Ramblings: Steen update, Yahoo fantasy hockey (Aug. 28)

by Ian Gooding on August 28, 2016

Alex Steen update, cracking open the Yahoo fantasy hockey game

First the news of the day. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Alexander Steen could be ready for the Blues’ season opener on October 12 in Chicago. This is worth mentioning because Steen was projected to miss the first month or two following offseason shoulder surgery. But if he falls in single-season drafts, he should represent good value even if he isn’t ready in time for the season opener.

With 52 points in 67 games, Steen has the second-highest points-per-game total among Blues’ skaters last season. You can probably guess who the highest total belongs to. If Steen happens to be ready for opening night, he seems like a good bet to reach 60 points for the third time in his last four seasons.

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So it seems all but certain that the new Las Vegas team will use the name “Knights” in some form. We just don’t know if it’ll be the Desert Knights, the Golden Knights, or the Silver Knights. I kind of like the Desert Knights, but I’m not really sure why. Just sounds cool, I guess. Or hot like a desert.

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Here’s a very revealing interview of Josh Ho-Sang on Sportsnet. Not just another clichéd hockey interview. If he makes the NHL, he will certainly be one of the more interesting players to follow given his raw talent and his way with words. Ho-Sang seems motivated to make the Islanders this season, but given the Isles’ mix of veterans and prospects it seems more likely that Ho-Sang will at least start the season in the AHL.

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Not much else on the news, except for a story on NHL.com about Nathan Walker, a Washington Capitals prospect who is trying to become the first Australian to play in the NHL. In case you haven’t bought the Prospects Guide (and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?) Walker is listed in there. His style of play, combined with the Capitals’ significant depth at forward, would make it seem that being a bottom-6 energy forward would be in his future. But it is nice to see players coming from countries other than the traditional hockey powers. This only helps build the sport worldwide.

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Even though the NHL season doesn’t start for another month and a half, Yahoo leagues opened for business this week. I had assumed that the NHL.com rankings were supposed to correspond with the Yahoo rankings, but the Yahoo rankings are completely different. Here’s a screenshot of the top 17 (which is as much as I could grab):
 


From that screen capture alone, it’s not a surprise that defensemen Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, and Kris Letang are ranked that high. It’s not that much of a surprise either that the first goalie is ranked at #16, although the name of that goalie (Ben Bishop) is a bit of a surprise. In case you missed it, we discussed both earlier this summer in the Ramblings.

There’s plenty of time to update these rankings, and I’m sure the good folks at Yahoo will. But I’m wondering if these rankings were carried forward from the 2015-16 end-of-season actual rankings. In other words, players who missed significant time due to injury were bumped down. Way, way down.

For example, when Bishop was ranked as the top goalie, my immediate reaction was to ask where both Braden Holtby and Carey Price are (the last two Vezina Trophy winners). Well, Holtby is ranked at #21, which could be up for a bit of debate, but not much. Price? Try #91, just one spot ahead of Jaroslav Halak!

Then check out playoff hero Logan Couture, whose forgettable regular season (30 games missed, 36 points) pushed him all the way down to 165. To put it in perspective, Andrew Shaw is ranked at 168. Not a tough decision if you spent zero time ranking players prior to your live draft.

But if you think that’s low, then check out where you’ll find Connor McDavid. Not in the top 10 or even in the top 20. Look down. Way, way down. As in #297. Ha ha ha. Talk about finding value. This is the same guy that Dobber refers to as Connor McFirstPlace in his latest keeper Rankings. Just be careful not to grab backup goalie Anders Nilsson (293) ahead of him. Maybe you’ll argue that McDavid isn’t ready for first overall in fantasy hockey rankings, but he’s much closer to first than he is to 297.

And some players were ranked too high. Is Patrice Bergeron the third-best center in fantasy hockey, behind Sidney Crosby and Joe Pavelski? Not to me. Wayne Simmonds is a nice player to have on your team, but is he really the 11th-ranked player? Between those two sits Blake Wheeler, who I don’t think I’d rank that high either, although I’d take Wheeler over Bergeron or Simmonds in a heartbeat.

You can also find Pavel Datsyuk at 179. That’s a great spot, you know, just in case he bails on his KHL contract and returns to the NHL. At least Yahoo has recorded him as a member of the Coyotes.

I don’t know anyone that would hold a draft in late August for a league that starts mid-October (unless it’s a keeper league). But if you do, you won’t want to autopick your Yahoo draft. I’ll give it a week for them to fix, then I’ll try a mock draft. When I do, maybe I can draft an extremely stacked roster against 11 computers.

If you’d like to provide your two cents worth, there’s always the comments below. Or there’s also a thread on the Forums called Yahoo rankings. Personally, I’ve been told on multiple jobs I’ve held over my life that first impressions count. And this might be your first impression of Yahoo for the 2016-17 season.

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Pete Jensen at NHL.com has provided the Yahoo position updates for 2016-17. The underlying theme seems to be reduction, as the vast majority of forwards will be losing eligibility at one position. In fact, only Robby Fabbri and Sam Reinhart gained eligibility.

In spite of that feel you get when something is being taken away, I kind of like the decision. Although you’d have an easier time setting a lineup in a pinch with more possible positions, too many forwards with two or even three possible forward positions remove some of the challenge out of the game.
 


What’s funny is that Brent Burns and Dustin Byfuglien have been revoked of their forward status. That’s not going to be a huge hit to their fantasy values. Were any of you so stockpiled on defense that you were going to use one as a forward anyway? I suppose if you have injuries to your wingers and have an abundance of d-men, but that scenario shouldn’t occur too often.

But maybe Joe Pavelski loses a slight bit of fantasy value, since he’s “only” C and RW eligible now. That might not seem like much, but imagine if you’re the keeper league owner who has been using Little Joe at left wing. All of a sudden, you could have a serious shortage at left wing on your team.

Or worse yet, you’re a Filip Forsberg owner who suddenly can’t use him at either center or right wing. Ditto for Jussi Jokinen. In my keeper league, one owner decided to put a whole bunch of centers on the trading block after CBS decided to turn some of his wingers into centers. By the way, CBS only uses single position eligibility for forwards. So at least Yahoo has a leg up there by taking into account that forwards can move around as lines are shuffled.

I’m probably overstating the problem, considering that you’re going to draft a forward if he can score, regardless of position. But these changes can at least be a minor inconvenience when planning your roster or when you suddenly have a surplus at one position and a shortage at another. But remember that’s what trades are for.

Again, comment below or in the thread Yahoo position eligibility 2016/17.

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Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.