Hello Friday readers! Usually this spot belongs to fellow editor Cam Robinson, but for life reasons we're swapping this week – you can catch his Ramblings on Sunday.
One of the reasons Dobber is legendary for fantasy coverage is the annual Mid-Season guide (click for more info). I've been lucky enough to contribute to this fantastic publication for a few years now, and to show off how useful it is for hockey nuts like us I'm going to post some gems found in this season's edition. The Guide focuses on fullroster projections here on out, but I'll give one prospect-related nugget for every team. Have at it!
"Brandon Montour‟s minutes, in particular his use on the penalty kill, declined in December, which has affected his shot blocking. Montour entered the holiday break with just six blocked shots in 11 games, a substandard rate for a defenseman."
– Two Coyotes predicted to increase their scoring rate in the second half: Christian Fischer and Jakob Chychrun
"Flipping a coin between Jake DeBrusk and Dalton Heinen? The clear choice is Heinen, who is getting a regular PP shift and sniffs of time on the first line which could increase if Boston opts to balance its lines out like they did in the second half last season."
Projected (Buffalo goaltending) Rest of Season: Lehner 70%, Johnson 15%, Ullmark 15%
Who's Close in Calgary? Rasmus Andersson, D
Stockton has relied heavily on the calm demeanor of Andersson this season. He's logged heavy minutes and proved why he's one of the top prospects for Calgary. He does not have the fantasy ceiling that other blueliners do, but he is smart and consistently drives play. Andersson has shown to be on their radar having been called up a few times but only seeing one game of action in November. If there is an injury, he could be paired almost anywhere in the roster. He is the number one option for Calgary as a call-up and could see 14-18 minutes a night if he is summoned.
"Noah Hanifin‟s shot production has exploded averaging over 2.0 SOG per game. That pace puts him in contention for top-30 among defensemen shooters."
– What do we think of Anthony Duclair in Chicago? A point pace jump from 33 to 42.
– What about rookie standout Kerfoot in Colorado? Unfortunately a pace drop due to unsustainable shooting %
"After starting a minus-3 in October Pierre-Luc Dubois has taken off as the top centerman in Columbus. He has been on the positive side of the ledger ever since and could excel if that top line starts scoring at a level that matches their elite possession metrics."
"Devin Shore saw short bursts of production with four points in four games at the end of November, and a similar four-point outburst in six games surrounding New Year‟s Day. Early in the campaign his role with the Benn-Seguin-Radulov power play unit brought Shore five assists on the man advantage (his entire total this year) through the end of October, but he‟s long since been removed from such duties."
– Based on streakiness and coaching tendencies, don't blink if Anthony Mantha gets the odd healthy scratch motivation going forward.
"Jesse Puljujarvi is averaging nearly 3.0 SOG per game despite skating only 14 minutes per game. He looms as a potential top-10 shooter if his minutes climb."
Who's close in Florida? Jayce Hawryluk, C
Lately, Jayce has been stringing together a number of multi-point outings, showing everyone the potential that could be with a call-up. The consistency has been improving as he continues to drive the net and circle the puck down low. He protects the puck very well and it's only a matter of time before he gets a chance to shine in top-nine NHL minutes. Hawryluk has had his name circling in a few trade rumors as well but regardless, his time is coming soon.
– Need PIMs? Kurtis MacDermid could become elite in this category.
– Barring an injury, a breakout isn't predicted in the second half for Joel Eriksson Ek despite his notable ceiling.
Who's close in Montreal? Nikita Scherbak, RW
Scherbak has been the best Laval Rocket when in the lineup this year, as he missed around six weeks with a knee injury and has just recently come back. His play in the AHL has improved every season he has played in the league and he doesn‟t look like he will remain there much linger. With the Canadiens likely to be sellers at the deadline look for Scherbak to get the call and not look back.
For SOG look to Kevin Fiala who has averaged 3.0 SOG per game since Turris‟ arrival.
Will Butcher is still being coddled, with an offensive zone starting percentage above 60% and no time on the PK. That should be good news to fantasy owners, but his bread and butter PP time was up and down in December.
An interesting Matt Barzal comparison in the Guide – Vincent Trocheck.
Buchnevich‟s numbers look better than his reality. He is bleeding ice time and had only two games in all of December with more than two SOG, after 10 in October and November. This will be another stepping stone year, not a true breakout.
– Thomas Chabot is predicted to see more games in the second half…prepare accordingly.
– It's not a huge number by any means, but Nolan Patrick is predicted to have a better 2nd half.
– Expecting a Guentzel rebound this year? Us too.
"Timo Meier one of 23 forwards averaging 1.5 hits per game and 2.0 SOG per game. His shooting took off in November thanks to a bump in minutes."
"Rookie forward Tage Thompson has shown flashes of being a shot volume hound averaging over 1.5 SOG per game despite limited ice time. Thompson was averaging over 2.5 SOG per game at the AHL level before being recalled"
– A few Lightning players have blue down arrows next to their projections…and Yanni Gourde is one of them
– One Maple Leaf with a red up arrow? Mitch Marner
"Prime-time pugilist Joseph Labate has not gotten a crack at the Canucks‟ lineup yet, but put up 21 PIM in 13 games in a late-season cameo last spring. He has put up massive PIM totals in the AHL and looms as an enforcer option."
Back to the arrows: another red one (despite a strong start): Shea Theodore.
Who's close in Washington? Travis Boyd, C/W
Boyd has continued to put up points in the AHL as the top-line center for the Hershey Bears and remains one of the Capitals top forward prospects. Boyd appears to be a much better center than a winger which can explain his previous weak numbers in the NHL, in addition to low ice time and weaker linemates. As shown earlier in the season if injuries happen, Boyd is the first player to be called upon to fill a top-nine role. Boyd likely figures into the Capitals plans next season but he could be called upon a few more times to end the year.
"Connor‟s gotten nearly 80% of his 5v5 ice time skating with Scheifele and Wheeler, not to mention about three-fourths of his even-strength points."
Thanks for reading and good luck using these nuggets (and more in the Guide) to get a second-half boost in your pools!