Ramblings: Corey Perry, Patrick Maroon, Nazem Kadri and more (May 19)

by Neil Parker on May 19, 2017 | (21 Comments)
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Corey Perry, Patrick Maroon, Nazem Kadri and more (May 19)

Corey Perry - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

My last ramblings discussed the sneaky value Evgeni Malkin provided in the PIM column. How I stumbled upon that stat grab was looking into Patrick Maroon, as the Oilers winger was one of just six players to post 25 goals, 40 points, 75 PIM and 150 shots last season.

Maroon obviously benefitted from playing with Connor McDavid last season, and investing in the power forward assumes the risk that Maroon and McDavid could land on separate lines for stretches and potentially lengthy ones. Still, with Maroon's cross-category profile in mind, he's definitely a high-upside target that will probably be undervalued next fall.

McDavid and Maroon combined for 3.62 points per 60 minutes at five-on-five this season, and McDavid's mark dropped to 3.41 without Maroon. The winger dropped to a 2.25 mark without the star pivot, so the fantasy floor is low if Maroon doesn't see consistent time on McDavid's flank.

For what it's worth, Maroon ranked 63rd on the ESPN Player Rater last year and currently sits at 146th on NHL.com's recent top-250 rankings.

 

Another interesting name on the above list is Nazem Kadri. He finished 31st on the ESPN Player Rater last year and is currently positioned 87th on Pete Jensen's NHL.com ranks. Kadri is likely to garner a little more fantasy attention, and the center position is much deeper, so he's not as intriguing from a value perspective.

Despite posting a career-high 32 goals, which also includes his highest power-play total (12), there aren't any obvious statistical outliers from Kadri's 2016-17 campaign. It will probably be tough to post a 13.6 shooting percentage again, so another 30-goal campaign might be asking a lot. However, he's locked into a go-to role with power-play time, so 25 goals are within reach. Additionally, his offensive vision and creativity should allow him to top last year's 29 helpers and enable him to flirt with 60 points for a second consecutive year.

The obvious barrier is maximizing his efficiency again, as Kadri averaged just 16:35 of ice time. With the Toronto youth movement in full force, he might also slide further into a defensive role with Auston Matthews taking over as the go-to No. 1 center, especially in offensive situations.

 

***

 

It's fitting that after discussing offensive players that also pile up penalty minutes it was Corey Perry that scored the game-winning goal in overtime Thursday. While he hasn't been a dominant player during the postseason, he's been dangerous and effective. He's up to four goals and 11 points through his past 13 games and has been on the ice for the most high-danger scoring chances at five-on-five of any Duck during the Western Conference finals.

Maybe that is dominant.

The real question is how much bounce back can we expect from Perry in 2017-18?

It's easy to pinpoint his career-low 8.8 shooting percent and holler that positive regression is ahead, but repeating his 16.0 mark from the previous three seasons might be too steep of a climb.

If he posts a 12.5 mark with a similar shot volume, he'll score between 25 and 30 goals, which is probably what we should expect. Add a similar assist total alongside solid power-play numbers, a good plus-minus rating and plenty of PIMs, and Perry's back to being a go-to fantasy asset.

Counting on a return to his 2013-14 production is foolish, and sometimes players over 30 hit a wall and a 20-goal, 50-point season is all Perry has left. That's still a nice floor considering his peripheral coverage.

One other mild concern is that Perry has the ability to raise his game to another level, and it's been obvious throughout the postseason. If you're in a must-win spot, he's one of the guys you want on the ice and on your team. Maybe the miles are adding up, and playing at that high level just isn't possible over an entire 82-game season. Perry has played a lot of hockey over the years, and he's won everything. Imagine how difficult it must be to get up for a game against New Jersey in November.

If the price is right, his cross-category ceiling and floor are solid mid-round targets, I'm just not sure he'll still be available in the sweet spot of drafts, though. He's also probably not as attractive in points-only settings. Perry will be a rare over-30 target of mine this fall.

 

***

 

Quickly touching on Game 4, Nashville forced its way back into the contest with a solid push in the third period. Anaheim took some untimely penalties late, and the Predators grabbed the momentum and tied the game. The most important aspect of the game was Nashville holding Anaheim to one goal during the first period. The Preds registered just two shots and six attempted shots in the first frame with Anaheim dominating the possession.

