeling (akin to stiffness) that his ankle isn’t quite moving like it should.

      I see no evidence that this is any more career-threatening than the Achilles (also a tendon, BTW) injury he recovered from, nor any indication that it would affect his ability to get back to full strength.