The NHL released some ‘at the quarter-mark’ stats via their public relations on Tuesday and it’s just a good as we had hoped it would be. Heading into Tuesday’s contests, this season’s 1956 goals scored represent the second-most markers in the last 23 seasons (2005-06 had 2007 goals). Additionally, the 1462 even-strength tallies are the most at this point in the season in 27 years.
We have four players on pace to break 130 points – something we haven’t seen since 1995-96 when Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr both accomplished the feat. We have a defenseman sitting tied for third in scoring and pacing for 125. 125! Additionally, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are poised to make a run at breaking 150.
The good times are killing me. In the best way possible.
We haven't had a player break 130 since Mario (161) & Jagr (149) both did it in '95-96.
We're a ¼ of the way through the year and McDavid (149) & Draisaitl (160) are on pace to do it.
Oh, and Marchand (138) and Pastrnak (133) too.
Carlson is on pace for 121 as a D.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) November 17, 2019
I could give you all a synopsis on Tuesday night’s affairs here. Probably add a little more fantasy context than your average SportsCentre segment. But instead, tonight I’ll do a little something different. Earlier this season, I ran a Ramblings based on the notes I had created for an appearance with Dimitri Filipovich on the PDO Cast. It was met with positive feedback and a desire to see more of that style.
Well, I’m nothing if not a man of the people. And so below, I deliver quick thoughts on many a player.
Keith Yandle – Hardly anyone is talking about this guy, but he’s been lights out for the better part of a month. After beginning the season with four points in 11 games, the 33-year-old has 14 points in the last 10. Yes, his PDO of 1045 is sitting high – especially on a club with poor goaltending thus far. But he’s making his hay while seeing over four minutes a night on one of the most lethal power-plays in the league. That won’t be changing anytime soon. He won’t continue to click at a 90-point rate, but pencilling him for another 60 point campaign seems solid.
Tyson Barrie – Is there any single player who is losing more cash this year than Barrie? This guy was about to drop 60+ in a contract season as a 28-year-old and would’ve had the Brinks truck backed up to his doorstep on July 1. Instead, he’s buried on the second unit in Toronto and is struggling mightily. For this season, you can pray for a PP switch up (unlikely) or maybe he takes advantage of a Morgan Reilly injury (lets hope not).
But for those of us who don’t own him, I’d suggest kicking the tires at some point in a keeper league. If you can get him for a song and can afford to keep him on the bench for much of this year, you can get ahead of the re-invigoration of hype on him when he goes and signs in Winnipeg (or some other equally desirable home with a CLEAR need for a right-shot power-play guy). I love getting ahead of the bumrush.
And while Barrie’s value on the market will diminish due to this year, don’t think some team won’t offer him 7M on a long-term deal. He won’t be going without next Christmas.
Elliotte Friedman on SN590: There were rumours, I don't know if they were true, but if VAN had traded for Tyson Barrie, they would have extended him at a big number. The number floated out there was 8×8. (I think VAN would have to wait until the trade deadline to offer 8 years)
— James (@Account4hockey) November 19, 2019
Dylan Strome – There’s just something about Strome that I don’t love. Maybe it’s the pace of play (or lack thereof) but I’ve continually been lower on him than most. He was out there trying to prove me wrong again by posting nine points in five games before going pointless in his last two. Inconsistency isn’t foreign to him at the pro-level either. Which is fine, he’s 22. But I just can’t get over a nagging feeling that he’s not a serious asset.
He isn’t a player who will ever rack up high shot rates, but his 20 percent conversion rate over this seven-game spell while putting just five shots on net isn’t exactly sustainable. I like him a whole lot more when he’s with Patty Kane and Alex DeBrincat – and that trio should be somewhat safe for this year. Another concern is in a keeper league, he has to worry about Kirby Dach coming up and taking the bread out of his mouth. Personally, I believe more in Dach than Strome to be the man in Chicago’s middle long term.
At the end of the day, I have to give him credit for being a 65-plus point pivot who brings no other categories. There is value in that. And he clearly has the potential for more. But you’ll have to excuse me for not buying the 90-point ceiling talk that many pay for in deals for him.
Martin Necas – This kid is coming. If you’ve been following my work, you know I’ve been quite high on the Czech product. His 2018-19 U20 season in American League was beyond impressive. His 52 points in 62 games were miles ahead of the next teenager and represent the sixth-best mark by a teenager in that league in the past 20 years.