The Predators climbed out of the hole and started to generate chances late in the second and then put on the big push in the third period. After failing to seal the come-back win in overtime, Nashville might regret not taking the 3-1 stranglehold.

The Ducks are relentless and resilient, and the deeper this series goes, the more it favors Anaheim, right?

Winning two games at the Honda Center is going to be difficult, right?

 

One potential lineup swap that caught my attention Thursday was that the Filip Forsberg-Ryan Johansen-Viktor Arvidsson line was being pushed around a little, and while still effective, the trio was missing an edge. The Oilers had success by spreading their physical wingers across a few lines, and it had me wondering if reuniting Forsberg and Johansen with James Neal wouldn't be an effective in-game juggle. Neal's presence would open more space and the trio has spent over 200 minutes together at five-on-five the past two seasons. Arvidsson's speed accomplishes the same thing, but moving him away from the tough matchups might also free him up for more offensive chances.

 

It's also worth highlighting that Game 5 is at 7:15 p.m. EST, so it's a quick turnaround for the injured players.

 

***

 

Much has been made about the offense the Nashville blue line is able to generate, and their aggressive pinching along the walls stood out in Game 4 on Thursday. There aren't 50-50 decisions, the Preds defensemen pinch aggressively for loose pucks without thinking twice and the high forward covers accordingly. On other teams, the forward will usually chases those pucks with the defenseman covering or playing conservatively, but the skating ability of Nashville's defensemen allow them to press the issue without significantly sacrificing their defensive position.

Mobile defensemen allow teams to utilize an interchangeable five-man attack that is more dangerous than the traditional three-forward, two-defenseman setup. It won't be long before the traditional positions and the accompanying expectations they carry that we're accustomed to become obsolete.

 

***

 

Expect Minnesota to make a serious move or two before next season. There are already a few rumors popping up (Michael Russo's Rants and Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts), and Nino Niederreiter and Mathew Dumba are the two big names being tossed around.

It makes little sense to move Niederreiter, but flipping Dumba could be a worthwhile move. Minnesota has the defense depth to sustain the loss, and if a young rearguard that was NHL-ready was acquired, it would be easy to insulate and position him in a position to succeed immediately. The haul to acquire Dumba would likely be hefty.

As it stands, the Wild have approximately $11 million to re-sign Mikael Granlund and Niederreiter. They also have a expansion draft dilemma and are without a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. It's a wait-and-see situation, but the way things are trending, Jared Spurgeon, Charlie Coyle and Joel Ek Eriksson might be the biggest fantasy beneficiaries of the current swirling rumors.

 

***

 

Here's what general manager John Chayka had to say about recent signee Mario Kempe:

 

“He’s a dependable, two-way guy who plays with a lot energy, plays in all situations and is willing to be physical in a non-physical league so he has a chance to be that depth player, an energy guy.

At the end of the day it comes down to this: the two-way contract risk is limited so you step up to the plate and take a swing. You can’t be afraid of striking out. I’m tired of just watching and striking out looking. We have our eyes on a couple other European free agents as well. It’s a good, quick, efficient way to add depth to your organization.”

 

The quote is from an interesting read about the organization's financial constraints that limited European scouting. Arizona now has five scouts in Europe, and as noted, Chayka expects to ink more free agents from across the pond.

Additional quick-hit notes from the article that are of our fantasy interests are that Arizona will look to be more active in trades than the free-agent market, and that the Coyotes hope to make some trades leading up to the expansion draft.

 

***

 

Enjoy Game 4 between Pittsburgh and Ottawa tonight, Dobberheads.

 

 

 

  • Stu Campaigne

    Lots of analysis for the level of player that will be lost. When you get that far down the depth chart, there are dozens out there at replacement level. Does it hurt a team to lose an asset for nothing that they’ve put resources into developing? Sure. But none of the players that Vegas will select will make or break any team’s future aspirations.

  • Striker

    No team is positioned worse for expansion than Minnesota & it starts on D with 5 protectors. Suter, Spurgeon, Brodin, Dumba & Scandella. On a great many teams Scandella might play as a #3 most a #4. You assume this would lock Minnesota into the 8 skater option but the are overflowing with forwards as well, many with NMC’s.

