The big injury news from Monday was that David Pastrnak was skating on the top line for the Bruins in practice as he returns from an arm injury. He’s officially a game-time decision for Tuesday’s contest. Though the team has just three games over the next six nights for fantasy semi-final week, getting the Czech superstar back in fantasy lineups will be a huge boost to any fantasy roster.
The Bruins also had a quartet of injured players skate on Monday as Kevan Miller, Marcus Johansson, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelcyk all hit the ice before practice. The latter did so without a stick as he continues his own recovery from an arm injury. There’s no confirmation of an immediate return for any of them, but Johansson in particular could help in H2H playoffs next week – aside from Krug, who is already rostered in almost every league – as the Bruins have four games and they include the Panthers, Rangers, and Red Wings. We’ll update further when we get more news.
Calvin de Haan returned to practice for the Hurricanes, having missed the last few games after taking a stick to the face. There is no apparent long-term injury here which is fantastic news for de Haan. He hasn’t been much use outside of deep leagues this year and I don’t anticipate this will change over the next few weeks.
There’s, uh, also this:
De Haan just said after he took the stick to the eye he was poking around his eye socket making sure his eyeball is still in place because he didn’t want it dangling around and he couldn’t see a thing
— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) March 18, 2019
It’s that time of year where it’s hard to pay attention to the dregs of the league, but it’s worth noting that after his current recent hot streak, Jakob Silfverberg is up to 22 goals on the year. He needs one more to tie his career-high of 23 in 2016-17.
I will say that while this is pretty cool for Silfverberg, this is kind of disheartening for fantasy owners. I don’t think I’m the only one who was waiting for the 28-year old Swede to have *that* magical season where he posts a high shooting percentage and explodes offensively. Because he does currently have the highest shooting percentage of his career (15.2 percent) by a wide margin (previous high of 10.1 percent in his 23-goal season). But he’s missed some games due to injury and the team was terrible and injured basically up until a month ago, and that has kept his assists to a minimum.
After spending some time on the top line in the team’s last game, Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich was bumped down to the second line in practice on Monday. He was a guy I thought could do very well moving up the lineup post-trade deadline and he does have 5 goals in 10 games (no assists, though). In 33 games in calendar 2019, Buchnevich has 11 goals and 19 points in 33 games, which pro-rates to 27 goals and 47 points over 82 games. He’s done this while playing less than 14:30 per night in that span. I will continue to bang this drum until it happens: Buchnevich is on the cusp of being fantasy relevant in all formats, he just needs a coach to give him the consistent minutes.
This is more for the postseason than anything but Mats Zuccarello is expected to start practicing with the Stars on their next road trip. The problem is the next road trip is next week and that won’t give Zuccarello many, if any, games to get up to speed before the playoffs begin.
Some people may be disappointed with Colin Miller’s fantasy performance this year, and I get it, but let’s step back for a second.
Before the season, Miller had an ADP somewhere between the 40th and 50th defenceman off the board. In standard Yahoo! leagues, as of Monday afternoon, he’s the 49th-ranked defenceman. Considering both draft investment and performance, there really isn’t much lost here.
Beyond just his fantasy ranks, he’s been a bit unlucky. He sits at minus-1 on the season but has received .909 goaltending behind him at five-on-five on a team that sits at a .916 overall. He’s still been one of the best play drivers so there’s not much concern of a rebound there so long as he gets better goaltending in 2019-20. He’s also shooting less than half his career average (5.9 percent) this season (2.5 percent). If he shoots anywhere near his normal rate, he’s pretty much in line with his double-digit goal production rate from last year.
In short, Miller has been about as expected this year, if a bit on the unfortunate side. He’s firmly behind Shea Theodore in the pecking order now, though, so I wouldn’t expect his production to pick up next year. He’s about a 35-point guy and that’s just fine.
Our Dobber Hockey fantasy playoff draft list is now available for pre-order in the Dobber Shop here. It is an invaluable resource for those participating in any sort of playoff league, be it fantasy, pools, or just picking teams.
Just wanted to extend a hearty welcome to Chris Wassel, who is joining the Dobber Prospects team covering rising stars from the New Jersey Devils. I’ve known Chris for years and if there are two things he’s fanatical about, they’re fantasy hockey and the Devils. If you’re a New Jersey fan, be sure to check out the Dobber Prospects pages from time to time to read Chris’s work.
