There are only 10 days left in August – where does the time go? – and that means training camp isn’t very far away. Get a jump on your fantasy league mates with the 2018-19 Dobber Hockey fantasy guide! There have been recent updates and it will continue to be updated. There are line projections, points projections, peripheral projections, and lots of articles to peruse. Head to the Dobber Shop and grab your copy now!
The fan vote for the top-20 wingers in the NHL might look a little odd. There’s a reason for that:
oh my god i’m a monster pic.twitter.com/6Q82KRbJcJ
— Mr Booth (@MrBooth_7) August 20, 2018
Both players were second-half first-round picks back in 2013. Shinkaruk has 79 points in his last 132 games in the AHL. He had 32 points in 63 games for Stockton last year. Rychel has 94 points in his last 144 games in the AHL. He had 30 points in 55 games in his last full AHL season.
If these guys weren’t first-round picks five years ago, would this be news? Maybe either gets a brief look in the NHL, especially Shinkaruk given the lack of talent throughout the bottom-6 for Montreal, but this isn’t worthy of much more ink spilled fantasy-wise.
Last week, on Friday, I posted a Ramblings featuring one player from each team that, as of that moment, I would probably be drafting more than most people. As stated in that Ramblings, a lot of it is a function of ADP and value. There may be a player from a certain team who’ll be a sixth-round pick and returns fifth-round value. That’s solid. There may also be a player from that same team who is a 16th-round pick and returns 11th-round value. That is also a good return. Both are players I’d want on my roster, but I only get to pick one, and it’ll probably be the guy in the 16th round because I imagine fewer people will target him.
It’s time for the flipside and go through players I will be avoiding. The players listed may change over the next 4-6 weeks. Role, injury, demotion, and perhaps even a trade are all factors, not to mention where their actual ADP lands. These are also just skaters (no goalies) and we’re assuming 12-team leagues using Yahoo standard format.
I’m going to do half the teams (or just over half) today and the other half in my next Ramblings. It takes more space to describe why a guy shouldn’t be drafted than why he should.
Anaheim – Corey Perry
There has been a lot of work done on aging curves so we know Perry is on the downswing of his career. We also know that passers age better than shooters, and shooters better than snipers. At this point in his career, with his shot volume, Perry would need to be a sniper. Remember that Jarome Iginla had a 30-goal, 60-point season and three years later couldn’t crack 30 points. I’d rather draft Ondrej Kase.
Arizona – Alex Goligoski
To his credit, he does have five consecutive 35-point seasons, one of 15 d-men to have such a current streak and the rest are generally considered fantasy blue line cornerstones. The problem is he got there last year with the help of 12 goals, shooting 25 percent on the power play; he hadn’t cracked double-digits on the PP since 2010-11. He also shot 8.6 percent at five-on-five, a career high. Once those crash, even a modest rebound in his secondary assist rate won’t help on a team still devoid of scoring in the bottom-half of the lineup.
Boston Bruins – Patrice Bergeron
In leagues with face-off wins, he’s still in the top tier. But like Perry, Bergeron is 33 years old. He’s also coming off a season where he posted a career-high shooting percentage. It’s not that I dislike Bergeron in fantasy, that is not the case at all. But at his age, I’d prefer to target a younger player in a similar situation in a similar draft range. That means someone like Jack Eichel or Aleksander Barkov.
Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin
This is completely ADP related. He is NHL.com’s 17th-ranked defenceman and Yahoo’s 26th. Last year, Alex Pietrangelo was the 18th-ranked defenceman in Yahoo’s standard setup and Erik Karlsson was 28th. That should give readers an idea of the fantasy expectations levied on an 18-year old defenceman playing for a team that ranked last in 2017-18 in goals and has no clear path to top PP minutes. Hard pass.
Calgary Flames – Sean Monahan
Years back, I was low on Monahan and things haven’t really worked out well for me since. All the same, he is coming off a litany of injuries and surgeries including, but not exclusive to, wrist reconstruction. The thing is, he’s not a huge shot volume guy, he doesn’t contribute hits, and plus/minus is always a concern. He’s limited in the fantasy game, which isn’t what I want from a guy who’ll probably be drafted in the fifth or sixth round.
Carolina Hurricanes – Justin Faulk
Faulk had 19 power-play points last year. How many does he have this year with Dougie Hamilton in town? There’s the possibility they move to a three-forward PP unit but I’m not betting on it. This is a situation where the PP points are going to dry up and even a rebound in shooting percentage (the opposite of Goligoski) isn’t going to be enough. Then there’s always the issue with their goaltending and the ensuing plus/minus.
Chicago Blackhawks – Duncan Keith
The uncertainty of Corey Crawford’s health and ability to start the year is a big concern here. They need him if the guy who’ll be heavily used, like Keith, are to sustain anything nearing a respectable plus/minus. Add the lack of hits and goal scoring and he won’t be able to contribute positively in half the categories. Count me out.
