Ramblings: Eichel continues to roll, Spooner out, Avs have an intriguing new line (Mar.08)

by Dobber on March 8, 2017 | (24 Comments)
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Eichel continues to roll, Spooner out, Avs have an intriguing new line (Mar.08)

 

Ramblings: Eichel continues to roll, Spooner out, Avs have an intriguing new line (Mar.08)

***

First, some NHL news that is interesting, though perhaps lacking in fantasy tips…

At the GM’s meeting in Florida, the NHL GMs shot down all rule change proposals. Among the rules that were shot down:

- Icing called during penalties

- Faceoff dots being removed and just one dot in the slot

- Bigger nets (again)

- Offside rules tweaked

- Three points for a regulation win

- Player must be on both skates when blocking a shot (no sliding or dropping to one knee)

Of the ideas, I only like the latter one. But I’ve always felt that shot-blocking is ludicrous. If your team blocks 11 shots, then statistically they saved one goal. How often is a player injured blocking a shot? Every 50 blocks? 80? I have no idea what the average is. But let’s use 100. So he saves nine goals before getting injured. How many goals did he cost his team because he’s in the press box while his inferior replacement is out there for nine or 10 games? Maybe there’s an advantage to shot-blocking, but it’s a slim one (and it may not actually be one at all). You do it in the playoffs if you’re down a game or if you’re team has won three and is trying to finish the series. But otherwise, I think it hurts more than helps.

*

I suspect the Coyotes are on the move, based on Gary Bettman’s letter to the Arizona Legislature.

“The Coyotes current location is not economically capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise. For the past 15 years a succession of ownership groups have tried everything imaginable to make the Glendale location financial sustainable. Our combined efforts have all yielded the same result - a consistent economic loss. The simple truth: The Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed. The Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale.”

(Bettman with the bold font, not me)

Get ready Quebec! It doesn’t sound as though the Arizona Legislature even cares. "Until the NHL can win over taxpayers, they’re going to have a tough sell at the Legislature," said House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, a Chandler Republican.

*

Three straight shutouts for Sergei Bobrovsky!

*

Bobrovsky! Already in playoff mode – did he burn up his ‘in the zone’ time too soon?

And I brought this up on Monday so you know I’m paying full attention – Oliver Bjorkstrand continues to click with Sam Gagner, possibly saving Gagner from some press box time. Before Bjorkstrand, Gagner was mired in a terrible cold run. And if a PP specialist isn’t putting up points, then the team has little use for him. But now he has four points in three games since getting this new linemate.

*

Jack Eichel picked up three more points last night – and his team lost 6-3. I was just buying into the Robin Lehner hype – and I still am, his defense is like Swiss cheese – but he’s been riddled with goals lately. That’s 24 goals allowed in six games, and his third game in his last six in which he’s allowed at least five goals. I wonder if Coach Dan Bylsma was told by team brass to just let go of the reins and let his team go all out offense at the sacrifice of defense? Think about it – if the Sabres are going to build around their current (main) group of forwards, then they would benefit from those guys creating offense and building on their skill set. And if they have no interest in building around the current crop of defensemen (other than Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe), then may as well have them focus on just helping the forwards. Furthermore, getting the top lottery pick can’t hurt either. It just seems like a changed team over the past two weeks. It’s something to keep an eye on – your Sabres could go off like gangbusters offensively (but get killed in plus/minus) in the final month.

*

A prospect I used to like, Jordan Weal, picked up two points last night and has three in four games. Look he played with last night:

#1

23.1%

FILPPULA,VALTTERI - SCHENN,BRAYDEN - VORACEK,JAKUB

#2

23.1%

COUSINS,NICK - COUTURIER,SEAN - READ,MATT

#3

19.5%

GIROUX,CLAUDE - SIMMONDS,WAYNE - WEAL,JORDAN

#4

10.3%

BELLEMARE,PIERRE-EDOUARD - KONECNY,TRAVIS - VANDEVELDE,CHRIS

Last year Weal was a victim of the “don’t want to lose him on waivers so we’ll keep him up even though he’s not ready” game. And that’s a game that usually destroys a prospect (Stanislav Galiev, Frank Corrado, Kevin Connauton, Adam Clendening, Joe Morrow, the list goes on, and on, and on). I see no reason why Weal will be any different. The odds are certainly against him. But I’ll be pulling for him. He’s only 24 and is a top AHL producer (has 47 points in 43 games this year).

*

The Flyers scored six goals and Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov combined for zero points. Instead, it was Radko Gudas who was the fantasy giant – three points, plus-5 with four hits.

Giroux scored his first goal in 14 games. He has just eight points in his last 20 contests.