This season, he’s seeing under 14 minutes a night and his most common linemates have been Erik Haula and Ryan Dzingel. Despite that, he’s finding his sea legs in a hurry. The 20-year-old forward has nine points in his last nine games (including a goal on Tuesday evening). His shot and conversion metrics are spot on. He’s only seeing 1:46 on the second unit and receiving a high percentage of IPP (79), but these are the good bounces he was due for.
My dream was to see Carolina pair Necas and Andrei Svechnikov long term and let them run wild behind Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. But it appears that Svech and Aho are insta-buds so that will hurt Necas a bit long term. That said, I see stardom in his future – especially if he can find a tasty mate to link up with.
Get your Necas stocks before they spike!
John Klingberg – The 27-year-old is inching closer to a return to action. But is that even an exciting prospect at this point? His four points in 17 games have led many to drop him to the waiver wire. Well, I’m here to tell you that the good times are going to return.
Klingberg has been the recipient of some terribly unlucky metrics thus far. At even-strength, Dallas is converting on just 4.7 percent of their opportunities while Klingberg is on the ice – the league average is double that. Klingberg himself is clicking at just 2.8 percent of shots as compared to a career average of 6.7. His IPP is down 15 points. His offensive zone starts are UP. He’s producing scoring and high-danger chances at a similar rate as he has the last three years while being one of the most effective blueline producers.
I’m buying low all day.
Anze Kopitar – Looking for a veteran presence to add to your fantasy locker room? Look no further than in sunny California and the terrible Kings’ squad. The other side of the hill on Kopitar’s career has epitomized the ebbs and flows that come from season to season. The last three years have witnessed the 32-year-old play at paces of 56, 92, 61, and now he’s on pace for..90 points.
And he’s doing so while being perfectly sustainable. His shot and conversion rates are within range. His PDO of 983 is too low, but we can chalk that up to LA having maybe half a goalie. Kopitar is back seeing over three minutes a night on the top unit but his overall TOI is down a couple of minutes – probably best at his age. He's doing what he's shown capable of doing several times in the past – produce for long periods.
I’m not saying he’ll keep the 90-point pace up, but I think a near-ppg run should be doable. Even while the Kings are void of any other real talent.
Adam Gaudette – This kid simply refuses to be left out in the cold in Vancouver. Despite kicking the door down in camp and forcing the team to keep around, he was deployed as the 13th forward early and found himself watching more than playing. A quick trip to Utica followed. But he’s back up again and with Brandon Sutter on the shelf, he’s the new sheriff on the third line. He’s making the most of it too.
Despite not hitting the scoresheet on Tuesday (the entire Vancouver squad was pummeled by Dallas) he potted two goals last Saturday to give him seven points in his last nine games. He’s playing on the second power-play unit and putting over two shots on goal per game. The 2018 Hobey Baker winner as the NCAA’s top player isn’t new to finding the scoresheet. If he can keep this going, that 3C job should be his. But watch out for a potential trip to Bo Horvat’s wing. Horvat needs help on the second line and Gaudette has been a juicer wherever he’s played this season.
Bo Horvat converts his first 5v5 goal in decades*
*may be an hyperbole
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) November 20, 2019
Gaudette likely a lower ceiling than many prospects, but he’s going to impact the game in a myriad of ways. And that’ll help in the multicat world.
Jonathan Huberdeau – Huberdeau has 120 points in 103 games stretching back to the beginning of last season. He's the most underrated star in the game.
Sergei Bobrovsky – Suddenly sucks? Nah. This is a player who has made a habit out of slow starts. Usually, it’s just October – where he owns a career save percentage of .903 over 72 contests. This year, it’s bled into November, but I’ll give a little extra time and space for the transition to a new team. And he did stop 35/37 in Tuesday's victory over Philly. If we’re looking for more positive signs of life, the 31-year-old has four Quality Starts in his last seven games…. And just two Really Bad Starts.
But here’s the thing, if you had to choose, would you want a netminder who can torch it in the fall and winter, or win it for you when the games matter most? Because Bob has won many a fantasy team the Championship that last few years. His career .933 save percentage mark in March is what matters most. Count me as one of the people who believe he and Panthers will make good on that historical data this spring too.
Oh yeah, and McDavid had another three primary points (1+2) on Tuesday. He has 16 in his last five. This guy is insane.
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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