Connor finishes strong, Hintz to undergo surgery, Roto Rankings Risers (May 15) – DobberHockey
The Leafs and Jets wrapped up their regular season on Friday, with the Jets coming out on top 4-2.
Kyle Connor led the Jets on offense, scoring twice. Connor now has goals in three straight games, with four goals, six points and 11 shots in that span. He returned to his form just in time for the playoffs following a crisis in which he failed to register a single point in seven games. Despite what may seem like a tough season, Connor led the Jets with 26 goals and was second with 50 points.
Connor’s linemates Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele assisted on Connor’s two goals.
Paul Stastny and Pierre-Luc Dubois both left that game, but it looks like the Jets were just very careful trying to avoid injury. According to Paul Maurice, Stastny and Dubois will both be in the lineup for Game 1 of the playoffs.
Pierre Engvall scored another goal for the Leafs, giving him four goals in his last five games. Engvall’s teammate Ilya Mikheyev scored his own goal, shattering an unnecessary drought of seven games.
Auston Matthews didn’t score a goal, so he ends the season with 41 goals. Unless Connor McDavid can score nine goals against the Canucks (which I wouldn’t totally rule out), Matthews will be your Rocket Richard winner. This is exactly what all of our writers thought would happen in our season predictions except for one writer in particular who got cute with his prediction and thought Matthews would tie up Alex Ovechkin. But I won’t mention his name!
Jack Campbell was scored with loss, allowing three goals on 23 shots. I’m assuming Campbell will start the first game of the playoffs against Montreal, although the return of Frederik Andersen certainly complicates matters. Since Games 3 and 4 are back-to-back, we could very well see both goalies in this series.
As planned, Roope Hintz is due to have surgery next week for the groin tendon problem that has bothered him for much of the season. Scoring 43 points in 41 games with this nagging issue is quite an achievement, which is something to consider when evaluating Hintz for next season. Hopefully the operation will allow him to move forward, so that you don’t have to follow every game to confirm he’s playing. It’s easy for guys like me to shed light on the fact that the whole “perpetual decision in playtime” status is a nuisance, but it does sound really painful.
The good news for the Stars is that all of Hintz, Alexander Radulov and Ben Bishop should be ready for training camp.
With the Bruins and Capitals kicking off the playoffs tomorrow (after a completely insignificant Canucks / Oilers game), our editors and other experts on the Dobber Hockey website have provided their first-round picks as well as their early predictions for the Stanley Cup. Check them out here. I’m sticking to the Stanley Cup Final prediction I made before the season (Colorado vs. Tampa Bay), which I don’t always do.
The Roto rankings for the month of May will be published later today. To keep up with not only the comments, but the events of the past month as well, I’ve done what I think were a ton of updates. As a result, you will see a few players much higher or lower than before. To give you an overview, here are three players who will benefit from a big increase in value.
Barrie will end the season as the top scorer among defensemen and among the league leaders in power play points among defensemen. Compared to Toronto in 2019-20, Barrie has increased his point total while playing 15 fewer games. Much of his improvement in Edmonton is due to the fact that he averages over a minute more on the power play than in Toronto, where he often had to share his duties with Morgan Rielly.
If you own a Barrie goalie, you better hope he finds a way to re-sign with the Oilers. That may not happen, as Barrie is expected to enter the independent agent market looking for a five or six year contract (Oilers Nation). Where it lands and whether it has competition for PP1 will factor into its long-term value.
When a goalkeeper posts an GAA of 3.47 and 0.882 SV% in the first month of the season, but an GAA of 1.88 and 0.941 SV% thereafter, he is bound to see a jump in value. To put it another way, five of Saros’ six very poor starts came in the first half. Without Saros’ exceptional play in the second half, the Predators wouldn’t be in the playoffs. How exceptional was Saros? As of March 18, Saros has a GSAA of 25.00 (goals scored above average). The next highest goalie over this period has a GSAA of 13.44.
Saros has clearly been a second half goaltender for the past two seasons. These are its 2019-2020 splits.
In addition, this goalkeeper with the GSAA 13.44 since March 18 is Thomas Greiss. I bet you looked away when you saw it on your waiver thread at some point this season. Yes, goalies have been a guessing game this season.
The fact that two of the three players I picked here are goalies shows just how volatile this position is. We probably wouldn’t have known how strong goalkeeper Nedeljkovic was if Petr Mrazek hadn’t missed two months with a thumb injury. No goalkeeper who played as many games as Nedeljkovic (23) had a lower GAA (1.90) or SV% (0.932), but he still had to split starts with Mrazek or James Reimer.
In last weekend’s The Journey, Colton Pankiw ranks Ned third behind the more-discussed Kirill Kaprizov and Jason Robertson. I think Ned deserves to be in the discussion, but I don’t think he should top either striker because he has played less than half of his team’s games. The best still seems to come for Ned, however. With Mrazek and Reimer both UFA after the season, Nedeljkovic could very well be the starter for one of the strongest teams in the league as early as next season.
For more success stories during the fantasy season, listen to the Steve Laidlaw podcast, where he discusses who should be on a 2020-2021 fantasy hockey all-star team with our very own Alex MacLean.
Finally, if you’re starting your playoff squad late, there’s still time to grab your playoff draft list. The roster is interactive, which means you can set it based on which teams you think will go to the final, or use Dobber’s picks.
Also join the Dobber’s Bracket Challenge. I’m here (Goods Fantasy Hockey), and you might find others you know from the Dobber community.
For more fantasy hockey discussions or to contact me you can follow me on twitter @Ian_Gooding