Ramblings: Blue Jackets Pummel Habs, Scheifele's Upside, Q + A and more.
So I guess we should talk about that 10-goal drubbing the Blue Jackets put on the Canadiens last night. I didn’t watch the game but all anecdotal reports indicate that this was the second no-show in a row by the Canadiens. The difference here was Carey Price was not in net and they were playing a team not named the Canucks. I’ll leave you to decide which factor mattered more.
Poor Al Montoya was left in for all 10 goals against. I wonder if he demands a trade to Colorado.
Remarkably enough, Shea Weber’s pristine plus/minus was unblemished by this affair.
This was the first time a team put up 10 goals in a game since March 30, 2011. 10-goal games haven’t been as rare as I expected but it had definitely been a while since our last one. This is the ninth 10-goal game from a single team since the ’05 lockout. What was rare about this one was that the Habs were also shutout. The last time a team lost by a 10-goal differential was back in 2003 and you have to go back to 1996 for the last time a team was shutout 10-0. Thanks, Hockey Reference!
This was Murray’s second game back in the lineup after missing a few weeks due to injury. Murray has settled in as a defensive defenseman so hopefully none of you are counting on him for scoring. He did flash some intriguing usage last season but that was before Zach Werenski came on the scene.
Most of the Blue Jackets’ scoring came from the usual suspects of Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, Nick Foligno and Werenski, all of whom had multi-point efforts. These guys, along with Brandon Saad are the Blue Jackets I am interested in.
Sergei Bobrovsky is killing it right now, with two shutouts in the past three games. This is a great start, but can he maintain? Seems he is always getting derailed one way or another. His Vezina year was the half-season, if you recall. Not enough time to fall off the rails in that one. Plus March and April are his money months.
Also impressive for Scheifele is that he isn’t just improving his shooting, but also his playmaking, hitting his teammates in the slot at a higher rate than before, and generating more scoring chances for them as well.
This playmaking is extremely important because the future for the Jets lies with Scheifele and Patrik Laine. Hell, so does much of their present. But Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien will be past their prime before long so Scheifele’s ability to mesh with Laine is a way to keep both studs humming at an elite level for years to come.
The Scheifele-Laine-Nikolaj Ehlers trio combined for nine points last night. Damn good show.
More injuries for the Jets as Mathieu Perreault and Joel Armia were held out last night. That meant some interesting line juggling:
#1 29.4% EHLERS,NIKOLAJ - LAINE,PATRIK - SCHEIFELE,MARK
#2 24.6% CONNOR,KYLE - PETAN,NIC - WHEELER,BLAKE
#3 16.6% DANO,MARKO - LOWRY,ADAM - TANEV,BRANDON
#4 11.8% BURMISTROV,ALEXANDER - COPP,ANDREW - THORBURN,CHRIS
Great spot for Nic Petan. He was held scoreless but this is the biggest opportunity of his young career. He did make the Jets out of camp last season but was a fourth liner.
Meanwhile, Brandon Tanev scored the first two goals of his NHL career. Not so sure about Tanev’s fantasy upside. He skated over 15 minutes in this one, which is good but none of it was on the power play. In fact, 3:26 of his minutes were on the penalty kill. Better real life player than fantasy asset.
Niklas Kronwall got back into the Red Wing lineup last night. He skated 18:14 with 2:59 on the power play. He did not push Mike Green out of the top power play minutes, as Green skated 3:39 with the man advantage. Unfortunately, with Thomas Vanek still on the shelf, the Red Wings’ power play might be broken.
Still just one goal on the season for Tomas Tatar but he had two assists last night so at least he is producing something. Henrik Zetterberg also has goals in back-to-back games. These two are starting to click!
Rickard Rakell was back on the top line with Corey Perry and this time they put in some work with a pair of points apiece in the first period alone. They were joined this time by Michael Sgarbossa, who finds himself in a nice spot for the short term. I am not sure Getzlaf will be out long enough for this to be something for you to take advantage of.
Still, I am intrigued that Sgarbossa finally seems to be sticking at the NHL level. He has scored 147 points in 230 AHL games, an 82-game pace of 52 points. That doesn’t leave a ton to be hoped for at the NHL level but perhaps he stick in a minor role.
hope Kesler is okay. skated to locker room with some help pic.twitter.com/fla2IahACy— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 5, 2016
Somehow Kesler was allowed to return to the game after this. Is there some grandfather clause in the NHL’s concussion protocol that I don’t know about? Whatever the protocol is, it’s clearly broken.
