10 fantasy hockey takeaways: Seider, Raymond making Red Wings relevant

·10 min read
All these years of being bad are finally starting to pay off for the Detroit Red Wings.
All these years of being bad are finally starting to pay off for the Detroit Red Wings.

For the first time in a while, the Detroit Red Wings are worth watching.

After years of putting forward arguably the worst collection of players in the league, some of the team's top youngsters are starting to develop and see ice-time in the NHL, and the fruits of the squad's rebuild are starting to bloom.

Three members of Detroit's rejuvenated roster headline my 10 takeaways from the week that was in fantasy hockey.

1. Moritz Seider (35 percent rostered on Yahoo) has arrived

Anybody who's flipped on a Red Wings game for even a brief moment can tell you that Moritz Seider is the real deal.

It didn't take the 20-year-old long to supplant Nick Leddy on the top power-play unit, a role he's earned in addition to his spot on the first defensive pairing. While logging 21:51 per game, Seider has tallied six assists in seven games, eight blocks, five hits, and three power-play points.

This offensive production shouldn't dry up, either. While he won't average a point-per-game for the rest of the 2021-22 campaign, he will likely finish in the 35-40 point range. In both the SHL and AHL, while playing against men, he has demonstrated an ability to be a solid contributor.

Still available in over 60 percent of Yahoo leagues, Seider is one of the best players available for fantasy managers to snatch up on the waiver wire.

2. Anders Lee (56 percent rostered on Yahoo) can be dropped

In fantasy hockey, Anders Lee isn't going to win you a championship, and with the New York Islanders' offense struggling, he can safely be dropped.

We're now four seasons removed from the winger's impressive 40-goal campaign, but another effort like that from Lee seems highly doubtful at this point. For starters, he's not shooting the puck that much this year. In the five games he's suited up for, the Isles' captain has topped one shot in just one outing. Additionally, his best two goal-scoring campaigns — 34 in 2016-17 and 40 in 2017-18 — were the product of uncharacteristically high shooting percentages (17.8 percent and 19.2 percent, respectively). His career number is 13.8 percent and with a recent dip in shot volume, you're better off using his roster spot to add players who are on hot streaks rather than holding Lee all year long.

3. Andrew Copp (45 percent rostered on Yahoo) is legit

The Winnipeg Jets realize that Andrew Copp is a quality top-six forward, but why haven't fantasy managers?

Still somehow rostered in under fifty percent of Yahoo leagues, Copp is one of the best players to scoop up. Partly due to absences, but mainly due to skill, the 27-year-old's ice-time has skyrocketed this season. Averaging 18:15 in time-on-ice per game last year, that number has risen up to 21:14 per game in 2021-22, amounting to nearly a three-minute jump!

Copp has earned every opportunity he receives as last year he was one of the best third-liners in the league, scoring 15 goals and 39 points in 55 games. That offensive success has carried into this season, as he's registered five goals and nine points through seven contests. 

What makes Copp an elite add, however, is how much he brings to the secondary categories, too. He owns a solid plus-five rating and has recorded seven blocks and five hits. 

4. Miro Heiskanen (98 percent rostered on Yahoo) Norris Trophy frontrunner

Miro Heiskanen has never finished inside the top-10 of Norris Trophy voting in his career, but the 22-year-old is poised to, given how strong he has started the 2021-22 campaign.

In seven games, the blueliner has recorded two goals, seven points, 19 shots, 13 blocks, and seven hits. His 1.4 individual expected goals sit second amongst all rearguards, and his 18 scoring chances are tops, according to Natural Stat Trick. His offensive numbers are even more impressive when noting the struggles the Dallas Stars' offense has had this season. The squad's 1.86 goals per game are the third-lowest of any team in the NHL.

Coming off the board as the 17th defenseman in Yahoo drafts, Heiskanen is shaping up to be one of the better values in fantasy hockey.

5. Thomas Greiss (20 percent rostered on Yahoo) establishing himself as 1A in Detroit

The Red Wings' goaltending situation may be something you're trying to avoid entirely, and that's fine, but if you're hurting for a goalie, this may just be the crease you want to attack.

Detroit's actually looked decent through seven games. Youngsters Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider have had a positive impact on the squad, and it owns a respectable 4-2-1 record thus far. Whether this holds up long-term or not remains to be seen, but if you're looking for a short-term option in net, you can do worse than Greiss.

The German puck-stopper has backstopped the Red Wings to an impressive 3-1-0 record while posting a strong .917 save percentage and 2.5 goals saved above-expected, which is tied for ninth in the NHL, according to MoneyPuck. These are much stronger than his counterpart, Alex Nedeljkovic, who's earned a .897 save percentage and minus-0.1 goals saved above expected.

I expect Nedeljkovic to take this crease over at some point this year, but in the meantime, goalie-needy fantasy managers would be wise to roll with Greiss. 

