Skinner Traded, Kyle Connor, plus more…
The Dobber Hockey Fantasy Guide is available now! If you haven’t picked it up, then what are you waiting for? I know NHL season is still two months away, but you’ve gotta start studying now to get a leg up on the competition. (Yes, Ian, that includes you.) Remember that included is both a fantasy guide in PDF form and a customizable draft list Excel spreadsheet – just so you know to get your money’s worth out of your purchase.
So who was the first player that you looked up in the guide? Mine was Artturi Lehkonen, who I have to make a keeper decision on very soon. I wrote about Lekhonen during Bubble Keeper Week, in case you’re in the same boat as I am on him. The second player? Well, I saw the banner picture of Elias Pettersson, so that reminded me to look up what Dobber thinks his point total will be. No, I don’t own Pettersson in any leagues (yet), but I’m just very curious. Rookies are extra difficult to project. After that, I went through a number of other players on my keeper league team.
We have a trade to announce in the dead of early August! If you didn’t catch it earlier, Jeff Skinner was traded to the Hurricanes for a handful of magic beans: prospect forward Cliff Pu, a second-round pick in 2019 and a third-round and a sixth-round pick in 2020. That return obviously doesn’t consist of anything that can help the Canes today, although I do realize that they had to trade Skinner soon because he’s on the final year of his contract and reportedly seemed unlikely to re-sign in Carolina. Pu was the top right wing in the Sabres’ system, according to Dobber Prospects, so there’s that for the Canes (Pu profile here).
Over the last 3 seasons combined, Jeff Skinner is tied for 12th in the NHL in total goals scored with 89 and he's 26 years old. Carolina traded him for a collection of mystery boxes and quite literally might not get back a single NHLer for him.
— Anthony Petrielli (@APetrielli) August 2, 2018
Yes, this trade absolutely helps Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart and of course Skinner himself, maybe more than anyone. It also potentially hurts Conor Sheary, who I wrote about for Bubble Keeper Week, though Casey Mittlestadt might not be a bad consolation prize.
Cam Robinson covered the Fantasy Impact of this trade for you. Not just from the Buffalo side, but also the Carolina side, unlike another fantasy impact piece that I read from another website. So I can’t really see much that he didn’t cover on this deal, although I’ll take one question from the comments.
Yes, I think the Skinner trade improves the chances that Valentin Zykov makes the team. Not only could he make the team, but he could also be featured in a prominent role. To jog your memory, Zykov impressed as a late-season callup for the Canes, scoring seven points over ten games. Zykov also has the advantage of playing left wing, the same position as Skinner, so there’s definitely an opening. His NHL success was largely on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, so he could even find himself back on that line!
I like Zykov as a potential deep sleeper, even more so now that this trade has gone done. Andrei Svechnikov seems to be a slam dunk to make the Canes, while Martin Necas’ chances also seem very good. Both Svechnikov and Necas impressed at the Canes’ prospect camp last month. This is a trade that certainly helps the kids in Carolina, so you’ve got a few rookies to choose from in their lineup.
In case you’re wondering, Dobber will make an update to the Fantasy Guide on the Skinner trade shortly (if it hasn’t already by the time you read this). But remember that PDF documents don’t update magically after you save them somewhere. You’ll have to go to your Downloads from the site and download an updated copy. Also remember that those updates will be in blue.
Some other hockey news to discuss:
Troy Brouwer has been placed on waivers for the purposes of his contract being bought out. 2016 continues to be an awful year for free agent contracts, with the Brouwer, Loui Eriksson, and Milan Lucic signings being the trio that the three Canadian Pacific Division teams would like to have back. The free agency circle of life continues with the Flames, who signed another 30 year old this offseason in James Neal.
Jannik Hansen has signed a one-year deal with CSKA Moscow in the KHL. Although Hansen wasn’t a major fantasy difference-maker, he was a player who seemed to get the most out of his ability, using his speed to his advantage. CSKA Moscow is a powerhouse KHL team, so he could have more fun there than he had last season as a bottom 6/healthy scratch with the Sharks.
For the Canucks’ fans suffering through the Trevor Linden departure soap opera, here’s some Quinn Hughes eye candy for you from the World Junior Showcase in Kamloops, BC:
Hughes dances and dishes to Norris to win it in OT with 2.5 seconds left.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) August 2, 2018
As a spinoff from Bubble Keeper Week, I’m going to go through players who you mentioned on Twitter that I should cover, yet didn’t fit the criteria of bubble keepers. One popular choice was the player listed below, who I am finally getting around to giving my two cents on.
Connor was not one of the Calder Trophy finalists, but there was a valid argument that he should have been listed as one of the top three rookies. Connor led all rookies in goals with 31, which is a number that placed him in the top 30 overall in the goals category. Over a full season, he was on pace for 61 points, checking in at 57 points in 76 games.
If you believe the voters in Cage Match Tournament #2, Connor will not reach 70 points this season (technically 71 points, since the question was will he exceed his career best pace by 10+ points). Only 13 percent of the voters believe that Connor is due for that type of breakout. Of course, this is a point pace that assumes he will play a full season. The average NHLer does not play a full 82 games, so it might be safer to assume that Connor should reach 60 points in his sophomore season.
Connor was boosted by playing on a line with two of the NHL’s top scorers in Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler for over half of the season. His production may suffer if he is moved down to a secondary scoring line, but you can’t blame him for the linemates that he is matched up with. The fact that he has a proven track record with Scheifele and Wheeler should only help his cause on draft day.
You may want to move Connor down your pre-draft rankings if your league counts hits or penalty minutes, however. Among all Jets players, Connor had the lowest hits per game played total, averaging just one hit every four games. In terms of penalty minutes, only Andrew Copp had a lower penalty minutes total than Connor (16 PIM) among Jets players who played at least 60 games.
On a related side note, I think these Cage Match votes are a great way to determine whether a player will end up over or under a certain target.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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