October 13, 2011

by Jeff Angus


My latest for the Canucks Army - two under the radar (and fantasy relevant) defensive prospects to keep an eye on.


Buzz out of Pittsburgh regarding Crosby being cleared for contact... (hat tip to Mike Brophy on Twitter for reporting this).


Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm is making his NHL debut tonight. He had 10 goals last season in the SEL and could be a decent sleeper if he manages to stick on one of the power play units.


I remember Marek Zidlicky coming out of left field for the Preds a few years ago - Eckholm could be the next big fantasy surprise.


I've made the point before, but I will do it again. If you come across any interesting and relevant news or info, pass it my way (angus at dobberhockey dot com). I don't get to watch every game and as we all know, you can only learn so much from reading a box score. Don't hesitate to drop me an email if you want to contribute.


The Fantasy Guide and Draft List are updated up to Friday, October 7. Hope you enjoyed this year’s (sixth) edition. I’m thrilled with the content – better than ever. Also happy with the projections – I took fewer risks, only necessary ones, and I think in the end reeling it back in benefits everyone.


A solid read on the Kyle Turris situation, which inches closer and closer to disaster for both sides.


From the above:


“Kyle Turris is the first holdout of any significance in the current CBA.  He might be a test case for players like him, except that we may have a different CBA next year so this test case does not apply.  It hurts the Phoenix Coyotes to lose a player of his potential and probably be forced to trade him for less than full value.  It hurts Kyle Turris to lose a season in his development.  Although both sides can be faulted for the current impasse, the real problem is a systemic one from the CBA.  As a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights, Kyle Turris is stuck in a position where there is no outside force to bring about a resolution.  Both sides have made their “final” offers and are waiting for the other side to accept them.  Compromise is going to be hard to negotiate.”

I won’t pretend to get inside the head of Turris or his agent, but I really don’t understand their game plan here. The Coyotes aren’t in a position to be strong-armed – if this was a market like Edmonton or Toronto, perhaps fan or media pressure would help them out. I’m not saying the Coyotes have no fans, but it is a different situation.


Secondly, Turris has proven squat. A lot of NHL players are being given big money for their second contract without proving a whole lot (van Riemsdyk recently is an example, there are countless others), but unlike most/all of these guys, Turris literally has proven nothing. He hasn’t dominated at the NHL level, hell he hasn’t even dominated at the AHL level.


What happens if Turris sits out the year? He, more so than most other players, needs to be getting prime minutes right now to develop and grow offensively.


Interesting news out of Long Island – with no team in the QMJHL to play for, is Kabanov headed to Europe (Sweden) to play? Kabanov has been and continues to be a huge wild card and I don’t think we have read the last bit of interesting news relating to him.


Some pictures of Buffalo’s new dressing room and facility.



I watched the Vancouver/Philly game in its entirety last night… my thoughts:


Cody Hodgson played his best game of the season. He saw time at the end of the game with the twins and Burrows (he was the extra attacker), and he even was double shifted with the third line at times. His wingers haven’t helped him much (or at all, in Sturm’s case). Perhaps he slides to the wing when Kesler returns? He looks like a brand new player this season compared to last year – bigger and stronger, and much quicker.


Hodgson led the Canucks in shots on goal with six.


Sturm was benched later in the game and saw only a few shifts in the third. Chris Higgins had another great game and I’d start taking a look at him in roto one-year leagues. He and Kesler have played together before for the USA, and he has scored 20+ goals a few times in his career. With his puck retrieval skills, he could work well with a possession center like Kesler.


When Kesler gets back, I could see the team going with a Higgins-Hodgson-Kesler line and sliding Samuelsson down in the lineup. Lots of options for the coaches.


Claude Giroux was dynamite – three points, could have had a few more. Jagr looked good at times and not so good at other times. He’s exposed in terms of speed in the open ice, but on the power play he is still very deadly.


The defensive coverage in front of him wasn’t great, but Luongo delivered another dud of a game (aside from robbing Jagr with a glove save). Luongo is spitting out awful rebounds and has a tendency to go down onto his stomach way, way too early with any cross-ice feeds or deflections.


Look for Cory Schneider to start in Detroit tonight. No goalie controversy but the Canucks would be smart to give Schneider time – he’s earned it. Luongo’s play has trended downwards the past few years (slower, seems to be over thinking things). The contract could become a major issue, but for now it isn’t.


Landeskog had a goal and three shots on goal for the Avs last night.


Erik Johnson was pointless but saw almost double the PP time of any other Colorado defenseman.


Matt Calvert played the least minutes among any Columbus forward. Not as much ice time to go around this season – I think he’ll find a way to earn more with his compete level and consistency as the season progresses.


Grant Clitsome and Marc Methot both played over 25 minutes for the Jackets.


David Savard saw over two minutes on the PP, but finished pointless.


Florida sent down Dadonov to the AHL – likely to get more ice time. With all of their off-season signings, there isn’t ice time for him (good news for Florida fans – young players need to earn their ice time and not be handed it).


The Rangers tried a different look at practice yesterday – Stepan on LW1 and Dubinsky with Anisimov and Callahan. I love New York’s forward group – a little bit of everything.