Troy Stecher has been called back up to the Canucks after a brief demotion to the AHL. He might already be their best offensive defenseman but it’s also looking like there won’t be one defenseman of fantasy relevance on this Canuck team.
Drouin ruled out tomorrow but Cooper, but said Drouin is a possibility to take part in morning skate tomorrow and is day to day— Erik Erlendsson (@Erik_Erlendsson) November 4, 2016
As long as someone in the Lightning lineup is hurt Brayden Point will continue to skate big minutes. He’s skating 16:08 per game with nearly three minutes of PP time. I hope he can stick regardless but Drouin’s return will be a real test now that Ryan Callahan is back.
Boucher is hopeful for Stone to play tomorrow, Smith will probably be a game time decision.— ((Chris Stevenson)) (@CJ_Stevenson) November 4, 2016
Nothing new on Jiri Hudler today. Still sick, battling some kind of virus, according to Lindy Ruff. Not expected to play this weekend.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) November 4, 2016
What a miserable run Jiri Hudler has had with the Stars thus far. This is his second round of missing time due to illness. Maybe the climate down in Texas doesn’t agree with him?
DS said Andreoff, McNabb and Gaborik are "all December guys." Minimum four weeks for all.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) November 4, 2016
Neither Andreoff nor McNabb is all that fantasy relevant but Marian Gaborik could make some noise, if only because the Kings are hurting for offense. Will his return push Tyler Toffoli off the top PP unit? I hope not.
Now for the weekly Q + A session:
Andrei Vasilevskiy is probably ready now. He has been actively stealing starts from Ben Bishop earning the small chunk of a 7-4 split in starts. Vasilevskiy should see a third of the action this year, or just shy of 30 starts.
Bishop isn’t going anywhere this season so the only hope for an early jump for Vasilevskiy is injury. He could definitely see a full workload next season. While the offseason will be spent with questions about Vasilevskiy’s ability to handle a starters’ load, when has a much hyped “next-in-line” failed to be up to the task. We play that game every summer, most recently with the likes of Jake Allen and John Gibson. They’ve been fine, just as Cory Schneider, Tuukka Rask, Carey Price and many of the league’s other elite goaltenders were fine when they first took over. And since the Lightning core is locked up for next season you can bet they’ll be good for Vasilevskiy’s #1 debut.
@SteveLaidlaw Does Moulson have a comeback season in Buffalo, or does his production disappear when Eichel and Kane are back?— Eric Lesperance (@E_Lesperance) November 3, 2016
Define comeback. If you are willing to accept a 40-point season as a comeback then sure he is capable. He could certainly continue on the top line with Ryan O’Reilly and Kyle Okposo. Whenever Jack Eichel returns the top power play minutes are going to dry up, however. Considering all five of his points have come with the man advantage, the odds aren’t looking good.
As for Evander Kane, I don’t see him as an impediment to anyone’s fantasy relevance, except perhaps his own. Kane is wonderfully talented but there are few players as wasteful with the puck as he is. He is the master of crossing the blueline and flinging it at the net. I know creating shot volume is generally a positive but these are not high danger scoring chances. It’s been four years since Kane boasted a shooting percentage of even 8 per cent.
Given the way Kane plays the game, coaches have been content to stick him with some pluggers on the third line and hope they can bludgeon their way to offensive relevance. Coaches have also been reluctant to use Kane on the power play. Likely for the reasons outlined above. I’m not sure his return would hinder whatever Moulson has going on.
By the way, it sounds like Kane might be back in the lineup soon as he has been practicing hard. Not sure how excited you all are after my “ringing endorsement” but there you have it.
@SteveLaidlaw what do I do with Anders Lee in a 20 team, H2H categories dynasty league? He's been awful.— Greg Facchini (@GregFacchini) November 3, 2016
It’s unlikely that there is a tasty waiver option available in such a league. All you can really do is wait patiently and enjoy the hits that he is providing. Toss him up on the trade block and see if someone wants to take a shot.
I know people are loathe to sell low but at a certain point a player can also be sunk cost. If you have a contender and need a boost, shop him around, you might be surprised who is willing to take a chance.
