Last season, I discussed the significance of handicapping coaches alongside my optimistic outlook for Galchenyuk. Here's a link to my thoughts heading into this season.
What I do care about is the persistent negativity thrown at Galchenyuk from coaches and management. Even if it's bullshit, I want the brass to be praising their best players and talking about them being in the best shape of their lives, etc. etc.
Why there has been this consistent focus on his defense is astounding. He's started more shifts in the offensive zone in consecutive seasons (68.3 percent last year) and has been a respectable possession player. Galchenyuk was particually solid in 2015-16 with a 53.4 Corsi For percentage and 2.7 Relative Corsi For percentage.
Additionally, defense isn't an issue for Montreal. The Habs allowed the fourth-fewest goals in the league last season, but they have been a middle-of-the-pack offense the past two years.
I'm beginning to cool considerably on Galchenyuk, and I suspect there won't be a draft where he falls far enough for me to call his name.
Why a general manager would ever say this about his own player is beyond me -- especially one he's counting on.
Here's the quote from Bergevin on why he's just about done with experimenting with Galchenyuk playing centre: pic.twitter.com/lkRqB2nIU7— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) September 11, 2017
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Big news out of Ottawa. Erik Karlsson (foot) isn't close to returning to action, and he said he's going to make sure he's fully healthy before lacing up his skates and hitting the ice. As highlighted in the article, Ottawa has 12 games in October, so the perennial Norris candidate and fantasy star could quickly be looking at a 65-game campaign.
There's potential for Karlsson to return a little rusty for another five games, and all of a sudden, you've got a 50 to 55-point first-round pick on your hands. Even if Karlsson slips to the second round, that's still poor return on investment.
Could Karlsson be back October 25th without missing a beat and post another 70-point showing -- absolutely. It's just ignoring the fantasy floor entirely.
There are plenty of settings where an IR slot is available, and Karlsson for 65 games and 15 games from a replacement-level defenseman is still excellent production. But streaming blue liners and picking through the draft leftovers has no guarantees. Additionally, Karlsson's ranked and selected so highly because the defense position becomes a wasteland.
Obviously, there will come a point in drafts where Karlsson's an excellent selection, but he's unlikely to ever be that discounted. There are too many injury optimists out there.
A few Ramblings ago, I talked about the drum beat. It's getting steady for Ryan Strome.
This is a reasonable salary and term, if Severson proves to be more than "Just another Guy." He has been a solid driver of possession (career 4.0 Relative Corsi For percentage), but how he adjusts to playing more significant minutes over the next few seasons will be telling. There's a 50-50 chance Severson's viewed as an overpriced bottom-pairing defenseman before his contract is up.
For our fantasy purposes, it'll be interesting to see how the power-play minutes and roles are split up. Will Butcher can't be ignored, and the left-handed shooter could man the blue line on the same unit as the right-handed-shooting Severson. The more likely scenario is the two cut into each other's power-play time and virtual upside throughout the season.
Still, the salary and term of Severson's deal securely positions him ahead of Butcher as the No. 1 offensive defenseman on the Devils. Because Severson has the opportunity to lock himself into that role, Butcher is likely best slotted into wait-and-see territory outside of deep settings.
With that said, expectations for Severson should probably also remain in check, especially in settings including plus/minus.
Here are a few of my personal fades on the blue line.
Duncan Keith, CHI: Coming off a rebound, 53-point showing, Keith's fantasy value seems to be way up. There's no reason to suspect a significant drop in production, and Keith offers a solid fantasy floor. However, his price suggests that he's a lock to repeat last season's numbers. Father Time will have a say sooner than later, and I'm always willing to be off a year too early than a year too late.
Ryan McDonagh, NYR: There's a lot to like about the cross-category production McDoangh offers, and he's going to log big minutes and post another solid fantasy campaign. However, Kevin Shattenkirk was brought in to run the No. 1 power-play unit and play a top offensive role, which should cut 10 points from McDonagh's total.
Morgan Rielly, TOR: Without a power-play role, Rielly will struggle to post anything better than serviceable fantasy numbers. He's currently ranked much higher than that in most spots, and the Toronto buzz is getting out of control. Additionally, it's pretty clear that head coach Mike Babcock views Rielly as his go-to defenseman against the opposition's top players, which hurts his game-to-game consistency and offensive upside.
Thanks for stopping by, Dobberheads.
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- Ramblings: Training Camp Notes; Power Play Increase - September 21
- Ramblings: Preseason Check Ins, Colin White and more (Sept.20)
- Dobber's Offseason Fantasy Grades: Vancouver Canucks
- Dobber's Offseason Fantasy Grades: Vegas Golden Knights
- Capped: Thoughts on Contract Situations Around the League
- Cage Match: Jaccob Slavin vs. Nikita Zaitsev
- Ramblings: Torey Krug's out, and more preseason analysis (Sept. 22)