Ramblings: Over/unders, Huberdeau, Allen (Oct. 9)

by Ian Gooding on October 9, 2016

Over/unders, Huberdeau and Allen injuries, drafting, plus more…

To start, I’m going to try something a little different here, piggybacking off Steve’s over/unders listed on his Twitter (via Bodog, as he noted to me). I didn’t pick all 104 players that he listed, but the list below of “overs” consists of players that I currently own on teams that I drafted before the weekend.

Player

Over/Under (points)

My Pick

Max Domi

57.5

Over

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

50.5

Over

Brad Marchand

52.5

Over

Kyle Okposo

58.5

Over

Mark Giordano

50.5

Over

Gabriel Landeskog

58.5

Over

Scott Hartnell

45.5

Over

Jonathan Huberdeau*

56.5

Over

Drew Doughty

46.5

Over

Jeff Carter

53.5

Over

Brendan Gallagher

46.5

Over

Derek Stepan

53.5

Over

Ryan Johansen

62.5

Over

Mark Stone

58.5

Over

Phil Kessel

63.5

Over

Nazem Kadri

47.5

Over

Loui Eriksson

52.5

Over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Chosen before Huberdeau’s injury on Saturday… more on that later.

At least some of these players were ones I had been targeting, I will admit. Interestingly enough, I only chose one “under” when I went through my drafted players. That player is Matt Duchene, who I would project to finish slightly under his over/under his 59.5 points. Are the number of “overs” that I have picked wishful thinking on my part? Have at ‘er.

I went back in after and chose a few more players (not all of them on Steve’s list, remember). I’ll just share the players that I chose the “under” on, which honestly weren’t nearly as many as I chose the “over.” Maybe Bodog sets the over/under a little lower than our projections to account for injuries. Needless to say, these are players that I generally haven’t been targeting this season. Not because they won’t contribute to fantasy teams, but just because I don’t think they’ll outperform their projections or average draft rankings.

Player

Over/Under (points)

My Pick

Corey Perry

65.5

Under

Ryan Kesler

51.5

Under

Dylan Strome

45.5

Under

Tyler Seguin

76.5

Under

Connor McDavid

86.5

Under

Eric Staal

49.5

Under

Mikko Koivu

52.5

Under

Joe Thornton

74.5

Under

Bryan Little

53.5

Under

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll say that the “unders” for star players Perry and Seguin aren’t huge. In other words, I would think that they’re within five points of their over/unders. As for McDavid, we’re not talking a huge gap either, but 86-87 points is a LOT in today’s NHL and a huge ask for a 19-year-old sophomore, even if he’s the next chosen one. Thornton and the Sharks were a great story last season, but I’m thinking that his 81 points will turn out to be an outlier in the latter portion of his career.

In case you’re wondering where my lack of star power is, I have (not totally deliberately) focused on obtaining high-scoring defensemen, picking goalies where I need to, and filling up with as much scoring depth as I can without paying the high price tag that comes with the marquee names. That involves looking for as much value as possible in scoring with players that will outperform their pre-draft rankings. Let’s see how that strategy plays out.

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Steve had you covered for the Nail Yakupov and Kris Russell acquisitions on Friday. My own thoughts: If Ken Hitchcock and Vladimir Tarasenko haven’t always seen eye to eye, then what is life going to be like for Yakupov? This could be a brilliant trade for the Blues, but it could also be a disaster for Yakupov if he can’t adapt to Hitch’s usual defense-first systems. But with the cupboard in Edmonton now stockpiled with young offensive talent, it was becoming clear that Yakupov wasn’t going to work in Edmonton. In fact, he is now lumped in with some of the league’s biggest busts.
 


Keep in mind that these are point totals with the team that originally drafted the player. Joe Murphy’s career improved once he moved out of Detroit, as he won a Stanley Cup with the Oilers that season. So maybe Yakupov can aspire to be the next Joe Murphy.

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This week's Geek of the Week is Justin Faulk. In case you’re wondering, the injury that forced him to leave Friday’s game is not considered serious, according to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer. The Canes will already be down Ryan Murphy for the first three to four weeks with a lower-body injury.

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The status on Jonathan Huberdeau may not be good. He is scheduled to have an MRI after taking a skate to his ankle during Saturday’s game against the Devils. It hasn’t been a good week injury-wise for the Panthers, as Nick Bjugstad is expected to miss at least the next month with a broken hand.

I own Huberdeau in one league, so on the surface I’m not thrilled about the injury. However, two things that are working in my favor: 1) I also happen to own Jussi Jokinen and Jared McCann in the same league, and 2) If we’re talking a sliced Achilles and he misses significant time, I would have the option of keeping Huberdeau as opposed to losing him after the season because he wouldn’t earn a certain number of league points that would be needed to go to free agency. I was able to keep Brendan Gallagher for the same reason last season, as he missed 29 games.