Tyler Seguin had a goal and over 20 minutes of ice time as he filled in for David Krejci on the top line.


Jamie McBain was minus two in his first game of the season (almost 20 minutes of ice time).


The Hurricanes have sent Ryan Murphy back to the OHL. Chicago has also sent Brandon Saad back.


Make sure to check the Goalie Post for the daily starts around the NHL.


I finally got my new big screen TV and PS3 set up (I’ve been living in the stone age for the past year or so). If any of you have the new NHL and want to play, let me know.


Who has two thumbs and isn't surprised to see Filatov scratched already?  This guy.


The weekly "Studs and Duds" from Gates Imbeau:

Week 1 Recap (12/10/11)


3) Country Fever

After a strong preseason, Nashville rolls into the first week of October in good fashion, posting a 2-0-0 record. Yes, several other teams are in a similar boat or better (Philadelphia); however it is the production from unlikely sources that have poolies raising their eyebrows and racing to the waiver wire.

David Legwand – two goals, three assists, three PPP, two SOG and plus-three
Craig Smith – two goals, two assists, two PPP, seven SOG, plus-two and two PIM

Five points for Legwand? What? If memory serves me well, let others use their waiver wire bid on him – chances are that he just used up one ninth of his production for the season. If you are really struggling at center, by all means take the low risk buy. Just know that his recent four point night may definitely be a flash in the pan.

Craig Smith gained popularity on DobberHockey last spring during the World Championships and he followed up with a good preseason run and great start to the season. Gone are the days that you could easily scoop him up. No use trying to buy him from his owner, as you will likely be buying high.

2) Calder me Sabre

Last week I pegged Smith to be a top three nomination for the Calder - given the small sample size, it is looking good. However, hot on his trail is another out of nowhere rookie and new trophy threat, Luke Adam.  Many knew Luke had great talent, but the consensus had him pegged for full time duty next season at the earliest.

To the surprise of many poolies, Adam found early chemistry with Vanek and Pominville on route to finishing the opening week as the league’s top line. The trio combined for eleven points, four of which recorded by Adam.  

While on the Calder topic, a couple points back sits Matt Read with two, while Cody Hodgson, Gabriel Landeskog as well as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all tallied one goal apiece. Zac Dalpe has yet to record a point.

1) March of the Penguins

Marching to the top of the league in standings with seven of a possible eight points in four games, the Penguins have had scoring from all over the map. Fifteen players have recorded at least one point and ten with at least two under their belt.

Leading the way is Kris Letang with a league best six points. His full stat line includes a plus-four rating, three power play points, six penalty minutes and twelve shots on goal. The stud blue liner is also probably sitting number one in most fantasy leagues at the moment. Life without Sid isn’t so bad after all!

Probably the most shocking statistic for this team so far - Matt Cooke is first in goals scored. In addition, those three markers have him tied league lead. He is currently on pace for 61 goals, not too shabby!

Jordan Staal and Pascal Dupuis have both been big contributors as well with a goal and three assists each.

The Pens will be glad to have gotten those early points in as the foreseeable future will weigh hard on them. Not only have they played four games to date, the most of any team, they must play another nine games in the next sixteen days for a total of thirteen in October alone.  A tough stretch for any team - especially when missing their top player(s)!

HM – With a trio of points against Vancouver on Wednesday night, Claude Giroux now has five points in three games played. Those who pegged him to be in the Art Ross race may not be looking so foolish after the first week of play. Giroux will be a dandy to watch all season, especially lining up with Jagr.


3) Jackets so Blue

Despite a better effort from Steve Mason on Wednesday night against Colorado, Columbus fell to 0-3-1. In those four games, Mason let in twelve biscuits while sporting a 3.24 GAA and a .892 save percentage.

The big guns are still going though, as Nash, Carter and Prospal combined for twelve points. But with Wisniewski suspended for another week and some, those one goal losses will be tough to digest.

2) Empty Handed

The trip to Europe wasn’t so kind to the owners of Anaheim’s top guns. Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan, Selanne and Visnovsky are returned pointless. Together, they combined for ten penalty minutes, a minus-four rating and 22 shots on goal. To their defence, the Ducks only scored two goals in regulation.

With three games in the next four days, look for those numbers to turn around.

1) So we aren’t playing volleyball?!

Two starts, two painful losses.  After the first week of hockey, Luongo has successfully made Jose Theodore look like a Vezina candidate. Roberto owners are already biting their nails while Schneider owners are smiling from cheek to cheek, and for good reason! After all, Schneider won his game against the Blue Jackets on Columbus Day and will start again Thursday. 

Luongo now holds a .855 save percentage with seven goals on 56 shots and a 3.89 GAA. Beautiful.

Here are couple of tweets by Glen Hoos (@ commishoffice), that are probably commonly shared by Luongo owners alike: “I've got Luongo in two leagues... makes it twice as painful every time I have to watch him get beat while lying face down. Long year ahead? “ “Nucks should pull a Goldberg (Might Ducks) and tie Lou to the crossbar.”


Comments are closed.