Wednesday Recap, Players Who Are More Trick Than Treat, plus more…
The evening of October 31 was an action-packed one, with Halloween, the World Series, and of course three NHL games all happening at once.
Many of the faults of the Rangers have been exposed early in the season. The lack of a true number one center and an aging Henrik Lundqvist are two that come to mind. But those worries were put to rest, at least for one night, with a 6-4 win over the fast-starting Vegas Golden Knights.
Mika Zibanejad, the closest thing to a true number one center for the Rangers, scored a goal and two assists with nearly 20 minutes of icetime in the victory. Zibanejad is on a four-game point streak, which includes five points over his last two games. With eight goals and 13 points in 13 games, he is one Ranger who hasn’t disappointed. His shooting percentage is a bit higher than normal, so the goal pace will come down. But if he stays healthy over a full season, 60 points is within reach.
Lundqvist earned the victory, although he allowed four goals in the process. Look at his numbers over the past couple seasons and you’ll notice that they are not trending in the right direction. If you own Lundqvist, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to deal him to someone who still believes he is elite. On Yahoo you can now look up a player and see who he is being traded for (go to Research, Trade Market). I noticed that Lundqvist is being traded straight across for the likes of Ben Bishop and Craig Anderson. I would take the other goalie in both deals.
You can’t be blamed if you don’t know who the goalie was at the other end of the ice. Maxime Lagace is the fourth goalie that the Golden Knights have used this season. Pick him up if you need a goaltender, I suppose. I believe the below video describes what has happened to the Knights' goaltending depth this season.
The Golden Knights are now on an Eastern road trip and have lost two games in a row. Nothing against Lagace (except for the fact that he’s a fourth-string goalie), but wins won’t be so easy to come by anymore.
I recently picked up Reilly Smith in a deep league and he rewarded me with two goals in the Vegas loss. With nine points (4g-5a) in his first 11 games, Smith is one player whose fantasy value has been aided by joining the first-year team. He seems to be clicking on a line with Jonathan Marchessault, who assisted on both of Smith’s goals while firing six shots of his own. Smith and Marchessault are familiar with each other as both played for the Panthers last season.
Nothing from Shea Theodore in his first game as a Golden Knight, unless you count two blocked shots. He logged 16 minutes of icetime and was tops among Vegas blueliners in power-play icetime, which is definitely a positive. Try to add him where possible. Steve provided a great guide in yesterday’s Ramblings listing which defensemen you could drop (if anyone) to make room for Theodore.
Theodore’s main competition for power-play time would be Colin Miller, who with an assist on Tuesday now has a six-game point streak with eight points over that stretch. Miller wasn’t that far behind Theodore in power-play time in this game (3:23 to 3:06), and he already has six power-play points on the season. His fantasy value might take a hit with Theodore now in the fold, but I can’t see it dropping significantly in the short term if you need a defenseman right now.
One player that I can say that I’m proud to have selected as a sleeper in one league is Clayton Keller. Despite yet another loss by the Yotes, Keller scored a goal and added an assist to extend his point streak to seven games.
Not only did the rookie Keller make the Coyotes, but he’s also carrying them offensively, leading them in both goals (9) and points (15). To compare, no other Coyote has more than three goals. Other Coyotes such as Max Domi, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, and Derek Stepan are having decent seasons offensively. But clearly the Coyotes will need more goals from other players if they hope to climb out of the basement of the Pacific Division.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 of 29 shots he faced in earning a 2-1 victory over the Wild on Wednesday.
An update, for those of you who thought I was crazy for suggesting before the season that Hellebuyck would turn the Jets’ goaltending situation into a timeshare even after the Jets signed Steve Mason:
Hellebuyck: 6-0-1, 1.91 GAA, .940 SV%
Mason: 0-3-1, 4.84 GAA, .872 SV%
I know it’s early and there’s lots of time for things to turn around, but so far I’m liking my prediction.
My Halloween, possibly like yours, consisted of trick or treating. In my very unscientific poll of door knocking on the evening of October 31, I can tell you that zero percent of residences that participate in Halloween opt for the “trick” option in trick or treating. So in the spirit of tricking, and because I will be handing out my treats in my Finding Fantasy Value column for Sportsnet, I give you three popular October waiver-wire adds that I believe are more trick than treat.
What I like about Brown: He’s playing on a line with Anze Kopitar, and he’s fourth on the Kings in power-play icetime. That explains much of his fast start (12 points in 12 games). Yet so does his 14 percent shooting accuracy, which hasn’t been this high since the 2007-08 season. To compare, the former Kings' captain has shot between 5 and 8 percent over each of his last four seasons. With 42 shots in 12 games, Brown is on pace for nearly 300 shots, a number that will be difficult to keep up when he has mostly hovered just under 200 over the past four seasons.
If you believe in Brown, you also may cite that his point total actually increased last season (from 28 points in 2015-16 to 36 points in 2016-17). So 40 points isn’t out of the question at this point. But it hasn’t all been hot lately for Brown, who snapped a four-game stretch without a point with a goal on Monday. Brown is already claimed in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues, so I can’t really tell you not to pick him up off the waiver wire. But if you did snatch him, now is a great time to sell him with his Yahoo ranking as high as it’ll ever be. Swap him for a more consistent option, or add him in a package to acquire a true stud.
Every now and then a player inexplicably goes on a run. Such is the case with Dorsett, who had zero fantasy value entering the season after undergoing cervical fusion surgery last season. In fact, Canucks’ fans and fantasy owners both complained when Dorsett was included in the opening-night lineup and Brock Boeser wasn’t. Yet we’re only 11 games into the season and Dorsett looks the second coming of Todd Bertuzzi in his prime with six goals and 44 penalty minutes already.
Go ahead and ride Dorsett while he’s hot, but eventually he’ll turn back into a pumpkin. His shooting percentage is an abnormal 37.5 percent, which makes it plain to see that luck has a lot to do with his early-season success. Despite the hot stick, Dorsett sees virtually no power-play time, and despite skating nearly 20 minutes on Monday, his regular linemates are Markus Granlund and Brandon Sutter. There’s absolutely no reason to add him in leagues that offer no physical categories. As for the leagues that offer hits and blocked shots, you should only consider adding him if the league is very deep.
We’ve witnessed flashes of brilliance from Stewart in the past. Think back to when he was acquired by the Blues during the 2010-11 season, when he scored 15 goals in just 26 games. He also got off to a wickedly hot start this season with six goals over his first six games. Those six goals were on just 14 shots, giving Stewart an unsustainable 42 percent success rate.
Given Stewart’s track record, a long dry spell will hit. Perhaps it already has, as Stewart has been held without a point over his past four games. Even more concerning is that Stewart has been held to just 12-13 minutes per game over those last four games with just 23 seconds of power-play time over five power plays. Many fantasy owners added Stewart in the hopes of riding the hot hand. However, we’ve reached a point where there’s simply no value in keeping him on your roster any longer.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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