#ArbitraryList Explanations #11

Hello everybody and welcome in for another 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:

What can I say about Svechnikov that I haven’t already said this offseason? Led the league in xGF/60, SCF/60, and HDCF/60 while spending half the season stapled to known studs Jordan Staal and Warren Foegele as a teenager. The only thing standing in Svechnikov’s way on the path to superstardom is coach Rod Brind’Amour; RBA simply must give Svechnikov the type of minutes he already feeds Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen every night. Svech is a monster in cats leagues especially with 2 hit/GP potential along with point-per-game ability. I keep hearing people talk about his floor being low; he already showed you his absolute floor last season and it was elite in limited minutes. If Svech gets 19 or even 18 minutes a night, he will be worth every bit of that surprisingly high second round ADP.

Most people have caught on to Rielly by now but how many 60-65 point defensemen are there in the league? Quarterbacking the Leafs’ lethal PP1 and expected to carry 24 minutes a night in the defensively challenged North division, Rielly is in a perfect position to leverage his superlative skating ability and vision to outscore all but the top 3 or so defensemen in the league. He doesn’t supply as much of the peripherals you might want, but if you can fill in around him with a few hits and blocks, he can be a difference maker at the D position, outscoring the average fantasy defenseman by 20+ points.

My case for Anthony Mantha is that he simply needs to stay healthy to be a fantasy RW1 (top-12 at the position). I don’t believe last year’s fluke injury was a sign of him being particularly injury prone and I think the Red Wings including linemate Dylan Larkin will be slightly better than the dumpster fire they were last year, leading to a 70+ point pace for Mantha to go with strong peripherals at the biggest premium forward position. If some of the Red Wings’ exciting young prospects join the fold and lend a boost to the team’s scoring that should only drive Mantha’s production higher.

Dougie Hamilton isn’t really being slept on by anyone at this point, but that doesn’t mean he’s not worth taking. He provides better shot production than most forwards (and point production for that matter), his PP1 spot is assured and he’ll play primo minutes on a strong Carolina team. Combine that with solid-if-not-spectacular peripheral numbers in hits and blocks and you have a bona fide top-5 fantasy defenseman. There’s some room in the top-5 fantasy defensemen debate but in my opinion only Hamilton, John Carlson, and Roman Josi are absolute locks to finish in that range barring injury.

Don’t sleep on Anthony Duclair. Sure he tailed off on an Ottawa team playing for nothing, but his underlying shot and chance generation numbers were sensational and he should get an equal opportunity level in terms of ice time in Florida. The big difference here is that he should be tied to Aleksander Barkov both at 5v5 and on PP1 for much of the season and he is certainly talented enough to make the opportunity stick. I made a bold prediction of a 60 point pace for Duclair this season and at his ADP you didn’t even have to bet on a 50 point pace. If he clicks immediately with Barkov this could be instant dynamite and a huge boon to your fantasy team from the late rounds of the draft.

I’m just not 100% sold on Yamamoto. How many 20% shooters can Edmonton have? He certainly has flashed the talent to play but has not exhibited strong play driving or chance generating numbers in limited exposure thus far. Certainly you don’t need to do much heavy lifting when playing with a top-5 offensive talent like Leon Draisaitl, but when Yamamoto inevitably hits a cold streak his lack of individual play controlling ability will make that cold streak much worse. Edmonton also has Jesse Puljujarvi back from the dead and waiting in the wings for his chance in the top six. Yamamoto had a fantastic start to his season last night, but I would certainly take the under on a 55-point pace when it’s all said and done.

Another high shooting percentage player with a lack of self possessed chance generation ability is Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky made some waves in fantasy hockey circles during training camp with his start on the top line alongside Nathan Mackinnon and Mikko Rantanen. First, I don’t expect that deployment to last. Second, Burakovsky still was not included on the all important PP1 unit. Lastly, Burakovsky was one of the top 5 players I identified this offseason as a candidate for regression. If you’ve reading this and you’ve still got Burakovsky shares I would recommend selling them off the hype and last night’s goal.

Look, I’m not saying Miro Heiskanen is a bad player or any such nonsense. What I am saying is that the Stars’ offense is not good and already lost its best play driving player in Tyler Seguin. The Stars also have a high quality offensive defenseman in John Klingberg who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And finally, expectations for Heiskanen are sky high after a otherworldly playoff run in which he averaged 26 minutes a night, shot 11%, and had an on-ice shooting percentage above 10%. Heiskanen will have some value in fantasy hockey this year, but I am remain unconvinced that he puts up gaudy counting stats over the course of the season.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a perfect example of a name-brand player that people have been dumping into their lineups and forgetting about for the past five years. This means a lot of people also haven’t realized that OEL’s level of play has declined and Arizona’s defensive style severely limits any upside he might still have. There is some love for young gun Jakob Chychrun to supplant OEL as PP1 QB and while I think that’s still a year or two away, the simple fact of the matter is that OEL is not going to provide what you might think he should. His saving grace is his work in the hits and blocks categories, but if you’re in points-only OEL is barely a replacement-level player.

Phil Kessel might be a bit of a layup here, but since Yahoo still projects him for a bunch of points for some reason I will take this opportunity to remind you that he sucks. It should have been clear to everyone last year that Kessel has regressed significantly, but in case you need a refresher: Kessel has regressed in shots/60 for two straight years going from 10.22 to 8.75 to 7.65 last year. Along with that regression came the expected drop in individual chances for and scoring chances for. Kessel has never shot for a particularly high percentage and will likely fall in the 10-12% range this year. On an Arizona team that has a defensive philosophy diametrically opposed to Kessel’s (“try” vs “don’t”), Phil the Thrill is simply a poor strategic fit in the throes of an age-related decline. Oh, and Kessel is starting with Drake Caggiula and Christian Dvorak as his linemates.

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Thanks for reading, you are much appreciated!


Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

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