    Here’s what I think is going to play out. Pominville & his 2 year 5.6 mil per cap hit will be bought out as his NMC is problematic for the expansion draft & he is virtually untradable & apparently washed up at least as a 5.6 mil per player. His actual salary is 5 per per over the final 2 years, the buy out will be 1.6 mil & change over 4 years freeing up almost 4 mil in cap space but more importantly getting his NMC off the books for the expansion draft.

    Minnesota then needs to trade at least 1 Dman possibly 2 as they need to protect 7 forwards or they will lose 1 of Zucker, Niederreiter or Coyle in expansion draft protecting 4 Dman. Non of these 3 forwards has achieved his top end in the NHL as yet but all are right on the cusp of doing so. All will have career years next season. Parise & Koivu both have NMC’s so require protection, Granlund, Coyle, Zucker, Staal & Niederreiter are the 7 keepers at forward.

    Minnesota trades Dumba or Brodin pre expansion draft for expansion exempt assets protects the other with Suter & Spurgeon & then they are confronted with potentially losing Scandella or Olosson. This would be unfortunate potentially but Vegas may well choose to select Olofsson a young NHL Dman not yet NHL ready but very close, 5 years younger & appears to at least be a Scandella down the road. Better yet they leverage Minnesota by getting Minnesota to pay them to avoid Scandella take Olosson & get an additional asset of some nature. With Folin, Reilly & Olosson Minnesota can cover for the loss of Scandella or Olosson at D moving forward.

    Columbus would be my next choice for being poorly positioned for expansion currently. I assume they will be very active pre expansion draft as well. This is a great opportunity for teams in need of players both at forward & especially D to acquire assets that would normally be very unlikely to be traded. At least 5 teams are faced with losing a D of the the quality that are rarely of ever traded. Anh, Clb, Min, NYI & Ott at a bare minimum.

    Interesting times.

    • Neil Parker

      I think that why Niederreiter’s name is circulating. He could fetch a nice return of protected assets.
      Arizona could be a fit.

      • Striker

        Moving Niederreiter doesn’t make sense to me. I like my scenario best for Minnesota. The real problems at D. If Minnesota trades Niederreiter they are still confronted with losing Coyle or Zucker. They really need to protect 7 forwards. My scenario above makes the potential impact in expansion, losing Scandella or Olosson palatable & they have enough depth to over come it.

        The return in trade of Brodin or Dumba will be significant. 1 of those assets being a good young expansion draft exempt asset.

        Here’s a trade scenario I like, I think it’s my Bruins bias & love of Brodin’s 2 way game & untapped offensive abilities. Brodin to Boston for their 1st this season & either Edm’s 2nd this year or the Bruins 2nd in 2018. Boston sends Spooner to Minnesota following the expansion draft, protection issue for Minnesota. If Necessary perhaps it’s Boston’s 1st in both 2017 & 18 if necessary. Numerous other teams will be bidding & the cost extreme. He replaces Chara in the very near future.

        Minnesota’s roster next season.

        Parsie, Staal, Erikson Ek.
        Granlund, Koivu, Niederreiter.
        Zucker, Spooner, Coyle.
        ?, Haula, Tuch.

        Suter, Spurgeon.
        Olosson/Scandella which ever 1 isn’t lost, Dumba.
        Reilly, Folin.

        That said I think it serves Minnesota better to trade Dumba as Brodin has a more complete game, a solid contract & Dumba’s getting a huge raise very soon but 1 needs to have hopes & dreams. Ha-ha! Making this D instead.

        Suter, Spurgeon.
        Brodin, Reilly.
        Olosson/Scandella, Folin.

        Thoughts from the bench.

      • Striker

        Does Greenway sign to start in that #4 LW spot or does Minnesota just plug in the UFA market?

      • Striker

        Greenway, Haula & Tuch.

        Boy would that line but tough to play against.

      • Dobber

        Sneak preview: That’s exactly what I wrote in the Fantasy Prospects Report (except I had “big center” instead of Haula)

      • Striker

        That’s 2 monster wingers & Haula. Going into the corners won’t be fun when those 2 wingers are on the ice.

      • Dobber

        Ha – I called them “a potential modern day Legion of Doom line”

      • Dobber

        Nobody will be moved. No buyouts. Not a sexy answer or strategy, but I think that’s what you’ll see (per my comment)

      • Striker

        If Pominville isn’t bought out that a serious problem. It would shock me if he’s not.

