Ramblings: Wild Sign Dumba; Bubble Keepers Lehkonen, Jenner (July 22)

by Ian Gooding on July 21, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Wild Sign Dumba; Bubble Keepers Lehkonen, Jenner (July 22)


Wild Sign Dumba, Bubble Keeper Week: Lehkonen, Jenner

The Wild have signed Matt Dumba to a five-year, $30 million extension. With Dumba’s bridge deal of $2.55 million now expired, salary cap owners will now need to set aside an additional $3.5 million per season for him. He certainly made good on his contract year, recording his first 50-point season (14g-36a). Prior to 2017-18, Dumba’s career high was 34 points, so this was a breakout in the true sense of the word.  

If you didn’t know that Dumba scored 50 points this past season, it might be because he got lost in the crowd. Dumba was one of 19 defensemen to score at least 50 points – a number that grew significantly from 2016-17 (just 9 d-men) and 2015-16 (12 d-men). This is the trend of the puck-moving d-man at work.  
 


For anyone thinking Dougie Hamilton no contest over Matt Dumba, you might want to check out the rankings and numbers in a multicategory league last season:
 

 

Yahoo Rank

G

A

+/-

PPP

SOG

HIT

BLK

Matt Dumba

56

14

36

15

12

176

136

112

Dougie Hamilton

81

17

27

1

12

270

83

80


I’m not necessarily saying pick Dumba over Hamilton in the coming season’s drafts. The thread presents some great arguments on both sides. But when you need a defenseman, you may want to wait on Dumba if he is ranked well behind Hamilton by the fantasy hockey providers.

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As you may have noticed by now with the picture of Dobber blowing bubbles (he looks right at home, doesn't he?), we’re starting a new mid-summer theme here at Dobber Hockey. Because we are now well into the dog days of summer when there isn’t a whole lot of hockey news (not to mention hockey), we need to find something interesting to talk about. Having written about fantasy hockey for a decade, I can tell you firsthand that finding fascinating content to write about during the middle of the summer isn’t always easy.

When it comes to the topic of keepers, you may have already made up your mind, even if you don’t need to for another two months. Or maybe you haven’t even given it any thought. Or when you have a spare moment, you start to think about this very important matter. “Should I keep Player X? What about Player Y?”

Different leagues have different numbers of keepers. Some allow you to keep a set number of players, while others are more flexible. So for Bubble Keeper Week, our articles will focus on players outside of the top 150 of Dobber’s keeper league rankings that keeper owners may not keep. Will we be able to unearth players worth keeping? Will it depend on the format? What is the thought process that goes into deciding which players to keep? Are there players you could consider drafting?

The players I’ll be discussing will be potential keepers that I’ll need to make a decision on. For many of you, these players might not matter to you (at least not right now). But I’d imagine that the select few owners of these players will feel like they’ve found that long-lost item at a garage sale or eBay – fantasy analysis on a player that doesn’t receive a ton of it.     

I’m going to kick things off with a player who is ranked just outside of the top 150 of Dobber’s rankings. This is a player who will likely be ranked well below 150 in pre-draft rankings elsewhere based on last season’s output, but has shown signs of a breakout in spite of a lack of NHL success over his two-year career, particularly last season.

Artturi Lehkonen

Lehkonen fits the definition of the type of player we want to cover in Bubble Keeper Week, as he was owned in just 6 percent of CBS leagues and just 2 percent of Yahoo leagues at the end of the season. After an encouraging rookie season in which he scored 18 goals and 28 points, Lehkonen was afflicted by the sophomore jinx to the tune of just 12 goals and 21 points in 2017-18.

A few things went wrong for Lehkonen this past season. Injuries happened to get in the way, as he missed 16 games during November and December with a lower-body injury. His shooting percentage was also down from 11.4% in 2016-17 to 7.3% in 2017-18. Not surprisingly, the Canadiens as a whole also declined offensively from 2.72 GF/GP in 2016-17 to just 2.52 GF/GP in 2017-18, a drop of 16 goals.

There are several encouraging signs for Lehkonen, however. He scored more goals (7) in the final quarter than he did the first three quarters combined (5). Despite his goal reduction, his shot total per game actually increased from his rookie season (2.16) to his sophomore season (2.48), indicating some possible bad luck. As well, Lehkonen’s overall icetime increased about two and a half minutes per game from 2016-17 to 2017-18, which included a one-minute increase in power-play time.

If Lehkonen plays close to a full season and can continue to take about 2.5 shots per game, he should reach 200 shots, a total that only 87 players reached last season. If he can up his shooting percentage to around 10 percent, then he would be rewarded with his first 20-goal season. This number could increase even more if fellow left wing Max Pacioretty is traded (potential return notwithstanding), as Lekhonen could pick up top-6 duty and even potential first-unit power-play time.   

Lehkonen fits the category of a potential deep sleeper. Don’t be fooled by the lack of offense last season. He’s a player who could pay off if drafted outside of the top 150. I’d even be willing to bet that he’ll still be available outside of the top 200. He was projected for 21 goals and 44 points in last season’s Fantasy Guide. Could he reach that total this season? You might just have to take a gamble, which is one that Dobber could back you on.

Boone Jenner

Jenner is ranked further down Dobber’s list, checking in at 267, just behind the likes of Noah Hanifin, Jake Muzzin, Brock Nelson, and Tyler Bozak. Perhaps lost in the free agency news of early July was the fact that Jenner was signed to a four-year contract with a cap hit of $3.75 million per season. So at age 25, alternate captain Jenner figures to be an important piece for the Jackets going forward. But how much of a fantasy impact could he make?

After breaking out with 30 goals and 49 points in 2015-16, Jenner regressed to 18 goals in 2016-17 to just 13 goals in 2017-18. Despite the drop, Jenner has still scored at least 30 points over his past three seasons, so at least there’s some consistency. The modest level of scoring the past two seasons is reflected in his end-of-season ownership levels of 19 percent in both Yahoo leagues and CBS leagues.

Yet in one particular league format, Jenner checks out quite well.

 

Yahoo Rank

G

A

+/-

PPP

SOG

HIT

BLK

Mark Scheifele

117

23

37

19

16

125

57

31

Boone Jenner

118

13

19

1

3

187

205

83

Erik Karlsson

119

9

53

-25

18

196

58

120

William Nylander

120

20

41

20

12

184

21

18

Cam Atkinson

121

24

22

19

10

231

32

29

 

Look at the names around him… Scheifele? Karlsson? Really? Well, Scheifele missed 22 games, while Karlsson missed 11 (and lost considerable value with the minus-25). Maybe a comparison with Nylander is more suitable. Aside from the very similar shot totals (Jenner played seven fewer games), these two couldn’t be more opposite. Pure points leagues, it’s no contest. But throw in the hits and blocked shots and their values are much closer.

How valuable was Jenner in the hits category? Jenner finished 20th among all skaters and 11th among all forwards in that category. Unfortunately, the league that I have to make a decision on Jenner doesn’t count hits, so I would have a hard time keeping him. But if he’s on your bubble and your league counts hits, you might have to think long and hard about this one.

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From Friday: Recently returned from being stranded on a deserted island, Elliotte Friedman provides the latest on Artemi Panarin, Erik Karlsson, and Max Pacioretty.
 


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Finally… I wasn’t a big fan of the first Ducks’ jerseys when the team was brand new. But I don’t mind these throwbacks. Mix of old and new. Much better than those "Kachina" jerseys that the Coyotes are using as their thirds, at least.
 


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For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

 

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