6. Artemi Panarin (100 percent rostered on Yahoo) hasn't been good

The New York Rangers are off to a strong 4-2-1 start of the 2021-22 season, but its most valuable offensive player, Artemi Panarin, hasn't played well.

Through seven games, the 29-year-old has recorded one goal, four points, and a minus-four rating. This kind of production from a fantasy hockey first-round pick who doesn't offer much in other categories is a little concerning, especially when looking at the advanced numbers. His 17 scoring chances sit fourth on the Blueshirts, and his two high-danger scoring chances are tied with defensive blueliner Ryan Lindgren for 12th.

All this being said, Panarin is someone worth targeting as a buy-low as the larger body of work suggests the Russian will bounce back, but his struggles are definitely worth considering before sending an offer out.

7. The Jakob Chychrun (87 percent rostered on Yahoo) Wile E. Coyote crash

Fantasy managers who selected Jakob Chychrun in their drafts did so while using a pretty early selection. His 88.2 Yahoo ADP made him the 18th defenseman off the board, and he's certainly fallen short of expectations through the first few weeks.

In seven games, the talented two-way defenseman has recorded zero goals, zero assists, and an awful minus-13 rating. All of this has made him one of the most dropped players on Yahoo over the last few days. While I wasn't looking to draft Chychrun in any drafts this offseason, I am willing to buy the dip on him now in my fantasy hockey leagues.

One thing you have to like about Chychrun is that he's still shooting the puck. His 21 shots on goal are eighth-most amongst blueliners. Combine that with his career 7.1-percent shooting percentage, which is relatively high for a defenseman, and there's a good chance he starts to have a little more puck luck.

He's still also contributing in defensive categories like blocks and hits, posting a combined 20 so far this season.

While there's not much that can be done about his plus-minus, Chychrun is a strong-shooting rearguard that'll likely see some more puck luck moving forward. He's a solid buy-low candidate for those that can afford to take on the atrocious plus-minus that'll accompany his production.

8. Is Lucas Raymond (45 percent rostered on Yahoo) the early favourite for the Calder Trophy?

Lucas Raymond may be a 19-year-old rookie, but he's already the best player on the Red Wings.

In seven career games, he's recorded a hat-trick, and his eight points are tied with Dylan Larkin for second-most on the squad. His advanced numbers have been absolutely incredible, as his 60.87% on-ice Corsi for percentage is first on the team, his 65.04% shots for percentage is also the best on the squad, his 65.35% scoring chances for percentage is tops, and so is his 63.04% high-danger chances for mark. Simply put, Detroit is at its best when Raymond is on the ice.

After posting an impressive six goals and 18 points across 34 games as an 18-year-old with Frolunda in the SHL last season, Raymond is continuing his success against the very best. The 2020 fourth-overall pick is likely someone you'll be keeping on your squad for the entire season.

9. The John Tavares (99 percent rostered on Yahoo) buy-low window is still open

I recommend sending out trade offers for any of the Toronto Maple Leafs that are struggling right now, and even though he scored in his most recent outing, John Tavares remains on the list.

Through eight games, the team captain has notched just two goals and four points. His current output has placed him on a 41-point pace thus far, but just a quick glance at the advanced numbers suggests that he's going to change that quickly.

Across the entire NHL, Tavares' 3.88 individual expected goals mark is the second-best. It sits ahead of players like Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid while slotting in just behind Kyle Connor. Despite his place amongst these players, all have scored at least three times as many goals as Tavares. While each of the aforementioned players has historically proven to be better at stuffing the net than Tavares, it does also demonstrate that the 31-year-old has suffered from some poor luck.

Additionally, Tavares' 35 scoring chances are tops in the NHL. The standout veteran has played well early on, and if he continues this production, he'll see his fortunes turn soon.

10. It's time to sell high on Elias Lindholm (96-percent rostered on Yahoo)

Elias Lindholm is a good player, but he's not this good.

In seven games, the Calgary Flames forward has scored seven goals and eight points. He's been an absolute force offensively who's potted at least one goal in five games, including a hat trick in last Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals. 

The reasons why you should sell Lindholm, however, are pretty clear to outline. The 2013 fifth-overall pick is doing all of this with a highly unsustainable 36.8-percent shooting percentage. Since joining the Flames in 2018-19, he's posted a 16.4-percent mark, so his current number is more than double his Calgary average. Additionally, Lindholm has been just an OK source of hits and blocks, averaging 1.1 hits per game and .56 blocks per game since leaving the Carolina Hurricanes. Lastly, Lindholm has never topped 30-goals before in his nine-year career, while his shooting percentage historically dips after the month of October.

Some players I'd be trying to deal Lindholm for are Jake Guentzel and Mark Scheifele. 

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