*

Thomas Vanek picked up his first points as a Florida Panther (third game). Here were the line combos. As you can see, there was some juggling mid-game and Marchessault was moved down to play with Sceviour and Sgarbossa:

#1

21.6%

BARKOV,ALEKSANDER - HUBERDEAU,JONATHAN - JAGR,JAROMIR

#2

11.8%

MARCHESSAULT,JONATHAN - TROCHECK,VINCENT - VANEK,THOMAS

#3

11.3%

SMITH,REILLY - TROCHECK,VINCENT - VANEK,THOMAS

#4

10.3%

MACKENZIE,DEREK - SCEVIOUR,COLTON - SGARBOSSA,MICHAEL

When Smith was put on that line, the trio scored almost immediately so I’m guessing Marchessault is now out of the top six. His minus-2 doesn’t bode well either. Marchessault, for now, is a decent producer when his team relies on him. But if the team has other options, then his usage becomes such that his production barely moves the needle. You saw it with Tampa and you’re seeing it now.

*

Kevin Hayes had just one assist in 10 games and had gone six games without a point before scoring last night. Hopefully that gets the monkey off his back and he can continue with his surprising season.

*

It was Sven Andrighetto’s second game with his new team and they kept him on the Matt Duchene line (with Mikko Rantanen). The line combined for a goal with Andrighetto getting an assist. This is his audition for next year. If he does something with it then he’s fantasy relevant in 2017-18.

Tyson Barrie picked up his first three-point game of the season.

*

Jaccob Slavin has assists in five straight games. Overall, his season has been weak in terms of offense (though his plus-15 is pretty nice). But he has 18 points in his last 40 games, which meets expectations. It’s the six in his first 23 games that makes things look worse than they actually are. This is a team with two defensemen at minus-15 or lower. After Slavin’s plus-15 and Brett Pesce’s plus-10, the next highest on the team is Jordan Staal at plus-2.

*

Josh Ho-Sang scores his first career NHL goal – and it’s gorgeous. The last angle is the best one:

 

Read our fantasy outlook and scouting report on Ho-Sang here.

*

Andrew Ladd may have 10 goals in his last 20 games…but he has just two assists in that span. If we’re trying to find a positive in his season, 12 points in 20 games is really lowering the bar. He has 18 goals and six assists in 61 games.

*

This didn’t look like much, but Ryan Spooner is out indefinitely with a concussion as a result:

*

The Blues signed their first-round draft pick Tage Thompson to a three-year entry-level contract. He then signed an AHL tryout contract so that he doesn’t burn a year of their rights to him. Thompson is 6-5 and he had 19 goals and 32 points in 34 games for Connecticut and because he played college hockey and not junior – he’ll either be AHL or NHL next season. The Blues usually bring their prospects along slowly, but as things fall apart for this team you may see things change and the prospects get more of a chance.

The Capitals signed a pair of undrafted college free agents. Left winger Hampus Gustafsson, an alternate captain for Merrimack, is a Hobey Baker nominee after tallying 26 points in 36 games. He’s 6-4 and had 43 PIM – not common at the college level. Kristofers Bindulis is a defenseman (6-3, 181) who had 12 points in 28 games for Lake Superior State Univ. He showed a bit of offensive flair at other levels, but his forte is toughness. So the Caps beefed up their farm system.

 

 

 

 

  • james m yates

    Dobber, would love to hear your thoughts on Evander Kane. He has been awesome since Eichel came back from injury. Has he actually figured it out on and off the ice?

    • Dobber

      I would say he has. He’s at the right age. Injuries will continue to hold his games played number down though

  • Striker

    No Jokinen in those line combinations yet he had a point & more icetime than Marrchesseault & Vanek?

  • Striker

    The nets will eventually be made bigger. They need to be a foot wider & 6 inches taller & the contour of the posts altered. The Shanahan plan allowed more deflections to enter the net as opposed to not with his proposed diamond shaped posts. At NHL’s turtle speed of change I would say we are 7 to 10 years away from such.

    Ideally the average NHL game would have about 7.5 goals per game. Today we are at just over 5. the average per team is 2.76 as I write this.

    1 of the biggest things I miss about from the game is a player skating down the wing & blowing the puck past the goalie. Equipment was less than 1/2 the size for goalies, pads were made out of leather & stuffed with horsehair, & goalies weren’t 6’7″, 6,’8″. When Dryden came into the league at 6’4″ he was a giant. Darren Pang was 5’6″ a big goalie was 6′ tall.

    Better yet just call the rule book as written. That will lead to goals & stop all the slashing, hooking & interference that goes uncalled in every game & drives everyone crazy as there is zero continuity even in the same game.

    Yes it’s a great game but it could be better.

    • jim jones

      nobody wants to see 3 goals a game scored from range. the nets are fine. don’t know why you think you’re such an authority.

      • Striker

        Just my opion Jim. If you don’t like my style of expression don’t read it.

        It’s not as rude as your comment. I’m just officious in nature.

        Debate intelligently don’t start name calling like a 12 year old.

    • james m yates

      Striker, always love your comments, heck they are my have to read the ramblings twice a day. Disagree on the net size, but totally on board with getting goalie gear in line and getting the poles to deflect in. I think goalies need to have less importance in fantasy hockey, to me that takes out luck and promotes skill in drafting and add drops

      • Striker

        Thanks James. Life doesn’t always allow me to post. As I have stated it’s usually only when I’m in disagreement with the boys; men really. & that’s not to say I don’t value their perspective. These guys are great. 1 of the best at what they do.

