Thoughts on Schwartz, Fleury, Gibson, and more…
It’s hard to believe we’re almost into September, with training camp just a few weeks away. And we’re already discussing fantasy drafts.
Jaden Schwartz and Mark Stone are going SO late in every mock draft I’ve done. Great read as usual.
— SuperDave46 (@Supaguy46) August 26, 2018
Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. I identified Stone as an effective later-round pickup in earlier Ramblings here and here. Schwartz also seemed like a great grab as a 13th-round pick (151st overall, according to my calculations). So this would be a great time to examine why he should be ranked higher and also shed some light on maybe why he wasn’t.
Something that stands out to me about Schwartz is his points-per-game numbers. Although he was held to 62 games in 2017-18, Schwartz still recorded 59 points (24g-35a), mainly on the Blues’ top line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn. That calculated out to 0.95 points per game, which was the same number as the likes of Tyler Seguin and William Karlsson.
In case you’re wondering why Schwartz is not ranked higher in your multicategory fantasy league, only 11 of his 59 points came on the power play. In fact, his highest PPP total in his career is 15 from back in 2014-15. The Blues were as a whole ineffective on the power-play, with only the Oilers sporting a worse power-play effectiveness than the Blues’ 15.4% success rate. Schwartz also averaged the second-highest PPTOI among Blues’ skaters. The fact that the power-play game plan is to get the puck to Tarasenko might not bode well for Schwartz’s numbers.
Schwartz might have a reputation of being injury-prone, but he has played at least 75 games in three of his past five seasons. Don’t let that deter you from drafting him at least slightly higher than where he’s ranked by Yahoo, although it might be wise to knock off a few games from a full season in your projections.
Dobber also mentioned the above comment in his Monday Ramblings, citing the Band-Aid Boy reason. He had an interesting thought about drafting players who seem to regularly miss a chunk of games as opposed to playing a full season. I’d like to extend that thought to goalies, where I’ll examine two that I drafted in my mock draft over the weekend. I’ll assume a perfect scenario where you were able to place the goalie on IR and draft the backup.
Fleury posted stellar numbers (29-13-4, 2.24 GAA, .927 SV%, 4 SO) that would have made him a Vezina Trophy nominee had he not been derailed by a concussion for about two months. You might remember that the Golden Knights were forced all the way down to their fifth-string goalie from the WHL while their AHL/ECHL goalies were dropping like flies. During that time Malcolm Subban went 7-2-0 with a 2.33 GAA and .924 SV% and Oscar Dansk went 3-0-0 with a 1.76 GAA and .946 SV%. Hardly a dropoff! Hopefully you jumped off the train by the time Maxime Lagace took over, as he didn’t prove to be NHL-caliber with a 3.79 GAA and a .872 SV%. But by that point it was just plain ol’ bad luck for the Vegases.
It might seem like yesterday that Fleury was a rookie with the Penguins, but he’s now 33 and has dealt with his share of both injuries and rough stretches. He seems to be in a great place now, though. So are the Golden Knights, who finished eighth in the NHL with a 2.74 GAA in their inaugural season. So I would be okay with drafting Fleury at his ADP while adding Subban as either a handcuff or a priority waiver-wire add, depending on how deep your league is.
I’ve had multiple people tell me recently that they don’t like Gibson because he has a reputation of being too injury-prone. That may be so, but he still managed to get 60 games in last season. In addition, his .926 SV% (4th) and his 2.43 GAA (8th) were both in the top 10 among the 32 goalies who played at least 40 games. Gibson played in just six games in February compared to Miller, who stumbled in the goals-against average department that month (3.20 GAA) yet didn’t slip much when compared to Gibson in save percentage (.920 SV%).
As a team the Ducks finished with the league’s third-best goals-against average (2.55 GAA). So I believe handcuffing Miller to Gibson is an effective strategy. I think Miller can still be effective on a reduced workload and can spell Gibson when that inevitable injury hits. The Ducks have a strong enough defense to make life relatively easy for their goalies. Take it from me – I won a fantasy title using the Gibson/Miller tandem last season (among other goalies, namely Frederik Andersen).
I will also add that Gibson’s preseason Yahoo ranking of 95 is not nearly high enough. I reached for him in Round 7 (pick 79) and would be okay if you even went a round or two earlier than that. Not too early, as you never want to reach farther than you need to.
To bring it back to a point I’ve made in the past, it may be better to own a backup from a strong team (or at least a defensively strong one) than it is to own a starter from a weak team. A lot depends on your league size and format, where you can extract hidden value where others may not be looking.
Some player news items:
We heard rumblings about Henrik Zetterberg missing the season, but now we have more concrete information confirmed by the man himself. Zetterberg will miss Red Wings’ training camp and is out indefinitely, but he is not ready to concede that his career is over. This news makes it seem more likely that he will miss the entire season and even end his career on LTIR. The Fantasy Guide currently has an update of Zetterberg playing in 65 games, but I’d have to think that number decreases even further with this latest news.
You may have heard of this one by now, but there was one minor player signing from earlier. Troy Brouwer signed with the Panthers for one year at $850,000. Brouwer was, of course, bought out by the Flames earlier this summer after scoring just six goals and 22 points while collecting $4.5 million. I can’t imagine he’d bring any more than veteran leadership and a bottom-6 role with the Panthers. His signing could push someone like Colton Sceviour or even Denis Malgin for icetime, but you’d have to participate in a very deep league for his signing to have any relevance. Maybe one of those leagues where you have to target players that are 2 percent owned.
The Oilers have signed Jason Garrison to a PTO. Might not seem like much, but remember that Andrej Sekera could miss a significant portion of the season with a torn Achilles and Darnell Nurse remains unsigned. Garrison is a veteran body for training camp at the very least, but I think given the Oilers’ lack of defensive depth he’s got a good shot to make the team.
From the “no news to report” section of the news:
Tyler Seguin is “disappointed” that he has not signed a long-term contract with the Stars. Could he be next season’s version of John Tavares? Imagine if both he and Erik Karlsson are both free agents. Could make for an interesting summer.
At his annual golf tournament, Max Pacioretty stated that he hasn’t negotiated a new contract with the Canadiens. You might also have to add his name to the list of potential UFAs next summer. In his weekly Top 10 article, Tom Collins mentions Pacioretty as a top Yahoo bargain. Even given the state of the Habs, Patches is still ranked much lower (117) than the top-50 ranking that he’s been drafted from in recent seasons. He may not bounce back to 30+ goals again, but remember that Pacioretty is playing on a contract year.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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