#ArbitraryList Explanations #4

Hello everybody and welcome in for the fourth 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:

Igor Shesterkin’s hype is through the roof, and as I mentioned on the last #arbitrarylist explanations post, there are reasons to believe it doesn’t go as planned right away. Shesterkin can probably be moved for a more sure thing this season if you’re a contender, and you could probably gain something a little extra as well. Shesterkin for Jacob Markstrom plus a good prospect or 1st round pick is well within the realm of possibility in a lot of leagues, and it will almost certainly be worth it if you’re looking to win now.

Nick Robertson has been drawing rave reviews for at least a calendar year now, and being a Leafs prospect his hype has gotten a little out of hand. He certainly has a ton of upside, but his value is probably at a peak right now and will take a few years of seasoning before it returns to this level as he starts producing 25 goal seasons on the second line. Let’s be honest with ourselves: he’s not cracking the Leafs’ PP1 in the next five years so his short to mid-term upside is a little bit capped unless they move a huge name.

Yaroslav Askarov has drawn a lot of comparisons to Carey Price as a goalie taken early in the first round of his draft. Everyone knows his name and everyone’s talking about him as he’s taken the KHL by storm in the early going as an 18 year old (.962 save percentage in 7 games). The 2021 NHL draft has a young man by the name of Jesper Wallstedt, a highly touted goalie who could steal some of that thunder by the time draft season rolls around, so now might be the best time to move Askarov if you’re a contender who wants to go all in.

Nils Lundkvist is coming off a very good season in the SHL with counting stats to spare (11-20-31 in 45 games) and has had continued success this season, but some scouts still have upside concerns long term and he is one of many Rangers’ defenseman prospects with significant offensive chops. Tony DeAngelo, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and Zachary Jones will all be in the mix for power play roles for the next five years and it will be on Lundkvist to overtake separate from that very talented pack. Moving him now could net you another D prospect with a less obstructed path to fantasy scoring like a Victor Soderstrom from Arizona.

Leafs prospect and 2020 first round selection Rodion Amirov has had a nice start in the KHL  scoring 8 points in 23 games, no small feat for a teenager in a league that often forces young players down the lineup. Amirov has put up some nice highlights as well that have made the rounds on Twitter; these are the kinds of players to move while the highlights are still fresh in people’s minds. Being a Toronto prospect, his value is also inflated by media and the inevitable overeager Leafs fan in your league. You can likely move him 1 for 1 for a solid late-twenties, 50 point scorer in a fair number of leagues, which would be about his projection if he pans out well as a prospect.

Marco Rossi is a bigtime target for me. He’s a definite Calder candidate in my books who instantly became the Wild’s most skilled center when he was drafted. He may need some ramp up time, but I’m almost expecting him to play his way onto the top line with fellow rookie Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala by the trade deadline. He has to beat out Marcus Johansson who is not really even a center and Joel Eriksson Ek; that’s about the easiest path to big minutes any rookie has league-wide.

Kaapo Kakko is interesting to me. Big guys seem to always take a bit of time to adjust to the NHL, likely because they aren’t as physically dominant as they were at lower levels of competition. With that in mind I’d be tossing out offers on Kakko to my league’s owner, seeing if he’s got a little panic after Kakko’s underwhelming rookie season. You might be able to score him for a Rodion Amirov plus another C-level prospect or someone of that ilk if you’re willing to try.

Morgan Frost is a perfect example of a player who didn’t tear it up in his first professional season (41 games in the AHL and 20 in the NHL) and has had their star fade a bit as a result. Every year there are new shiny prospects turning heads so someone like a Nick Robertson becomes the new hotness and guys like Frost become afterthoughts. If the manager in your league has started to become antsy with Frost’s development, now is the time to strike. Don’t forget that Frost was nearly a point per game player in his draft year and posted back to back 100-point OHL seasons after that before going pro.

Victor Soderstrom doesn’t see much hype these days but there’s a reason he went #11 overall in 2019. I have yet to see a scout discount Soderstrom as a top 4 prospect with PP1 QB ability. Check out the quotes on Soderstrom from his EliteProspects page: “makes a superb first pass… battle level is through the roof… not afraid to play physical… smooth skater… whether passing the puck forward or carrying it up, he is at ease and executing his plans”. Soderstrom is Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s heir apparent on the Arizona blueline and as a right handed shot he should have a easier path to the NHL. Buy Soderstrom in the next year while Arizona is bad and their prospects’ value is depressed in fantasy managers’ minds.

Owen Tippett is another potential Calder candidate if he manages to break through and see time alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau on the top power play in Florida. He posted 40 points in 46 games for Springfield of the AHL in his first professional season and projects as the type of goal scorer who could thrive alongside Barkov and Huberdeau for years to come. If Florida doesn’t sign anyone else Tippett will only have Patric Hornqvist to contend with for those juicy power play minutes. I’d buy Tippett right now before camp starts and we start hearing about how he’s going to make the team and is seeing time with the power play units.

Auston Matthews is Alexander Ovechkin’s heir apparent to the title of premier goal scorer in the league (with a nod to David Pastrnak, whose elite linemates are not spring chickens anymore). When studying potential goal scoring regression I was surprised that Matthews didn’t show up on my list of players who scored at the highest rate per individual scoring chance for. He was in the top 50, but not near the top. To me that says he might still have something more to give which is an absolutely terrifying thought for someone who scored at a 55-goal pace last year. If he scores at a 60-goal pace over 56 games and the Leafs dominate a potentially susceptible Canadian division, he could make a very strong case for the hardware.

Nathan Mackinnon should have won this trophy last year, but unfortunately he was robbed. With a full season of Mikko Rantanen by his side and Cale Makar into his second season with the team, Mackinnon could have another gear left. I don’t see any negative signs for Mackinnon this year, which means he should do what he always does and be a top 5 player in the league and be in the Hart conversation.

Connor McDavid will be on this list every year for the next ten years so it’s a no brainer to include him. Is this the year he goes off at a 130+ point pace? I’m not betting against it. He has a ceiling that every other player in the league can only dream of and therefore he’s an automatic inclusion on the list.

Jack Eichel’s hype is going off, and while I still have concerns about the sustainability of the shooting profile he logged last year, the addition of a real live bona fide top line winger (and former Hart Trophy winner) in Taylor Hall is the recipe to cure all those ills. Hall is now on his fourth NHL team and has been around the block enough to hit the ground running playing with the best center he’s ever had. If the Sabres make the playoffs and Eichel runs a 56-game shooting bender at 15+% again, he could definitely be in the conversation.

Elias Pettersson makes this list as the fourth. Truth be told I have Eichel and Pettersson in a tier below the top 3 on this list, but I’m not betting against Pettersson taking another step in his third NHL season and cementing himself as a perennial top 10 point scorer in the league. I don’t believe that his chemistry with JT Miller was all that unsustainable, and this could also be the year Brock Boeser finally settles in as a legitimate top line player in the league. If the chips fall right, Pettersson could easily vault into the Hart conversation.

If you’ve enjoyed this content I hope that you’ll take a minute and fill out my five-question survey here. Make sure you follow Apples & Ginos on Twitter for more content and to ask any fantasy hockey questions you may have.

Thanks for reading, you are much appreciated!


Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

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