I know some people are concerned about the Nashville Predators heading into playoffs given their perceived lack of scoring but I think it’s a bit overblown. At five-on-five this year, the team has scored 2.58 goals per 60 minutes, 12th in the league and sandwiched between Vegas and Winnipeg. Combine that with the best blue line in the NHL outside of maybe San Jose and this team is just fine. The power play is an ongoing issue, of course, but I’d rather have a team struggle to score on the PP than 5v5. Having all their players healthy for an extended period may help in this regard. The West has a lot of very good teams, even if the Predators are bounced in the second round it’s hard to say they’re failures.
It’s gone by fairly quietly, but it’s worth noting that Jonathan Toews has cracked both the 30-goal and 70-point plateaus for the first time since 2010-11. Scoring is up league-wide so players posting great years compared to recent seasons isn’t usually noteworthy, but Toews hadn’t cracked 60 points, let alone 70, since 2014-15. He’s currently on a point-per-game pace – heading into Monday night’s game – and if he can maintain that, it’ll be the first time in his career he’s accomplished the feat.
Sure, Toews is shooting 15.2 percent, and that’s a three-year high, but it’s not abnormal for him. He has five different seasons over 15 percent shooting and was never below 12.4 percent in his career until 2016-17. His 20:52 per game and having line mates who score are really helping Toews’s season here. His on-ice shooting percentage, or the rate at which the team scores with him on the ice, is just over nine percent and his Individual Points Percentage (IPP) is well within his career norms. In other words, Toews isn’t really getting lucky this year. It’s a good scoring environment and he’s getting loads of ice time. Something to remember for next year.
Steven Stamkos became the Tampa Bay Lightning’s all-time leading goal scorer by tallying his 384th goal with the franchise in Tampa Bay’s 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. That was his 36th of this season, giving him a chance to crack 40 goals for the first time in four years. Maybe he’s not the player he was five years ago, but he’s still pretty good!
Yanni Gourde scored an empty net goal, which was his 20th goal of the year. He hasn’t been able to follow his breakout season last year, but getting the 20-goal mark is no small feat. I do wish he would shoot more, though, as he’s going to finish under two shots per game again this year even playing 16 minutes a night.
Elias Pettersson tied Pavel Bure’s franchise rookie scoring record with his 60th point in the team’s 3-2 overtime win against Chicago. Bo Horvat and Alex Edler each had a goal and an assist in this game, the two of them combining on the overtime tally. Edler added two shots, three blocks, and a hit for a very well-rounded fantasy effort.
Thatcher Demko saved 29 of 31 shots in the win, his first victory in a month.
In a possible first-round playoff matchup preview, Vegas laid the wood to a Joe Pavelski-less San Jose squad to the tune of a 7-3 win. William Karlsson’s line did most of the damage as he had one goal and one assist, Jonathan Marchessault had two of each, while Reilly Smith had one goal and three assists. With four goals in his last two games, Marchessault is up to 24 on the year, one away from his third straight 25-goal campaign.
Malcolm Subban saved 33 shots in the win as Marc-André Fleury was listed by coach Gallant as day-to-day.
Brent Burns had an assist in the loss and that assist gives him 75 points on the year, reaching that mark for the third time in the last four seasons. Though some of his peripherals like shots per game and blocks per game have fallen off, he’s been as productive as ever, and that’s why he’s the top defenceman in fantasy.
He was injured for about two months and that will probably frustrate his fantasy owners, but even in a shortened season we’ve seen the levels of production that Vincent Trocheck can bring. He’s averaging over two hits per game, about 2.7 shots per game, would fly past 50 blocked shots had he played 75 games, and sits with roughly a penalty minute per contest. Perhaps the point production is a bit lacking but it’s worth noting his current shooting percentage (5.8 percent) is about half his three-year average from 2015-18 (11.4 percent). If you double his current goal total to account for the shooting percentage drop, he’s up to 0.31 goals per game coming off three seasons of 0.33, 0.28, and 0.38 goals per game. In other words, things are pretty much normal here.
It’s just a reminder that in multi-category leagues, Trocheck should still be considered one of the top options available. He’s lost nearly 90 seconds per game in ice time and is still just a shade under 20 minutes per night. The Panthers centre also doesn’t turn 26 until July. He’s a name to stash away somewhere for drafts in 2019-20. The injury-shortened season combined with an unsustainably low shooting percentage will guarantee a depressed ADP compared to 2018-19. It is exactly the type of situation savvy fantasy owners should embrace in the search for draft value.
I want to hear from Casey Mittlestadt keeper owners. What do you think of him this year? Are you happy to have him on your dynasty/keeper league rosters? Are you concerned about him not having talent on the wings to play with or are you taking a longer view? Is there anything that’s stood out about his game you’ve liked or disliked this year? Hit us up in the comments.
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