@SteveLaidlaw GAPtsPppSogH Who to sell high in 2for1: Wheeler, Hornqvist, Schwartz, Johansson, Pearson, Hamilton, Werenski, Martinez, Rielly— Mr. PW (@pwjustin) November 3, 2016
From that list I would be peddling Johansson, Pearson and Martinez. I also wouldn’t lose too much sleep over trading Schwartz or Rielly. Not sure what kind of return those guys would net you though.
I wouldn’t be trying to move guys like Wheeler, Hornqvist, Hamilton or Werenski in leagues that reward shot volume.
@SteveLaidlaw what does the goalie situation in Pittsburgh look like at the start of next season? Does Fleury accept to waive his NTC?— Benoît Rivard (@ben_haggis) November 3, 2016
Can I borrow a crystal ball?
I don’t know who the Penguins will commit to. I firmly believe that only one of them will be with the Penguins come next season. Committing over $9M annually to the goaltending position just isn’t a tenable position. The extension they gave Matt Murray suggests they want to go with him into the future. With his cheap deal they could sign a more expensive backup or spend elsewhere on the roster.
The Penguins may be forced to keep Marc-Andre Fleury because of his no-movement clause. In that case, Murray becomes one hell of a trade chip. The restrictions imposed by the expansion draft protection rules make it difficult for the Penguins to keep their roster together but they might spend draft capital to secure Las Vegas’ word they won’t take one of their goaltenders. That’s why the fifth round pick they acquired for Mike Condon is important.
Don’t sleep on the importance Tristan Jarry plays in all this. Jarry is an intriguing goaltending prospect in the Penguins’ system. Their 2013 second round selection is developing quite well. A big season for Jarry could make them feel comfortable enough long term to lose Murray one way or another.
@SteveLaidlaw MacKinnon in a points only keep 5, buy, sell, or hold? Also-any specific players for a buy low?— jonathan sealey (@lonelybadger) November 3, 2016
I don’t want to be rude but this sort of question is silly. Everyone on your team has a price. I wouldn’t be actively shopping MacKinnon but I wouldn’t recoil from trade offers for him either. There are definitely better players than MacKinnon so the potential to improve your squad exists. You should openly explore that.
Is there some concern that MacKinnon has plateaued? Not really, he’s only 21 and has already established himself as a 60-point player. I don’t know when the 70-point breakout is coming but there is a good chance it will happen in the next couple of seasons.
@SteveLaidlaw Hi Steve, would you drop Halak for Condon for short term goalie wins?— Vincent M. (@VincM33) November 4, 2016
I wouldn’t go that far. Condon’s Senator debut was enticing but this situation is just too volatile. Word is that Craig Anderson is taking things day by day and could conceivably be back in the lineup for any game. That makes Condon’s situation even more untenable than the three-headed monster that Halak is dealing with in Brooklyn.
I am an advocate of short-term adjustments but this doesn’t feel like the right one.
@SteveLaidlaw I want to know what's up with Barkov. 0 points past 7 games. Cause for concern? Buy low candidate? Let me know the verdict.— Goudie (@BrandonGoudie) November 4, 2016
Random blip on the radar. His Individual Point Percentage is in the crapper after being up around 70% last season. So while Jonathan Marchessault has been wielding a hot stick, Barkov has remained quiet. The reduced depth with all the injuries the Panthers have faced hasn’t helped. When Nick Bjugstad and Jussi Jokinen get back next week this team becomes much more dangerous.
Whether or not you can buy low depends on who you are dealing with. Whether or not you even bother trying depends on your settings. I steered clear of Barkov in all points-only settings because he is a Band-Aid Boy who has missed an average of 18 games a year since joining the league. He could be a point-per-game guy but as long as he’s missing that kind of time, he won’t reach the 70-point plateau, let alone higher.
In daily or weekly formats I have much more time for Barkov but from what I’ve seen Barkov owners are so horny that there’s no room for buying low.
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.
- Ramblings: Big Rig Keeps on Trucking (Jan 15)
- GRamblings: Grubauer, Guentzel, Granlund, Grabner, Greenway, Gagner and Gmore (GJan 16)
- Top 10 first half surprises (and can they keep it up?)
- Fastest Rising Forward Prospects (January 2017)
- Ramblings: Capitals and Penguins Pour on the Gravy (Jan 17)
- Western Conference All-Disappointment Team (Jan 2017)
- Saturday's best bets for NHL victories - January 14 2017
- Fantasy Hockey Podcast: Ghost Busted