Ramblings: Thoughts on Raanta, Shattenkirk, Stone, plus more…

by Ian Gooding on August 22, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Thoughts on Raanta, Shattenkirk, Stone, plus more…

Thoughts on Raanta, Shattenkirk, Stone, plus more…

Don’t forget to pick up your Fantasy Guide, if you haven’t already. There’s so much in there that I haven’t read it from cover to cover, but I find myself referring to it every day.

We’ve officially reached a time in which there is little to no hockey news of much consequence. So I had to reach out to the good people of Twitter for some topics today.
 


Here are my responses to some of your topics, all of which were related to hockey and none of which were related to hair products (I guess you guys think Cam has better hair than I do, which I’d kind of have to agree with). I apologize if I couldn’t get to yours; however, I’ll keep them on file and may respond in a future Ramblings, when I could run into writer’s block again (which is quite possible).
 


I’ll clarify that the above article isn’t necessarily a fantasy article – it’s probably more of a Vezina Trophy power ranking (although fantasy value and Vezina Trophy votes should be positively correlated). 

Am I brave enough to rank Raanta in that spot? No I’m not. There are at least 4-5 goalies listed below Raanta (John Gibson and Frederik Andersen are two more beyond the ones that you’ve listed). But sometimes you have to take a bold stance because you’ll look good when it pays off. But there’s also method to Mr. McCaig’s madness.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Raanta is criminally underrated. That is at least partially due to the team he plays for. We tend to associate bad team with bad goalie, but in Raanta’s case this is simply not true. Does your league count GAA and SV%? Then you should probably know that Raanta’s .930 SV% and his 2.24 GAA were the best in the league among goalies who started at least 35 games. Maybe he caught lightning in a bottle, you say. Well, Raanta’s .927 SV% and 2.20 GAA are the best among goalies who played in at least 100 games over the past four seasons.

The low win totals obviously decrease Raanta’s value, and it’s hard to have much faith that the rebuilding team won’t hang him out to dry. That’s why I wouldn’t put him in the top 10… yet. But we’re at least at the point where we can say yes, absolutely, Raanta is a darkhorse to win the Vezina.

See the Twitter responses to this question for further discussion and a debate between Raanta and Andersen, who are each valuable in different types of goalie scoring formats.
 


I won’t try to steal Rick’s thunder, because he’s got a Cage Match involving Stone coming up. But if it’s Yahoo you’re referring to, we’ve already discussed that their rankings aren’t perfect. Want a few reasons Stone’s ranking might be low?

  • Injuries – an average of 64 games played over the last two seasons
  • Relatively low shot totals – never taken more than 160 shots in a season
  • Plus/minus risk (and possible production risk) from playing on a struggling Senators team

Having said that, I think Stone is an absolute steal at 136 in Yahoo leagues. There are those reasons to be concerned about him, especially in multicategory leagues. But we’re talking about a player who produced at a point per game last season and could very well do so again.

How’s that for winging it?
 


That’s a hard one that I’m drawing a blank on. But am I allowed to answer one question with another?
 


Okay, well I don’t think Shattenkirk will reach 65 points. And he’s not quite 30 yet. But he should at least be on your list for potential bounce-back players with what I believe will be a safe 40 points (health permitting) with upside for 50.  

Ranked at 193 by Yahoo, Shattenkirk is a defenseman that you could pull significant value from as a late-round pick. Because he was playing through an injury, Shattenkirk wasn’t on pace for his best season (41 points over a full 82 games). But this was a blueliner who recorded a much higher scoring pace (56 points in 80 games) the season before split between St. Louis and Washington. He had also recorded at least 40 points in each of his last six full seasons.

Unless you consider Anthony DeAngelo to be a significant threat, Shattenkirk should be in no danger of being bumped from the first-unit power play. With a mostly youthful defense, the Rangers should lean heavily on their $6 million defenseman. Don’t forget about him in fantasy drafts, because he’s not at the point where we can say his production has fallen off a cliff. 
 


I like the creativity in this suggestion, so I’ll pull one date at random… let’s go with one year ago today, the closest date to that being August 20. I wrote about different league platforms (Yahoo, CBS, ESPN, Fantrax), Travis Zajac/Pavel Zacha, Henrik Lundqvist, and Brock Boeser. You can read it here.

I’ll give you the summary if you don’t feel like clicking:

Zacha could not capitalize on Zajac’s early-season injury and never really recovered after that, finishing his second season with the same number of goals as his first (8) and just one more assist (17). In fact, his power-play production dropped from 13 PPP to 5 PPP, with a corresponding drop from 1:50 PPTOI/GP to 1:18 PPTOI/GP. He will obviously need more time to reach his full potential, but an improvement in power-play time would really help his numbers.

I predicted another 30-win season for Lundqvist, which he fell four wins short of. In defense, we probably didn’t know at the time that the Rangers would start a rebuild at the trade deadline. I also noted that his ratios were trending downward (2.74 GAA and .910 SV% in 2016-17), which was enough reason for me to let someone else reach for him. The save percentage improved (.915 SV%), but the goals-against average did not (2.98 GAA). My stance on Lundqvist today hasn’t changed; however, more fantasy owners probably now know that he is a low-G2/high-G3 at best in 12-team leagues.

Boeser: “He could either basically lead the Canucks in goal scoring, or he could spend significant time in the AHL.” I’d say the first statement came true, as Boeser led the Canucks with 29 goals in spite of missing 19 games. Barring another injury, I’d say Boeser has a better than 50-50 chance of scoring at least 30 goals. His 16% shooting accuracy is higher than that of many players, but his incredible shot should be the reason that you shouldn’t be too worried about regression.

I did also mention that the Canucks had 15 forwards signed to their roster at this time last season, which was the highest of any Western Conference team. Want to know how many they have now? The same number. The kicker is that number does not include Elias Pettersson, Nikolay Goldobin, Tyler Motte, Jonathan Dahlen, Reid Boucher, or Darren Archibald. So if the Canucks could dress seven forward lines, they’d be all set! Needless to say, I wouldn’t target the Canucks as a source of potential sleepers unless you’re looking right at potential super rookie Pettersson. But I will also predict that within this massive logjam of forwards, there will be one or two solid sleepers that will emerge, since the Canucks really only have one bonafide scoring line at the moment.  

That was fun. I might have to try that again sometime.
 


Pettersson for Calder? He should be on short lists right now, I would think. I’ll predict that it won’t be Rasmus Dahlin, simply because of the time it takes for young defensemen to blossom. Casey Mittelstadt is another legit option. As is Eeli Tolvanen, if he can push his way onto a scoring line and the Predators are willing to take the training wheels off. 

Dark horse picks? I’m going to say someone from the Carolina Hurricanes. I suppose Andrei Svechnikov isn’t a true dark horse pick. Martin Necas might not be either. But what about Valentin Zykov? Apparently he is still a rookie. Zykov played in 10 games last season (scoring seven points) while playing just 2 games the season before. I mentioned in an earlier Ramblings that the Canes moving Jeff Skinner could benefit Zykov tremendously.   

In case you’re wondering, according to the Hockey Operations Guidelines, “To be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons. Any player at least 26 years of age (by September 15th of that season) is not considered a rookie.”

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For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.