Thoughts on Brandon Sutter, fantasy hockey trade talks, Mike Hoffman, Aaron Ekblad; and more...
My thoughts on Brandon Sutter's deal - fair. Though I was shocked at the length. To me he's been a ho-hum player for his draft position. A great third-round draft pick. An awesome third rounder. But he was drafted 11th. I think a player with his skill set drafted at that level should have reached 40 points more than the one time, and defensively be counted on for better results. If I'm GM, I wait to open contract discussions until he's played several months for my team first. But the deal is fair. So I'm guessing that's why the GM started the discussions - he had an inkling that Sutter's agent would be fair.
I'm pretty hard on Sutter in the Guide. He's a great third-line center but will be misused as a second liner and it's not going to work. Hopefully Bo Horvat or even Linden Vey steps up. I have Horvat beating Sutter in production this year.
Mike Hoffman, one year at $2 million. A steal for the Sens. I do have him taking a small step back this year - small as in just a couple of goals and a couple of points. But still a 25-goal scorer and $2 million for that today is a steal. The reason I'm wary of him is his zone starts - 59.5% when the next highest Senator was Wiercioch (55.7%) and Zibanejad (55.6%). What happens when Shane Prince and Matt Puempel are on the team? I have each of them playing at least half the year with the big club and they'll get some protected minutes and offensive zone starts. If the magic wears off for Hoffman, even a little bit, then Coach Cameron will start to lean a little more on the players who have the magic still - Mark Stone, for one. So no, I don't expect Hoffman to build on last year.
Igor Bobkov has signed to play in the KHL next season. Anaheim chose to let him walk, which is no surprise considering they might be the deepest team in net in the league - Andersen - Khudobin - Gibson - Hackett to me is a great one through four.
Former fringe NHLer Andrew Ebbett has also signed to play in the KHL.
I think I missed this during the free agent frenzy, but I just stumbled on this when skimming through SC Bern's roster. But Cory Conacher will play in Switzerland next season. Dominated the AHL, made a splash in the NHL early by clicking with Stamkos (and kudos to TB for identifying his weakness quickly and getting value for him). But he couldn't click with John Tavares and just like that his NHL career was over. He couldn't finish. I thought he did alright in terms of controlling the puck (with ill-advised fancy moves, but still) - but he couldn't finish. A couple of assists despite 12 games on the big JT line? You tell me in advance that any player, Player X, is guaranteed 12 games on the Tavares line and I'll draft him late as a sleeper every time. But he blew it. Anyway, he must read my Ramblings because I'm always going on about how fringe NHLers should play in the Swiss League…
Draft Kings deal - I'm going to be offline pretty much from Thursday to Sunday for a wedding I'm in. So if you're thinking of getting all my stuff for ten bucks (here) do it now or you may be waiting 48 hours or more for it to appear in your downloads.
I made a deal in my limited (keep 12) keeper league yesterday. This is the Forecaster League, where I won the last three seasons but this past season I finished second by six points. The key has been strength in net and on the blue line. But also four high-end forwards. I can draft or grab from waivers some average forwards. But it's very hard in most leagues to get a decent d-man or goalie off waivers. So I always try to keep three goalies. We haven't hit the keeper deadline yet so I have my full team, so I was sitting on Quick, Bishop, Anderson and Smith - keeping the first three, obviously. I was offered a couple of mediocre picks for Anderson and Wennberg (who I'm not keeping). I told him I'd give him both for Jaroslav Halak, and I'd even add something to it. So he sent me an offer for Halak for Anderson and Wennberg and I'd upgrade his pick from the 11th round to the 5th round. My counter - Anderson, Wennberg and Vrbata for Halak.
I have a sheet at home with my team on it, with my 12 keepers highlighted. Before the keeper deadline, I try to push any assets I can for draft picks. So I used Vrbata as the kicker to the deal so I could save my draft picks (which are pretty bad this year). Vrbata wasn't in my Top 12 so giving him up was nothing to me. And now I have Bishop - Quick - Halak in a 14 team league.
I'm hurting for picks, as I noted, and a guy is hot for my Ekblad - said he's willing to give me sixth overall pick for him. This guy has eight first round picks, plus his second and third. I don't have any picks in the first three rounds. Hmmm… opportunity.
To give up Ekblad would mean my next keeper would be either Franson, Goligoski, Larsson, or Zuccarello. So I offered him for his second rounder, his third rounder, and his worst first. We'll see if he bites, but that solve my draft problems in one shot. Just to downgrade to a defenseman who could very well match his points any way (just not his trade value).
ICYMI I posted my fantasy outlook for the Bruins. Here is the series so far: