Tag: Casey Mittlestadt

My Top-Ten Most Disappointing Fantasy Hockey Players of 2018

Man, you came into the draft licking your chomps. Thinking I am going to be steal this guy, he is going to be MVP caliber, my star, my bread and butter and boy have things gone south for you. Here are my top-ten most disappointing fantasy hockey players.

  1. Evgeny Kuznestov, where has this guy been lately. Kuznestov was solid in the first month and a half but has slowly fallen off the horse. He came into the year ranked 27, and is now ranked 113. Kuzy has just 8 goals and 29 assists on the year with 15 power play points.
  2. Anze Kopitar, when are fantasy owners going to see some consistency in this guy? Had an almost Hart Memorial trophy year last year and now is in the bottom of the barrel again. Kopitar has 13 goals and 18 assists (31 points) with 7 power play points.
  3. Ryan Getzlaf, time may be up for the big, power forward Getzlaf. A one-time superstar has slowly fallen off the ranks of the NHL. Getzlaf had some hope coming into the year, but has not lived up to projections. He was ranked 54 coming into the year and is now ranked 144. Getz has 10 goals and 21 assists (31 points) with 4 power play points.
  4. Drew Doughty, a down first half for Doughty so far, a Norris trophy winner, All-Star and top-paid d-man in the league can not be producing 25 points 40+ games into the year. Not to mention he is a 2nd-3rd round pick. Doughty was ranked 58 coming into the year and is now ranked 204. He has 4 goals and 21 assists on the year with 12 power play points.
  5. Shayne Gostisbehere, another rough year it seems like for Ghost. Someone who resurrected the Flyers season two years ago has been very sub par. The Flyers are waiting for the 2015-16 Ghost to come back but he seems to have disappeared. Ghost was ranked 67 coming into the year and is now ranked 287. He has 5 goals, 13 assists and 8 power play points in 46 games.
  6. Dougie Hamilton, my last defenseman I swear but Hamilton was a 50-point defenseman and since coming to Carolina he has not done a good job sharing the wealth on that offensive-minded d-core. Hamilton was ranked 96 coming into the year and is now ranked 256. He has just 16 points in 45 games (6 goals, 10 assists) with 5 power play points.
  7. Casey Mittlestadt, it is not like we expected this kid to be a 40 point player at this point but perhaps a little better than 13 points in 45 games. Mittlestadt has to have shaken the jittery bugs out and is getting acclimated to NHL speed, but it seems like he is having difficulty getting on the score sheet. Mittlestadt was a Calder favorite coming into the year, ranked 152 at the beginning and now 504 mid-way through the year.
  8. Zach Hyman, you would think playing with either Auston Matthews or John Tavares Hyman would be able to be productive well it has been the opposite for this kid, he is not grossly under performing and despite missing some games with an injury. Hyman should be a more efficient player just due to the fact who he is surrounded with. Yes William Nylander is on the cusp of being on this list but give him another 1.5 months. Either way Hyman was ranked 162 coming into the year he has now ranked 282. He has 7 goals and 9 assists in 35 games this year.
  9. Derek Brassard, for the same reason as Hyman, Brassard should easily have around 25+ points. He has missed a few games this year but Brassard is not finding his way in Pittsburgh and Jim Rutherford is not pleased with him as well. Do not be surprised to see Brassard on the move soon. He has just 13 points in 36 games. He was ranked 195 coming into the year and is now ranked 447.
  10. Kevin Shattenkirk, based on the contract and how unpleasing it has been for Ranger fans to see his production since coming to the Big Apple. Shattenkirk has not been able to stay healthy, let alone out of his way in the d-zone this year. Shattenkirk is a number three-four defenseman on an under skilled Rangers blue line. He was ranked 175 coming into the year and is now ranked 500. Sure he has missed games but 2 goals, 10 assists and 2 power play points in 37 games is disappointing.

Sabres win six straight, two points behind Toronto for the Atlantic lead

The story of the NHL this season, the Buffalo Sabres and their 28 points in 21 games. They have won six straight and head back home for two games vs the Flyers and Canadiens. The Sabres sixth straight win and 13th on the year came off the stick of captain Jack Eichel in overtime. The Sabres fell into a three goal hole early in the second period. They trailed the Penguins 4-1 with nine minutes remaining in the second.

