Ramblings: Training Camp Notes; Karlsson Traded; Rankings! – September 14

by Michael Clifford on September 14, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Training Camp Notes; Karlsson Traded; Rankings! – September 14

 

Well, given all the goings on in the last week, there has been some updates to the 2018-19 Dobber Hockey fantasy guide over the last week. If you have a copy already, be sure to grab the latest updates. If you don’t have your copy, no better time than now!

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A few items from training camp yesterday.

  • It looks like Tyler Ennis will get first crack a line with Auston Matthews and William Nylander. As always, this is the first day of camp and subject to change. He’ll have fantasy relevance if he can remain there for any length of time and will be fantasy irrelevant if he doesn’t. My bet is on the latter.
  • Tyler Bertuzzi was skating on a line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha for Detroit while a kid line was assembled of Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, and Michael Rasmussen. Notable here: Zadina was not skating with one of the team’s top two centres. He’ll have to play his way there and given the track record of usage from Detroit rookies be it under Blashill or Babcock (Larkin notwithstanding), that’s a concern.
  • Victor Rask is out indefinitely after undergoing hand surgery for an accident in his home. Rask was one of the players used on the top PP unit last year with the top line, as had Elias Lindholm. Does this open the door for Svechnikov?
  • J-G Pageau was injured during physical tests but the nature and severity of the injury is unknown. An update will be provided Friday.
  • It looks like Paul Byron is good to go for the Habs while Andrew Shaw is still possible to start the year on time.
  • No further concrete update on Gabe Vilardi as the Kings say he’s still week-to-week.

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Speaking of the Sens… my take on the fantasy impacts of Erik Karlsson being traded to San Jose yesterday.

Beyond what I wrote there, it’ll be hard to see how much fantasy value there will be on this roster post-trade deadline and next year. Both Matt Duchene and Mark Stone are probably going to be gone. Once they’re traded, the roster will not look much better than the Sabres rosters of a few years ago. Keep that in mind if you’re in head-to-head leagues and thinking about grabbing guys like Bobby Ryan or Thomas Chabot. Assuming both Duchene and Stone are traded, this roster is going to be an utter wasteland in March of 2019 and the entire 2019-20 season.

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Dallas announced a long-awaited extension as Tyler Seguin earned an extra eight years with an AAV just under $10-million. He is now signed through his age-35 season.

Seguin was set to be a UFA after 2018-19.

The initial inclination is to scream overpay here, but this is what he’s done in Dallas over the last five years (from Hockey Reference):

  • At least 70 points every season, 1 of 3 players to do so (Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Backstrom)
  • 173 goals, third-most in the league
  • 211 assists, one fewer than John Tavares
  • 384 points, tied with Backstrom for sixth-most in the league

Coming up next year as a UFA at the age of 27, he was going to get a barrel of money, and he’s earned every penny. All that’s left now is playoff success in Dallas.

Whether he’s worth it or not in cap leagues, I’ll leave that to Alex MacLean.

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I’ve finally published my rankings. A little later than I wanted but we’re done.

The rankings below were published at Fantasy Pros. A few notes on that:

  • These are based on Yahoo! standard leagues, which means goals, assists, PPPs, shots, hits, and plus/minus.
  • There are some players here with different eligibility than from Yahoo!. Nathan MacKinnon is C/RW on FantasyPros, for example. I did my best to account for them.
  • You should be able to view overall as well as by position.

Here you are:

 

 

Now, before people get angry, I want to clear up some thing about these rankings:

  • These are going to be tinkered with, namely the overall rankings and where everyone fits together. The positional ranking is more accurate at the moment. 
  • I still haven’t gotten to my goalies. Don’t worry about those rankings. I’ll get to those on the weekend.
  • A lot of roles are still undefined. For example: I have Tyler Bertuzzi on the third line in Detroit when it looks like he might be on the top line; Justin Faulk is still slotted as PP1 for Carolina; Kailer Yamamoto is in my projection as playing half the season with Connor McDavid and one-quarter of the season with Leon Draisaitl. There are a lot of players whose rankings could change significantly in the next few weeks depending on news coming out of training camps and exhibition games.
  • I adjusted post-Karlsson trade but still have to work a few things out. Namely, I'm just waiting for defence pairs and PP combinations. Someone like Vlasic could get a big boost. 
  • I have largely ignored plus/minus. Heavily-used defencemen on what should be bad teams –Rasmus Ristolainen, Nick Leddy, Alex Edler, to name a few – moved down the rankings a lot because of a likely significant negative in the plus/minus column. Other than that, they haven’t been considered for players. I do this because it’s a largely random stat. Think of it this way: Anze Kopitar (+21 last year) played roughly two-thirds of his 5v5 minutes with Alex Iafallo (+10) and roughly three-quarters of his 5v5 minutes with Dustin Brown (+31). Look at the spread in plus/minus between Brown and Iafallo, who spent most of their minutes with Kopitar. I just find it a waste of time.
  • As I mentioned in my rankings on Tuesday, I take positional scarcity into account based on 12-team leagues starting 3LW/3C/3RW/5D/UTIL. Different positions should have different expectations. For example, the top-50 right wingers in my data set project for 1115.43 goals while the top-50 left wingers project for 1149.53 That makes one goal from a left winger worth a little over 1.03 goals from a right winger. It’s a small difference, but when you consider your wingers could score hundreds of goals, and then you account for small differences in every other category, it starts to add up. So, all stats equal, a right winger is more valuable than a left winger and a left winger is more valuable than a centre. Elite-tier defencemen are also more valuable than they’re given credit for given the mediocrity of the middle tier (shout out to Laidlaw). That’s why wingers will rank higher in my rankings than those of some other people.
  • I haven’t tiered these yet. I will tier these eventually.
  • These are adjusted for age, so guys on the wrong side of 30 are going to take a hit while guys in their prime (22-27) will shine.
  • Power play points can change a lot for a lot of players. Example: Dylan Larkin is projected just outside my top-200 players. The reason for that is his PP production for his career has been abysmal, posting 20 PPPs in 242 games (seriously), and that’s with 150+ PP minutes in each season to date. Were he to manage, say, 20 PPPs in 2018-19, that moves him just outside the top-100 players. Same with Connor McDavid; if that Oilers PP turns itself around and McDavid reaches his PP potential, he’s number-1 in my rankings, even when considering positional scarcity.

