Bryaden McNabb can help you in hits. (NHL.com)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy hockey. Yes, the season is on hold right now, but without official word to the contrary, we’re proceeding as if the schedule will resume at some point. Still, this will be our final Fantasy hockey column until we know for certain that the NHL will return.
This week, the Czech hockey world lost a legend in Vladimir Zabrodsky, a man who helped Czechoslovakia win a silver medal in the 1948 Winter Olympics; Devils goaltender Cory Schneider made 98 saves on Thursday night as the NHL played on in the virtual world; and both the Ducks and Kings reported that no one on their team has shown any signs of the coronavirus.
And now, let’s get to what very well may be our final Fantasy hockey recommendations column of the season…
Brayden McNabb, D, Vegas Golden Knights (ESPN: 3.9 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): McNabb showed a bit of promise offensively in his first season with the Kings back in 2014-15, but hasn’t really produced much since, and was doing even less this season. However, with 201 hits (ninth in the league), he’s been an asset for those in league that track this category. McNabb has also found a way to play very physically while limiting his penalty minutes. At 6’4″, 216 pounds, he’s an intimidating presence on the Golden Knights’ blueline and provides category help in blocks as well (he’s just six shy of matching his total from last season in 10 fewer games). As an added bonus, McNabb is good with kids as well (see video below).
Patrick Harper, C, Nashville Predators (ESPN: NA; CBS: NA): Now’s a perfect time to look at Dynasty league options, and Harper — having just signed his ELC with the Predators — is an ideal example. Having recently completed his career at Boston University, he earned Hockey East Third Team honours for his big season which included 14 goals (a new collegiate career high). Harper was playing on a line with uber prospect Trevor Zegras, who had the following to say about Harper: “He’s a really skilled forward who sees the game well, makes great decisions with the puck and can score. So he’s really easy to play with, for sure.” Harper’s a little guy (5’7″, 150), but we’re seeing more and more players this size succeed in the NHL.
Connor Mackey, D, Calgary Flames (ESPN: NA; CBS: NA): The Flames signed Mackey, an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State (Mankato) after he put up an impressive 24 points in 36 games. The 23-year-old American native has decent size (6’2″, 183) and shoots left. In three college seasons, he totaled 61 points, but really broke out this season, earning WCHA First All-Star Team honours. Mackey is known as a top-notch skater and very capable two-way blueliner.
- Alex DeBrincat was starting to roll just before the season halted. The Chicago right winger logged three assists in the final game, giving him 2-3-5 over his last four. It was good to see after DeBrincat had slowed down in January and February, making it clear he wasn’t going to come close to duplicating his huge 2018-19 breakout.
- Harper wasn’t the only signing by the Preds as they also inked North Dakota forward Cole Smith to a one-year, two-way deal. Smith, 24, potted a career-best 11 goals in 34 games in his senior season, and wound up with 51 points over his four-year career. The undrafted Minnesota native was fifth on the team in goals this season.
- The Sharks were in free fall mode before the shutdown, so are probably in no rush to resume play, but Evander Kane may be an exception. He was red hot, scoring a goal and an assist in the final game, giving him four goals and two helpers over the last five. After a splendid first two months, Kane had really slowed down, so given his recent play it looked like he was going to finish strong. He was on pace for a career-best 31 goals.
- Back in mid-January, we took note of the breakout season that Kyle Connor was enjoying. It was a good call. Since the beginning of the 2020 calendar year, he has 35 points in 31 games, and was scorching before the shutdown, with two goals in the final game and six goals and an assist over the final five. Connor was on pace for 44 goals and 40 assists as the Jets’ 2017 first rounder has developed into a serious force.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Vibraphone player extraordinaire Roy Ayers‘ 2003 compilation Virgin Ubiquity was so influential that it spawned a two-disc version of remixes by various artists in 2006. From this effort comes Dutch electronica producer Nicolay‘s remix of “Funk in the Hole.”
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.