Here's an interview (in French) with Jakub Jerabek about what's needed for him to successfully make the jump from the KHL to the NHL. It seems unlikely that Jerabek will have a prominent role out of the gate with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Mark Streit, David Schlemko and Karl Alzner all in tow. Jordie Benn, Brandon Davidson and Joe Morrow are also in the mix.
It would make sense to let Jerabek acclimatize to the North American game -- and the continent itself -- in the AHL to start the season. He would then be a potential addition to the lineup if injuries struck or he proved ready for the NHL. The 26-year-old defenseman is coming off a 34-point showing through just 59 games in the KHL, so there is definitely some offensive upside. It also shouldn't surprise if Jerabek had a stretch or two of fleeting fantasy value this year.
John Tavares recently discussed an offseason thumb surgery he underwent. Of particular note, he aggravated the thumb injury in January and played through it. Tavares said there was a multiple-week period when the injury was bothering him, but it didn't seem to impact his performance. He recorded 34 points -- 12 goals -- through 35 games following the injury, which included a seven-game stretch with four tallies and seven assists immediately following the game in Boston when he sustained the injury.
The Tavares watch is officially on, and it will be really interesting to see what the Islanders do this season. The organization is loaded with young talent, has two capable NHL goaltenders and a bevy of picks in next season's draft. There is an opportunity to push all in around Tavares, or further stock the prospects cupboard by unloading him. His $5.5 million salary won't be a significant burden considering a salary dump would likely need to be dealt back to the Islanders.
More Deep Dives …
Gostisbehere's disappointing 2016-17 showing really wasn't that bad from a fantasy perspective. He definitely failed to repeat his rookie dominance, and being a healthy scratch five times was far from ideal. However, his 1.57 points per 60 minutes ranked 13th among all defenseman with at least 750 minutes, and he recorded seven goals, 32 assists and 23 power-play points. The disastrous minus-21 rating was also a team wide problem. Development isn't always statistically linear, so considering he still posted strong offensive numbers in a down season, the 24-year-old defenseman should be in position to bounce back in 2017-18.
The Lightning were derailed with injuries last season, and then Bishop sustained his own lower-body ailment before ultimately being traded. It was a rough run for the netminder, and his 910 save percentage and 2.54 GAA were both his worst marks since establishing himself as a full-time start in 2013-14. Things are looking up entering 2017-18, though. Dallas is a much better fantasy setup than Bishop found himself in last year, and the Stars project to provide plenty of goal support for their 6-foot-7 goalie. With a track record of success, Bishop is a ripe candidate to rebound, and he should last deeper into drafts this fall than in years past.
While others stole the headlines in the postseason, Sheary deserves a lot of attention for his dominant regular-season showing. He notched 23 goals, 53 points and 154 shots with a plus-24 ranking through 61 games. Additionally, his 3.27 points per 60 minutes was the seventh-highest mark among all skaters with at least 500 minutes, and at five-on-five his 3.03 points per 60 minutes was the best in the league. Let that sink in. He should return to a scoring-line role this season and potentially continue to spend the majority of his even-strength time on Sidney Corsby's line. Sheary also scored just five power-play points while rolling with the No. 2 unit. There probably isn't room for significant improvement, but a few more points with the man advantage would help mitigate a likely decline in scoring efficiency at even strength.
Entering his third season in the league, Parayko will have an expanded role with Kevin Shattenkirk out of the picture. It lines up well for the 24-year-old defenseman, as he's in a prime position to take another step forward in all respects. Offensively, he's recorded 13 goals and 68 points while averaging just 20:18 of ice time per game through his first two seasons. He'll play a lot more in 2017-18. Alex Pietrangelo replaced Shattenkirk as the No. 1 offensive defenseman last season, and it wouldn't be shocking if that were the case again this year. Parayko's extra minutes -- including with the man advantage -- project to help him show statistical growth in all categories, and he has the potential to emerge as a cross-category monster over the coming years.
It's not often that a defenseman flirts with a 50-point campaign and it's generally viewed as a letdown. However, Klingberg struggled to find his footing after long-time defense partner Alex Goligoski relocation to the Coyotes. Additionally, the entire Dallas team struggled and had to endure a number of significant and long-term injuries. Still, Klingberg posted 49 points and finished the season in strong form with five goals and 18 points over his final 25 games. The Stars brought in a number of reinforcements to insulate their high-end talents, so Klingberg could be in line for a career year.
Just a reminder that I'll be attending and presenting at The Fantasy Sports Show taking place at The International Centre Hall in Mississauga this weekend. Please, if you're in the area, stop by and say hello. It has the makings of an excellent event, and it would be awesome to see some Dobberheads. I'll be doing a number of fantasy hockey shows with Chris Meaney of the FNTSY Network.
Thanks for checking in.
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