December 17 2014

by Dobber on December 17, 2014 | (0 Comments)

 Why Clitsome suddenly has value; thoughts on Vasilevskiy and oh so much more …

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Jacob Trouba is out until February with a UBI, per the Jets Twitter account. I have to say - and I know this is extremely early - but I'm done with him. Done. Two years, two injuries. Usually that's nothing to be alarmed about in a young player, but something about him tells me that the right move here is to get a proven guy for him who stays healthy. And let someone else worry about whether or not my Band-Aid Boy hunch is right. And so a-shopping I will go. And I'll take the best offer. I'll let you know how I do.

With Dustin Byfuglien already back playing defense, now what do the Jets do? Grant Clitsome will obviously draw back in. And we've seen Clitsome have spurts of production, and the spurts usually come as a result of ice time. And his ice time is given when the team doesn't have a choice. Which is now. So my hunch is that we'll see Clitsome put some points on the board over the next month.

(Update: I wrote the above thought prior to the game starting. Clitsome picked up an assist and saw 2:36 on the power play - so yeah, go get him)

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Nathan MacKinnon has two points in his last eight games and is minus-6 in that span. I'm getting a lot of emails and Tweets about him, and I'm seeing a lot of activity in the forum from panicking managers. So I want to share my thoughts here.

Now is the absolute worst time to trade MacKinnon. It's like if you owned oil stocks a couple days ago - should you have sold? Like oil, MacKinnon's value will spike back up. And it will be quick. I'm not convinced that's he another Nugent-Hopkins or Yakupov. I'm convinced that he's a Stamkos. And Stamkos has had runs of two points in eight games before. And he almost always follows it up with 10 points in seven games or something like that. No matter how good the offer is right now, you sit on MacKinnon. Let him get rolling again and if you're so desperate to trade him, do it at that time. I can't offer you a guarantee that MacKinnon will rebound and get 65 or 70 points this year. I wish I could. But will have some hot streaks and that's when you trade him. Not now. And for what it's worth, with 52 games left, I think he'll get at least 40, which will put him at 59 points to finish.

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A 20-round shootout would get me more excited if shootouts happened once every three or four weeks. But there's a shootout every other day, so they bore me. Big deal, 20 rounds and 11 goals. Bound to happen when you have 300 shootouts per season. When the league implements the four-on-four followed by three-on-three overtime, and shootouts become a rarity - then my interest returns.

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Andrei Vasilevskiy in his first career NHL game stopped 23 of 24 shots. A little preview of what's to come…in four years. Yes, I'm down on the guy who is probably the best prospect goalie in the world, but I speak the truth. The only way Vasilevskiy becomes a stud starter within the next four years is if Ben Bishop suffers a long-term injury during that time. A healthy Bishop? Well, that will mean another Cory Schneider. Or another Jonathan Bernier. That is to say that a stud prospect goalie will spend too much time in the minors, and then too much time as a backup, before either getting traded or getting his shot. Sorry, that's just how it is. Bishop is 56-24-10. Do you think he's losing the starting job anytime soon?

Bishop, by the way, believes he'll be back for the weekend. Vasilevskiy will probably get one more start.

It's amazing that 33 games in and Tyler Johnson is still keeping up with Stamkos. He has 33 points, just two behind Stammer. I would have thought he'd fall off the pace by now and had him pegged for 60 to 65. But he's looking legit for 70. Especially with the chemistry he has going with future star Nikita Kucherov. You want your next Tarasenko type of superstar, look no further. Kucherov hasn't stopped being an offensive stud since birth. Look at his numbers every league he was in. He's only 21!

While I don't believe Johnson will ever go toe-to-toe with Stamkos in the scoring race at the end of any season - I think Kucherov has that kind of upside. Yes, he could be Radulov 2.0, but there is a big reason why that's unlikely. No Barry Trotz. Kucherov has a coach who lets him play.

Tampa Bay and Anaheim are the only two teams to have played 33 games so far. Something to keep in mind during trade talks in leagues that don't have a max games standard.

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The Leafs were outshot 42-27 but won 6-2. They chased Andersen and Ilya Bryzgalov made his Anaheim (second) debut. But he wasn't any better.

Tyler Bozak with two points, five hits and 57% at the dot last night. That puts him on pace for 72 points, and his 55.4% faceoff wins on a team-high 679 draws is also impressive. So what numbers do No.1 centers get again?

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Kadri - gorgeous:

 

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New coach (new-ish?), same result. Another loss for the Oilers. But this went to overtime and six seconds shy of the shootout, and Ben Scrivens was the Ben Scrivens of late last season. He stopped 42 of 44 shots. He's actually on a bit of a run, with 69 saves on his last 72 shots faced.

With coaching changes, you take a closer look at ice time and line combinations, just to get a feel for how things are going. But nothing will be settled for several games. Here were the Oilers line combos last night:

 

20.74%

EV

4 HALL,TAYLOR - 93 NUGENT-HOPKINS,RYAN - 16 PURCELL,EDWARD

18.43%

EV

26 ARCOBELLO,MARK - 57 PERRON,DAVID - 68 PITLICK,TYLER

17.51%

EV

29 DRAISAITL,LEON - 14 EBERLE,JORDAN - 10 YAKUPOV,NAIL

11.06%

EV

20 GAZDIC,LUKE - 23 HENDRICKS,MATT - 13 PINIZZOTTO,STEVEN

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Arizona started former Oiler Devan Dubnyk between the pipes, and former Oiler Sam Gagner assisted on the OT winner to break the hearts of Oilers fans and just take them down a tiny bit more. To remind them that they haven't hit rock bottom yet.

Dubnyk stopped 31 of 32 and is 6-2-2- on the season with a 0.922 SV%. Meanwhile, Mike Smith is 5-14-2 with a 0.889 SV%. Something is gonna give here soon. Hockey politics and Golden Boy-ness can only take you so far.

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If Alex Galchenyuk has truly found magic playing with Max Pacioretty (three assists for the latter, three goals for the former last night), then watch out. It took them three games to get going, but I think it's a line that is here to stay (barring injury). What this means is that David Desharnais is likely a 40-point guy at best, though in Desharnais' defense he's actually been doing okay so far.

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You know what I got out of the 5-2 St. Louis win over the Kings? No, not Tarasenko scoring three times and adding an assist. We already knew he was awesome. No, my attention was on Gaborik (two goals) and Kopitar (one assist). If there are any two players due to get back on track in the league, it's those two. We've been waiting for a sign of life, and perhaps this was it.

Also note that Jake Allen seems to have settled down now, after some early jitters when he noticed that Hall-of-Famer wearing goalie pads and sitting on his bench. Now Allen has won three in a row. My over/under for Martin Brodeur is still 8.5.

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In my one league I own three Bruins - Krug, Smith and Marchand. And all three were underachieving badly. But all three are picking it up now, with Smith/Marchand posting six points each and Krug's four in the last five Boston games. To get to where they should be, they need another five games like that. And then our friend "market correction" has pulled through for us again.

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So DobberFootball's editor Dave Cushard sits 14th in the National Fantasy Football Championship. This league is $1500 to enter and 500 spots available. You can imagine the pot here - only 10 prizes. I keep telling you - this guy is GOLD for fantasy football knowledge. You can push DobberFootball aside and say "bah, there's not enough content" or "it's not updated enough", and then go to other fantasy football sites and read one of their 20 fantasy football articles that they posted before noon. I'm sure you'll enjoy the reads. But if Cushard posts one word on DobberFootball each week, you make sure you go to that site, highlight that word, print it off and frame it. Because that word will help you win. Fortunately, he posts more than a word.

I'll keep you posted on his quest for $150,000. He tells me that the schedule is very favorable and (knock on wood) he's fully healthy while the guy in the lead has suffered some serious injuries.

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Mark Scheifele had his second three-point game in the past week. And despite that, he's only on pace for 41 points this season. But it's a start. He's got his rhythm and confidence back, if you believe in that sort of thing (and I kind of do).

After four points in the first 16 games, Michael Frolik has 12 points in his last 16. Two points last night gives him three two-point games in the past week. His goal last night, by the way, was his third shortie of the season.

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If you need a spot start on a goalie guaranteed available, consider John Curry. He was pulled out of the Iowa game (thanks to Goalie Post for this) when he had a 4-1 lead because Darcy Kuemper has a serious stomach virus and Niklas Backstrom had the start  Tuesday. Curry will probably face Boston. You're probably looking at a loss, but if it's saves that you need, Curry could help.

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Another win for Antti Raanta, though this one was slightly less impressive. But one of his three goals allowed was via a penalty shot, so I think it's enough that the team will keep riding him.

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Rookie Kevin Hayes has quietly posted points in six of his last seven games. He's not shooting the puck enough, nor is he playing on a great line, so he's producing very well considering. I'd love to see how he'd do with Nash - two 6-4 or 6-5 guys at a combined 445 pounds with great hands.

Man, Calgary is in a bit of trouble here. Six losses in a row and they've scored just 10 goals in those six games. A lot of numbers are correcting themselves now - but for Giordano and Brodie to get back to reality, this losing streak needs hit about 20 games. Brodie has two points in his last eight games.

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Should John Tavares have been disciplined further for this?

 

 

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