We’re just over two weeks away from meaningful hockey.
As I do every week, I’m going to share some thoughts and information to give you the best chance of DFS success when play resumes.
Let’s dive in.
Flames Addition by Subtraction?
A handful of NHL players have elected to opt out and sit for the remainder of the season. Most were not really noteworthy, however, there was an exception in Calgary Flames defender Travis Hamonic. He has a reputation as a reliable top-4 defender but his play no longer lives up to it. That’s why Calgary allowed shots, chances, expected goals, and actual goals at a higher rate with him on the ice than any of their top-5 most used defensemen. I thought Hamonic was definitely a guy Winnipeg’s 2nd line – headlined by Nik Ehlers and Patrik Laine – could expose but they will no longer have that opportunity. Instead, Rasmus Andersson will take Hamonic’s spot alongside Noah Hanifin on the 2nd unit. That duo has given up chances at a lesser rate and allowed 2.6 goals against/60, as opposed to 3.06 with Hamonic+Hanifin on the ice. On the surface Hamonic’s absence seems like bad news but, quite honestly, I think it may be a positive for the Flames.
Paging Mr. Crawford
One player we’ll definitely want to monitor over the next couple of weeks: Corey Crawford. The Chicago Blackhawks netminder is out of action right now and, thanks to an agreement between the NHL and NHLPA, nobody can say why. If he’s going to miss any amount of time, Edmonton’s top offensive players will become even more attractive than they already are. At 5v5 Chicago ranks 31st in suppressing chances, Grade A chances, and expected goals. They can’t defend a lick and I don’t imagine that’ll change against Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and co. Having to replace Crawford (.926 save percentage) with Malcolm Subban (.901 save percentage) would be an unmitigated disaster for the Blackhawks. Everyone will be pouncing on the stars, but Crawford’s absence would also make some Oilers punt options – up front or on defense – more viable. The series should be high-event in terms of shot volume and, without Crawford, there would be more goals to try and donk a piece of.
Rookie Robertson is One to Watch
Maple Leafs prospect Nick Robertson absolutely dominated the OHL this season and now he’s making quite the impression at training camp. There appears to be a realistic possibility he plays his way into Toronto’s lineup come playoff time. If that’s the case, he screams super punt. He’d probably only get ~12 minutes a night but he could still put up solid fantasy scores, especially if he ends up seeing PP time (he is getting some reps in practice). Robertson has an ultra powerful shot and likes to use it every chance he gets. He is a natural scorer with 3-5 shot upside on any given night. I’ll definitely be taking gambles on him while he is (assumedly) priced at or near the minimum.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com