March 6th, 2015

by Austin Wallace on March 6, 2015

Mar 6th Ramblings

 

When it makes sense to draft McDavid fourth overall, some OHL updates, and maybe the best OHL season ever.

 

I’ve mostly been letting Brendan Ross take care of hyping the draft-eligible class, but you can’t help but notice Connor McDavid’s dominance and a recent forum post got me researching just how dominant he has been. As far as the OHL goes, it’s best to be blunt: Best. Ever.

 

Of draft-eligible players, he has the highest ever points per game (at least 40 games played). The last person to beat him: Wayne Gretzy. Before it was the OHL, Gretzky put up 2.84 points per game at age 17. McDavid’s 2.68 points per game is just as close to Gretzky’s as it is to his closest competitor in the past 20 years: Patrick Kane’s 2.50.

 

Of anybody in the OHL’s 35 year history, only two draft+2 season’s have been better than Connor McDavid’s draft season.

 

McDavid has 107 points in 40 games. Kane “only” had 145 in 58 games. Gretzky had 182 in 64.

 

Stats don’t tell the whole story, but McDavid is a cut above recent first overall picks in more than one way.

 

I get the natural reaction to mitigate the hype train, but McDavid really deserves every ounce of it. Of course, potential injuries and developmental curves and uncertainty are aspects to every prospect. McDavid has no red flags though, and is on a different class than the Daigle’s or Stefan’s of the hockey world were at the same age.

 

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Don’t worry, I talk about more than McDavid.

 

 

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Just not yet.

 

Hunter9 on the forum asked where to take McDavid in a new dynasty league that is close to points-only but with a 3-2 weighting towards goals. It is an interesting read, especially since he didn’t specify whether it was a league with a salary cap.

I’m of the majority opinion that he is probably worth a pick in the ~10-15 range in a non-cap league, simply because of his generational upside and the trade value he will have immediately.

 

Where things get a bit more controversial is when you add in a salary cap. Players mentioned as candidates for a top-5 selection in a pure-dynasty cap league:

 

Crosby – 8.7 mil forever

Ovechkin –  9.5 mil forever

Malkin – 9.5 mil forever

Stamkos – 7.5 mil next season then probably 11+ mil

Tavares – 5.5 mil until 2018

Giroux –  8.3 mil forever

Karlsson – 6.5 mil until 2019

Seguin – 5.8 mil until 2018

 

In a cap league, Crosby, Tavares, Seguin have to be the top three. Crosby is Crosby, and regardless of cap-savings, I’ve yet to see a fantasy draft that didn’t have him in the top three. Tavares makes 3 million dollars less a year than Crosby, is only 24 and leads a resurgent Islanders franchise. Tyler Seguin makes about as much as Tavares for a year longer, is a year younger and has the edge in goal-scoring over the other two.

Now, here is where things get interesting. Who do you pick next? Ovechkin and Malkin have a lot of mileage, and could be near the end of their peaks. Eventually those contracts will hurt.

 

Giroux has never scored 30 goals, and makes a ton of money.

 

Karlsson might make sense with a great cap hit, but this league doesn’t specify positional requirements.

 

Stamkos scores a ton, but his next contract will be record (and fantasy-budget breaking).

 

If I’m picking fourth overall in a cap league, I’m taking Connor McDavid, and putting all my focus on winning in years two and three of the league and McDavid’s ELC. It isn’t outrageous to project the first three years of his production as: 60, 75, 80. Now, I wouldn’t bet on it working out in a way resembling those numbers, but I would bet on him averaging at least 25 goals and 70 points in year two and three. That is roughly 15 goals and 20 points fewer than you might expect from Ovechkin or Malkin.

 

In return, you get between 5.5 and 8.5 million in extra cap space depending on whether your league counts cap bonuses. In cap leagues, that extra space is more than enough to increase your point total by 20 points. There are a lot of wise ways to distribute that much extra money; even in the most pessimistic scenario you will be able to drop two 40 point, 3.5 million dollar players, and pick up to pick up two 7 million, 55 point players from the wire, more than recouping your 20 points lost.

 

Being able to plan around winning specifically in those two seasons, and planning to make smart use of that extra flexibility is a massive advantage in a competitive league. It seems like too much too soon for someone that has yet to even be drafted, but I would do it every time.

 

In a capped, points-only league, where would you take McDavid and Eichel? What about in an uncapped league?

 

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Stanislav Galiev has quietly been having a resurgent season in Hershey. Last year he was a 22-year-old Russian 3rd rounder that didn’t quite make point-per-game status in the ECHL and only had six points in 16 games at the AHL level. This year started out similarily, with two points in 11 games. Since then, he has been on fire, scoring 20 goals and 36 points in 38 games while shooting over three shots a game, and leading the league in powerplay goals with 12. Scoop him up immediately, while you still have the chance.  He has improved his defensive game and should get called up soon, if not this season then early next season.

 

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Oliver Bjorkstrand has scored in 11 straight games and has 48 in 49. Wow. He is a good bet to make the Blue Jackets next year. While excitement is certainly warranted, bear in mind that the WHL’s best playmaker, Nic Petan (who has  59 assists in 44 game), is setting him up.

 

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Lightning defensive prospect Anthony DeAngelo has 42 points on a 20 game point streak, which is crazy. He has a lot of upside, and is enough of a talent that he will get his chance on the PP at the NHL level regardless of organizational depth. He deserves his ”A” rating, and will reward his owners aplenty in upcoming years.

 

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Matthew Murray was the AHL goaltender of the month, and has edged out Markstrom for the best stats overall with a .936 SV% a 1.65GAA and eight shutouts. A former third round pick, with an NHL-sized 6’5 frame and excellent stats in the OHL last year, he could be the real deal. I say could because unless your last name is Goldman, goalies are voodoo. Anyways, in February he had a 0.25 GAA and a .991 SV%. Yeah.

 

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Another undersized Swedish Toronto prospect has been exceeding expectations: Andreas Johnson. At age 20, he has 22 goals and 35 points in 55 games, which roughly translates to a 40 point NHL season using NHLe. He has five more goals than any other U-24 SHL, and playing in a men’s league should help dispel the obvious concerns about his 5’10 frame.

 

If you are trying to follow prospects in the SHL, @SHLProspectGifs does a good job of gathering highlights of NHL prospects in the SHL.

 

Connor McDavid with an average goal:

 

Cole Cassels erases Matt Spencer: