First off, thank you to Dobber himself for covering for me yesterday while I had a fantasy baseball draft. I appreciate being able to let my mind unwind after a three-hour auction draft.
To any “hockey purists” who are wondering why I would do such a thing, yes, I do play other fantasy sports. I am of course a hockey fan and it is the sport I follow most closely, but I’m also a fantasy sports enthusiast. I need to be engaged in fantasy sports 12 months of the year, and by that I mean active and playing in a league. Just as you might watch or play other sports or activities during hockey’s offseason, the same is true with fantasy sports. That’s how I got into baseball as a boy – I needed to follow (and eventually play) a summer sport after hockey went into offseason mode. I like and need to reflect on the past season and also plan ahead to next season, but there’s only so much of that I can do. My competitive nature needs its continuous fix.
All right, now that I’ve gotten that non-serious rant out of the way, let’s move into the business of Saturday.
The Coyotes have signed forward Nick Schmaltz to a seven-year extension. According to Cap Friendly, the new contract has an unconfirmed cap hit of $5.85 million. This might seem like a lengthy extension for a player that has cracked 50 points just once in three seasons, but remember that the Coyotes coveted him enough to pay a significant price (Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini) just to acquire him. Regardless, he had fit in well with his new team (14 points in 17 games) before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Even though the trade may appear heavily weighted in Chicago’s favor, the trade is one of those that could still work out well for both teams. Salary cap owners would likely prefer to see more sustained production before investing, though.
In what could be his last start in Boston, Roberto Luongo stopped 30 of 31 shots he faced to backstop the Panthers to a 4-1 win. It was nice to see Lu stand out in this game, particularly since the TD Garden has been a house of horrors for him (think the 2011 Stanley Cup Final when he was on the Canucks). Speaking of the Canucks, they have to be hoping that Luongo either extends his career or goes on LTIR with something that’s been ailing him this season. They face a significant cap recapture penalty should Luongo announce his retirement.
Evgenii Dadonov continues to pile up the points. With two goals on Saturday, Dadonov is up to 19 points his last 13 games. Linemates have a lot to do with it, as Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have also been piling up the points. Dadonov is only two goals shy of 30 and two points shy of 70.
The Cam Talbot era in Philly might be short-lived, but at least he made another start on Saturday (just his second since being acquired). Talbot allowed three goals on 30 shots in the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to Carolina. Now that the Flyers have been eliminated, the Flyers might start Talbot one or two more times as they play out the string. With this being the second consecutive season that Talbot has posted a goals-against average over 3.00, he probably won’t be considered a starter anywhere. Instead, expect him to land as a backup or at best a timeshare somewhere.
You can preorder your Playoff Draft List here, and it will be ready for download on Friday April 5. Remember that it is fully customizable, which is great to account for the many possible scenarios that could occur as far as playoff teams advancing.
The first of Alex Ovechkin’s two goals on Saturday was his 50th of the season, which makes him the first player to reach that milestone in 2018-19. The Great 8 now has eight 50-goal seasons, matching his jersey number. Only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy have more. So if the 33-year-old Ovechkin still has another 50-goal season or two left in the tank, he would end up at the top of the list below! His current total is still a particularly impressive achievement, considering that both Gretzky and Bossy played when scoring was at an all-time high while Ovie has played when 50-goal scorers have been unicorns.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) March 31, 2019
Ovechkin also had an impressive game for multicategory leagues, recording a plus-3 with eight shots on goal and four hits. Over his career, Ovie has arguably been the top player in leagues that count categories beyond goals and assists.
Ovechkin can provide much of the credit for his career success to Nicklas Backstrom, who along with T.J. Oshie also scored two goals and added an assist. Oshie has been particularly hot recently with ten points over his last nine games.
If you missed out on Quinn Hughes, another defenseman picked in the first round made his NHL debut on Saturday. In his first NHL game, Dante Fabbro skated 16 minutes and took three shots on goal, although he was held without a point. Fabbro was paired with veteran Dan Hamhuis on what would be the Preds’ third pairing. The former BCHL and NCAA standout won't be given the same clear path to an awaiting opportunity as Hughes has, given the presence of the big 4 on Nashville’s blueline. Keeper owners will need to exercise patience. You can check out Fabbro’s Dobber Prospects profile here.
