#ArbitraryList Explanations #8

Hello everybody and welcome in for the eighth installment in this 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:

Anthony Duclair certainly had a tale of two seasons last year, scoring 21 goals and 31 points in his first 40 games and then totalling just 2 goals and 9 points in his last 26. That bad taste is still in a lot of fantasy managers’ mouths, and we are left to wonder which Duclair will we get in 2021? I decided to project Duclair based on his full season of work (and including weight to his previous seasons as well), and he still came out handsomely. Part of that projection is certainly his potential exposure to all-stars Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, both on the top line and PP1, but truth be told Duclair is a chance-generating machine in his own right, ending last season tied for 36th in the league in 5v5 individual scoring chances for per 60 minutes. Duclair has opened camp on the Panthers’ top line as I expected and I believe a 60 point pace is very realistic for him, with upside for even more if everything breaks right.

Cal Petersen is an interesting study, a former Notre Dame standout who has had his struggles in the AHL but looked very capable in the NHL when given an opportunity. Jonathan Quick’s viability as an NHL starter is all but over, and I expect Petersen to be given every chance to wrest the starter’s role away from Quick in what will likely be the Kings’ last rebuilding season before they start to make a playoff push once again. The division is not particularly intimidating outside of Colorado and Vegas, and the Kings are not terrible defensively (if not great). Add to the mix the fact that the Kings have the most off-night games of any team in the league this year and Petersen starts to look potentially attractive as a 3rd starter on many teams.

Kirill Kaprizov is the standard answer in this space for the Wild, a highly touted winger coming into the league as a mature 23-year-old after finishing last season 3rd in the KHL scoring race. If he can become a legitimate running mate for last year’s breakout star Kevin Fiala, the two could feed off each other despite Minnesota’s shortcomings at center. I am still tempering my expectations due to that black hole at center, but Kaprizov certainly has the talent to beat expectations and put up a very fantasy-relevant season. A 50-point pace seems like a solid median potential outcome.

Josh Anderson came to Montreal in a trade for Max Domi and immediately signed a seven-year, $5.5 million/year deal. That contract alone signifies that the Canadiens expect Anderson to be a big part of their future and their top 6, and early reports out of camp have Anderson on a scoring line with Jonathan Drouin and Nick Suzuki as well as earning PP2 time. For my money Suzuki is the best player Anderson could hope to be paired with and if those two demonstrate some chemistry I will be in on Anderson, especially in bangers leagues. If Anderson ever were to get the bump up to PP1 minutes his value could really take off, but that seems unlikely at this point. Put Anderson down for a 45-point pace but a ton of peripheral value in shots and hits.

Luke Kunin has seen some love in fantasy hockey circles and is currently getting a look on the Predators’ second line with Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund. I’m being pretty cautious with Kunin, as the Preds are not exactly a high scoring outfit and Kunin doesn’t profile as a true difference-maker in his own right. But I’m not sold on the Viktor Arvidsson bounceback narrative either, and Kunin could make a case for himself as the Preds’ best right winger with a strong camp. If he makes a strong impression early, he could work his way into some serious minutes and be fantasy relevant as a result.

Nikita Gusev got off to a slow start with the offensively inept Devils last year, but from December on he scored 33 points in 44 games, good for a 62 point pace. That’ll play in most formats, and I don’t see a scenario where Gusev isn’t given a significant ice time boost in 2021 as well. Gusev was a dominant offensive force in the KHL for several years before coming to the NHL and performed nearly as well when given the opportunity with the Devils. Now Gusev has opened camp on a line with Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha which is horrifying to say the least, but Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier should be back soon and project to be his regular 5v5 linemates. All told, I expect Gusev to push that 60-point pace once again in 2021 as he could add even more goal scoring upside if the Devils’ youngsters are able to take a step.

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Thanks for reading, you are much appreciated!


Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

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