Ramblings: Better Late Than Never (Dec 6)

by Ian Gooding on December 6, 2017 | (5 Comments)

The title of the Wednesday Ramblings is in reference to a goalie who finally earned the first shutout of his career and to a team whose defense finally scored its first goal of the season. Or maybe even to the very late hour that I am posting this. :)

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I’ve written about Brayden Schenn numerous times this season, and I will be mentioning him again here. Schenn recorded a hat trick with a goal in each period in the Blues’ 4-3 win in Montreal. Considering what Schenn has provided to fantasy teams since his trade to St. Louis, it’s hard to believe that he entered this game with a five-game pointless drought. Over that stretch he still managed to take 11 shots on goal, nine hits, and six penalty minutes, so he’s filling your stocking even when he isn’t scoring.   

Linemate Jaden Schwartz assisted on two of Schenn’s goals, breaking his own three-game slump without a point. In case you hadn’t noticed, Vladimir Tarasenko has been pulled off this line (lines below from Tuesday).

20.14%  EV           SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR - STASTNY,PAUL - TARASENKO,VLADIMIR

19.79%  EV           SCHENN,BRAYDEN - SCHWARTZ,JADEN - STEEN,ALEXANDER

18.06%  EV           BRODZIAK,KYLE - JASKIN,DMITRIJ - UPSHALL,SCOTTIE

16.32%  EV           BERGLUND,PATRIK - BLAIS,SAMMY - PAAJARVI,MAGNUS

The Tank has just one point in his last four games and no goals in his last six. Considering the absolute roll that this line was on, maybe it’s inevitable that the scoring has cooled off a bit.

In a losing cause for the Habs, Shea Weber scored two goals on six shots on goal. If you add in his assist from Saturday’s game, Weber has three points in the two games since he has returned from a lower-body injury. Check out the curve on Weber’s first goal.
 


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Kyle Turris continues to produce, adding another two points in the Predators’ 5-2 win over Dallas. I know I mentioned the Turris/Duchene trade yesterday, but here’s another update.
 


Linemate Craig Smith was held off the scoresheet, though. I mentioned Smith yesterday as a potential waiver-wire pickup, but I’ll add in a point made by Brennan in his most recent Lining Up. Smith currently holds a shooting percentage of nearly 17%, which is nearly double his career percentage of 9.6%. Still, I might add him anyway, considering that he has found instant chemistry with the newly acquired Turris. His icetime and power-play time have also increased over last season, so his stock has undoubtedly increased.

Backup Juuse Saros had an impressive game for the Preds, stopping 43 of 45 shots that he faced. Saros struggled over his first five games of the season and was even demoted to the AHL for a time. I’ll assume that he has turned the corner, so I’d still consider him for streaming starts given his impressive 2016-17 (2.35 GAA, .923 SV%).

Ben Bishop wasn’t so impressive at the other end, getting pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on 15 shots. Bishop reeled off four consecutive victories prior to this start, but his numbers have still been up and down in his first season in Dallas.

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Yanni Gourde scored two goals in 1:34 late in the second period of the Lightning’s 6-2 win over the Islanders. Gourde had gone six games without a point, but he is within the top 10 in rookie scoring with 18 points (8g-10a) and a plus-12 in 27 games. Gourde’s 17% shooting accuracy could mean that he is due for some kind of regression, but he has emerged as a true sleeper for a Bolts’ team that scores at will, leading the league with 3.7 goals per game.

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The Sabres needed a win badly and got one on Tuesday against Colorado. They also needed a goal from a defenseman, for which they had none from before this game. Jake McCabe took care of that, along with an assist, a plus-2, four hits, and five blocked shots. So if you’re keeping track, that means that Rasmus Ristolainen, Marco Scandella, and Nathan Beaulieu all have yet to score a goal this season.

Ristolainen was given all the time in the world to break that slump in this game, logging just over 30 minutes. Given how porous the Sabres’ defense has been (league-worst 3.44 GA/GP), I can see why. Ristolainen has been finding other reasons to stay in your fantasy lineup, including a plus-4 on Tuesday and nine shots over his last two games.

Can we call it a breakout season for Nathan MacKinnon yet? With two power-play goals on Tuesday, MacKinnon is up to 10 goals and 31 points in just 26 games. I can think of two separate instances in which I had MacKinnon queued up to pick at around 140th-150th overall in a fantasy draft, only to see him grabbed just a few picks before me. If only I picked him one round sooner.

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Ondrej Pavelec is one goalie I make a habit of staying away from, but he was worth it on Tuesday if your league counts saves. Filling in for the ill Henrik Lundqvist, Pavelec stopped 41 of 44 shots in the Rangers’ 4-3 win over Pittsburgh. If you look at career records against a team, Pavelec might have been on the bottom of your list. Lifetime against the Penguins, Pavelec was 2-13-1 with a 4.20 GAA and .870 SV% entering this game. I’m guessing that a few of those starts were as an Atlanta Thrasher.  

Injury alert from that game: Justin Schultz left Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury.

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This was the wrong game for me to bench Gustav Nyquist (a two-game week for the Wings was the main reason I made that choice). Nyquist scored two goals and added an assist with a plus-4 in a 5-1 win over the red-hot Jets. Nyquist had not hit the twine in his previous eight games, so no doubt some of you did the same.

