Hey everyone! I wanted to do a post focusing on things going on during the preseason. Injuries, players that are standing out both positively and negatively, interesting line changes, etc. Let’s get right to it!
Seth Jones is out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Huge blow to the Blue Jackets given the level Jones was at last season. This gives a huge boost to Zach Werenski. He’ll be the PPQB for the first month of the season and there’s a chance that he ends up keeping the job if it goes well like he did as a rookie. I’d move him up about 20 spots to around 85th overall. For Jones, I’d still take him around the 15th round in a 12 teamer, but there is some risk even at that price point.
Corey Perry is out for five months following knee surgery. He was a player that I was avoiding anyways, but still a tough loss for the Ducks. It’s still unclear who is going to slide into Perry’s spot, but my hope is that it’s Ondrej Kase. You can probably get him with your last pick in a draft, and given his strong possession and scoring rates last season, Kase could do some real damage with additional ice time and improved teammates.
Alex Galchenyuk is week-to-week with a lower body injury. That locks up Derek Stepan as the center with Keller, so he becomes a must draft if he wasn’t already.
The Maple Leafs are loading up the first power play unit. That means Matthews, Tavares, Marner, Rielly, and Nazem Kadri will be together. Obviously that’s a big boost to Kadri’s stock being the fifth guy, especially because he’s had tons of power play success in the past. Who this hurts most is Jake Gardiner and William Nylander. Gardiner is an AAGNOF through and through, but now that is going to drop from last season. He’s not a guy I particularly want. Nylander is still without a contract, and even upon his return, his upside takes quite a hit being off the first power play unit. I already was low on him at 123rd overall, but he’s closer to 170-180 at this point.
Kevin Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson have appeared to switch lines in Smashville’s top six. I don’t think this hurts Arvidsson much given his style of play and that he’s a volume shooter, but this does give Fiala a nice boost. The offensive upside for Fiala is quite high and puts him up to around 150th overall. Obviously this can change at any time, but I suspect these switches last for a while into the regular season given the preseason success of Forsberg-Johansen-Fiala.
Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart is a lock at this point. I’m sliding Skinner and Reinhart up a few spots because this line has great potential at even strength.
Corey Crawford is unlikely to be ready for the season opener. I’m dropping him down towards 100th overall because the risk is extremely high. I wouldn’t touch Cam Ward with a ten foot pole, he’s a below replacement level goalie.
Brandon Saad has been skating with Schmaltz and Kane on the second line. Pretty good spot for him to bounce back. Still not a big fan, but he’d slide into the top 200 now.
Eeli Tolvanen has been sent down to the AHL after a rough preseason. I still love the kid long term, but he should be off the board in redrafts right now. He’ll probably only stay down for 9 games because at that point, he’d have an option to return to the KHL, but even at that point his role would be limited.
Despite all of the offseason talk about James Neal playing on the first line in Calgary, it’s been Elias Lindholm to this point in preseason. That makes Lindholm an elite streamer with the potential to be a bottom end hold. I still like Neal on the second line, especially because a big breakout from Tkachuk could be on the horizon, but you can draft him a bit later now.
Tyler Bertuzzi looks like he’ll get first crack on LW1 for Detroit. Not a big fan of his game, but that makes him streamer worthy at the least. Trevor Daley will be on the first PP with Green down, but I still wouldn’t touch him.
I have been taking Jesse Puljujarvi with my last pick or two in drafts, and am liking the idea even more now. He looks to be locked into RW2 with Draisaitl and on the first power play unit. I think we see a breakout from him after being rushed into the NHL.
Joel Armia will get a chance on Montreal’s first line after being stuck in the bottom six of Winnipeg for years. I’m not using him yet, but it’s worth monitoring.
Daniel Sprong has been getting time on Crosby’s wing in the preseason. If that sticks, I think he’ll end up a bottom end hold. There’s some top end talent here.
In an attempt to balance out the lines, Patrick Maroon is starting off with RoR and Tarasenko. We’ve seen Maroon be a hold for extended periods in the past, so he’s a great option late in drafts if you need some goals, PIM, and hits if your league includes them.
That’s all for now guys. Be sure to sign up for an RCL or create your own when you get a chance! As always, please leave any questions, comments, or suggestions below. Thanks for reading, take care!