Every Sunday this season, we’ll share 20 Fantasy Thoughts from the writers at Dobber Hockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s “Daily Ramblings” on DobberHockey.com.
1. Mark Streit has undergone surgery to repair a pubic plate detachment, which sounds like some kind of groin/hip injury. He will miss six weeks. This might be just enough of a window to kick start Michael Del Zotto so it is time to dust him off once again. The dark horse is Evgeny Medvedev who has also been seeing power play time for the Flyers. And the super-duper dark horse is Shayne Gostisbehere who has been called up to fill the vacancy.
2. Melker Karlsson was originally slated to skate on the third line upon his return to the Sharks lineup. Not so. The winger has been skating on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Cushy work if you can get it. Maybe Karlsson offer some value if you are in a pinch.
3. That’s seven starts in a row for Karri Ramo. He has won four of those but only three of them have been quality (save percentage above .910) so you still cannot safely roll him out there. It seems pretty clear that the Flames don’t trust Joni Ortio at all right now.
4. Jonas Hiller could be back within a week, which brings up decision time once again. If the Flames don’t trust Ortio but don’t want to lose him to waivers either, they are stuck with this three-headed monster. They could always waive Ramo once again but in this results-based business his winning percentage over the past couple of weeks works in his favour.
5. Have we reached the point where PIM is a completely negative stat that we should just drop entirely from fantasy hockey? Since we’ve basically debunked the whole idea behind fighting to provide momentum for your team there really isn’t anything positive about getting PIM. Sure, taking a penalty to stop a goal is good but how often does that actually happen? And you still had to be out there for the defensive breakdown that led to the scoring chance against. If you are held culpable with a minus any time you are on the ice for a goal against then you should be culpable for penalties as well.
7. Just as Steve Mason was not as good as last season’s numbers indicated, he also is not as bad as this season’s. He should approach something closer to average as the season wears on. Even Semyon Varlamov and Mike Smith found competency by the end of last season.
8. Claude Giroux is at least still getting his power-play points. You can view that as either a sign of hope or a sign of impending doom. That is because Giroux has not actually been that strong a producer at even strength for several years now. Instead he has feasted off the power play, scoring more PPP than anyone over the past four years. Giroux has averaged 0.47 PPP per game over that span, an insane rate.
9. Last season, over half of his 73 points came on the power play. This season, Giroux is on pace for 26 PPP. That total would be great for just about anyone in the league, except Giroux. Drop him to that kind of PP scoring and he becomes a 60-point guy.
10. As the Flyers’ power play efficiency has dropped from third last year to 26th this year, the guy who really feels the pinch of that decline is Wayne Simmonds. I mentioned above that Giroux has scored more PPP than anyone over the past four years – well, Simmonds ranks 21st, tied with Steven Stamkos. Forty-one per cent of Simmonds’ points from the past four seasons have come on the PP. He is on pace for just 15 PPP, a decline of nine from his total each of the past two seasons. Lose nine PPP and Simmonds goes from a 50-point guy with upside for more into a 40-point guy. He still has value in rotisserie leagues, but in points-only leagues he is on the waiver wire.
11. Matt Duchene is scorching hot amid trade rumours. He has 12 points in his past seven games. It is always dangerous talking deal with a guy who might get traded, but as a general notion I would suggest now makes for a good opportunity to try and deal Duchene.
12. In his current situation Duchene probably finishes up with around 60 points, but this hot streak and some of the trade talk might have people thinking he has more in the tank. I am not certain who you might rope in, but this hot streak was more a market correction than a sign of explosive future scoring.
13. Jason Zucker is starting to score goals at a similar rate to what he was last season, which is a dangerous proposition since he has already beaten last season’s assist total by a decent margin and still has 36 games to spare.
14. Zucker’s 5-on-5 on-ice shooting percentage is pretty high at 13.3 per cent, but we should be open to the possibility that he, Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter are forming a tremendously effective second line for an elite Minnesota Wild team. It is reminiscent of what the Triplets had going on for Tampa Bay last season. Those three finished with 5-on-5 on-ice shooting percentages just above 11 per cent. Even with good fortune and consistently tremendous play it is hard not to see Zucker slowing down some, but you also have to consider him a real threat to reach 60 points.
15. You hear that roaring sound outside? That’s the sound of Ryan Miller crashing back to Earth. He has given up three goals or more in each of his past five starts. He now sits with a save percentage of just .912 and has as many quality starts as non-quality starts (eight), where quality starts are defined by games with a .910 save percentage or above.
16. Miller is a coin flip goalie. The epitome of average. Half the time he will be great, the other half not so much. That is fine if he is your third goalie in a rotisserie league where the good will balance out the bad. In a head-to-head league, the swings are enough to scuttle some matchups and drive you completely mad.
17. Vincent Trocheck is becoming really hard to ignore, but I am doing my best. He simply does not profile as a big enough scorer for me to want to pick him up. It is not a skill thing. Trocheck is plenty skilled. He just does not have the right opportunity.
18. There is not enough offence on the Panthers right now and Trocheck merely skates on the second PP unit. Were he on the top unit, I would be more likely to consider him, but given his second-line, second PP deployment he becomes hard to take seriously. He is also shooting an astronomical 25.9 per cent. I think there is an R-word for cases like his.
19. One thing that I have noticed with Torey Krug is that he has really stepped up with all the turnover on the Bruins defence. He is skating 22:44 per game, a full three-minute jump from last season. That has come from an increase in minutes in all situations, including penalty kill time.
20. However, it’s worth noting that more than half of Krug’s points so far have come on the power play. That is a bit concerning, since the Bruins are clicking at an ungodly rate that is sure to regress. When that happens, Krug’s scoring will slow. But he is also skating an extra minute more than usual on the power play now that Claude Julien has decided to load up one unit. Krug has also only scored one goal so far. This is a guy who has reached double-digit goal totals each year he’s been in the league, so he will get his.