Ramblings: Alex Galchenyuk, Erik Karlsson and Damon Severson News (Sept. 12)

by Neil Parker on September 12, 2017 | (9 Comments)
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Alex Galchenyuk, Erik Karlsson and Damon Severson News (Sept. 12)

Erik Karlsson - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

I couldn't care less about what position Alex Galchenyuk plays to open the season, as long as it's alongside Max Pacioretty. Hopefully, it's opposite Pacioretty with Jonathan Drouin in the middle.

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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

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A few Ramblings ago, I talked about the drum beat. It's getting steady for Ryan Strome.

He's going to start on the right side of Connor McDavid in training camp, and even McDavid dubbed Strome a fantasy sleeper. McDavid also noted his chemistry with Dylan Strome.

I'm bullish.

 

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Damon Severson inked a six-year contract with an annual cap hit of $4,166,700 on Monday.

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.

 

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Here are a few of my personal fades on the blue line.

 

Fades

 

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.

 

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Thanks for stopping by, Dobberheads.

 

 

 

  • Mathieu

    The reason why management calls out Galchenyuk instead of pumping his tires is because he has poor work ethic and prefers Montreal’s high life to working out. They’re trying to wake him up. Besides, they would lose credibility in front of the rest of the team if they went out and publicly said he’s in the best shape of his life and is primed to explode offensively.

    They parted with Nathan Beaulieu this summer in an attempt at saving their investment in Galchenyuk. Beaulieu was the one pulling Galchenyuk in a life of parties.

    • Neil Parker

      Noted.
      Thanks for the insight.

  • Neil Parker

    Group a few things here at once.
    Butcher isn’t a lock to stick with the Devils. It just seems odd that the prized NCAA free agent wouldn’t be guaranteed a spot by management to sign with the team. If he flops, that’s a different story. I am approaching his situation with the belief he has to play his way off the team and not on to it.
    I think we all agree that Plekanec isn’t an option in a top-six role, and Galchenyuk should play with Pacioretty. I get not utilizing Galchenyuk at center, but allowing it to become the focal point of your offseason as camp approaches is poor management. Though, should we be surprised by that at this stage of the game?
    Good to hear for you both, as always.

    • MarkRM16

      The situation with Galchenyuk is frustrating. The main reason not to have Galchenyuk at C is that he’s sub-par on faceoffs, but how good can we expect Drouin to be after not playing C for years? Given the quality of the team’s wingers, I think it would be foolish not to give Plekanec the chance to rebound offensively when he could function as his wingers’ defensive insurance, letting them show their skills.

  • Striker

    Is Will Butcher even going to make NJ’s starting 6? He’s not suited to sit as the #7 or 8 until injuries, illness, personal emergency or coaches decision get him into the line up, he needs to play to develop & play allot in all roles. Prout was brought in to play that insurance roll as a #7/8 Dman paid to practice & be a black ace unless a short term replacement is needed.

    Considering NJ’s state of development I’m not certain he will. I’m not saying he won’t but I don’t share your optimism he will even make the roster never mind see respectable power play time. Mueller has to clear waivers to be sent down, he stays & plays, Santini is 1 year from having to do so; clear waivers, as well & having played 38 games last season, NJ needs to make room for this player very soon.

    Greene, Severson, Lovejoy & Moore are all locks on D in NJ. Mueller is on the roster or lost on waivers. That leaves 1 starting spot to be battled for between Santani, Kapala & Butcher, all are 22 but Santani has a better pedigree & being a RH Dman fills a better need. If Mueller is a lock & like Butcher a LH Dman with the push in the NHL by many teams to balance D pairs in todays faster game, that would have Butcher on the outside looking in.

    Also there is zero rush to get Butcher to the NHL. NJ will be 1 of the worst teams in the East this season, right there with Det & potentially Florida. Butcher would be better served to go to the minors, play a ton & wait for any injury or trade or even next year or beyond.

    That said there is always room at the top & Butcher could kick the door down & steal someone’s job.

    Here’s my D for NJ to start the season.

    Greene, Severson.
    Moore, Lovejoy.
    Mueller, Santini.
    Prout, ?

    Having Butcher in the NHL sitting most nights doesn’t make sense so who does he beat out in the top 6 as he’s not suited for ?

  • Striker

    Both Pacioretty & Galchenyuk should play LW, MTL has toyed with Galchenyuk at C for 2 years now but they just seem to feel it isn’t working. I would assume then that other than on the power play they won’t be regular linemates.

    Mtl has said they are going to try Drouin at C but ideally I would like to see Danault center Galchenyuk at LW & Drouin at RW. Drouin played all of last season in TB as a RW but has historically been a LW in his brief career.

    Here’s my 1st choice line up for Mtl to start the season but we won’t see it at least not to start.

    Pacioretty, Plekenec, Gallagher.
    Galchenyuk, Danault, Drouin.
    Lehkonen, Mitchell, Shaw.
    Byron, Holland, Hemsky.
    Spare Martinsen.

    If Drouin is going to play C, that seriously weakens the right side & I assume that will push Mitchel to 4th line C & Holland to 4th line RW bumping Shaw up to the #2 RW spot, certainly not ideal. The top 3 LW’s look locked in to me, Pacioretty, Galchenyuk & Lehkonen. Could either Galchenyuk or Lehkonen move to RW? Sure just neither have played the position in the NHL to date. Shaw can play any forward position & has in his career.

    • Dobber

      I don’t think Plekky has any business in the top six whereas Lehkonen belongs there. Someone will be moved the right side. Drouin at C could work well

      • Striker

        Agreed but unless they spend some of that 8.5 in cap space what choice do they have? If the Drouin experiment at C works Plekanec could move to the 3rd line C role. He is still there best shut down C & logs all the hard assignments.

        I can’t see Montreal getting Duchene. They moved the asset Colorado needs to get Drouin. They have the cap space but Mtl’s prospect cupboard isn’t over flowing with solid prospects.

        I hope things are going well Dobber. Thinking of you & your family daily.

      • Striker

        Trying to set line ups months before the season even starts is challenging. We do so regardless, tweaking them constantly right up till opening night, when we finally make our final standings predictions & lay most of our last few wagers.

        The standings should continue to get tighter than ever before with a few minor exceptions, Vegas, Colorado, NJ & possibly Det. The NHL’s new lottery rules should have eliminated tanking it like we have seen in the past as under the new weightings & 3 round lottery finishing last guarantee’s you nothing. Something Colorado learned the hard way. There’s over an 80% chance you aren’t picking 1st.