Note: Three goals this game came off the fault of rookie Rasmus Dahlin (1) Derek Brassard beat him to the inside cause he was caught cheating. (3) Bad front net positioning and kicked the puck the Jake Guentzel. (4) Shot from the point from Penguins Jack Johnson again Dahlin could not get good front net positioning, didn’t tie up the forward and Tanner Pearson scored. 

The Sabres quickly answered back with a goal from defenseman Zach Bogosian. Off a Jack Eichel forecheck and Jeff Skinner puck protection/foot work, Bogosian stepped in and let one loose to make it 4-2. 

The Sabres struck late in the second period off a broken play, Sabres defenseman took a shot form the point and what looked like Conor Sheary tipped it, it seemed it hit off the skate of defenseman Jack Johnson infront to make it 4-3. 

Mid way through the third the Sabres tied it off a terrible break out attempt by the Penguins that led to open ice for Casey Mittelstadt and sure goal with the amount of room he had. Mittelstadt tied the game at four. Note: that was the Penguins second break out blunder that lead to a Sabres goal. (1) Penguins forward tried to chip the puck out was kept in to Sam Reinhart to Tage Thompson. (4) Again a bad break out attempt on the wall that lead to a keep in by Dahlin to Kyle Okposo and Mittelstadt goal. 

Eventually the game would go to overtime which only needed about 40 seconds as Evgeni Malkin was entering the zone and tried to delay for time in the neutral zone, coughed the puck up Ristolainen passed to Jack Eichel for the game winner and the Sabres sixth win. 

Fantasy Hockey rookies looking to make an impact from the start

Rasmus Dahlin (D, BUF): The sky is the limit with this rookie defenseman, being compared to Nicklas Lidstrom and one of the best defenseman to emerge in the league in quite sometime has set others on their high horse about Dahlin. He will 100 percent play right away too, and right in the top four mix. Dahlin is slotted on line two right now with Zach Bogosian. These two will be eating up 20+ minutes per game, while Dahlin will also be working on power play with Rasmus Ristolanien. Dahlin as we all know is a very solid offensive defenseman, who will learn the importance of being as solid on both ends of the puck early on. He picks up on things quickly and is an extremely quick learner. While he may not be the biggest guy on the ice, he is not afraid to be physical although his speed and awareness is the biggest part of his game. Dahlin is capable of 45 plus points this season and an early Calder favorite.

Andrei Svechnikov (RW, CAR): The second most highly sought after rookie coming into the draft, the Hurricanes number two overall pick and top three forward will be thrown into the mix right away. Svechnikov is coming off a 40 goal season in the OHL with the Barrie Colts and 11 points in 8 playoff games with Barrie as well. Svechnikov played in 16 International games between the U18 and U20 Russian team and in those 16 games he collected a total of 20 points. This is a good sign for Carolina as they may be able to add another scoring forward to their offense to help supplement Sebastian Aho as well. Svechnikov is slotted with Aho and other Russian counter part Valentin Zykov as well. Between seeing first line time and power play time, Svechnikov has the potential for a big rookie season a player you for sure will keep an eye on in the draft.

Brady-Tkachuk-SenatorsBrady Tkachuk (LW, OTT): After telling Boston University he intends to sign with Ottawa for the 2018-19 season and signing an entry level deal it is apparent Tkachuk wants to make an impact on the Senators line up right away. Withdrawing from BU and jumping into the NHL will be a big transition for the young forward. Tkachuk is coming off a 31 point season in 40 games with BU and 9 points in 7 games with USA’s U20 team during the World Juniors. Tkachuk is a little different than the Tkachuk we know on Calgary, Brady is more of a playmaking, scoring type of forward, where his brother is known for his offensive ability as well as his on-ice antics. Brady is slotted with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Ryan Dzingel as well as the second power play right now. Tkachuk may not have the best tools around him but he does have some solid line mates to help him ease his way into his first year, to start Tkachuk may be a little snake bitten but once he gets comfortable I think we can expect a 35 point season out of him.

Filip Zadina (RW, DET): This kid is on a mission. With a couple teams passing on Zadina and falling to sixth overall Zadina even said he is out to make those who passed on him feel sorry for it. Zadina is an all around forward who can play two sides of the puck very well while also being a dynamic goal scorer. Zadina is coming off a 44 goal and 82 point season in 57 games with Halifax in the QMJHL. He has signed with Detroit and as of now he is slotted to make the opening day roster but we may not know about Zadina’s situation until early September. Zadina could potentially play with Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Vanek or Henrik Zetterberg a lot of question marks for this roster. Either way, if Zadina is playing with a puck moving forward and someone able to help the scoring winger get his chances we may see a solid first year out of Zadina. If he does play the full 82 games Zadina has potential for a 40 plus point year.