But let’s find out the damage before we make any replacement plans. If you want to get an idea of what Huberdeau could be looking at, though, Bob McKenzie provides this:
 


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Of course this was going to happen, now that Brian Elliott is out of town. Jake Allen left Saturday’s game against Chicago after a goalmouth collision with teammate Carl Gunnarsson. So if Allen misses any time, new backup Carter Hutton suddenly becomes a person of interest. You may remember Hutton from the 2013-14 season, when he took over for an injured Pekka Rinne and recorded a decent 20-11-4 record to go with a 2.62 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. Allen owners and those in need of goaltending could speculatively add Hutton at this point, since he has carried the load for an injured starter before.

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Oliver Bjorkstrand scored two goals in the Blue Jackets’ final preseason game on Saturday. He recorded eight points in 12 games with the Blue Jackets late last season, then scored 16 points in 17 games for the Calder Cup champion Lake Erie Monsters. John Tortorella likes him. So is there any reason not to target him as a sleeper?

In the same game, Scott Wilson scored a goal and added two assists, improving his chances of making the Penguins’ opening-night roster. He lined up with Evgeni Malkin for this game, so there could be some sneaky good fantasy value from Wilson if he can stick there.

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The Ramblings are up a little later than normal because I was participating in my final draft of the season. This league is the fantasyhockey.com league that I started when I was the content editor over there. When the site disbanded, I kept the league going because the old writers are a competitive bunch and wanted a reason to keep in touch with each other. Since then, we’ve grown from 10 to 12 teams and expanded the number of roster positions. This season we even added a former NHL player who happens to be a friend of someone who joined the league a year ago. So it will be fun to see how he performs. This player happened to be drafting while he was in attendance at one of the NHL preseason games, no less!

Here’s the team I picked. Categories are G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, GAA, SV%, SHO. Roster positions are 2 C, 2 LW, 2 RW, 4 D, 2 Util, 2 G, 4 BN, 3 IR, 2 IR+. Yahoo league.

I’ll take you through my thought process as I made my picks, or at least as much as I can remember. I had picks 11 and 14 to start, so I basically had to have two players ready when it was my turn.

I thought Brent Burns deserved to be a top-10 pick based on last season, so I was happy to grab him at #11. I haven’t specifically been targeting Stamkos, but I thought he was a great value falling all the way to #14. I’ll emphasize that it’s not about targeting specific players in your draft, but rather that you pick them at the right spot – that they fall to you.

I knew I had to pick a goalie by Round 3, since many of the top names had fallen off the board. I picked the experience and consistency of Henrik Lundqvist over the upside of new starter John Gibson. I already own Gibson in a keeper league, so I think I wanted to hedge a bit.

Round 4 may have been my worst pick. Phil Kessel was sort of a panic pick, as I had my eye on Blake Wheeler, who was picked in the “turnaround” one pick after Lundqvist and two picks before my pick. One owner commented that he would never pick Kessel. I simply replied that I like his shots on goal total. Personally, I think he’s now settled in Pittsburgh and will be just fine.

During my long wait for my Round 5 pick, I debated whether to pick Roman Josi or John Klingberg. I thought in this league format that Klingberg is a smidge better, and Josi was picked right before my pick. So my decision was made easy.

The Round 6 choice was harder for me. I was originally considering either Aleksander Barkov or Sean Monahan. But because of recent developments, both could be looking at slightly reduced production – Barkov because of the Huberdeau injury, and Monahan because of the Johnny Gaudreau contract situation (here’s the latest Gaudreau update from NHL.com). So I went with what I thought Johansen, who I thought points-wise is a comparable to the two.

If I win this league, I will give special props to Scott Maran and his Geek of the Week article. I selected all of his three recommendations so far: Justin Faulk (it’s coming if you haven’t seen it), Dougie Hamilton, and Derek Stepan.  

Another sign: While I was waiting for the draft, I turned on the telly and flipped over to the FNTSY Sports Channel for a moment. And who should be on but Neil Parker talking fantasy hockey! He was asked who would be a good sleeper and he mentioned Mats Zuccarello because he happened to be falling outside the top 100 in too many drafts. So it must have been a sign because when I went looking for a right wing, I saw Zuccarello’s name at the top of the list and went with him at 134.

Other picks were ones that I felt have fallen too low: Marc-Andre Fleury (86), Rick Nash (107), James van Riemsdyk (134), and James Reimer (179). Remember, Fleury’s the starter again in Pittsburgh. And Nash outside of the top 100? Has he really fallen that far?

Another owner had bragged about picking both Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. I joked with him about picking Loui Eriksson with his pick, which was four before mine. So of course he went with Jeff Skinner, saying he would never pick three players on the same line, even on his keeper team with 30 roster spots. I liked the chemistry that Eriksson showed with the twins during Thursday’s game. Personally (and I know I am a fan) I think the Canucks are better than the 65 points that one NHL writer predicted for them. Maybe not a playoff team, but a better team that most outside of Vancouver are predicting.

During the late rounds, I went looking for penalty minutes and found David Backes still waiting in Round 16. I was also targeting Scott Hartnell here, but he was grabbed two picks before my Round 17 pick. For that selection and my last one, I was surprised that Morgan Rielly and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were still around after pick 200. But this isn’t a super deep league – only two spots bigger than a default Yahoo league. So it’s possible that those two players could be left out of the cold in many standard drafts. Rielly is owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues, while the Nuge is owned in only 35 percent of Yahoo leagues!

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Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.