With all that out of the way, let’s talk about some of these guys.

One thing I want to focus on is players that I’ve ranked higher or lower than the consensus on Fantasy Pros. There aren’t a lot of guys whose rankings are posted yet, but it should give you a good idea of who I’m personally high and low on.

 

Higher Than Consensus

Vladimir Tarasenko

All summer I’ve been saying that Tarasenko will be undervalued going into 2018-19 and it appears this is the case. The underlying issue, of course, is whether his shoulder is completely healthy following surgery in April. Think of it this way: last year was a down year for Tarasenko, I think most people would agree on that. In standard Yahoo! setups, he was still a top-30 player. If you can draft him in the late second or early third round, do it.

 

Vincent Trocheck

Even if you’re someone who thinks that Trocheck could regress by 10 points or so this year, his ability to contribute across the board should be coveted. The year before, he was a top-75 player with just 54 points and a minus-13 rating because of his power play points, hits, and shots. If he’s healthy, he’s not losing his role with Florida. I’d be fine with drafting him in the third round but you can probably get him in the sixth.

 

Joe Pavelski

It was just a year ago I was saying that Pavelski was overvalued. Now I think he’s undervalued. Crazy the difference a year can make.

If Joe Thornton can be anywhere near as healthy and productive as he was a couple years ago before the knee injuries cropped up, Pavelski has 25 goals and 35 assists locked up. He probably does even if Thornton isn’t healthy thanks to the additions of Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson. Pavelski adds loads of hits and shots, which is why he’s valuable for me.

 

Kyle Palmieri and Nico Hischier

Even if he’s not on the top line, Palmieri’s PP points, hits, and shots make him very valuable. With just 44 points in an injury-shortened season last year, he returned ninth-round value. He’ll be available in that round or later.

I truly believe Hischier is a superstar in the making and he has the MVP of the NHL on his left wing. With additional PP minutes coming his way, I think when April rolls around, people are going to wonder how they passed on him this year.

 

Colton Parayko

A 30-point defenceman who can put up the peripherals that Parayko can is valuable. That’s what made Ivan Provorov so valuable last year (though he was a 40-point guy). Parayko still hasn’t hit his ceiling fantasy-wise and maybe never will with Pietrangelo around. He can still be a 40-point defenceman though, especially with that revamped St. Louis offence.

 

Lower Than Consensus

Mitch Marner

Marner is on the precipice of being an elite playmaker and a superstar in this league. The issue is that he doesn’t provide much in hits and isn’t a huge shot volume guy. He does shoot a fair amount, but not to the level of guys like David Pastrnak or Rickard Rakell. I have him projected for 75 points but without huge shot volume or hits, he’ll be hard-pressed to return third-round value.

 

Nikolaj Ehlers

Let’s get this out of the way: Ehlers is truly one of my favourite players to watch in the league. If he picks up the puck in his zone and gets up to full speed, there’s almost no one more fun. That said, like Marner, he doesn’t hit much. He also doesn’t get top PP minutes, which caps his upside significantly. In order for a player who doesn’t post big hit totals to return near a top-75 pick, he needs either A) a healthy amount of PPPs or B) a healthy plus/minus. I’m not relying on plus/minus to return value on an early-round pick.

 

Nicklas Backstrom

I will say I don’t have a particular problem grabbing Backstrom in the seventh round or whatever because he’s pretty safe. If he and his line mates are healthy, he won’t plummet to 50 points or in that neighbourhood. But he doesn’t hit much anymore, and he’s never been a volume shooter. That means unless he gets extremely lucky production-wise, he doesn’t have league-winning upside. Guys like Brayden Schenn and Vincent Trocheck do.

 

Alex Pietrangelo

Do people realize Pietrangelo had the best year of his career in 2017-18 and returned the value of a 10th round pick? I have him ranked where I do just because I think the St. Louis offence will be better, but I don’t feel great about the projection even in the eighth round, let alone taking him higher.

 

Charlie McAvoy

I just don’t get it at all. Torey Krug is locked on the top PP unit (provided he's healthy), so McAvoy’s PP production will be minimal. He’s still young, but he landed just 1.2 shots per game last year as a rookie. Even if he increases that shot rate by 50 percent, it’s still just 150 shots in 82 games. That’s two-thirds of standard categories where he doesn’t contribute much, and I’m going to have to draft him as a second or third defenceman? Pass.

 

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If anyone wants individual point projections, just let me know in the comments.