Elias Pettersson (C/RW, VAN): The 2017 5th overall draft pick, spent his time in the SHL last season 56 points in 44 games. After a full year of development and Vancouver scouts analyzing his game it is apparent they believe Pettersson is ready for the next level. We saw a lot of Pettersson during International play where he tallied 14 points in 21 games. Pettersson is a very solid forward with ability to play all three zones, luckily he will be with other young prospect Jonathan Dahlen and veteran Loui Eriksson to start. If Dahlen and Pettersson get off on the right foot they will be making noise from the start. Being on a team like Vancouver is tough but Pettersson is capable of being a top six forward in Vancouver for many years and a player we will being hear a lot of over the next few years.

Eeli Tolvanen Nashville PredatorsEeli Tolvanen (LW, NSH): Tolvanen was drafted late in the first round in 2017, and being on a team like Nashville it is tough to crack that line up. Tolvanen played a few games late in the year last season and some playoff games but not enough to get an idea of what type of NHL player he. Tolvanen is slotted on the third line with Ryan Hartman and Nick Bonino, two very solid counter parts for the young forward. During the 2017-18 season he played in the KHL scoring 36 points in 49 games, and most known for his World Junior play with Finland. Tolvanen is a little under sized but being on a team like Nashville will really help his confidence and development. If all goes right and he sticks in  the NHL next season Tolvanen could be a solid 3rd line 35 point guy next season.

Casey Mittlestadt (C, BUF): Mittlestadt spent his time last year with the University of Minnesota, the highly sought after prospect went 8th overall to Buffalo in 2017. Being passed by some teams due to size and physical ability, Mittlestadt will have a lot to prove at the NHL level. As Buffalo continues to improve on both ends of the puck this is an exciting time for Buffalo fans and players. Mittlestadt emerges at the same time as Dahlin so the attention may not be all on him, which is a good thing. Right now he is slotted next to Connor Sheary, a player who learned a lot from the best forward in hockey and Kyle Okposo a veteran, will be good for Mittlestadt. Mittlestadt played in six games last season scoring 1 goal and 4 assists, as well as 30 points in 34 games with Minnesota and being the MVP of the World Juniors tallying 11 points in 7 games. Mittlestadt will be a sure fantasy option next year for teams, he may get off to a slow start, or “slower” start than many expect but when he gets situated and settles in look for a solid 50 point season out of Mittlestadt.

Potential to crack the line up

  • Quinn Hughes (D, VAN): Drafted by Vancouver in the first round in 2018, Hughes has potential to crack the line up due to Vancouver lacking defensive depth but it may be best for the young defenseman to develop a little more and see more minutes at the NCAA level.
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi (C, MTL): The most infamous pick of the draft as the Canadiens really stretched on Kotkaniemi it would be weird to not see him on the Canadiens roster as their offense has very little depth and they could some more solid center pieces. 
  • Noah Dobson (D, NYI): Maybe late in the season but the Islanders are in no rush with Dobson as they know this kid will be a solid counter part to Ryan Pulock and the Islanders defense.
  • Oliver Wahlstrom (RW, NYI): No rush here with all the Islanders offensive prospects but Wahlstrom did sign an entry level deal and we may see him later in the season.
  • Adam Boqvist (D, CHI): As the biggest reason Chicago failed last season was due to lack of defensive depth it may be smart to play Boqvist but as the young defenseman is ready for the NHL level it may best to let him see more minutes elsewhere.

 

Buffalo acquires Jeff Skinner; Sabres top six lining up nicely…

The Sabres had a similar offseason plan last year, they stacked up some solid defensive pieces, acquired two forwards and hoped for a better season, yet they fell short by a long shot ranking 31st in the NHL with 25 wins and 62 points.

The Sabres have this sort of persona to them that people know they can be a legitimate team but it seems like year in and year out they deal with injuries or have some issue. Last year it was Robin Lehner not rising to the occasion, Zach Bogosian missing 64 games, Ramus Ristolainen missing a few games, Jack Eichel missing 15 games, players like James Pominville falling short, Kyle Okposo still not rising to the occasion. Well this year, it seems a bit different for Buffalo they have players to replace those struggling veterans on their team now and a pretty solid line one and top nine also.