Colorado Avalanche – Samuel Girard
This one is tough because outside of the top of the lineup, Tyson Jost, Tyson Barrie, and possibly Erik Johnson, I’m not drafting other players off the roster in this format anyway (well, maybe Nikita Zadorov as well depending how deep the league is). I wanted to add Girard more as a caution for others. The team signed Ian Cole and still have both Patrik Nemeth and Zadorov. Girard likely ends up on the third pair again and won’t get top PP minutes.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Alex Wennberg
Not drafting Wennberg given how cheap he’ll be is kind of obvious but it’s just a factor of his complete inability to produce anything other than a good amount of assists and possibly plus/minus. He won’t contribute in goals, shots, power-play points, or hits. When a player can only produce in 2/6 categories, and half the categories in which he could contribute is plus/minus, it’s a clear sign to just avoid. He’s a much better real-world player than fantasy player.
Dallas Stars – Tyler Seguin
This isn’t to disparage Seguin. I’ve written in the past on how I think he’s kind of underrated in the fantasy game even though he’s been incredibly consistent since donning the Stars uniform. Seguin, though, lost his multi-position eligibility. He’s only available as a centre now. If I don’t get the first overall pick, and can’t get Auston Matthews, centre is a position I’ll wait to draft. This is more a function of my draft strategy than trying to downplay Seguin’s production.
Detroit Red Wings – Filip Zadina
Before everyone yells at me, I will say this is assuming Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t play this year or is largely ineffective.
Should Zadina crack the roster, he’ll be, at best, on the second line. We have to concern ourselves with his potential line mates and the ability to get to the top PP unit. They might not split units again if Zetterberg isn’t around. I absolutely love the long-term prospects for Zadina but for 2018-19, I do worry about his usage and his team context.
My caveat is that if his ADP comes in around the top-200 rather than the top-150, I’ll have more interest.
Edmonton Oilers – Leon Draisaitl
If the assumption is that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is going to be on the top line with Connor McDavid, that locks Draisaitl to the second-line centre role. He is not a guy who contributes across the board; the shot volume will be about average for a 12-team league, the hits won’t be there, and plus/minus will be a concern on that team. Though he’ll be drafted lower than last year, he will probably still be around a top-50 pick. At that ADP, a player should be able to contribute to at least four out of six categories, hopefully five. He will probably only contribute in three. Unless his ADP falls closer to the seventh round, I won’t be drafting him.
Florida Panthers – Evgeni Dadonov
I’ve gone on at length about Dadonov this offseason. My assumption is that he’ll be pushed off the top PP unit and though he didn’t rely on PP production last year, that’ll be a small ding, and there are other red flags. These Ramblings last month cover my thoughts on Dadonov for 2018-19.
Los Angeles Kings – Anze Kopitar
Kopitar is going to be a top-25 pick, which puts him likely in the second round of a 12-team league. Last year, he posted career highs in goals and assists, a four-year high in shots, and an eight-year high in power-play points. Despite all that, he finished just inside the top-20 players in a standard Yahoo setup. In other words, he will probably be drafted at his ceiling, and that is a very easy way to lose value on a draft pick. I’d rather wait and grab a different centre as mentioned in the section on Patrice Bergeron, or just someone from a different position like Vladimir Tarasenko or Artemi Panarin.
Minnesota Wild – Nino Niederreiter
In the fantasy game, Niederreiter reminds me a lot of Brandon Saad: better than he gets credit for, hasn’t hit his true fantasy ceiling, and coming off about as bad a year as you can expect. The difference is that Niederreiter will be drafted several rounds ahead of Saad. Earlier this month I wrote of the potential for the Swiss Superman to be pushed down the lineup not because of poor play but just the desire to spread the scoring to the third line. Combine that third-line role with a lack of top-end PP minutes and it’ll be another year of Niederreiter’s usage preventing him from reaching his true fantasy potential, or even just exceeding his likely ADP.
Montreal Canadiens – Carey Price
Good goalies can only overcome so much. Goaltenders are heavily dependent on the team in front of them for success, both in wins and goals against average. Even save percentage. Sometimes there are seasons where goalies have very good fantasy years on bad teams: Antti Raanta last year, Craig Anderson the year before, and Semyon Varlamov in 2013-14 come to mind. They are the exception, not the rule, and I don’t want to have to rely on Price to be the #1 goalie on my fantasy roster. If he slides to the #2 range, then I’ll consider.
I know I said I wouldn’t include goaltenders, but like Raanta, Anderson, and Varlamov, there are sometimes exceptions to the rule.
Those are the first batch of players I will be avoiding from each team. The rest will come on Thursday. Feel free to disagree in the comments. Let’s get some hockey talk flowing here as we lurch towards the end of the offseason.
I will also have the results of my very first mock draft of the season in my Ramblings for Friday. This mock draft happens Tuesday night and features fantasy writers from across the industry. I’m looking forward to sharing the results with fellow Dobberheads.
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