Ramblings: The Unsigned, Ranking Hall and Debrincat, Fantasy Entry Draft Results (Aug 16)

by Ian Gooding on August 16, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: The Unsigned, Ranking Hall and Debrincat, Fantasy Entry Draft Results (Aug 16)


The developing story of the summer seems to be the number of restricted free agents that have yet to sign. Players like Mikko Rantanen, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Brock Boeser and Brayden Point could be waiting for Mitch Marner to sign, although the dominoes could start to fall once any of them sign.

Great question on the Twitter today:
 


As far as RFA Kevin Fiala goes, the Wild’s GM search is believed to be holding up his contract talks, according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com. So that’s an easy fantasy implication (assuming no holdout) once the new GM is hired.

In the meantime, there are some other UFAs that we are still waiting on. One UFA regular has been Joe Thornton, who has been on the list for three consecutive summers. According to Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, Thornton will sign with the Sharks at some point this offseason. Patrick Marleau is believed to be interested in rejoining him, although his future is less certain. Should one or both return, it appears that they would take on more of a third-line supporting role.

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The Top 100 Roto Rankings were posted on Thursday, in case you haven’t had a look yet. Constructive feedback welcome. Oh, and what the heck, maybe even some unconstructive criticism that is written in a well-constructed paragraph or two. I might completely disagree with you, but at least I’ll be impressed with your writing skills (I was once a business communications instructor, by the way.) I do recognize that you might spot a thing or two that I won’t, so the idea here is to have the best possible rankings list for you.

The next update will be posted on September 15, which happens to be… three or four days after training camps start! Will the above-mentioned players be signed by then? If not, could their fantasy values take a hit? Find out in a month, but in the meantime, take in this month’s rankings, which I made some last-minute changes to with the next two players.

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I realize that I didn’t rank Taylor Hall quite high enough, as his ranking had been pushed down because he had missed over half the 2018-19 season. Among players who had played in at least 30 games (Hall played in 33), his 1.12 PTS/GP placed him among the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Blake Wheeler, and Alex Ovechkin. This wasn’t quite the 1.25 PTS/GP of his 2017-18 Hart Trophy season, but it still places him in solid company.

The thing is, though, how high should Hall be ranked? Top 30? Even top 20? Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, remember that Hall is a certified Band-Aid Boy. Take a closer look at his games played total. He had a three-season stretch before 2018-19 in which he missed fewer games (82, 72, and 76 GP), but in three of his first four full seasons, Hall played in 65, 62, and 53 games. Over his nine-year career (minus the lockout season), Hall has averaged about 65 games played. If you factor in last season’s point pace, that’s about 73 points. Pretty good, and an argument can be made that he should be ranked even higher, but that’s why he shouldn’t be drafted as an elite option. Injury history matters when making player decisions.

The upside might be better than it has been in quite a while for Hall, who will have his pick of centers to play alongside. Over his past two seasons, it’s mainly been 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier. Yet now, that center could also be 2019 first overall pick Jack Hughes. Throw in a potential first-unit power play with new additions P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev and Hall could be in for a massive season that might rival his Hart Trophy season. Only if he can stay healthy for most of the season, though.

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I recently saw another rankings sheet that had Alex DeBrincat ranked in the top 30 among forwards, so I wondered if there was a reason that he could be higher on these rankings. Then I noticed that only five players scored more goals than Debrincat’s 41 goals in 2018-19 (granted, five other players matched his 41 goals). That’s still quite a feat for a player that is only 21 years old and entering his third NHL season.

A full season with junior teammate Dylan Strome should only help matters. After Strome was acquired from Arizona in late November, he was on DeBrincat’s line for over half of Debrincat’s even-strength minutes, and they were both used on the first power-play unit for about 75 percent of the time. For that duration, Debrincat was a point-per-game player (58 points in 58 games) while scoring 31 goals. That’s similar to his overall pace, but this has the makings of a solid arrangement that could benefit both players for years to come.

For more on Strome, you’re going to have to wait for someone else to write about it. Or if you need to know now, you can pick up your Fantasy Guide (French edition now available for presale, will be ready August 30). Strome is the Chicago player who received the Dobber Lowdown.

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In case you missed it or don’t follow me on Twitter, here are my keeper league’s entry draft results for draft-eligible prospects:
 


Overall, I’d say the draft went according to plan. Cole Caufield and Spencer Knight appeared to be the biggest reaches when you compare where they were drafted in the NHL. From what I’ve seen, Caufield is going higher in fantasy drafts than he did in the NHL draft (15th overall), which might reflect the difference between how fantasy owners and NHL GMs value players. Knight’s stock (13th overall) appears to be rising, even though he appears to be a long way away from making a fantasy impact (assuming he remains in the Panthers’ organization). That rising stock might be from clearly being the best goalie in the 2019 draft.

In case you are wondering which pick was mine, I actually traded it away in a failed attempt at winning my league. The pick turned out to be Knight, the first goalie drafted. I’ll come clean and admit this might turn out to be my worst fantasy hockey trade ever, but I traded away the pick (which turned out to be Knight) and prospect Joel Farabee for David Rittich and Joonas Donskoi. At the time, I wasn’t sold on my goalie situation, while I needed a right wing because David Pastrnak had just gone on the shelf with his thumb injury. Donskoi was a better option than what was on the waiver wire – I usually don’t try to trade for a player if I can find a similar player on the waiver wire.

As you can see, it’s not the deepest prospect league if there’s only a one-round entry draft, but I was willing to part with them for players that I may not end up keeping anyway. Besides, I wanted to be the five-time champion of this league!

If you don’t know who Matson Hockey (aka Tyler Matson) is, his pinned tweet will tell you a little bit more about what he is doing.
 


I’m glad I was able to contribute to his project, and I know some of you have already.

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I almost forgot to mention that Yahoo Fantasy Hockey opened for business today. Commissioners, press that renew button on your leagues! Now I’ll have to pick a draft time that pleases everyone. That’ll be easy.

At some point during this offseason (maybe sooner rather than later), I will have a look for undervalued and overvalued players on their rankings and share them here. This is an annual rite of passage for me to help me prepare for drafts, because not every rankings sheet is perfect (not even mine!) I will do the same for CBS, since one of my leagues is on their platform.

In the meantime, I’m going to plug the Fantasy Hockey Geek, which will be a huge help for your specific league. Just enter your league settings, then select your Dobber Fantasy Guide rankings, and success awaits!

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.