GRamblings: Grubauer, Guentzel, Granlund, Grabner, Greenway, Gagner and Gmore
The Midseason Guide was released later Friday afternoon, and an update with error fixes was posted on Saturday morning. Besides the second-half projections, this beauty will also have players on the trade block (and what it means), prospects ready to make the jump for a dozen games down the stretch, the lowdown on undrafted or unsigned free agents (both in college and in Europe) and much more. Last year’s Midseason Guide, for example, had Troy Stecher, Drake Caggiula, Nick Lappin, Brandon Tanev, Alexander Radulov and Anton Rodin, to give you a small sample. Imagine getting a heads up on players like that in January instead of finding out about them in April or even July? Order it here
The two main errors that were fixed: 1. Anaheim chart had a player inserted and shoved the players down…but kept the other numbers in place. So each player had the wrong statline and position beside him. The projection list at the end was correct. 2. The New Jersey Three-Year-Peak chart was last year’s. Anyway, those two errors and a couple of typos were fixed for Saturday morning.
SERVER UPDATE! Nothing changed yet. When it wasn’t done by Wednesday I put the entire move on hold until the Midseason Guide weekend went by. Too critical a time to be switching servers. I’ll update here and/or on Twitter the moment I have a new timeline in place.
I saw Washington won 5-0 again and immediately cringed. In my main keeper league I’m winning but the big lead is shrinking as the guy in second place closes steadily. He has Braden Holtby, so this winning streak is killing me. Imagine how I perked up when I saw that Philippe Grubauer started!
I didn’t see the game because I was driving back from an out-of-town draft, but the numbers tell me that the Flyers were let down by their goaltending while the Caps were saved by theirs. Washington had 18 giveaways (Philly had five) and were outshot 24-22, yet managed a 5-0 win. For Grubauer, it was his first game in 12 days and he’s 8-1-1 on the season. He has an outside shot at 15 wins this season despite just 18 or 20 starts! His contract is up after this season and I’m certain he’ll get a big raise, likely over $2 million per season – maybe two years at $5 million and then he’s a UFA. If you don’t mind sitting on a goaltender for two years, he’s probably going to be a starter after that. Expansion is also a possibility, but that might actually hurt him in the short term if Vegas also takes Fleury and one of the Columbus guys as his competition.
That being said...this play won't show up on Grubauer's stats sheet (thank goodness):
Now that Michal Neuvirth is back, we go back to the Philly goaltending guesswork. “He’s going to be the starter”, “No – he’s going to be the starter”, “No – him!” Rest assured, whichever one of them you put in your lineup is going to get the hook after allowing five goals on 17 shots (like Mason on Sunday), and whenever you decide to just bench your Philly goaltender that is when he will post a shutout.
Shayne Gostisbehere has one point in six games and is minus-9 in that span. He’s also logged more than 21 minutes in two of those games. Ivan Provorov, the more complete defenseman, has four points in six games and is minus-3. Provorov has logged more than 21 minutes in five of those games.
Jakub Voracek has points in just four of his last 11 games. He played with Cousins and Couturier on Sunday when he had been getting his points with either the Giroux/Raffl combo or the Couturier/Konecny combo
By the way, Gostisbehere is third (worst) with minus-17, tied with five other players. Again, to reassure you – just ride it out for Ghost in 2016-17. I don’t think he turns it around this year but will bounce back next year.
Mikael Granlund has even shots on goal Sunday. He’s really breaking out this year and it goes deeper than his 35 points in 42 games. In his last 18 games he has 21 points – including five goals and 43 SOG. The 2.5 shots per game is very noteworthy because throughout his career he shoots below 2.0 per game without exception. Even in the first half of this season that was the case. Now he’s shooting more, likely the result of getting accustomed to Jason Zucker and Mikko Koivu, and adapting his game accordingly. Do not underrate Granlund. Yes, his 5on5 SH% is far too high versus his career. But the bump in shots taken and the fact that he’s now a winger instead of a centerman has changed how he should be evaluated. Yes, a decline is bound to happen – but not to the extent that you’d think when you look at his shot data.
Speaking of shooting the puck, Patrick Kane had 12 SOG against the Wild on Sunday. It’s easily a season-high for him and without knowing for sure, I’m betting it’s a season-high for all NHL players this year.
David Perron has found his niche and the result will be something steady in that 45-point to 55-point range. He’s getting great ice time again and he’s killing penalties for the first time since the last time he was in St. Louis. It means the coach likes him and leans on him – he’s tied for fourth on the team among forwards in terms of ice time. I think he had been wrongfully leaned on in Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Anaheim as a leader on offense. The Blues have it right – he’s a secondary option who can be used in all situations. He’s settling back in and becoming the player he was before he was first traded.
It was an interesting midseason draft that I had on Saturday in my 27-year league. It’s the simplest format of my three keepers, but it’s nice to keep it simple and that league has such a strong history. Points-only, 20 players, keep everyone, and top 12 players count. And the postseason counts (same players, new contest). That’s it. So when you draft players you get those points added to your total immediately..