I traded for Nyquist earlier this season thinking ahead to my fantasy playoffs. (Should I make them, of course. I don’t like to piss off the fantasy hockey gods.) Like this season, Nyquist posted modest numbers throughout much of last season, then cranked it up a notch in March and April with 19 points in 20 games. With a 5on5 SH% of 6.67%, Nyquist is identified as a great buy-low candidate in his Dobber player profile. Nyquist’s line with Anthony Mantha and Henrik Zetterberg was mentioned as a cold line in this week’s Lining Up, so now might be a great time.

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Yes, this was a thing during the third period of the Kings/Wild game. Marian Gaborik scored two goals in the third period, both assisted by Anze Kopitar. Gabby now has four goals and a plus-7 in just seven games, which would mean that he could have some residual fantasy value should he somehow stick with Kopitar. He’s probably available in your league, no less. Ride him until the next injury, which is probably just around the corner.

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The Canucks don’t suck as much as you thought they would. On Tuesday they were led by a couple of former top prospects that you may have once had stored away.

Jacob Markstrom stopped all 30 shots he faced to earn – get this – his first career shutout in 129 career games. If you follow the Canucks, you’ll already know that he nearly had one in his previous game against the Leafs, only to lose it with just under three minutes left in the game. Somewhere, Pokey Reddick weeps. The tweet was from after Saturday's game. 
 


Considering that Canucks’ goaltending was an afterthought in many fantasy drafts, you may be surprised to learn that the Canucks currently sit in the top third of the league in team goals-against average (2.78). I actually heard someone here in the Vancouver area recently mention Canucks’ goalies and the Jennings Trophy in the same sentence. Don’t worry, it wasn’t me.

Derrick Pouliot scored a goal and added two assists with a plus-2 in over 20 minutes of icetime and power-play time. He’d been held without a point in his previous five games, but he hasn’t looked bad overall. It’s possible that Pouliot is the odd man out once Erik Gudbranson returns, but it always seems as though there’s injuries on the Canucks’ blueline anyway. Plus there’s a possibility that Gudbranson is traded by the deadline, as he’ll be a UFA at season’s end.

It wasn’t all good for the Canucks, as Bo Horvat left the game late in the third period against the Hurricanes. Should Horvat miss any time, it could be a concern for not only Horvat owners, but also Brock Boeser owners.

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The reinforcements are starting to appear for the Ducks. Rickard Rakell returned to the Ducks’ lineup on Tuesday, although he was held without a point. Meanwhile, Adam Henrique has three assists in three games as a Duck. So Derek Grant’s days as a top-6 center are officially over, as he has been held to less than nine minutes in each of his last three games.

But the Ducks still give up a ton of shots (36.3 SA/GP – highest in the league). Although John Gibson is holding his own in leagues that count saves, it’s been a constant battle for him to earn wins. An 8-10-2 record with a 2.97 GAA is more on the team than on Gibson, who also holds a solid .921 SV%. On Tuesday it was 43 shots on Gibson, who stopped 40 of them in the shootout loss.

Check out the shots on goal from a few Vegas Golden Knights on the Ducks on Tuesday:

Reilly Smith: 7 shots

Alex Tuch: 7 shots

Erik Haula: 6 shots

Colin Miller: 6 shots

Haula scored the game-tying goal and assisted on the Golden Knights’ two other goals. I think Tuch, who scored the game-winner in the shootout, would really take off if he could somehow get top-6 minutes in Vegas.

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For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

 

 

  • Striker

    I’m also starting to think when Gubranson returns if not traded till the trade deadline that Pouliot may usurp Stetcher as a top 6 Dman for the Canucks. Green hasn’t given Stetcher a very prominent role on this D, he sits 7th in TOI/GP seeing virtually no PP time where as last season he essentially played as a top 4 Dman seeing over 4 mins more per game & leading all Canucks Dman in PP TOI/GP.

    I add/dropped Pouliot on Nov 12th in my 20 team fantasy league. 24 man rosters, dress 14, 3 skaters at each forward position, 4 D & a G. I have dressed Pouliot once since acquiring him but not this week.

    • MarkRM16

      I’ve made no investment in Pouliot over the years, waiting for him to get the opportunity to finally receive full-time minutes. With the Pens’ thin blueline, I bet they wish they’d hung on to him.

  • Striker

    Boy is Darling disappointing in Carolina. Carolina could have been a playoff team this year with even slightly above average goaltending. Darling is costing them games providing sub par goaltending. I’ll say it again, Francis has done a ton of great things but giving Darling 4 years at over 4 mil per was a bad idea. He may settle into being a starter but he’s not getting it done this year. Boy has he let in some soft goals & in almost every Carolina game I have chosen to watch & I’ve watched far to many already.

    • MarkRM16

      I had considered drafting Darling, expecting average numbers, nothing like Talbot put up with a new team, but I followed my instincts and went with another goalie. Dodged a bullet there! He’s still better than Lack was last year, isn’t he?

      • Striker

        Oddly enough leading the Canucks D in pts, tied for lead in goals, leads D in PPG’s, PPP’s, GWG’s, hell tied for 2nd in GWG’s for all Canucks with Horvat & a + player to boot.