Ramblings: Player Signings, Potential 60-Point Players, Raanta the Real Deal (July 18)

by Ian Gooding on July 18, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Player Signings, Potential 60-Point Players, Raanta the Real Deal (July 18)


Player Signings, Potential 60-Point Players, Raanta the Real Deal

Let’s start with some player signings over the last few days.

The Rangers avoided arbitration with Jimmy Vesey by agreeing to terms on a two-year contract with a cap hit of $2.275 million per season. In his two seasons with the Rangers, Vesey has posted nearly identical totals of 27 points and 28 points (16 goals and 17 goals, respectively). This is a bridge deal for Vesey, who is being given two more years to prove himself at the NHL level after racking up well over a point per game during his final two seasons at Harvard.

Evan Bouchard has signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Oilers. I placed him at number 7 in my fantasy rankings of draft-eligible players. You could make a valid argument that he could be even higher than that.

The Predators have signed Juuse Saros to a three-year, $4.5 million extension. Saros is worth keeping an eye on this season, as Pekka Rinne has one more year left on his $7 million per season contract. If Rinne’s playoff struggles carry over to the regular season, we could be seeing a lot more of Saros. Plus that would give the Preds a chance to see if he’s ready to take over in net in 2019-20. If so, $1.5 million per season for a starting goalie is a sweet deal.

The Ducks have signed Adam Henrique to a five-year deal worth a total of $29.125 million. If you think that’s too much for Henrique, remember that the Ducks could be without Ryan Kesler for the entire season. Henrique seems like an ideal second-line center to replace Kesler, who I would think might not be the same player when he returns – if he returns at all. Remember that Kesler scored just 14 points in 44 games last season, so a reminder that he shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar.

The Flames have signed Elias Lindholm to a six-year, $29.1 million contract. Lindholm wasn’t going to get that kind of contract out of the Hurricanes, so good on him for finding a team that would pay him. If he becomes the regular fixture on the Johnny Gaudreau/Sean Monahan line, then the $4.85 million cap hit might turn out to be well worth the money.

Ryan Pulock has agreed to a two-year contract with the Islanders. Want a fantasy lowdown on Pulock? Well, I’m going to make you wait until August 1, when Dobber will cover that in the Fantasy Guide. Ha.

Want your say in who is covered for each team for Dobber’s fantasy lowdown? There’s still some teams left that you can vote on. As I write this, voting is currently taking place on the Dobber Sports Facebook page for the Rangers (Pavel Buchnevich vs. Anthony DeAngelo) and the Senators (Thomas Chabot vs. Colin White). You can also go to the Forum for a larger group of San Jose Sharks. The top two players on each team’s Forum vote will then go to Facebook for the final vote.

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When you have a moment, don’t forget to vote in this week’s Cage Match Tournament. This week the vote is for forwards that you believe will reach 60 points for the first time in their career. All of the listed forwards have scored at between a 40-53 point scoring pace for a career high. And of course, you can read Rick's breakdown of each player in his weekly Cage Match article

Of the 16 forwards listed, I chose just three:

Alex DeBrincat – Very under-the-radar 52-point rookie season. Plus expect increased icetime in his second year.

Pierre-Luc Dubois – Look at his late-season scoring pace with Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson. 60 points is definitely attainable if that line sticks together (and assuming Panarin isn’t traded before or during the season).

Sam Reinhart – Also a great second-half (near point-per-game) pace. Just think: that scoring could continue at that pace on a line with Jack Eichel for a full season.

Nico Hischier was tied for the lead with Dubois at the time I wrote this, and there is certainly a compelling case for him to reach 60 points. He had an identical point total to DeBrincat and could improve if he sticks on Taylor Hall’s line. My main concern with him when I voted was the Devils’ lack of scoring. But if I could do the vote again, I think I’d pick him as well.

