Ramblings: The Long Night is Almost Over, Sleepers, Breakouts, Injuries and Waiver Pickups (Oct. 2)

by Cam Robinson on October 1, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: The Long Night is Almost Over, Sleepers, Breakouts, Injuries and Waiver Pickups (Oct. 2)

 

Hockey is coming! 

We did it, folks. The offseason is all but over. The true action begins in mere hours and we are all here for it. 

 

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After the waiver wire looked deeper than the Oilers lineup yesterday, just two players were snapped up. Eric Comrie finds his way out of the Winnipeg organization after stagnating and landing in the desert. The Coyotes will surely attempt to slide him back through waivers when Antti Raanta is cleared to resume action – which sounds like it isn't too far off. 

 

If Arizona can get Comrie back down, then he'll likely be the starter in Tuscon.

 

The Jets lost a netminder but added a defenseman in Carl Dahlstrom. The 24-year-old left-shot defender's acquisition may be writing on the wall for 18-year-old, 2019 first-round pick, Ville Heinola. Heinola has looked terrific in the preseason, but there isn't much to be gained in rushing a D+1 defender into the bigs. 

 

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Evander Kane has been suspended three games for abuse of an official in the final preseason contest. Does this affect his spot on the top power-play unit? Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc owners hope so. 

 

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From negativity to positivity. You can't help but love this. 

 

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Bryan Little has a concussion.

 

We can only hope that the Jets use Jack Roslovic as the 2C instead of say, Andrew Copp. If they do, Roslovic flanked by Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine could be darn juicy. Roslovic produced very well on a per-minute basis in a limited sample during the 2017-18 season. Not so much last year. With over 100 games under his belt, he may be getting ready to take this role and run with it for a time. 

 

But he needs the shot first. 

 

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Michael Clifford, Ian Gooding and I are drafting teams in the National Fantasy Hockey Championship. You can find out more about it here, where you can sign up for a team and win some big prizes! It's a pretty sweet setup. 

 

My league is drafting a bit late – Thursday evening at 5:00 pm PSDT. Come test your mettle against the Dobber Admin Team!

 

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For this Ramble, I’m going to add a little something that I’ve done a few times at DobberProspects where I share my notes in their (mostly) unedited form. This time it is from my most recent appearance on The Hockey PDOcast with Dimitri Filipovich where we breakdown and forecast the world of Fantasy. There are plenty more tidbits and info in the episode, but also a good amount of my notes that didn't make it in. Listen and read to have all of your bases covered.

 

Sleepers

Roope Hintz 

  • Played down the middle down the for a stretch last year. Many are predicting Pavelski to play 2C, but I could definitely see the second line of Pavelski-Hintz-Benn

  • If they do run Pavelski as C2, Hintz looked very good on the wing next to Radulov and Seguin for stretches in the back half as well. 

  • His 5v5 SH% was low

  • His EV TOI will uptick

  • 2nd PP will keep a ceiling on him though. (And I want to say the same thing about Heiskanen)

  • 50 point not out of the question

 

Filip Hronek

  • Kid is 21 and has already clicked at a 50-point pace in the AHL over 100+ games

  • Posted 16 points in the final 28 games

  • Playing 22+ minutes a night in the final quarter for DET

  • Ghost of Mike Green still around and Jeff Blashill will probably split that top PP D spot for a bit. But Green will falter and Hronek will take over He’s my guy this year. I think he takes that role. I think Mantha takes a step. I think Larkin is the real deal. Zadina is coming. Veleno is coming. That Red Wings PP is going to be legit in a hurry. 

  • He could go off for 45 this season and 55 next year

Devon Toews

  • Barry Trotz appears to love this guy

  • Worked his way up to 2 minutes of PP per night in the final 20 games. 

  • That spiked to over 3 minutes in the playoffs

  • 5 points in 8 games

  • Over 2 shots per game

  • NYI top PP isn’t as tasty without Tavares, but I think Mat Barzal reasserts himself as a premier distributor this year. Anders Lee remains an elite netfront. It could be worse. 

