Ryan Dadoun

Fantasy Nuggets

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Fantasy Nuggets Week 6

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Easily the biggest thing that’s happened over the last week is the Matt Duchene trade, which involved Duchene going from Colorado to Ottawa, Kyle Turris heading from Ottawa to Nashville, and Colorado getting a bunch of picks and prospects.  The only player the Avalanche got who will play in the NHL right now is Samuel Girard, a 19-year-old offensive defenseman who has a goal and three points in five NHL contests with the Predators.

 

Girard will be worth keeping an eye on, but mostly this trade signals that the Avalanche are still focused on the future despite their respectable 8-6-0 start.  Granted, Duchene wanted to be moved so the Avalanche’s hands were somewhat tied, but if Colorado was in win-now mode they could have instead moved him for some NHL-ready assets.  One assumes, for example, that at the least Turris was someone they could have acquired in the trade if they wanted, but instead he went to Nashville to maximize the number of picks and prospects Colorado got.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the Avalanche keeping their eyes on the future despite getting off to a solid start this season, especially given that the odds were in favor of Colorado regressing as the campaign progressed even had Duchene stayed.

 

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Looking at this from Ottawa’s perspective, the Senators have gotten a potential star in Duchene.  I say potential because he hasn’t consistently performed at that level.  In 2016-17 he had 18 goals and 41 points in 77 contests, but then he was also on a terrible team.  This season he’s off to a stronger start with four goals and 10 points in 14 contests, but has been held off the scoresheet in four of his last five games.

 

Now with Ottawa, Duchene has a chance to put some rough campaigns behind him while playing for a pretty good team.  How he responds to that will be interesting to watch, but there is certainly the potential here for him to have a big season with the Senators.  In a few months we could be looking at this trade as a big net positive for Duchene owners.

 

The other big player to move was Turris, who is going to Nashville.  Turris was moved because he was in the final season of his five-year, $17.5 million contract, though the Predators immediately prevented him from testing the UFA market by inking him to a six-year, $36 million contract.  Turris had 27 goals and 55 points in 78 contests last season and got off to strong start with three goals and nine points in 11 contests in 2017-18.  While those numbers are great for him, it also means that there isn’t much upside to be had for Turris with this trade.  It’s a different situation than Duchene as while he could really step up with the fresh start, Turris didn’t really need one and he’s probably going to end up doing just as well with Nashville as he had with Ottawa.  In other words, Turris owners should view this trade as more-or-less of a neutral move.

 

This week also saw some struggling teams start to heat up.  After beginning the campaign 3-7-2, the New York Rangers have won five consecutive games.  Unfortunately for those hoping Henrik Lundqvist would bounce back, the Rangers’ recent success has largely been a result of a strong showing from their offense.  Lundqvist specifically has allowed 14 goals over that five-game stretch and posted a .909 save percentage, so he’s been okay, but not great. 

 

One player that has really shined though is defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who has three goals and seven points over the Rangers’ winning streak.  That’s brought him up to five goals and 16 points in 17 contests this season.  Those fearing that perhaps he would regress offensively in New York or that he would need some time to adjust to a new team can breathe a sigh of relief as he’s showing signs that he might be better than ever this season when it comes to his fantasy value.

 

Mika Zibanejad has also been a big contributor to the Rangers’ resurgence with a goal and eight points over his last five games.  Zibanejad is up to eight goals and 18 points in 17 contests this season after he was limited to 37 points in 56 games in 2016-17.  He’s never gotten more than 51 points in a campaign, but it’s not hard to envision the 24-year-old setting a new career-high, especially in light of his hot start.  He’s not going to maintain his current point-per-game pace though and should be penciled in for around 60 points instead.

 

The Rangers aren’t the only team with some red-hot players of course.  Blake Wheeler is leading the NHL scoring race in November with a goal and nine points in just three contests.  He had a great October too and now has five goals and 21 points in 14 contests this season.  That puts him in a tie for third place in the overall scoring race, behind Tampa Bay’s duo of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov.

 

Wheeler has been a steady presence for the Jets for years as he’s scored 147 goals and 408 points in 467 contests dating back to the start of 2011-12.  That’s good for 11th place on the NHL leaderboard over that span, putting him between the 10th place Nicklas Backstrom (417 points in 426 games) and 12th place Ryan Getzlaf (406 points in 437 contests).  And yet, Wheeler has only finished in the top-10 of the NHL scoring race once – back in 2015-16 when he was in a three-way tie for sixth place.  This could be the season when he gains more recognition outside of Winnipeg by finishing in the top-five, but the competition will naturally be fierce.

 

After all, John Tavares, Connor McDavid, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane, and Sidney Crosby are among those sitting outside of the top-10 right now, but one or all of them could conceivably catch fire in the weeks to come to start challenging Stamkos and Kucherov’s dominance of the race so far.



Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
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