I’ll give you some thoughts on the 22 players who were taken. I’m in first place, so I drafted last (13th) in each of the two rounds.
Mikael Backlund – This owner gained a lot of points here because Backlund’s 29 easily upgrades his 12th player, who probably had around 10 points. I had wondered why he would go out of his way to gain points when it hurts his summer draft position – but he explained that he doesn’t own his first rounder and didn’t want to give the guy who did the first overall pick. Anyway, Backlund is having a great year and I’m a fan of his talent and he’s in his prime right now. However, he gets hurt every year – no exceptions. And just because he hasn’t been hurt yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Too risky for me, I wouldn’t have taken him with my No.13 pick let alone No.1 (my 12th player has 23 points anyway, so 29 would only gain me six).
Jake Guentzel – AHL superstar, impressed in his NHL call-up. Love this guy, top prospect. I was hoping he’d sneak through to me in the final pick of the draft. Shallow rosters in this league generally don’t allow for many prospects, so I was surprised that he went so early.
Sam Gagner – His 30 points were the most of any undrafted player. He wouldn’t have been my top pick, as there is definitely a risk. In fact, he is pointless in seven of his last eight games. I put him on my bench in my Forecaster league that I own him in for the week ahead. A risk with some upside, but I’m not high on him for future years because of his free agency status.
Patrick Maroon – I’m a big fan. Was hoping he’d slip to me. Limited upside, but I think his spot on the McDavid line is secure and I think he’s a safe bet for 55 points. And in fact – future years would see him keep that spot, if I may be so bold…
Viktor Arvidsson – he has some upside, but I am concerned because in Nashville they seem to suck 70-point players and turn them into 55-point players. What does that mean for him? Arvidsson has just two points in his last nine games (plus he was injured for two more).
Michael Grabner – Terrible pick. He recently had seven points in two games, which is awesome. But it disguises the fact that he has just four points in 21 games other than those two. That’s very concerning, especially with Pavel Buchnevich back.
Jonathan Marchessault – This would have been my top pick. Just when I thought he may slip to me, he’s snagged. But he has a great combination of points now, plus short- and long-term upside. It will be interesting to see how he does when Florida’s injured players get back, but I think he’ll be fine. I think he’ll be a solid 50-point guy who can grow to become 60 or even 65 over time. Needs to stay healthy. Does not have the potential to be another Atkinson, for whatever that’s worth.
Joel Eriksson-Ek – Great prospect who should be in the NHL next season and make a splash with 40 points or more. I would have targeted him in the second round though because, again, rosters are too shallow to invest a lot in prospects and only the best ones should be owned (Eriksson-Ek definitely fits this category).
Justin Schultz – Another player I hoped would slide to me because he’d gain me a couple of points, but also slots in as another Penguin to own for the playoff portion (I own Malkin, Sheary and Hornqvist). When the Penguins lose Fleury to expansion they’ll be able to afford to keep Schultz (by the way, that means Derrick Pouliot owners could be screwed).
Connor Brown – Well, this was the last player with points who I had hoped might slide to me. He wouldn’t make my pro team, but at the way he’s going he could sneak on there within a month. Great upside, is overachieving – and he’s always been an overachiever and I love that.
Jordan Greenway – A huge, hulking, potential power forward who won’t get 50 points in the NHL until 2023. Seriously. I have no idea why he was drafted in this pool format. Great prospect, should be an NHLer. But even if he joins the league in two or three years, you can add a few more to that before he puts up decent points.
Kirill Kaprizov – I would have loved to draft this guy in the next round. I would have been fine with his being taken this early, but he’s signed in the KHL in 2017-18. Holding the roster spot for two years hurts his value to me in this type of league. But the Wild have a potential superstar here.
Pavel Buchnevich – I couldn’t believe he fell so far. I hadn’t even considered drafting him because I felt he’d go Top 5. His back injury this year was a blessing, as it disguised his value to my competition. A healthy season next year could see him as a very valuable player in this league format. Great long-term upside, and playoff value too.
This part is getting pretty wordy, so I’ll do the nine players taken in the other round on Wednesday.
This week’s 20 Fantasy Thoughts
Don't forget! Games are EARLY today! Set your lineups before 1pm EST!!!
- Ramblings: Whack-A-Duck (Dec 12)
- Fantasy Top-10: Players Who Won't Bounce Back
- Ramblings: Atkinson Scratched, Marner Breaks Point Slump (Dec 10)
- Ramblings: McElhinney Shines; Staal Paces Wild; Tarasenko Does Tarasenko Things - December 11
- Wild West: St. Louis Not Singing The Blues - December 11
- Geek of the Week: Blake Wheeler
- Catching Up
- Keeping Karlsson no. 168: Neutral Melker Hotel