20 Fantasy Thoughts: Can Bobby Ryan ever return to form?

The Hockey Night in Canada panel discuss all the news and rumours around the league including goalie interference and the upcoming NHL trade deadline.

Every Sunday during the regular season, we’ll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s “Daily Ramblings”.

1. Jeff Petry has 13 points in the 19 games since Shea Weber’s injury, with 10 of those coming in his last 11 games. Weber is expected to be out at least another week or two, so Petry (17 per cent ownership in Yahoo leagues) might be a decent short-term pickup.

Whether or not you add Petry might depend on whether your league counts plus-minus, though. At minus-24, Petry’s stats haven’t been immune to the Habs’ struggles. Most of that was before Weber’s injury, though, as Petry has ‘only’ been a minus-2 since Jan. 1.

2. Travis Dermott sure seems like he has a future in this league and looks like he should stick around. Not sure how much room there is for him to be fantasy relevant, though. The Leafs have a hard enough time getting Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner going at the same time, let alone having a third option in there.

3. Travis Konecny now has 16 points (7g-9a) in his last 16 games. Playing on the top line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier continues to provide a major uptick to Konecny’s value. He’s still unowned in over 60 percent of leagues, so if he’s still available there’s a good chance that he could be a better option than at least one of your forwards (at least at the moment). He and the Flyers play four times next week, so the sooner you can add him, the better.

4. On one of my fantasy teams, Jake Muzzin was a late-round pick that I thought would be a casualty of my normal waiver-wire usage. Not only is he the lowest pick still on my roster but he is one of fantasy hockey’s hottest blueliners since the calendar turned to 2018.

Interrupted by a brief stint on IR, Muzzin was riding an eight-game point streak that finally snapped on Thursday. However, with his goal and two assists on Saturday, Muzzin now has 11 points over his last 10 games. It’s also worth mentioning that Muzzin has already surpassed last season’s point total of 28 and is on pace to reach 40 points for the third time in his career.

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5. We know how hot Carter Hutton is and how he has swiped the Blues’ starting goalie job away (at least for the time being) from the struggling Jake Allen, but does Darcy Kuemper have any chance of at least forcing Jonathan Quick into a timeshare in Los Angeles? Probably not, but you can’t deny how hot Kuemper has been. He has posted shutouts in each of his last two starts to improve his record to 8-1-3 with a 1.76 GAA and .943 SV%.

Prior to last season’s injury-shortened campaign, Quick had averaged 70 starts over his previous two seasons, but with Kuemper unexpectedly proving to be one of the league’s top backups, he might have trouble reaching 60 games in 2017-18. For what it’s worth, Quick has allowed five goals in each of his last two starts.

6. Remember when I sang Jakub Vrana’s praises recently? He was a healthy scratch Friday night, as he was on Wednesday night. The official word from coach Barry Trotz is that Vrana has been invisible and maybe needs a little reset.

I’m still a believer in Vrana, his talent and his production. In dynasty leagues, now would be the best time to acquire him for pennies on the dollar. For season-long leagues, I’m less bullish because he’s clearly fallen out of favour with the coach. Do keep him in mind when 2018-19 drafts roll around, though.

7. Bobby Ryan has a long, long history of hand issues. It’s a shame because this was a guy who was a top-tier scorer five years ago and he’s still just 30 years old. One has to wonder if he’ll ever come close to regaining his earlier form. Colin White was called up, which is good news for dynasty owners.

8. The John Gibson roller coaster continues. He’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. This news comes after he was hurt prior to the All-Star break, but still made the first start out of the break last Tuesday.

The Ducks have a strong backup in Ryan Miller and should probably be more cautious with Gibson, rather than allowing him to exacerbate these issues. He’s been too injury-prone in his career so far to take the gamble.

9. Alexander Kerfoot has stepped into injured Nathan MacKinnon’s top-line role between Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, but is pointless in two games. I’m not sure exactly how to balance his promotion with the fact that his numbers scream regression, but I’m probably not using him outside the deepest of leagues.

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10. The Oilers’ power play has been pitiful all season. Edmonton is still in the playoff hunt if not for abysmal special teams play. The two biggest victims have been Leon Draisaitl and Oscar Klefbom, who combined for 43 PP points last season, but have just eight thus far.

Draisaitl’s 5-on-5 scoring has been just fine and that’s even with spending half of his time away from Connor McDavid. He should be in the mix among the league’s top scorers but a lack of PP production is keeping him down. Seems like a strong rebound candidate for next season and that’s acknowledging that his 40 points through 45 games aren’t even bad.

11. Depending on your league, you may or may not want to rush out and sign Mike Fisher. In keeper leagues, where you can stash him in a minors slot until he officially signs, there’s impetus to sign him now.

In one-year leagues, I don’t believe you can afford to grab him and wait a month for him to arrive. You also need to be in a particular sort of multi-category league where his production is at its highest value. He has a ton of value in leagues with faceoff wins, hits, blocked shots and penalty minutes. Each one of those categories you remove gets you closer to him being a 40-point waiver guy.

Where does Fisher fit in now that the Predators have added both Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino at the centre position? Last year, he was their second-centre, skating as the net-front guy on the top power play unit. I could see him taking the net-front role with his faceoff prowess and because Craig Smith is replaceable, though Smith has done well with six goals and nine points with the man-advantage.

I could also see Fisher bumping Bonino to the wing, or perhaps they operate in a timeshare at centre, only taking draws on their strong side. But it has to be mentioned that Fisher isn’t going to crack the top-six without an injury occurring.

12. Nick Leddy has pushed the boundaries of red hot and ice cold as far as they can go. Remember his fast start? On Saturday he scored his first goal since Nov. 24 – a span of 30 games without a goal. Leddy also snapped a four-game pointless drought and entering Saturday had just one assist over an 11-game stretch.

Leddy has been an anchor in the plus-minus department, as well, with a minus-27 this season, which is pushed by a minus-28 over December and January alone. Only Oliver Ekman-Larsson — at minus-37 — has a worse showing. Hopefully, you don’t own both OEL and Leddy in a league that counts this stat. But hey, this is a year in which both Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson are sitting at a chilly minus-24. Have you had enough of plus/minus yet?

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13. I dropped Kevin Hayes in my points-only keeper league. Hayes strikes me as a Vinny Prospal – good one year, bad the next, but without the high ceiling Prospal had. I’m thinking he’ll be 55 and 40, 55 and 40, with maybe some smatterings of 60 in there if he ever gets on a good line. But right now, he’s being leaned on in the defensive zone and as a secondary PP option.

The Rangers are reportedly set to have a bit of a fire sale, so we’ll see how the makeup of this team looks in the summer. Hayes really could slot in anywhere for 2018-19 and that could mean a difference of 25 points.

14. I think Ottawa will be trading Jean-Gabriel Pageau at the deadline, and probably Mike Hoffman, too. I also think they’ll get a pretty good return on those players and 2018-19 will be a transition year. They won’t need to rebuild for long, as I do like the players coming through the system. One guess I’ll add: Pageau goes to Pittsburgh.

15. How hot is Josh Bailey this season? It’s at the point now where I laugh while checking the box scores. No matter who scores, Bailey is getting an assist. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy on the fourth line, a stay-at-home defenceman, or the goalie shooting at an empty net – Bailey is getting an assist.

Of course you expect to see him there when John Tavares or Anders Lee score — but Adam Pelech? Anthony Beauvillier? When you’re hot, you’re hot.

16. Tyson Barrie’s return takes a bite out of Sam Girard’s fantasy potential this season but the truth is that even with top PP usage, Girard hasn’t been particularly relevant. He could take over full-time if Barrie is traded but remember that Cale Makar looms as the future here.

17. I refuse to trade for players that have a lengthy, and consistent, injury history. Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin both fit that bill.

Acquiring someone like Letang is incredibly risky. And I wouldn’t go get Malkin while having to trade away a top-10 player to get him. The price on Letang is much lower, though, and that makes the risk much more palatable. He is a player that could be top-5 at his position the rest of the season and won’t cost the price of a top-5 defenceman. That’s how you make a push down the stretch.

18. Fantasy owners have been frustrated with Dustin Byfuglien all year, be it lack of production or injury. He has just two goals on the campaign, and hasn’t really had a sustained hot streak that would indicate a turnaround on the horizon. All this is what makes him the ideal trade target. Note that Byfuglien is probably going to get more minutes over the next couple of months because Jacob Trouba will be out six to eight weeks with an ankle injury.

19. I still believe in Mitch Marner and he still holds a lot of value in keeper leagues. I do wonder if single-season owners are fed up, though. It’s worth inquiring.

20. Even though he’s well on his way to a sixth consecutive season without reaching 30 goals or 70 points, Jonathan Toews is sometimes treated as a second-tier centre, outside the elite tier of guys like Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos. This is wildly overvaluing him. Check with the Toews owner in your league, though. He could be fed up with him at this point, and there is power play uptick potential down the stretch. The Blackhawks’ captain is averaging his most PP minutes per game (3:25) since 2008-09.

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