Viktor Arvidsson ties the Predators' single-season goal record with his 33rd.
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) March 31, 2019
I had to look this up, but apparently it’s true. The Preds have never had anyone score more than 33 goals in a season, which could be the result of the 20-year-old franchise playing many seasons under defensive-minded Barry Trotz during the dead puck era. To boot, Viktor Arvidsson has scored these 33 goals in just 55 games, so he could have obliterated this record had he played a full season.
Cam Atkinson scored his 40th and 41st goals of the season, which also ties a franchise record. At least the Jackets don’t stand to lose Atkinson in the offseason, as he is signed all the way into the 2024-25 season.
Artemi Panarin might not be scoring many goals lately (just two this month), but he’s still been piling up the assists. Panarin picked up four assists on Saturday, giving him seven points and a plus-8 ranking over his past four games.
With a goal on Saturday, David Savard now has goals in back-to-back games and four goals over his past eight games. This after scoring four in his first 70 games. I made him a low-key end-of-week waiver-wire add last week, so maybe you were lucky enough to add him and stick with him all week.
Dustin Byfuglien finally returned to the Jets’ lineup on Saturday, logging 24 minutes of icetime. Big Buff had missed the past month and a half with an ankle injury. He has been held to just 38 games this season, so it appears that playing a physical style for a decade has finally caught up to him. He could be in for a bounceback next season if he can stay healthy most of the time, but I’d be weary of drafting him as high as he has been in recent seasons. He averaged as the 40th pick in Yahoo drafts last fall, but I’d suggest waiting at least another round or two for the multicategory beast next season.
John Tortorella may not have had much faith in Anthony Duclair. However, with two goals on Saturday, Duclair is now up to 18 goals on the season. New Senators’ coach Marc Crawford has his team playing well lately, as they have now won three of their past four games. Duclair has benefitted from Crawford’s system (or maybe simply from being out of Torts’ doghouse), as he has scored seven goals and 13 points in 17 games as a Senator. The majority of that production is recent, with nine points over his last eight games. Hey, the Sens play four games next week. It couldn’t hurt that much to take a one-week flier to finish the season.
It’s been a down year for Rickard Rakell, but he might still make it to 20 goals. Rakell scored three second-period goals in the Ducks’ 5-1 win over Edmonton. It’s not the 34 goals like last season or the 33 he scored the season before, but Rakell has piled up seven goals over his last five games. He was a buy-low candidate through his goalless droughts of 14, 9, 8, and 6 games, up to the point in which he had just nine goals on the season earlier this month. To justify that buy-low, his shooting percentage was at a highly unlucky 6.3%, but it is now up to a more respectable 9.6% and could still climb further.
In terms of what you can do going forward, look to Rakell as a rebound candidate as he will probably slip in next season’s drafts based on his overall numbers. He was drafted at around the 70th pick in this season’s Yahoo drafts, but next season he could provide great value if he is drafted outside of the top 100.
Feels like every Sharks game has had an Evander Kane goal and two or three Evander Kane minors. What a season.
— Travis Yost (@travisyost) March 31, 2019
(Looks at Evander Kane boxscore): a goal, five shots, and nine hits. No penalty minutes though. Kane has found a home in San Jose, currently just one goal shy of his first 30-goal season. Kane is not an elite scorer, but he is a player that you can move up your rankings if you league counts any of shots on goal, hits, and penalty minutes. Kane is a top-15 option in shots (259), a top-50 option in hits (163), and he leads the league with 151 penalty minutes.
Just as the Bruins and Leafs are set to face each other in the first round, the Sharks and Golden Knights are also on a collision course for a first-round matchup. I think Vegas has built the type of team that could return to the Stanley Cup Final, but they might also not get past the first round if they have to play San Jose.
This stat about Jacob Markstrom means absolutely nothing in fantasy leagues, but interesting anyway. I noticed that four of these five goalies play for non-playoff teams. So maybe there’s a correlation between not being able to score in the shootout (which forces your goalie to do more work) and losing games? Or having to play in more shootouts because your team can’t score? All of these goalie’s teams are in the bottom third of the league in terms of goals for per game.
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 31, 2019
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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