The last update of the Fantasy Guide was in on Friday morning. This one had contract updates, and I put the Band-Aid Boys into the Draft List. I plan to put in my official Calder Trophy picks this week. Camps open soon and at that point the updates come fast and furious – at one point it will be updated two or even three times per day. So don’t even bother asking when the next update is at that point, because just blink and it’s updated again!
The big news on Sunday was the sudden announcement that Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt has been suspended for 20 games violating the NHL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Policy. Here are some key quotes cherry-picked from tons of literature and news releases:
Golden Knights: “While we respect the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program and are committed to its success, we strongly disagree with the suspension. We firmly believe that the presence of a trace of the banned substance was accidental and unintentional. Based on our conversations with Nate, analysis from independent medical experts and sworn testimony from the parties involved, we believe it is clear Nate was not able to reasonably ascertain how the substance entered his body. We will stand by him and support him during this time.”
Nate Schmidt: “Seven billionths of a milligram/mL – the equivalent of a pinch of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool…Another expert analyzed a sample of my hair and concluded there was no evidence of intentional use.”
Also Schmidt: “I understand that I will miss these games but I do not agree with the suspension and I will not accept being labelled a cheater.”
Schmidt’s agent: “He is innocent and this is a wrong decision.”
Several conclusions to be drawn here. One, I’m sold. I think he’s innocent enough to have this overturned. But two – this is a done deal. He’s suspended and all parties have accepted it. So that’s it.
Shea Theodore – and I am not an insider so this is just Psychic Dobber talking here – is playing hardball with Vegas, wanting to be paid based on what he knows he can do. And I don’t blame him and I have full faith in him being a superstar defenseman. But it was looking as though he would miss training camp and possibly season games. But now he’s holding the hammer. Schmidt missing the first 20 games means the Golden Knights really need Theodore for those games.
An under-the-radar signing on the weekend is the Caps signing undrafted Russian Sergei Shumakov. This guy was 19th in KHL scoring last season with 40 points in 47 games, which is good but not phenomenal. There are several reasons why this seriously caught my attention. First of all, he’s right in the wheelhouse for fantasy owners as he is 25 years old. That’s too old to sit in the minors for very long if at all, so the wait time for an answer on him – fantasy asset or bust – is short. I love that. Short wait times mean quick replacement if it goes sour, rather than hogging a bench spot forever. Second, he was actually 12th in points-per-game average. That kind of gets hidden when you scan down to 19th on the overall points list. He’s also improved in each year he’s played in the KHL and I love seeing steady progression. But third, and maybe the most important, is that the Capitals have little forward depth on the wing. I mean…they have four lines that are decent, plus Travis Boyd and Riley Barber need to clear waivers to be sent down. Plus Shane Gersich and Juuso Ikonen are reasonably close. But it’s not ridiculous depth as it is with some teams and even the third-line winger Brett Connolly could get bumped if he gets outplayed. So I kind of like this situation. I also like the fact that Alex Ovechkin is on this team as well as Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Tom Wilson has that first-line spot wrapped up in my opinion, but if an injury hits one of Wilson, Connolly, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jakub Vrana or Andre Burakovsky – Sergei Shumakov could get called up from Hershey and step right in. And how tempting would it be to then put together an all-Russian line? Anyway, if the league is deep he is someone I would consider with my last pick, or as an early waiver grab just in the “long shot, dark horse” category for perhaps a half-season of fantasy help. Don’t forget the name Sergei Shumakov.
Alexei Emelin signed over the weekend to play with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.
Frozen Tools news – the new-look section now has the line combinations back. Both the last game and last-3-game line combos area is up. Also line matchups (here – and I took the liberty of putting in an interesting matchup for you) section is ready, this is where you select a player and an opposing team and it tells you which lines are most commonly deployed by that team against that player. And finally, our player news section is back up and looking good (here). This is where we link to each article in which the player is mentioned. Handy for research during trade talks.
Stupid me had been asking you and eventually begging you to leave a review in my shop for my guide, wondering why nobody ever does. I mentioned it in the Ramblings, I linked to it in the newsletter and I even solicited on Twitter. Plus a couple of links in the Guide itself. Then I discovered that the reviews weren’t working! After submitting, they wouldn’t show! I’m sorry about that. Can you try again now? We fixed it. You will need to go into the product you bought, be it the Guide itself or one of the packs and review the exact one you bought. Thanks again.
Here are bodog’s odds for winning the Hart Trophy in the coming season:
In terms of value, Aleksander Barkov is best value by a mile if you want to throw a Hail Mary. But Johnny Gaudreau, Blake Wheeler and Jonathan Marchessault offer good value as well. Over-valued and overrated is Steven Stamkos – give Stamkos the Barkov-odds I would still take Barkov over Stamkos for this wager.
Short and sweet this week, folks. But on the plus side I am catching up on all my rankings. ALL my rankings – you’ve already seen this year’s Band-Aid Boys (here), and the Top 100 Keeper goalies (here). But you can expect the fall edition (a couple weeks early, I know) of the Top 50 Prospect Goaltenders today and the player, defensemen and prospect rankings over the next week. Vacation had me behind on all those things and now it’s catch-up time. Enjoy!
See you next Monday.
- Ramblings: Marner returns; updates on Strome, Spurgeon, and Landeskog; Fiala - December 5
- Ramblings: Landeskog Returns, Phil Finally Provides Some Thrill (Dec 6)
- Ramblings: Goalie Competition in Pittsburgh, Devil of a Time (Dec 7)
- Injury Ward: Dahlin, Backstrom, Landeskog, Fleury, Marner & Hughes
- Capped: Teams with free-agent uncertainty
- Looking Ahead: Bet on Vegas
- Frozen Tools Forensics: Cold Starts from the Defense
- Daily Fantasy Saturday: Cashing In With Cash Games