    • Dobber

      I think Minnesota trying to escape a tough expansion is like a drowning man grasping at a floating straw. There is no escaping it, resistance is futile. What we have to remember (and what I’m sure they hold onto) is that teams can only lose one player. So make peace with losing Zucker. He’s gone. There. Now with that in mind, it’s like have the rest of those assets protected. No buyouts. No trades. Just accepting the loss of Zucker.

      I do that in fantasy expansion all the time – I dangle an asset I’m willing to lose, and then I try to sneak the other assets by them.
      Funny story – last year I left Brad Marchand unprotected! I dangled him after his “unsustainable” year! Because I wanted to sneak – get this – Jaro Halak through. Well it didn’t work – they guy took Halak. And now I’m laughing all the way to the bank at that.

      • Neil Parker

        A panic trade probably is a lot worse than just letting Zucker or one of the defensemen pack their bags.

      • Striker

        Who out of Staal, Niederreiter, Zucker, Scandella or Olosson would be selected if Minnesota choose to protect 4 D under the 8 skater option? Assuming a Pominville buy out & Suter, Spurgeon, Brodin & Dumba are all protected at D & Parise, Koivu, Granlund & 1 of the above protected as the 4th forward.

        As you know I have spent over a year running through scenario’s for expansion for all 30 teams repeatedly as issues change & we get closer, trying to factor in all variables not the least of which is cap hit issues. Dumba’s next contract is going over 5 mil per. Can Minnesoata potential afford another Dman making in excess of 4 million? They already have 4.

      • Dobber

        I think they protect Nino, and then lose either Zucker, Staal or Scandella. The rest is up to Vegas. As you say, the Wild is in the worst position for this, and it’s so bad that there is no getting out of it. As Neil says, a panic trade is worse. Buying out Pommer is another situation. It can wait

      • Striker

        Nor I, can’t wait that is. These are incredibly exciting times for people like us. I wish I had made the time to write those articles for you about expansion & each teams plight. Love debating & discussing these situations.

        June 17th; the day teams submit their protected rosters, June 19th; the day Minnesota submits their selections, & June 21st; the day the NHL announces their selections, are coming up fast.

        I’m hoping we see a ton of player movement pre expansion & more immediately following. Then we get to watch the cap strapped teams wiggle out of their issues. A great time to be an NHL fantasy hockey pool fan.

      • Neil Parker

        Hopefully there actually is movement. The NHL doesn’t have a great track record over the past few seasons.
        Maybe Nashville making two huge moves will eliminate some of the fear these teams have about wheeling and dealing.

      • Striker

        Well at least 30 assets are being moved for sure, probably more before June 22nd. Ha-ha!

        Interesting times & to think we get to do this again before this CBA expires in Quebec City. That addition or else where will be made before the NHLPA demands expansion revenue be included in hockey related revenue in the next CBA so not later than the 2020-21 season.

        Then in or around 2022-23 when Carolina’s lease isn’t so onerous to terminate, Carolina relocates to the west either in Seattle or Portland ideally & the east & west final balance out by teams.

      • Karl Paquette

        I really enjoyed reading your comments on expansion. I think most of the readership on here would love to hear that kind of in depth coverage on what vegas might potentially do. If time were a factor doing an article on maybe the top 3-5 teams that will be challenged by expansiin would be a fantaatic read. Ive been starvung for expansion coverage and thise few comments were way more insightful than what is typically being published by more mainstream hockey sites. Just a suggestion but thats fantaatic coverage and i know lots of us would love that aa content. Cheers!

      • Striker

        Thanks Karl.

        Hard to do. I could write 3000 + words on most teams plight, not all as some teams won’t lose anything of substance. I have spent long hours now running thru every teams scenario’s. Started as soon as expansion was made official modifying as time passes as required. I have a coil binder with all my expectations & assumptions. Who every team will look to trade to get to from under losing them for nothing but also positioning themselves for post expansion.

        Interesting times. I find it fascinating as a crazed fantasy pool fan. I’ll try to do a little stuff alphabetically on these daily ramblings. No promises & again thanks for the kind words.

      • Karl Paquette

        Thats awesome striker- im loving the breakdown but i hear ya on the time commitment required. Ill be checking in to see ifu get to anymore- really are great reads!