We are slowly approaching the absolute best time of year to be a sports fan! The MLB playoffs are about to begin, while the NFL is in full swing. More importantly, the NHL and NBA are just around the corner! And with that comes a new season of fantasy sports! If you’re a DobberHockey reader, you know now is the perfect time to study for the upcoming season. Over the past two weeks, I’ve covered goaltenders and defensemen who traded jerseys this summer. This week, we’re going to wrap up by looking at some forwards who have found new teams this offseason that might be interesting come draft time!
Time is definitely passing! I feel like it was yesterday when I watched Trocheck represent Team North America in the World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2016. At the time, he was a rising star in the league who just to start showing glimpses of greatness in his game. He played for the Florida Panthers for nearly seven seasons before being traded at the 2019-20 deadline to Carolina for Erik Haula and a set of prospects.
As Panther, he really showed his ability to score points. His peak season even to date was in 2017-18 when he scored 31 goals, 44 assists for 75 points which all remain career highs for him. He was seemingly on his way to being a top player in the league, but his rise was cut short the following season when he suffered a horrific leg injury that cost him nearly 30 games that season. . When he was dealt to Carolina he was a solid player, but offensively his numbers never returned to where they once were.
I would say Trocheck’s slight attack drop can be attributed to the Hurricanes playstyle. They play a very complete and balanced game. It’s not always a total offensive barrage like you’d see teams from Edmonton or Florida play. They’re very responsible defensively, and that’s reflected in the Hurricanes’ offensive numbers. Point totals are good, but don’t jump off the page.
That brings us to this summer, where Trocheck opted to test free agency and sign a contract with the New York Rangers. Ironically, I find the style of the Rangers very similar to that of the Hurricanes. Sio, the big question this season is, will Trocheck see an increase in his offense when surrounded by new teammates or can you expect similar numbers to what he had in Caroline? Imagine he gets an optimal deployment there and is replaced by some solid linemates, then we’ll have to see.
The good news for fantasy owners is that while Trocheck can no longer beat 70 points, it does bring additional value to the table in other areas. In the shooting department, he’s right about two shots per game, which is acceptable but not great. He’s always been a pretty restless physical player who isn’t afraid to play the body. Last season he had 185 hits, which was by far a career high. And if your league tracks game wins, he was at 54% on draws last year, which is a superb number. Thus, Trocheck comes across as a fantastically solid option in many ways.
Its ADP varies a bit depending on your platform. Yahoo has him running around 157 which is roughly round 13 whereas in ESPN leagues he’s going there much earlier as he sits at an average ADP of 78. I think targeting him for a mid-to-end pick would be a great play considering he can provide a bit of everything for your team, but don’t get to him too soon.
It must have been rewarding for Ottawa Senators fans to finally have an offseason like the one they had this summer. More tanking. No more selling everything and fielding an AHL-caliber product in October. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has made huge waves this summer, both on trade and in free agency. Giroux played a big part in that when he signed with Ottawa for $19.5 million over three seasons. It was a move no one saw coming in free agency.
The question now is how and where will he fit into Ottawa’s lineup. With Josh Norris and Tim Stutzle already listed as the team’s two best centers, it’s safe to say that Giroux will mainly play on the wing, although he can certainly play in the middle if needed. He has some of the most elite faceoff percentages in the last six or seven years, so it would be nice to see him take a few draws. Giroux has often been triple eligible for the advanced three positions on Yahoo, so he’s pretty versatile in that sense. Whether he plays on the first or second line is still an enigma. No matter where he lands, the Senators have a pretty stellar top six, so he’ll have some quality teammates. I’m excited about a Stutzle, DeBrincat and Giroux line, though!
Giroux’s offense has really been his biggest selling point when it comes to fantasy hockey. His shooting rate is pretty decent, averaging 2.6 shots per game over his entire career. As I mentioned earlier, he’s an asset in any league that tracks faceoffs, but it’s unclear how many centers he’ll see this season. It’s also worth considering that he’s not a lock to be on the first unit on the power play. Switching to the second unit might harm its production a bit and therefore reduce its fantasy value to some extent.
Aside from who and where he plays, the other main concern is his age. He’s expected to turn 35 in January, so that’s something to consider. That being said, he has maintained a fairly clean state of health throughout his career. His ADP on Yahoo is down to 159, so he falls in the later rounds of most drafts. ESPN has its ADP slightly higher at 128, which is closer to the midpoint value. I’d lean more towards Yahoo’s numbers on this one.
For all the reasons stated above, Giroux is quite a risky and highly rewarding type of pick this season. Its ceiling could be absolutely massive. If the Senators snap from the start and the offense gets going, I could imagine Giroux will have a great year. I’d let someone else take the bet on him, but if he falls in the rounds where you start picking your bench players, he’s definitely worth the risk at this point.
The last of my attacking trio resembles Giroux in many ways. David Perron opted to sign a two-year, $9.5 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings over the summer. Look for him to slot into the second row alongside fellow newcomer Andrew Copp. With these two signers and the core development they already have in place, the Yzer plan seems to be going very well. Perron will be a perfect fit for the Red Wings as he will bring both his skills and veteran presence to help guide the slew of young talent.
Perron is 34, but unlike Giroux, he’s battled a ton of injuries throughout his 15-year career. Staying healthy and off injured reserve is probably the biggest key to his fantastic success this season. I know the Red Wings are pretty tough to beat the St. Louis Blues, but I think Perron could have a good chance to produce. I think it’s reasonably possible he’ll end up in the best power-play unit on the team, although that’s obviously not a guarantee at this point.
When healthy, Perron has shown he is capable of racking up points. Last season, in just 56 games, he amassed 58 points, including 26 on the power play. Historically, he’s been a reliable source of success, but you have to imagine that will slow down as he ages. It also pulls at a fairly pleasant pace. Over the past two seasons, he’s averaged over 2.5 shots per game.
His ADP interests me because he is well above the aforementioned Claude Giroux. I think Giroux has the higher cap of the two this season, but I think I would draft them from the same spot, which is mid-to-late rounds. However, on Yahoo, his ADP is 97, while on ESPN it sits just a little lower at 108. For me, that’s too far. Even outside of points, Giroux can bring you more in other categories, and I also think Ottawa has a better chance of thriving this season compared to Detroit (although the Red Wings are not far behind). In my opinion, Perron is a great bench option for your team heading into this season.
Well, that wraps up our three-week preview of the players who will be playing for new teams this year. This weekend and next weekend are the best draft moments for fantasy hockey, so good luck to everyone on their drafts. I’ll be back next Sunday with some more ideas for our upcoming hockey season! Cheers!