 

Jesper Bratt

  • Top 60 in P/60

  • Exposure to some combo of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, or Jack Hughes

  • NJ could try to ‘muscle’ their second line up with Wayne Simmonds and that would definitely hurt Bratt. But he’s skillful and would work well with the aforementioned group. 

  • Can Wayne Simmonds keep up? Will he stay healthy? I have doubts

  • Worst case sees Bratt and Jesper Boqvist come together on an interesting third line.

  • The deployment will play a huge role. 


Kevin Fiala

  • Big spike in PPTOI occurred when he landed in Minny (3+). That should continue this season. 

  • Always been a highly skilled player. Now he’s the top young offensive player on a team built to win never. That’s not ideal, but he should eat up all the fun ice. 

  • I think 25 goals and 60 points is doable. Should be a safe 50. 

 

Nazem Kadri

  • Banging the 2C gig in Colorado isn’t as bad as it once was. He’ll have a (hopefully) motivated Andre Burakovksy and then one of JT Compher or Tyson Jost on the other side. 

  • That netfront on PP1 should be his – and that's where all the cream is.

  • This is a guy who has shown capable of producing 30 goals and 60 points. He’ll receive a similar deployment this year. 

  • In the meat of his statistical prime. 

  • I’m buying

 

Darcy Kuemper

  • Everyone is on Antti Raanta to come back and be the man that he was expected to be in 2018-19, but it was Kuemper who was the wall for the Coyotes. I think AZ plays the hot hand, and Darcy hasn’t always shown well with competition. But if he can be hot, then an improved Coyotes team could push him to provide solid solid value play late in the draft. 

  • Raanta loves the IR 

 

Cory Schneider

  • Another older goalie left for dead. Many are expecting Mackenzie Blackwood to steal the job and be a sexy pick to breakout. I like Cory to be the man on the upstart NJ squad. 

  • People forget this is the guy who led the ALL-TIME CAREER SAVE % list for a long stretch. He’s still top 10 despite living below .900 for far too long. 

  • The hips are fixed and he showed that he was back in the last 17 games posting a 0.923. He was especially good on the PK during that run – always a great sign for a netminder on the rise. 

  • Excellent in the preseason. Backend is improved with PK Subban and Ty Smith (Edit: Smith was sent to Spokane of the WHL on Tuesday evening. Thanks for nothing CHL-NHL agreement.)

  • Give me 50+ Schnieder starts next season. 


Tyler Bertuzzi

  • 25 points in the final 31 games. 

  • Compliments Larkin and Mantha very well with his abrasive style

  • Looks to be in line for 18 minutes a night and a gig on PP1

  • I like him. 

 

Kevin Hayes

  • Big players take longer. This is a fact. 

  • Hayes is at 421 w/ playoffs – he’s at the point where it’s break- out time. 

  • Now he’s going to play with Jakub Voracek and either Travis Konecny or JVR on L2. That’s a great spot. 

  • PP2 is calling which will keep him from truly exploding, but don’t be shocked to see career highs in goals and points this year. 

  • I like that PP2 in Philly more than most as well

 

Andreas Johnsson

  • Playing with Auston Matthews and Willy Nylander at 5v5 is dreamy

  • 2nd PP would be less so. But there is a world he lands that fourth F spot on the top unit. 

  • But He produced at a 55-point pace from Nov 15 onwards – right when he was elevated to the top six. With that 2nd PP deployment. 

  • Improved in shot generation should come with maturation

  • The X factor being the development of Matthews and Nylander. Those two have the potential to go off – especially Matthews. 

  • If they do, he’ll be coming along for the ride and pushing 60. 

Kasperi Kapanen

  • Basically repeat the Johnsson deployment on sub-in John Tavares and Mitch Marner. EVP should spike. PPTOI will be tough to sneak two minutes.

