Our fantasy hockey analysis series continues. Below we discuss the fantasy-implications of the recent NHL signings and news from around the league.
Fantasy Hockey Analysis – Forward Signings
Nick Ritchie Signed
Nick Ritchie became fantasy relevant last season after scoring 15 goals and 26 points in 56 games with the Bruins. He spent time on a loaded powerplay, a role he may see at times with his new team in Toronto. There’s opportunity on the left side and Ritchie likely has the longest leash to stay there. However, keep in mind that he’s never scored more than 31 points in a season. His average of 2.54 hits/game is a nice floor, but make sure you don’t overvalue him with an unrealistic expectation of production. Expect around 40 points with 180+ hits.
Corey Perry Signed
Corey Perry lost in the finals to Tampa Bay in each of the last two seasons with both Dallas and Montreal. He couldn’t beat them, so he joined them. Although the Lightning lost a few integral parts of their bottom-six, they are so loaded up top that Perry won’t likely be deployed in many offensive situations as he was with the Habs. He could have moderate success on the second powerplay, but don’t expect more than 35 points. This move was for the playoffs. They took care of their future however, by re-signing Brayden Point. As discussed in the article titled “Six Rising Fantasy Stocks from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs”, we expect Point to get back above the point per game mark.
Alex Wennberg Signed
Anyone with offensive potential on the Kraken is automatically an attractive pick given their lackluster offence. However, when you dig into the numbers, Alexander Wennberg should probably be left on the draft board come the fall. He’s four seasons removed from his career-best season where he had 59 points with the Blue Jackets. Since then, he’s only been able to get as many as 35 points. Last year with the Florida Panthers, Wennberg had 29 points and a career-high 17 goals with a shooting percentage of 20.7%. He’s averaged 9.8% over his career, indicating he would have had half the number of goals. The fact is Wennberg is not a huge producer of points. His lack of category coverage makes his floor so low that he is not fantasy-relevant even if he played 19 minutes a night.
Nick Foligno Signed
Nick Foligno accumulated only 20 points last season while playing 49 games between Columbus and Toronto. Due to an injury, only seven of those games were with the Maple Leafs. It was his fourth consecutive season under .5 points per game. However, Foligno is more valuable than the points he produces because of his multi-cat contributions. He’s a heavy hitter, solid shooter, and decent shot blocker. His floor alone warrants being drafted in most leagues. With Boston, the potential for points becomes greater, making him an intriguing pick next season. If Foligno can fill the void at centre left by the departing David Krejci, he could get upwards of 45 points.
Andreas Athanasiou Signed
Andreas Athanasiou opened eyes when he had 30 goals and 54 points in 76 games for Detroit three seasons ago. Since then, he’s hovered around .5 points/game. Unfortunately for him, the Kings have younger forwards with more promise in their forward group that are likely to get more opportunities in front of him, meaning Athanasiou shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar anymore. He should be a pick-up at best.
Fantasy Hockey Analysis – Defencemen Signings
Tony DeAngelo Signed
Anthony DeAngelo is one of the biggest high-risk, high-reward picks this upcoming season. He had 53 points in 68 games two seasons ago before locker room and attitude issues held him to just six games last season. Now after being bought out by the Rangers, DeAngelo signs with the Canes. The departure of Dougie Hamilton in Carolina makes DeAngelo a very intriguing pick, but whether you should draft him or not really depends on your draft. He’s worth a gamble as a third or fourth defenceman. Assuming he plays the full season, look for 45-55 points.
Alex Edler Signed
Alexander Edler was one of many Vancouver Canucks that had a poor season last year. He failed to score a goal for the first time in his 15-year career, accumulating only eight assists in 52 games. Edler will be a veteran presence on the Kings and will contribute significantly to the hits and blocks department, but don’t expect more than 30 points for the oft-injured Swede.
Darnell Nurse Extended
Darnell Nurse was the only defenceman in the NHL last year to have 100+ hits, 100+ shots and more than 30 points. He had 36 to go along with an impressive plus/minus rating of +17, 57 PIMS and 154 shots. His 16 goals ranked second to only Jakob Chychrun for goals scored by a blueliner. In short, Nurse was a fantasy dream. Looking ahead to next season, you can expect the pace of his peripheral stats to remain the same or improve, but his points and specifically goals are likely to come down. Nurse shot at 10.4% last season – more than double his career average. If his shooting percentage wasn’t inflated, he would have had eight goals and 28 points. Not as impressive, right? Nurse will still be a valuable asset but draft him expecting .5 points/game.
Fantasy Hockey Analysis – Other News
Alex Tuch Injured
Alex Tuch will be sidelined for six months to recover from shoulder surgery. That timetable would put him on track to return in February. It’s unfortunate for Tuch, who had one of his best seasons with 33 points in 55 games. Tuch had an extremely hot start to the year with 12 goals and 19 points in his first 21 games but would eventually slow down. He’s a great player but his deployment and peripheral stat coverage don’t hurt his value as much as much as it should. Only draft him at the very end in deep leagues that have multiple IR spots where you can stash him.
Vitek Vanecek Traded
Vitek Vanecek was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft but was traded back to Washington after signing Philipp Grubauer. Last season, despite starting as the third-string goaltender behind Ilya Samsonov and Henrik Lundqvist, injuries and Covid-related issues allowed him to start 36 games. He started strong but was just average after the first month. Expect Ilya Samsonov to get the majority of starts next season but don’t completely forget about Vanecek. He’s a good number three goaltender in deep leagues.