Sabres offense has high expectations with all the talent added…

Jeff Skinner Buffalo SabresWith the addition of now Jeff Skinner, who will more than likely play along Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, this could finally be the year, Eichel does not fall apart mentally and actually has someone to look forward to playing with. This could be Eichel’s 30-goal season we’ve all been waiting for! Skinner will bring a ton of speed and be a great line mate for Eichel, he has scored 30+ in his career three times and 20+ three times so he can surely put the puck in the back of the net. Also with Connor Sheary, it may help bump Okposo down or give him something to play for, with a line two looking like rookie sensation Casey Mittlestadt, Connor Sheary and Kyle Okposo the Sabres have another scoring line. With a third line of Patrick Berglund, Evan Rodrigues/Vladimir Sobotka and James Pominville there is a ton of moving pieces in this line up something the Sabres never had.

Carter Hutton will have his hands full… is he ready? 

Carter Hutton Buffalo SabresA lot of the pressure will be on the offense to produce but the Sabres will need a full and healthy season out of Zach Bogosian, Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella, these three combined last year for 63 points. Hopefully the addition of Swedish star Rasmus Dahlin will really push this defense in a new direction. A lot will come on the shoulders of Carter Hutton though, the Sabres newly acquired goaltender will have high expectations heading into this year. With the addition of Mittlestadt, Dahlin and Skinner the Sabres are hoping for a MUCH better season than last. Hutton will have his hands full next season with an easy 50 plus starts coming his way. After a 26 start season Hutton will be looking at a lot more work in Buffalo, to say the goalie cannot do it is one thing but we have to assume Hutton may not be the goaltender many are expecting him to be.

Predictions? 

If Ottawa continues down this direction and Montreal does not get any better the Sabres could possibly make a 6th maybe even 5th place finish for the year. I could easily see the Sabres with 75 points, a couple of games under .500. The playoffs may not be in reach yet due to Toronto, Boston and Tampa Bay still being much better than Buffalo but things are on the up let’s say this, Buffalo will make the playoffs by 2020.

Casey Mittlestadt future with Buffalo

As the 2017-2018 NHL season winds down a lot of NHL teams have recalled their recent draftees or signing(s) to test them in the remaining NHL action. Some are more publicized than others, and that so happens to be the case in Buffalo. Despite a 25-42-12 record for the Sabres and 31st place finish. Buffalo fans still seem to be hopeful for the future, with all eyes on the recent 2017 draft pick, Casey Mittlestadt. Besides Mittlestadt, the Sabres do have a few other solid prospects waiting to make their mark in the league but Mittlestadt has been a proven goal scorer and difference maker in the levels he has played at prior to this.

Mittlestadt recently won the World Juniors tournament MVP, in which he tallied 11 points(4G, 7A) in 7 games. Playing his first season of NCAA hockey with the Univ. of Minnesota, Mittlestadt slotted 30 points(11G, 19A) in 34 games, earning the NCAA (BIG) All-Rookie team, and in just this year Mittlestadt has some pretty impressive accomplishments under his belt. Like, WJC Best Forward, Most points, All-Star team. But before coming to Minnesota and World Junior play this year, Mittlestadt slotted 94 points in 49 games between the Eden Prairie High(HS) and Green Bay Gamblers(USHL).

It is pretty evident coming out of high school Mittlestadt was going to make an impact wherever he went. Despite his 6’1 frame and 185-pound stature, Mittlesatdt has not allowed the talk of being weak on the puck get to his head.

This same hype came when Jack Eichel was drafted yet, I would assume many thought Eichel was the better player, a bigger body, unbelievable shot and just a player who can take over the game. Well, hopefully with the addition of Mittlestadt it can be Eichel + Mittlestadt to = a better Buffalo season next year. We can project Mittlestadt to be a full-time player and make the opening day roster but it is up to him to keep that spot. Right now he is playing alongside Evan Rodrigues and Kyle Okposo, not two players that will really make this kid’s skills shine, but it is only a matter of time until it is Jack Eichel-Mittlestadt and Pominville on a line together. Until then, get ready for another top draft pick Buffalo! Dahlin?