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Posted - 05/01/2022 :  20:56:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Every Sunday, we share 21 Fantasy Rambles from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s 'Daily Ramblings'.

1. With the exception of todayès Seattle/Winnipeg makeup game, the NHL's regular season has ended. Here are your playoff matchups:

EAST:

Florida vs. Washington
Carolina vs. Boston
NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh
Toronto vs. Tampa Bay

WEST:

Colorado vs. Nashville
Calgary vs. Dallas
Minnesota vs. St. Louis
Edmonton vs. Los Angeles

The fun starts on Monday. The Florida Panthers have won the President’s Trophy with the league’s best record. The Montreal Canadiens will finish with the best odds for the lottery draft. (apr30)

2. You can now officially start preparing for your playoff pool. As is the case every year, you can grab the Interactive Playoff Draft List to help you plan your team. Set your own bracket to organize, or use Dobber’s picks. Head over to the Dobber Sports store to purchase yours or to find out more!

If you would like to set up a simple playoff pool with some friends or work colleagues, the free box pools might be for you.

Also, look for the writers to weigh in on their Stanley Cup and first-round picks later today. If you’d like some tips on picking teams and players, I encourage you to read Mike’s playoff breakdown in Thursday’s Ramblings. (apr29)

3. In order to prepare for the playoffs, the Panthers rested a whole bunch of regulars for their last game of the season on Friday and it showed, as the Habs won by a score of 10-2.

Cole Caufield had an outstanding game, recording his first career hat trick to go with a plus-4 with nine shots. After a slow start, the Habs forward finished his rookie season with 23 goals and 43 points in 67 games. Although Caufield’s production slowed down later in the season (aside from this game), you probably already know how his season took off after Martin St. Louis was hired as coach. It’s difficult to know what the state of the Habs will be going forward with all the injuries they had this season after a trip to the Stanley Cup Final last season, but Caufield himself has a very bright future. (apr30)

4. If there was a Conn Smythe Trophy for the fantasy playoffs, that award might have to go to Steven Stamkos. The Lightning center finished the regular season with a hat trick, giving him multiple points in each of his last nine games. Over that span he has racked up 26 points – nearly three points per game over the past two weeks!

Stamkos finishes the season with 42 goals and 106 points, which turned out to be his first 100-point season at age 32. He’s also reached 40 goals six times. Remember when he appeared in just one game in the playoff bubble when the Lightning won the Cup? It’s easy to write players off when they’ve had significant injuries. Hopefully you didn’t trade away Stamkos in your keeper league for that reason. (apr30)

5. J.T. Miller was on a 100-point crusade in the Canucks’ final game in Edmonton on Friday. Although he scored a first-period goal, Miller ended up just shy of 100 points, finishing the season with 99. All in all, it was a career season for Miller, not only in points but also in goals (32), shots (206), power-play points (38), and faceoffs won (666!) He finished as a top-10 scorer and appears just as valuable in multicategory leagues. Since Miller has one year left on his contract, the Canucks might look to trade Miller if their contract offers don’t appeal to him. His trade value will be sky-high, and the Canucks have holes to fill. (apr30)

6. It’s easy to assume that Brent Burns might lack durability because he is now 37 and has logged a ton of minutes throughout his career, especially with San Jose. However, when I was going through Burns’s stats recently, I found that he has not missed a regular-season game since the 2014-15 season. Burns is still over 300 games behind Keith Yandle and Phil Kessel, so I wouldn’t expect him to really challenge for the consecutive games-played record. (apr30)

7. Credit where credit is due, though, Shayne Gostisbehere received an opportunity in Arizona that he wouldn’t have received with most other teams. The fact that Jakob Chychrun got off to a slow start and then was injured probably helped Ghost’s stock. Chychrun is a strong candidate to be traded during the summer, which could help sustain Gostisbehere’s value in Arizona.

Gostisbehere (14-37-51) also finished the season with three consecutive multiple-point games (7 PTS over that span), so until recently it appeared he might not get to 50. Needless to say, he’s been better than expected for fantasy teams this season. But with scoring up, you could probably say that about a lot of players. (apr30)

8. Dustin Brown has announced that he will retire after this season’s playoffs. Brown was the Kings’ captain for their two Stanley Cups, and he has spent his entire 18-year career in Los Angeles where he has played over 1,300 games. Brown’s contract was already set to expire after the season. The Kings have managed to rebuild their way back to the playoffs while retaining all of Brown, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick from their championship seasons. (apr29)

As for Ryan Getzlaf, he also played his final NHL game this week, in Anaheim, where he played his entire career. He turns 37 in a couple of weeks, but to me he is still a 50-point player. Kudos to him for going out on top, but I think he could have squeezed a couple more seasons with decent numbers like that. Injuries have taken their toll. (apr25)

9. Noah Dobson (13-38-51) has reached 50 points for the first time in his career. Dobson has solidified his spot on the Isles’ first-unit power play, leading the team with 22 power-play points. He’s also now in the top 10 in the PPP category for defensemen. (apr29)

10. Unfortunately for the Predators, it looks like they’ll be entering the playoffs with the David Rittich/Connor Ingram tandem. Juuse Saros has a high-ankle sprain, which is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Preds turn to Ingram at some point during the first round. Ingram was a workhorse goalie in the AHL, starting 54 games for Milwaukee (Dobber Prospects profile).