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Over the next few weeks I’m going to evaluate a goalie identified in the Goalies to Watch article in last season’s fantasy guide. First I’ll compare what I said about the goalie to what actually happened, then discuss what fantasy owners can learn from the prediction. I’ll identify three goalies that ended up having strong seasons, and one that turned out to be a major bust (there were more than didn’t have successful seasons, but this particular goalie affected a lot more fantasy rosters than the others).

This one will be about one of my success stories, as I ended up picking up this goalie as a third goalie in two of my leagues. Although I couldn’t win either league, Antti Raanta still exceeded expectations.

What I said:

“Like Darling, Raanta’s solid numbers as backup have earned him a job as a starter with another team. Although Darling is headed to a better situation than Raanta, the young Coyotes can’t be any worse than they were last season. Raanta’s goals-against average and save percentage over the past three seasons (2.17 and .924, respectively) are actually both better than Darling’s over that same stretch.”

What really happened:

Raanta turned out a lot better than Darling in 2017-18, didn’t he? Those ratios remained outstanding even though Raanta started for the lottery-bound Coyotes. In fact, among the 39 goalies that played in at least 35 games, Raanta finished with both the top save percentage (.930) and the top goals-against average (2.24). Yet Raanta’s fantasy value wasn’t among the league’s top goalies because he finished 27th in wins (21) and tied for 14th in shutouts (3).

In leagues that count all four of these categories, Raanta was the seventh-ranked goalie, ahead of starters on superior teams such as John Gibson, Devan Dubnyk, and Tuukka Rask. (Note: Hutton played 32 games last season, so he didn’t make the grouping in the last paragraph.)
 

 

Goalie Rank

Own %

W

GAA

SV%

SO

Sergei Bobrovsky

5

99%

37

2.42

.921

5

Jonathan Quick

6

94%

33

2.40

.921

5

Antti Raanta

7

47%

21

2.24

.930

3

John Gibson

8

93%

31

2.43

.926

4

Carter Hutton

9

40%

17

2.09

.931

3


Raanta’s first half/second half splits also indicate something very interesting in regard to the ratios. It is worth mentioning that he battled injuries during the first half. 

October – December: 5-11-2, 2.87 GAA, .912 SV%

January – April: 16-6-4, 1.84 GAA, 0.942 SV% 

What we learned:

Can talented goalies on bad teams be worth owning in just about every league? If your league only counts goalie wins and subtracts goalie losses, then Raanta probably isn’t worth owning. But among the top 10 goalies, only two (Raanta and Hutton) suited up for non-playoff teams. Now check out the ownership percentages. Raanta’s and Hutton’s ownership percentages were both below 50 percent. All the other top 10 goalies were owned in at least 85 percent of leagues. So there are a certain percentage of fantasy owners out there (whether by league settings or not) who are simply chasing wins.

Raanta’s ownership stats were also skewed by the fact that at least a small percentage of owners bail on their teams at some point during the season. If Raanta had been dropped during the first half, owners with teams who were happy with their goaltending might have overlooked owning him. Or simply assumed that because he plays for the Coyotes he’s no good. But those that did missed out on an amazing opportunity.

The ratios speak for themselves, but did he provide enough wins? The Coyotes were a much better team in the second half, but did Raanta earn enough wins to carry his weight in that category? During that amazing January-April stretch, Raanta finished 13th among all goalies with 16 wins, ahead of more universally owned goalies such as Quick, Matt Murray, and Braden Holtby. Absolutely his ownership should have been higher, as he should have covered all bases for you during the second half.

It’s understandable that you’d believe that the Coyotes will be well out of the Western Conference playoff picture again in 2018-19. But that shouldn’t mean that you should lack faith in Raanta. Now go back to the first paragraph and look at his ratios again. Add the 2017-18 season in. The numbers now say that over the last four seasons his .927 SV% and 2.20 GAA are tops among the 46 goalies that have played at least 100 games.

Draft Raanta with confidence as your number two goalie. I have a strong suspicion that he’ll be ranked too low by the fantasy league providers, which will mean that you’ll receive great value.

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