September 30 2015

by Dobber Sports on September 30, 2015

Rambling about MORE draft strategies, Klingberg, Scherbak, Talbot, Staal, Drouin, Eichel, Eberle, Saad and more…

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Look for a Fantasy Guide update today. I had one ready for yesterday, but it was just a few cuts and a line combo shuffle (NYR) so I thought I'd hang onto it and see if more news hits in the morning.

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And now for Draft No.2. Monday I went over my first draft of the year along with some strategy. Now for a different set of rules. This one is a full keeper and it's not a weekly roster – the best 4D, 12F, 2G count and points carry over in trades. The same team is also used in the NHL playoffs for a second trophy. The bench is 17 players, but this becomes elastic (team can between 31 and 39 players total, i.e. a bench of 13-21) once the draft ends. So lots of strategy here that many of you aren't used to. With 14 teams, this means that approximately 450-475 players are already drafted.

I had six draft picks, two empty roster spots and two dropsies – Shane Doan and Mikhail Grabovski. So yes, I have little faith in either of them getting enough points to help them win. On the typical team, 40-42 points is enough to make the bottom of the  'counting' players. But on a team that wins first or second, your low guy has to be at least 50. So my thinking is that even if Doan made it to 50 – he'd barely make it, had little trade value and little hope of making it again in future years. And Grabovski has proven to be a very solid possession player – but he's so good at checking that he's used all over the lineup (i.e. not consistently in the top six). He's also injury prone so…bye.

I would also consider dropping Troy Brouwer because he seems to be stuck in the mid-40s. But I'll see who's left to draft and decide at that point. I'm never one to waste assets so you'll rarely hear me say "PASS" at the draft table. I use my picks and to not do so is poor asset management. So I shopped Emerson Etem around and got a third-round pick for him in 2016 (draft is four rounds except this year there was five because we added a roster slot). I chose Etem because even if he produces this year, I doubt he makes my pro team. And I'm in "win now" mode. But for what it's worth, I don't have a lot of faith that he'll produce this year or any year. So now I can use all six of my picks if I choose to drop Brouwer.

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I'm not happy with my goaltending. I love Jaroslav Halak, but I'm not 100% on Craig Anderson and certainly not on Brian Elliott or Alex Stalock. Have to address. Top goalie available is Cam Talbot and I figure he'll go around fifth or sixth overall. I pick ninth. So early in the summer, because I had so much depth, I traded Andrej Sekera and ninth overall for the fourth overall pick. Now I've ensured beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'd get Talbot. I eliminated the risk and addressed my issue (as best I could). So the draft of course went McDavid, Eichel, Strome and Talbot.

My next pick was 23rd overall and the other picks were very late. I tried so hard to move up again because to me there were two more players head and shoulders above the pack – John Klingberg and Robby Fabbri. I offered Kesler – Scherbak and my first rounder in 2016 for the fifth overall pick (again trying to eliminate any doubt that I could get Klingberg). My offer also would have cleared roster space and I could keep Brouwer. But he turned me down. And he ended up taking Klingberg.

To me, this draft consisted of four top players who can help immediately, and two 'sure thing' prospects (Fabbri and Strome). After those six, the draft had 64 players of similar value. In my opinion. So once I lost out on those six, I didn't care if I drafted 30th or 70th. But I had one more need – a proven defenseman who would be my insurance. I have a top four consisting of Letang, Kronwall, Yandle and Franson. Plus Derrick Pouliot. So failing Klingberg, I was targeting Stralman. After that, I'd focus on forward prospects who aren't going to make me wait forever (within a year away) and who are overachieving – really impressing their coach. I'd consider a defenseman under that same criteria too.

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I don't know how in-depth you want me to go with this. Trying to keep it brief. But I'll ring off the order of picks:

Round 1 – McDavid, Eichel, Strome, Talbot, Klingberg, Marner, Pastrnak, Larkin, Dano, Fabbri, Barzal, Konecny, Panarin, DeAngelo.

Round 2 – Plotnikov, Zacha, Bjorkstrand, Hammond, Donskoi, Rantanen, Darling, Severson, Stralman, Meier, Dvorak, Hanifin, Point, Reilly.

I highlighted my two picks and as you can see, I got my guy. He'll also help me in the playoffs, assuming TB goes deep again. And here are the other players I drafted over the last three rounds: Rocco Grimaldi, Shayne Gostisbehere, Jordan Weal and Tyler Bertuzzi. Grimaldi should make the Panthers within a year, if not immediately (Connor Brickley may have something to say about that though). Meanwhile, Weal has had an impressive preseason and always exceeds expectations. I like those players (and let's ignore my 'crutch' of favoring small, skilled guys like Weal and Grimaldi!). I wanted him next at 42. But because 'Ghost' was still available I decided to take him. I figured Ghost wasn't getting to 51, my next pick – but Weal would. So, as I showed you on Monday, I took the guy I thought wouldn't slip through – so Gostisbehere is on my team. Then I got Weal, as I figured I would.