Looking for more confirmed goalie choices on the final major day of the season? Head over to Goalie Post. And good luck if you’re in a race to the finish! (apr29)

11. Alexander Holtz was recalled by the Devils to play the final two games of the year: Just a reminder that he finished with nine GP on the season, so that keeps him at the entry-level threshold, meaning it does not burn a year off his contract. Not that it matters much for many fantasy owners, but it means a lot to cap leaguers. (apr28)

Wednesday (apr27)

12. One of my bargain targets in cap leagues for next year is going to be Erik Haula. The Bruins’ second-line center finished with 19 points in his last 19 games and that scoring uptick coincides with when he was bumped up to line-two full-time. He has one year left on his current deal paying him $2.375 million per season, and should be a good bet to put up at least a 65-point pace when/if lined up with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. (apr27)

13. Johnny Gaudreau scored his career-high 40th goal of the season late this past week, making him the third Flame to reach that number. His 92 even-strength points is far and away the league lead in that category, as no other player has more than 80 EVP. In fact, that’s the highest even-strength point total since Jaromir Jagr in 1996. That’s the kind of season he has had. There’s going to be a big contract waiting for him this summer. The question is, will he sign on the dotted line with the Flames or with another team? (apr29)

14. Jason Robertson hit 40 goals this year, and after starting a little slow, it's not out of the question to think he can hit 50 as early as next season. However, the quieter 40-goal season and maybe an even better shot at 50 next year in my mind comes from Alex DeBrincat. (apr27)

15. Cards on the table here: Marco Rossi, and not Matthew Boldy, was on my radar for the Wild this year, thinking they needed a center way more than winger. All that didn’t matter and he has posted 39 points in 47 games since being called up in early January. It’s a wonder if he had been there all season if he’s not the Calder Trophy winner, but I digress.

Boldy is a guy who is below-average by shot assists and some transition stats. On the flipside, Boldy’s shooting metrics – shot rate, individual scoring chance rate, scoring chance generation – are all great. Now, we’re talking small samples here, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, as the Wild will need both him and Rossi to be elite on their ELCs for them to continue to be Cup threats after this season. (apr26)

16. A 32-point season as a teenage defenseman on a bad team is nothing to dismiss. There is concern about Jamie Drysdale's actual in-zone defense, but that could be said of almost any 19-year-old blue liner that steps into the league. There are some good indicators in that regard – carries against percentage-wise isn’t terribly below average and he’s good at denying the blue line – but there is just more work to come here.

Where Drysdale showed out this year was in transition, being very good at gaining the offensive zone with control, either by himself or dishing to a teammate. The team was better at driving expected goals at 5-on-5 and 5-on-4 with Drysdale on the ice, again a good sign for the young rearguard.

One season won’t make a defenseman, but this is a good start. The team needs to surround him, Terry, and Zegras with way, way more talent, but these three are a good core to begin with. (apr26)

17. By most any measure we can think of – ice time, production, defense – this was Noah Hanifin‘s best season of his career. Is it a coincidence that it was his first season under Darryl Sutter, and guys like Oliver Kylington and Andrew Mangiapane also had the best seasons they’ve had by most measures as well? I’ve long thought of Sutter was one of the top handful of coaches in the league, and this season has only made that opinion more cemented in my brain.

Regardless, Hanifin (10-38-48) pushed for 50 points on the season and that’s a great year. Let’s just be cautious about projecting next season until we see what the Flames do with their roster. Not to mention Rasmus Andersson continues to chew all the power play ice time. Should this team take a step back scoring-wise next season with the departure of one of Gaudreau/Tkachuk, Hanifin doesn’t have much wiggle room because it’s only very recently he’s been getting top PP minutes. He’s not a lock to keep the role. (apr26)

18. The Red Wings are one of several teams putting together a nice future. But what was a little discouraging to see, as a fantasy owner, was the team’s scoring output going off a cliff in the second half. In the first half, we had Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider flying high. Raymond was at a point-per-game pace in the first quarter, while Seider was comfortably on a 65-point pace midway through the season. Teams began keying in on them, and that may take a year of adjustment for the two future stars. They’ll still put up nice numbers next season, but I wouldn’t expect the big breakout yet. Interesting to note that in the 26 games since Jakub Vrana made his season debut, he led Detroit in scoring with 19 points. (apr25)

19. A couple of weeks ago, the Blue Jackets signed one of the more highly-touted free agent college prospects in defenseman Nick Blankenburg. I profiled him back in January in the Midseason Guide, so if you picked that one up he would have been on your radar. A Torey Krug clone, except weaker defensively, the 5-9 right-shot has upside. But he needs to make the team first. This past month was his trial period and so far, he did well with it. Three points in seven games. It’s early though, so I consider him a boom-or-bust prospect and definitely one of the better college signings this year. (apr25)

20. Speaking of college players joining the NHL late in the season, Philly prospect Noah Cates made a statement that he’d like to be part of the big club next season. Ctes tallied nine points in 17 games, pretty much the same kind of production he had at U. of Minnesota-Duluth. The fancy stats indicate that he’s been a very solid two-way NHL player so far. He found chemistry with Morgan Frost (and Owen Tippett), which actually seemed to awaken the more highly-touted Frost from his slumber. (apr25)

21. Ilya Mikheyev scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season this past week, the first time he hit that plateau in the NHL. Don’t forget that he missed 29 games this year and he’s been mostly buried on the third line. As I’ve said several times here, last season was a Mulligan because he missed pretty much 13 months of hockey with that fluke wrist injury. He’s 27, an unrestricted free agent in the summer and there is no way the Maple Leafs can afford to keep him at market value. The only drawback is his proneness to injury, but on the right team with a full and healthy season – I think he can be a 65- or even 70-point player. We’ll be watching carefully for which team he signs with and evaluating the fit. (apr25)

Have a good week, folks – stay safe!!


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Writers/Editors: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford, Alexander MacLean, and Dobber of www.dobberhockey.com

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