The fantasy hockey draft season is basically over but there may be a few of you with drafts left to do. If you're in a pinch, the 2018-19 Dobber Hockey fantasy guide can help. There is too much information to sift through in just one day but some profiles will help with waiver decisions later, and there are draft lists to use for different league formats.
Some roster and lineup notes from yesterday to start us off.
The health of Torey Krug had been a concern for fantasy owners the entire offseason. He looked to be ready for the regular season and then Amalie Benjamin reported Torey Krug suffered an ankle injury in the final preseason game and will be in a walking boot for a few weeks. If he’s in a boot for three weeks, it seems possible the team is without him for the month of October.
It’ll be interesting to see if it’s Charlie McAvoy on the top PP unit or if they do decide to stick with Urho Vaakanainen. The latter was seen on Boston’s top power-play unit on Monday. There is also Matt Grzelcyk to consider.
Jakub Jerabek was acquired by the Blues for a sixth-round pick in 2020. Not sure there’s any fantasy relevance here. Just some depth on the blue line for St. Louis.
It was Curtis McElhinney sent to waivers by the Leafs, making room for Garret Sparks. He will have fantasy value whenever he does spell off Frederik Andersen. Anyone who drafted McElhinney can drop him.
Tampa Bay’s lines were back to relative normalcy with the top line reassembled and Palat-Point-Gourde composing the second line.
Corey Crawford joined the Blackhawks goaltenders for a regular workout, taking shots from the team and everything. It may be some time yet, but Joel Quenneville said Crawford would be travelling with the team. That’s a good sign.
In a fairly surprising move, Sam Gagner was placed on waiver by the Canucks. He’s a useful middle-six scorer who can contribute on the PP. It’s not like Vancouver has those types of players in abundance. If he lands in the right spot – remember what he did in Columbus – he could have value in some fantasy leagues this year.
Henrik Borgstrom was sent to the AHL.
The young pivot had a strong camp for the Panthers, but it seems he was just a casualty of depth. Florida can run Barkov-Trocheck-McCann down the middle (or whomever they decide to be the 3C), which is very solid. Having him play fourth-line minutes doesn’t make sense. If you were drafting him for this year, he can be dropped for now, but injuries do happen so don’t lose faith yet. This doesn’t affect his long-term value at all for keepers or dynasties.
Roope Hintz cracked the Dallas roster. When (if) everyone is healthy, he’ll should be in a fourth-line role so I’m not sure he’ll have much fantasy value just yet. We have seen this team decimated by injuries in very recent history, though, so keep an eye on him.
Dmitrij Jaskin was put on waivers by St. Louis. He seems to be a casualty of a roster that is very deep at forward, especially with some of the rookies coming up. Though he’s never really translated good AHL production (46 points in 63 games) to good NHL production (61 points in 266 games), he’s a top-end winger on the defensive side of things. He could make a lot of teams lacking forward depth better immediately.
I have submitted my preseason predictions for Dobber and those, along with the predictions of all our writers and editors, will be posted to the site soon. Many of these are going to blow up in our faces. Whether you’re ranking a few hundred individual players or making a couple dozen specific predictions, many are going to go wrong.
These were my divisional predictions last year in our panel:
- Metro winner: Washington (check)
- Atlantic winner: Tampa Bay (check)
- Central winner: Winnipeg (close!)
- Pacific winner: Calgary (L O L)
I had Tampa winning the Cup (whoops) over Edmonton in the Final (again, L O L).
How did I do in my individual awards predictions? Well:
- Art Ross: Connor McDavid (duh)
- Calder Trophy: Clayton Keller (incorrect, but I still maintain that what Keller did was literally historic and his rookie season, in his team’s context, was greatly underrated)
- Norris Trophy: Brent Burns (wrong)
- Vezina Trophy: Braden Holtby (very wrong)
- Rebound Candidate: Brendan Gallagher (that’s a win)
- Disappointment Candidate: Leon Draisaitl (that’s two in a row!)
If we consider the 10 bullet points, half were right, half were wrong. Some were close (KELLER WAS ROBBED I TELL YOU), some were not (Holtby played so poorly he wasn’t even the postseason starter!). Such is the nature of these things.
I wanted to explain my 2018-19 predictions a bit more in depth. While there is a lot of luck involved to getting any preseason prediction right, there is reasoning behind them.
Let’s go through them.
Presidents’ Trophy – Tampa Bay
The bottom-half of the Atlantic is bad, which is a plus for the Lightning. I know the bottom-half will be bad for both Boston and Toronto, plus a strong Florida roster, but there’s an edge for Tampa Bay in their blue line. They boast a top-4 that the others do not. We’re still talking about four teams with 100-point potential. It’s splitting hairs.
Hart and Art Ross Trophies – Connor McDavid
If McDavid is healthy and the Oilers are anywhere near the playoffs, he’ll walk to both awards.
Rocket Richard – Patrik Laine
There are only a handful of players who can threaten Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard Trophy and Laine is one of them, along with names like Auston Matthews and Vladimir Tarasenko. Laine has 80 goals as a teenager, third-most all-time, and scored 44 last year playing just 16:30 a game. If he gets close to 18 minutes, he can crack 50.
Calder Trophy – Andrei Svechnikov
Both Elias Pettersson and Rasmus Dahlin will be popular answers, and for good reasons. But a defenceman winning the Calder is infrequent and Pettersson could struggle to produce outside of the power play if only for lack of quality line mates. Neither of those are problems that Svechnikov should face. Maybe he struggles in his first year, but my bet is that we’re looking at Steven Stamkos 2.0 (yes, I know Stamkos didn’t win the Calder).
Norris Trophy – John Klingberg
The 2018-19 Dallas Stars may not look a whole different from the 2017-18 Dallas Stars on paper, outside of a handful of players and one particular rookie defenceman. But they should look a lot different on the ice, returning to being fun and not forced to play fun-sucking defence. That should only help the likes of Seguin, Benn, and yes, Klingberg. That’s a scary proposition for a defenceman who posted 67 points last year. If he ever sheds the incorrect narrative of being bad defensively, he’s a Norris-winning talent.
Vezina Trophy – John Gibson
Some people are agnostic about goaltending but Gibson has posted elite numbers whether playing behind a very good defensive team or a not-very good defensive team. I was listening to SiriusXM a couple mornings ago and they were discussing how Gibson has followed the Connor Hellebuyck model of taking an offseason to becoming more compact with his movements, which, the theory goes, should keep him from certain types of injuries. We’ll see. All the same, I’ll put my money on one of the best goalies in the world.
Jack Adams – Jim Montgomery
See: section on Norris Trophy.
Favourite Sleeper Pick – Kyle Palmieri
In standard leagues that count hits, I just do not understand Palmieri’s ADP. He’s going outside the top-175 on Yahoo and he’ll sleepwalk to a profit at that ADP. If he’s healthy, we’re talking about a guy whose per-82 games averages with the Devils are: 29 goals, 27 assists, 218 shots, 127 hits, and 24 PPPs. If he reaches those marks, he’s a top-75 player. Even if he falls 20 percent short of each of those marks (because of health, demotion, or a combination of the two), he’s a top-125 player. He’s being drafted just inside the top-190. It’s insane.
Biggest Disappointment – Rasmus Dahlin
My 2018-19 season is going to live or die with Dahlin. I just have a very, very hard time drafting an 18-year old rookie defenceman on a bad team who is not guaranteed top PP minutes inside the top-100 picks. And that’s where he’s consistently going. If he explodes this season and gets all those top minutes and posts 50 points with solid peripherals, I will gladly eat my words. Last year, Dougie Hamilton finished as player 100 in standard Yahoo! leagues with 17 goals, 27 assists, a plus-1 rating, 12 PPPs, 270 shots, and 83 hits. People drafting him at his current ADP are banking on Dahlin posting numbers *at least* that good. No thank you.
Favourite Dark Horse – Sam Steel
We’re assuming very late round picks here. Like, if 250 guys are off the board, who are you taking. Steel has impressed in camp and though Ryan Kesler has started skating, he’s not close to returning yet. That means Steel is probably going to get the month of October to impress, and he’ll be able to do it with capable wingers like Jakob Silfverberg or maybe even Ondrej Kase. To me, Steel is a skill guy who could flourish playing with a talented winger in sheltered minutes.
Favourite Mid-Season Call-Up – Carter Hart
Goalies are a fickle beast. Maybe the Brian Elliott of (mostly) the St. Louis days shows up and starts 55 games, leading the Flyers to the playoffs. Or maybe the Brian Elliott of the last couple years shows up again and by Christmas the Flyers are scoring at will but poor goaltending has them on the outside looking in. That would be the time Hart gets the call.
Favourite Bounce-Back Candidate – Brandon Saad
Though he’s found his way to the third line at times in the preseason, I cannot believe Saad won’t skate mostly in the top-6 for Chicago. His shooting percentages across the board last year are too low to sustain. I would not be the least bit surprised to see him return to 25 goals and 50 points. If he can ever start producing on the power play, look out.
Those are my predictions. What are some of yours? Sounds off in the comments.
- Ramblings: Arvidsson Tricks, Puljujarvi on the Block, Nyquist, Hertl, & The Kanes (Jan. 16)
- Ramblings: Aberg Traded; Troy Terry Called Up; Pettersson; Larkin; Konecny - January 17
- Injury Ward: Pettersson, Chabot, Schultz, Hall and Klefbom
- Fantasy Impact: Nino Niederreiter Traded for Victor Rask
- Cage Match: Leon Draisaitl vs Sean Monahan
- Ramblings: Gibson Slams Door on Losing Streak, Is Lehner Fantasy’s Top Goalie? (Jan 18)
- Fantasy Impact: Pontus Aberg to Minnesota
- Capped: Appreciating the Little Contracts