 

Breakouts

Kevin Labanc

  • Just a high-quality player in all situations – and a late bloomer to boot! Love rooting for the underdog.

  • Top line is coming – 3-4 more minutes per game. If he just kept pace with last year (a very modest expectation, he would’ve hit 70 points with the additional deployment)

  • Top PP is questionable – whether they run the 4+1 and split Brent Burns and EK will be the deciding factor.

  • Productive last season – Top 35 in P/60 last season

  • Improvements year over year

    • 32 in 39 down the back half

  • Bet on himself with the ridiculous 1M deal

  • I'm bullish – 68 points in my Player Projections

Timo Meier

  • This one is more obvious. 

  • Top line deployment a lock. Top PP shouldn't be far behind despite Evander Kane earning long looks there in the preseason.

  • Jumped out to a ppg run for more than half the season. Pedigree. The whole nine.

  • Shooter – top 10 in shot generation in all situations on a per-minute basis. 

  • Awesome young player

  • 35 goals and 70+ points if he’s healthy.

 

Filip Forberg

  • Elite shot generation – top 20 on a per-minute basis

  • Health has kept him from hitting new highs. I'm taking the risk that 2019-20 is the year he plays 80 games and pushes 40 goals. 

 

Nikita Gusev

  • People can talk all they want about Shipachyov. They can ramble on that he’s proven nothing in the NHL. 

  • This dude is going to feast in NJ. 

  • Locked to either Hischier (who I think takes another big step this year) or Hughes.
    Top PP with the bunch of them and Hall. 

  • Honestly, there's little reason expect less than 60 points, and 70+ isn’t out of the question. 

 

Anthony Mantha

  • Shot generation continues to rise up each year. Shooting percentage holds steady at 12-13.

  • Big player with pedigree. You tend to wait a bit longer. He’s around 220 now so even a bit early for his true spike. 

  • Locked with Larkin. Det impressive youngsters

  • 70 points are doable this year. 

 

Philip Grubauer

  • Gotta love that spot he’s in. And he’s good? Perfect!

  • Led all netminders in all situations SV% from Feb 1 onwards. 3rd in EV SV%

  • Colorado is legit and can score there way out of trouble. 

  • 35 wins are legit. 

 

Shea Theodore

  • Took the “top PP” gig last year but VGK really runs two split units. I think that probably sticks for a while but he’s clearly ready and if the Golden Knights decide to monster up unit 1, watch out. 

 

Andrei Svechnikov

  • I expect the organization to lock up Martin Necas and Svech as a duo on the second line to spread the offense. Svechnikov will still see the top PP long term. 

  • Can finish from anywhere

  • Used in the slow area a lot last year on the PP. They should get him to the trigger area and watch him unload. 

  • Elite talent

 

Ondrej Kase

  • It’s all be said before:

    • Elite shot generation

    • Great speed and nose for quiet areas

    • Needs to stay healthy

    • And a trip out of Anaheim would be nice too

    • Hoping Ryan Getzlaf can find some old magic. Or he links up with Sam Steel and maybe Troy Terry

 

Sleepers Debunked

Jakub Vrana

  • He'll never see PP1. That’s it. In Washington that’s all that matters. Glass ceiling is thick.

 

JT Miller

  • I expect his proximity to Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser is limited at five-on-five. 

  • Great p/60 numbers last year

  • Produced well when up with the big boys in Tampa, but didn’t stick

  • If he steals Bo Horvat's fourth forward spot on the top PP then I like him pushing 55-60. If not, then 45-50.

 

Ryan Donato

  • I liked what he did in Minny post-trade. 

  • He was shotting a ton throughout the year – 10.9 shots per-60 was top 20 last season

  • But, unless Parise is hurt, I don’t see him cracking the top six. Jason Zucker, Kevin Fiala, Mats Zuccarello, and Zach Parise are pretty safe bets as the top six wings. So that leaves him with Luke Kunin or Joel Eriksson-Ek on L3 and PP2? 

  • Deployment is KING

 

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