Ramblings: MacKinnon, Koivu, Picking a Prospect (Sept 19)

by Ian Gooding on September 18, 2017 | (0 Comments)

MacKinnon, Koivu, Picking a Prospect, plus more…

Hey, it’s Ian here. If you’re wondering where Neil is, we have switched days this week, so he will cover tomorrow’s Ramblings.

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions on Saturday evening. Since I have an article coming up on later-round steals on Sportsnet in several days, I will hold off on answering questions relating to potential sleepers. I usually don’t like to write two separate articles about the same topic in a short span of time. (I wonder if I’d get into trouble if I plagiarized myself.)

I’ll take on a couple of standalone questions. The first one might serve as prework for whoever writes the fantasy take article for a Matt Duchene trade (assuming he is traded, of course).
 


According to Frozen Pool, Duchene and MacKinnon played on the same even-strength line just under 12 percent of the time, so since both were centers they tended to be mutually exclusive. The Avs’ lines were understandably in disarray for much of last season, but it appeared that MacKinnon had slightly more time with the team’s top wingers in Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen than Duchene did.

Much was made of Duchene’s poor scoring total and plus/minus, but unproductive linemates were a factor. Not that there was much to choose from on the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche, but still.

30.9%    DUCHENE,MATT - LANDESKOG,GABRIEL - NIETO,MATTHEW

18.5%    DUCHENE,MATT - GRIGORENKO,MIKHAIL - NIETO,MATTHEW

18.4%    DUCHENE,MATT - MACKINNON,NATHAN - RANTANEN,MIKKO

16.6%    COMEAU,BLAKE - DUCHENE,MATT - RANTANEN,MIKKO

15.7%    DUCHENE,MATT - GRIGORENKO,MIKHAIL - SODERBERG,CARL

As for the power play, it most often involved both MacKinnon and Duchene on the first unit. Depending on whether the Avalanche acquire a center in return, there could be a minor effect in MacKinnon consistently receiving the top wingers on his line. But tougher matchups could also factor in. So overall, I’d say that a Duchene trade will have little to no effect on MacKinnon’s value. If you’re a MacKinnon owner looking for a boost, that will need to happen in some other way.
 


The more I examine the numbers and scouting reports on Dobber Prospects on these three prospects, the more I believe that these three prospects are very closely valued.

Strome was the highest pick out of the three (3rd overall), but that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be the highest valued of the group in single-season leagues. Coyotes’ prospects writer Keith Duggan on Strome:

He's still an excellent prospect but it's probably going to be a slow adjustment for Strome into the pro ranks. Keep an eye on him in training camp and preseason as with a strong camp he could begin 2017-18 as the Coyotes number two center behind Derek Stepan. But with a weak camp could find himself beginning the year in the AHL.

For more on Strome, check out his profile on Dobber Prospects.

There’s a possibility that Connor (who plays on the wing) could be the highest scorer of the three in 2017-18. He’s the only one with AHL experience, and he could be ready to make the jump to the NHL. Barzal scored at a similar pace to Strome last season in junior (about two points per game), so we shouldn’t ignore his potential either. But if this is a keeper league and you have to make the choice, Strome has the highest upside.

Dobber Prospects: Kyle Connor

Dobber Prospects: Mathew Barzal

*

That was quite a day Tyler Wong had on Sunday. In case you were watching NFL instead of the mean-nothing game between the Canucks and Golden Knights which was mainly filled with youngsters, Wong recorded a hat trick. Wong racked up 109 points in 69 games as a WHL overager last season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, but he was never drafted, likely because of his lack of size. It may also surprise you that he doesn’t have an NHL contract (his contract is with the Knights' AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves).

This performance should no doubt grab the attention of the NHL team. Keep in mind that the Knights are a brand new team, so they will be have more of a clean slate that other NHL teams, who already have an idea as to where they would like to slot their prospects. So I believe that the Knights will find a way to not let this kid get away should he continue to perform in the preseason.

For more on Wong, check out his bio at Dobber Prospects.

*

Thought you might like to validate that you are coming to the right place. According to fantasyref.ca, Dobber Hockey’s overall rankings were listed as the top fantasy hockey rankings this past season! This was out of 11 fantasy hockey websites that projected goals, assists, points, and wins. See how their numbers were calculated here.

*

Some news coming off the wire late Monday: The Wild have signed Mikko Koivu to a two-year extension worth $5.5 million per season. The new contract kicks in next season, when Koivu will be 35. In cap leagues Koivu now becomes a little more palatable starting next season, as he has one year remaining on a contract that pays $6.75 million.

Usually a player does not trend upward in his early to mid-30s, but that is where Koivu has been for the past couple seasons. He has benefitted from the Wild’s recent success, climbing from 48 points to 56 points to 58 points last season. The Mikael Granlund – Koivu combination didn’t just work for Granlund. It also worked for Koivu.

Just a note, Dobber, if you’re reading (and congrats on getting out of the hospital, by the way): Koivu should be removed from the Band-Aid Boys list. Yes, I too can remember a time when he would regularly miss a whack of games because of some injury. But Koivu has missed just a combined four games in his past three seasons. When you have some time. No rush.

Where Koivu is consistent, though, is in scoring. Usually he will provide something in the neighborhood of 40 assists, but he has not reached the 20-goal mark in any of his past seven seasons. So in points leagues you have known what you are getting for a while now. But you’ll want to slide him down your list if your league rewards goals more than assists.

*

On Colin White, who left Monday’s game against the Leafs with a wrist injury after blocking a shot:
 


Hopefully the news is okay for White, who is attempting to crack the Senators’ roster and is a must-own in keeper leagues.

The good news for the Senators is that they won 6-2 over their rivals, including this one-of-a-kind goal from Mike Hoffman. Hockey highlights: gotta love ‘em. That was one of two goals for the Sens’ sniper.

*

Surprise, surprise. Teams found another loophole with the salary cap. This time it’s the wealthy Leafs and LTIR, which Joffrey Lupul brought to light on Sunday night.  

From the Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk:
 

And why doesn’t the league investigate? The collective agreement allows for the league to employ a neutral physician to challenge a club’s determination that a player is unfit to play for the purposes of using the salary-cap relief afforded by LTIR. There’s no indication the league has ever done such a thing here.

It sure looks like time, but I doubt that the league will do such a thing in the near future. When the Leafs are strong, it’s good for business. Based on Lupul’s comments, it sure doesn’t sound as though he is content just getting paid $5 million per season not to play for the Leafs.

*

One last tweet, just for fun. If you don't know the player numbers and can't read Chinese, then I guess you're out of luck.
 

*

For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.