Recently sent to the AHL, Gostisbehere has been very impressive. In fact, he would have forced his way onto this team had he not played just five AHL games last year (missed most due to a knee injury). But a young player shouldn't jump to the NHL after a five-game season. He may be back midseason and in fact that's what I think will happen, but I definitely endorse his getting sent down for now.

In the final round, I drafted Tyler Bertuzzi. I know in Detroit he's looking at two or three more years…but I just can't help believing that he's going to force this issue sooner. He's been absolutely lights out, and his stock has risen so quickly over the last two years and love prospects who do that. You can read up on Bertuzzi's ascension here.

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Nikita Scherbak was cut by the Habs. I can't wait to see if he flourishes in the AHL right away, or if there will be some growing pains. He has the toolbox – plays hard and with grit – that can really help out the Habs and if he adapts quickly we'll see him next year. If we don’t, we won't.

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I commented Monday on how Scott Mayfield was cut by the Isles. Well he was recalled again. And then sent back down. Every year there seems to be a couple of players that this happens to. He's obviously an early call-up and so with the short-term injury to Thomas Hickey, Mayfield was the guy. I still have Mayfield playing 44 games and getting 69 PIM in the Guide.

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Eric Staal is looking for $9 million per season. Good luck with that. And agents wonder why there will be a lockout? He'll go to free agency and get $8 million, which is still too much. But he'll get $8 million and push the bar higher for the other 65-point players.

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I don't know which Chicago management member's cornflakes Antti Raanta pissed on, but it must be someone high up. Besides getting kicked out of the NHL despite awesome numbers, and then getting traded – now we find out that his name wasn't engraved on the Stanley Cup.

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With injuries to Josh Gorges and Zach Bogosian, 18-year-old Brendan Guhle is taking a run at a roster spot. He was Buffalo's second-round pick in the summer and has been opening eyes. Guhle (profile here) won't be an elite scorer, but is a solid two-way guy. But Guhle left the game last night with concussion symptoms. I'll post the hit at the bottom.

 

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So far so good with Sergei Plotnikov. Two points last night playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist.

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Jordan Eberle left the game with a shoulder injury. Now Anton Slepyshev is someone to keep an eye on now more than ever. No word on Eberle at this time, but early rumors are that it's serious and that he could be out for six weeks. His arm was in a sling.

Slepyshev has been playing with McDavid and doing well. You can read up on Slepyshev here

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So uh…it looks like Brandon Saad is kinda clicking with Ryan Johansen. He had four points while Johansen had three. And with Cam Atkinson in the lineup, Nick Foligno remained on that big line. Obviously huge for Foligno owners, who were looking at a decline (and still might) if Atkinson takes that spot. But with this result, don't look for that to happen anytime soon. Here were the line combos last night courtesy of FROZEN POOL:

 

13.3%

EV

11 CALVERT,MATTHEW – 9 CAMPBELL,GREGORY – 23 CLARKSON,DAVID

13.3%

EV

13 ATKINSON,CAM – 43 HARTNELL,SCOTT – 41 WENNBERG,ALEXANDER

12.39%

EV

71 FOLIGNO,NICK – 19 JOHANSEN,RYAN – 20 SAAD,BRANDON

10.09%

EV

40 BOLL,JARED – 39 CHAPUT,MICHAEL – 21 RYCHEL,KERBY

 

 

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One more thing I wanted to touch upon. Bodog has their trophy odds up. The over/under player odds are coming soon and I'll give you my usual picks that I do very well in. But with trophy odds I generally place friendly bets on the Art Ross odds since I can't vote for that trophy so morally I feel fine doing it. So I look at the best combination of "good payoff" and "could actually win". Here were my picks:

 

 

I also really like Tyler Seguin at +1500 but at this point I'd spent the money I wanted to spend so I held off. I'm still using the "Malkin money". That the money I won when I bet Malkin would win the Ross a few years ago at 25-1 odds and I actually nailed it. So I'm still spending play money!

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Jonathan Drouin has been joined at the hip with Steven Stamkos in the preseason. And he's looked great. Exhibit A:

You have my endorsement to raise Drouin's sleeper status for the coming season. Wow…

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Jack Eichel – shorty:

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Brendan Guhle gets hit by Phaneuf: