Ramblings – Stanley Cup Hangover, Draft Stuff, Carlson, ROR & OEL

by Cam Robinson on June 8, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings – Stanley Cup Hangover, Draft Stuff, Carlson, ROR & OEL
John Carlson - USA TODAY Sports Images



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There’s always a concern about a team suffering from a Stanley Cup hangover. The wear and tear on the body from an extended season. The adrenal fatigue that comes with the insane high of winning a championship. And of course, the brutality that the liver is faced with in the days and weeks that follow the cup ceremony.  It sure looks like Ovi is handling it better than Backstrom thus far.




But in all seriousness, after spending 13 years together climbing to the top of the mountain, there’s a legitimate chance that Ovechkin and Backstrom step off the gas a bit to start next season. Especially Backstrom as he’ll have some healing to do this offseason that will take away from training.


Watch for that lull and take advantage if you can. If they start icy, it’ll be a prime opportunity to get one or both at a discounted price.





Last week I spoke about Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s pending free agency in 2019. At the time, it was reported that the Coyotes have an eight-year deal on the table for 8.25 million. John Chayka does not appear to be a man who minces words or actions. There’s a reason the organization is putting that worthy of an offer on the table 13 months before their star blueliner is eligible to test the waters. And that’s to know what his intentions are.


OEL can take the offer under advisement for the summer and not allow the team to glean much information from it. Or, he can thank them and politely and decline saying he wishes to focus on next season and leave the contractual part of the game for next summer. If that’s the case, I have a sinking suspicion that Arizona will dangle OEL at the draft in Dallas.


Imagine the draft floor chatter that will be flying about if both OEL and Erik Karlsson are being legitimately shopped.


Fortunately for me, this will be my first live draft as a member of the media. And I can’t wait!





My Final 2018 Draft Rankings will drop next Thursday, June 14th on DobberProspects. Keep an eye out for it.





Continuing with the draft-eligible players, it appears that Brady Tkachuk’s 2018-19 season is very much an unknown.



This comes on the heels of his announcement to return to Boston University for a sophomore campaign a few weeks ago. However, it appears David Quinn grabbing the Rangers’ gig has changed some things.


Many had assumed that Tkachuk would be one of the more NHL-ready prospects and thus hold some more clout in fantasy drafts this fall. Being drafted out of the NCAA will facilitate a multitude of options. Tkachuk will be eligible to play in the NCAA, OHL, AHL or NHL. If he ends up in London, lets hope he just takes number seven to save fans from going out and getting a new jersey as brother, Matthew rocked that uni during his monster 2015-16 season with the Knights.


However, this new revelation re-opens the door for an NHL debut next fall. That should play a role in his fantasy draft slot.




Is there another NHL team that benefits more from the increasing salary cap than the Washington Capitals? With a reported 5-7 million being tacked onto the roof this offseason, that will likely facilitate them retaining John Carlson.



The powerful right-shot blueliner re-established himself as a cornerstone fantasy asset this past season. Leading all blueliners in points is fantastic, but replicating it is always the hard part. However, he attained his lofty numbers on the back of some sustainable metrics. 


Carlson shot the puck a great deal more this season – besting his previous career-high by 29. Yet his conversion rate remained consistent with his career norms. The other main factor to his 68-point season was the 33 power play points – another slam dunk career-high. He saw over a minute more per night on the man-advantage than 2016-17 and cleary made good use of the additional time.


While 2017-18 very well could end up as his peak season, there's little reason to believe the 28-year-old won't be flirting with the top of the pile for defenseman scoring in immediate future. There is no one sniffing around his spot on the top powerplay unit, and his surrouding talent will remain quite high.




Positions aside, who do you like?





Last week I touched on the precarious position that Erik Haula is holding as the Golden Knights’ second line centre. With Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki sniffing around NHL jobs as early as next fall, his time as a primary offensive piece is limited.


Over the course of the off-season, I’ll continue to highlight some other players whose positions are in danger and thus are ripe for a fall from fantasy relevance.


This week, we’ll talk about Ryan O’Reilly.


For the past three seasons, the Sabres’ pivot has been playing between a 60 and 70-point pace. He’s been remarkably consistent since 2011-12 – never failing to play at least at a 55-point pace. He’s offered strong value in points’ leagues and even more so if you find yourself a setup that counts faceoffs.



The 27-year-old has done his damage on the scoresheet while plying away on bad teams. Just when things are appearing to turn the corner in Buffalo with the addition of Rasmus Dahlin, his position seems as insecure as ever.




The Sabres have allowed the whispers to hit the wind that they’d be open to moving O’Reilly and his five remaining years at 7.5 million. The team had a glimpse of their future down the middle, and a cost-controlled Casey Mittelstadt lining up behind Jack Eichel sure seems like a nice place to be.


Mitteltstadt is a dynamic centre who controls the game with elite speed and skill. He’s more of a playmaker compared to Eichel and that will bode well to diversify the waves of attack during even-strength. It will also allow the two to play to their strengths on the top power-play unit.


It also means that ROR is likely destined to be a very expensive third line centre in the not-so-distant future if he stays in Buffalo.


The fantasy implications of an O’Reilly deal are hard to ascertain until we A) See it happen, and B) Find out where he lands. Does his skill set (and contract size) garner him a first line gig on a bottom-feeding club? Or does he slide in as a 2/3 centre on a contender? The latter option affords him a greater quality of talent around him, but fewer opportunities to play in high-danger situations.


If you own him in a keeper league, this is a fluid situation that demands attention.