Hello everybody and welcome in for the second installment in this new series. Over on my Twitter feed I’ve been spamming everyone with arbitrary lists, just quick hitting lists to get my thoughts on several fantasy hockey related topics (and several non-fantasy hockey related topics) out and on the record. In these posts I’ll dig a little deeper into those lists and give you a bit of the “why” behind them. Without further ado, let’s get into it:
This Eichel-Hall duo is going to light it up. It’s gonna happen. The question is, who gets the benefit of riding shotgun alongside them? Will it be Sam Reinhart, who was stapled to Eichel’s side for 90% of his minutes last year? Or will sophomore trigger man Victor Olofsson get a shot with the big boys? I’d like to see Olofsson personally as a guy who could find those quiet areas and set up for a one-timer while Eichel and Hall dance around the perimeter with the puck, but my gut tells me Reinhart will get first crack.
Since posting this tweet Kasperi Kapanen has been announced by Mike Sullivan as Crosby & Guentzel’s linemate. This was to be expected given the hefty price Pittsburgh paid to acquire him this offseason, but it’s nice to have that confirmation early on. I’m still not sold on Kapanen as the long term answer on that line as I don’t think he has the hockey sense to find that open space Crosby creates, but he could have some value as F1 on the forecheck and anyone tied to Crosby seems to be a lock for 50+ points.
The longstanding Barkov-Huberdeau-Dadonov line will be broken with Dadonov heading off to Ottawa this offseason. Daily Faceoff lists rookie Owen Tippett as the linemate of choice as of now, but while I think he’s a great stylistic fit on the line and getting that deployment would skyrocket him to the top of every “sleeper” list on the planet, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Florida opens the season with a rookie on the top line playing versus top competition. Patric Hornqvist is the odds-on favourite in my book, and should be capable of posting very fantasy-relevant numbers alongside those two for as long as they’re played together.
Some people seem to assume that Ilya Mikheyev is going to step straight into the LW2 for the Toronto Maple Leafs alongside John Tavares and William Nylander, but it’s tough to deny how much the organization likes rookie Nicholas Robertson. My bet: Mikheyev gets the first look but as Robertson begins to outperform his bottom-six teammates as a scorer he gets an opportunity partway through the season and smashes it.
Seriously though, buy anyone who happens to be playing with McDavid or Draisaitl that week. Edmonton’s forwards make great streaming options for this reason, with the likes of Kailer Yamamoto, James Neal, Zach Kassian, Alex Chiasson, Dominik Kahun, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Tyler Ennis all vying for those coveted spots. One note: don’t overpay for Yamamoto. That the undersized winger can play is undeniable, but he shot an unbelievable 25% while riding alongside Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the last 20-some games of the season, a completely unsustainable rate. It’s unlikely that Yamamoto would score more than 50-55 points in a full season even if he were stapled to Draisaitl’s side all year.
The honorable mention is a fight between Cody Glass and Chandler Stephenson. I don’t have a clear favourite here, but whoever lands the role is in for a sweet gig and will absolutely be worth rostering in almost all formats.
The Boston PP quarterback job is simultaneously the highest value and most up in the air on this list. I went back to see how the Bruins allocated the remaining PP time behind Krug to McAvoy and Grzelcyk over the back half of the season to see if there was a discernable trend. The result? McAvoy averaged 1:19 of PP time to Grzelcyk’s 1:14. I can think of very strong arguments for either player but I think it’s safe to say both of these players will be drafted a little higher based on the hope that they will get that #1 role.
The Vegas job is similarly tough to predict. On the one hand, you just made Alex Pietrangelo a very rich man and an immovable part of the franchise for a long time; how can you now say “oh and by the way, no fun time for you we got a guy on the PP already”? On the other hand, Shea Theodore was dominant in that role and is at least a top-10 NHL PP quarterback already. Others have made the connection already but this reeks of the Barrie/Rielly situation in Toronto last year and we already saw how that didn’t work out for either player. I think both players will probably take a step back in overall production as they share time back and forth on the top unit.
Calgary’s power play quarterback situation is all up in the air as well. Mark Giordano has been in this role, but it seems like Calgary wants to phase him out as he ages. Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, and even Juuso Valimaki could be in play. What often happens in these instances is that one guy will get hot for a while and hold the job, and then when he cools off the coach will go to the next guy for a bit and so on. That makes Andersson a last-round pick type on the off chance he gets first crack at the job. Most likely you’ll just want to stream whichever option is currently up on that PP1, as Calgary has the firepower up front to make that QB spot very lucrative.
Chicago is probably the most clear situation of the group: Keith is the aging vet and Boqvist the exciting young prospect. And despite the Blackhawks’ defensive shortcomings, this remains a squad with a solid amount of talent on offense. Boqvist is the one you want to own here, but he’ll have to seize the opportunity as Keith is still more than capable of running a distributor-type role at the top of the umbrella. If all goes well Boqvist could be a big time contributor and draft day value, but it might be wise to temper expectations for the young defenseman in the early going.
Philadelphia appears to be unimpressed with Ivan Provorov’s PP quarterbacking skills thus far, picking up PP specialist Erik Gustafsson in free agency. Gustafsson should get the first look here on the top unit, but Philadelphia’s forward group is more balanced than most in terms of skill disparity between those in the top 6 (or even 9), and that means the PP2 job is not as bad as on some other teams. Both players should have fantasy relevance, but Gustafsson will certainly be the cheaper option on draft day and should return the most value on investment.
This list is not up for debate. Yes, I like crispy stuff.
Clinton Kane man, what a find. Love that song. Ariana will always have a spot on any music list I make. Mayday Parade fits my pop-punk guilty pleasure self perfectly. the three of us was a nice little recommendation from Spotify, I’m a sucker for a well-executed acoustic duo like this. And the Ron Pope classic – been stuck in my head for weeks.
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