        I would much prefer to see the NHL game called the way the WJC’s are. Safer, more to the way the rules are written. If they NHL did we would have more goals. Far to much is let go impeding scoring chances. It would make for more continuity & less frustrations about the wide variance of reffing standards game to game.

        That said it isn’t just about goals. I see a ton of fabulous 2-1, 1-0, 3-2 games. It’s about flow. Soccer doesn’t have a ton of goals but has 1 of the biggest fan bases in the world. You should note I only watch soccer during the world cup. I played rugby growing up, we didn’t think to highly of soccer players. Ha-ha!

    • MarkRM16

      I’ve been waiting for about 15 years for someone in the NHL to wise up to the fact that the size of the nets has to increase significantly given the size of goaltenders and their equipment. A goalie below 6 feet wouldn’t even get drafted these days, regardless of their talent level. Making the nets proportional to the size of current goalies and streamlining their equipment would be enough to increase scoring to the point that all other potential rule changes could be scrapped!
      The thing I’ve noticed this season when examining game stats is the absurdly high % of games where a team isn’t assessed a single penalty. Really, refs? There are teams playing that are so disciplined that they can play 60 minutes without deserving a single call? That used to a freak occurrence, but it keeps happening again and again this season. Striker, you’re absolutely right, the league needs to scream at the refs to call the rule book as written.

  • Striker

    Arizona will get a new building, ideally in the University district; Tempe, that just got dropped as Arizona State University pulled out it’s backing. The NHL didn’t prop this franchise up for years to see it leave now. This is all just posturing part f the process. Many may not like Bettman but he is a brilliant forward thinker. Decades ahead of everyone.

    Quebec will receive an expansion franchise with in 3 years. The NHL owners will want to cash that cheque before the next CBA when expansion revenue will be added to the CBA as hockey related revenue.

    Seattle should have a building in place by the time Carolina’s lease can be broken at a cost acceptable to all parties, specifically the new owners who will buy & move the franchise. The buy out to break that lease now is beyond extreme, it’s impossible. The only reason Carolina is still there is that lease it’s incredible beneficial to them but again the payback for having had that sweetheart deal getting out early isn’t doable. That isn’t until the end of 2022-23 season, if not Seattle then Portland.

    Arizona will return to the American Airlines Arena in downtown Phoenix until a new home is built when they leave Glendale. I didn’t mind going to games there. Decent building for hockey just the team didn’t control revenue streams.

    • MarkRM16

      For someone frequently touted as being a financial genius, how has Bettman’s refusal to pull the plug on the Coyotes not tarnished his reputation among the owners and pundits? He finally came to his senses and pulled the plug on Atlanta (years too late), but won’t give Quebec a team or Ontario a 2nd team when they would be the safest business decisions I can imagine due to the already large fan bases and TV audience.
      I’d like to see a team in Seattle and it sure as hell should have got one before Las Vegas. Wouldn’t moving the Coyotes to Las Vegas have been a win-win?

  • Striker

    Will that make 17 teams in the East & 13 in the West then?

    • Dobber

      17 and 14, but yeah I copped to that mistake in the comment below

      • Striker

        Yes have to remember Vegas.

  • Tom Collins

    I don’t think Arizona will move to Quebec. It would put too many teams in the eastern conference and none of the teams there wants to go to the west.

    My guess is Arizona goes to Seattle, and either Quebec gets an expansion team or Florida/Carolina whenever those teams move.

    • Dobber

      That’s a good point

  • twelveXs

    “ludicrous”… lol. That’s my word ! I agree that players get hurt but it’s part of the game…what’s next, no hitting? # Lemieux1 – Gretzky2

    • Dobber

      Speaking of Lemieux and Gretzky – that was an era when shot-blocking was a minor part of a game. As opposed to an actual strategy, the way it is today. Blocks are not part of hockey. Not the way it’s done today. For the first 80 years of hockey’s existence, shot blocks were mostly while the player was on both skates, and you’d only see five or six per game from each team (versus today’s 10 or even 20)

      • twelveXs

        All these changes they want to keep making..(bigger nets…etc), why mess with the greatest sport on earth! Pretty soon I’d rather be watching Bubble Hockey !!

      • Instant Karma

        Because these changes aren’t be considered with you (or any other current hockey fan) in mind. They’re being driven by the perceived need to grow the audience.

        Not saying that I disagree with you, just pointing out why this subject keeps coming up.

      • Striker

        Agreed. everything continues to evolve. Time doesn’t stand still. Hit 30 & change is hard to accept. It gets harder & harder with each passing year. We are creatures of habit.

        The NHL is the greatest professional sport in the world for me. Fast, physical, intense, incredible skill & they have to do all this well on skates!

      • David Goodburn

        That’s bc for the first 80 years of the league blocking shots hurt. Players didn’t have the giant reinforced titanium pads of today that make shot blocking no big deal.

      • Dobber

        True, but that’s countered by graphite sticks and average slapshot speed increases of 25%

      • stewsquared

        I remember hearing a Gretzky interview recently where he said that he doesn’t think he EVER intentionally blocked a shot in his entire career. Said that no coach ever even asked him to either. Gretz was no fool.

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