Ramblings: Is Crosby the Iron Man of his young line? Sheary leaves game (Mar.27)
Well, that was short-lived. And I fear this may be what stops this new line from becoming legendary for two or three years. An injury.
Yes, I just left those two lines there from last Wednesday’s Ramblings. Because I’m just that efficient. Actually, that intro was written last week as a result of Jake Guentzel leaving the game. This week it can remain there because Conor Sheary left Sunday’s game after what I (and everyone else) figured was from blocking a shot with his hand or wrist. If he left the game for that reason, then you can pretty much assume something’s broken. But…
After the game Mike Sullivan said in the press conference that Conor Sheary has a “lower-body injury” and is day-to-day. In fact, he insisted on it being an LBI and not from blocking that shot (per beatwriter Sam Werner). So if Sullivan isn’t snowing us with false information (hey, it’s that time of year), then this is good news. I tried to dig up footage of Sheary taking that shot off the hand, but couldn’t find one at publish time.
Meanwhile, the Flyers put on a goal-scoring clinic, wiring five goals past Matt Murray, plus an empty-netter. Jordan Weal picked up two points and has five goals in 17 games as he tries to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves a one-way contract this summer. He’s actually an unrestricted free agent – Group IV because he’ll be 25 before June 30th (he turns 25 next month), has played three pro seasons, and has played fewer than 80 NHL games (he’s at 31 career games now, so no way he makes it to 80). Weal is one of those smaller players who has dominated at the AHL level and he’s still young enough to do something in the NHL if a team has to lean on him. The only team right now in a position to do that is…well, Las Vegas. If he signs with them as a free agent I will be very interested in Weal’s sleeper status for 2017-18.
Extremely disappointed in Brayden Schenn’s season. After hitting 59 points last year in his fifth NHL season – Year 6 is a big step back. He’ll be 26 in the fall and I usually wait until they’ve had their season as an age 26er before completely ruling out their high potential.
Thanks for nothing, bud. Gustav Nyquist has just finished his age 27 season and it was horrible. But he has 11 points in his last 11 games. So once again, he’s teasing us with a hot streak that will make us take a chance on him next year. I had visions of 70-plus potential from him. Now I expect 50 points from him next season and my ‘hope’ is for him to reach 60. Not much of a hope though. This really was supposed to be his year.
I think the Wild are a terrible team without the Mikael Granlund – Mikko Koivu – Jason Zucker line. Shut that line down and this team becomes the Carolina Hurricanes of a couple of years ago – once again led by Eric Staal. If they have to rely on Staal, who has a four-game points streak right now, then this team is a ton of trouble. But these past two weeks have shown that any team that can shut down the Koivu line can beat the Wild.
Henrik Lundqvist coughed up five goals on Sunday and it’s starting to look like he’ll enter the playoffs with a SV% of 0.912. Or worse (currently it’s 0.9119). That would tie the worst of his career (2007-08). His 2.70 GAA is easily his highest – previous high was 2.48. But how do you take King Henrik out of the net in the postseason in favor of Raanta? It’s unfortunate for Rangers fans, but politics and loyalty will cost them.
J.T. Miller has six points in his last 20 contests. Prior to that he had 46 in 56, which hints at near point-per-game ability. He’s still only 24 (just turned) and I think he’ll lead the Rangers in points next season, with Chris Kreider hot on his heels. Though Kreider seems to be getting into injury trouble, so I wonder if that holds him back from ever truly busting out. Just nagging minor stuff that he plays through, but the kind of stuff that catches up to a player.
Patrick Eaves has six goals in 13 games for Anaheim since joining the team, thanks to another two on Sunday. His 27 goals on the year put him in an excellent position to hit 30 – which will be a gold mine in the summer when he’s an unrestricted free agent. As a GM, I wouldn’t give him much beyond what he’s making now ($1 million) because I wouldn’t trust him to play 50 games. Probably a bonus-laden $2 million guaranteed contract per season for two or three seasons. But a sucker GM will cough up at least $3.5 million and give him at least three years.
Ryan Getzlaf his having another late-season surge that pushes him close a point-per-game. He has 20 points in his last 12 games and has a real shot at closing out the year at 70. That’s something that seemed extremely unlikely a month ago.
In his last nine games, Jonathan Bernier is 8-0-1 with a 1.64 GAA and a 0.944 SV%. Yes, that Jonathan Bernier. And he has enough time here down the stretch to catch John Gibson. With continued starts and this hot streak, he could get to 23 wins (Gibson’s current total) and get his GAA down to 2.35 and SV% up to .921 (Gibson is at 2.28 and 0.921). And wouldn’t that be something? Bernier is a UFA in the summer numbers like 23-8-4, 2.35, 0.921 Would really let him cash in. Just two months ago I was talking about him possible “salvaging his career”. Well…I think it’s salvaged!
Mathieu Perreault continues to salvage some fantasy value for next season as he picked up another two points on Sunday. He now has 10 points in his last six games, including four multi-point games in that span. He’s clicking with Bryan Little and Nik Ehlers, giving the Jets two very potent lines.
The Arizona Coyotes signed Clayton Keller to a three-year ELC. Keller is widely considered one of the top prospects in hockey and he ranks fifth on my Fantasy Prospects list among forwards. I think he makes the team next year and so you’ll probably see him move up to second or third on that Prospect list next month. Because of the team he is on, I would temper expectations for him next season to something below 53 to 55 points. High-40s is probably safe. But long term he’s a potential point-per-game player. You can read our full scouting report and fantasy outlook on him here.
Since the Dallas Stars are out of it…I guess you can cue the Kari Lehtonen. Since getting blasted for six goals in a late-February game, he has gone 6-3-1 with a 2.15 GAA and a 0.926 SV%. His SV% on the season is now safely above 0.900 (it’s at 0.905), and that was actually in question a month ago. This is probably enough for him to earn a backup-goalie contract in the summer if Dallas decides to buy him out. Which they should. He’s set to make $5,000,000 next year, his final year of his contract, with a cap hit of $5.9 million.
The ground has been broken on the Fantasy Prospects Report! I’ve selected which goaltenders will be profiled and today will be spent reviewing the skaters and choosing (and eliminating) which ones to profile. This will be the 12th annual edition of this great Keeper League e-magazine. It’s not yet available for pre-sale, but will be released on June 1 and updated June 10 with our annual Mock. Pre-sale will open around May 1.
What is available for pre-sale now is the 12th Interactive Playoff Draft List. I will release this in two Fridays (April 7) and then re-release it April 9 after the teams are finalized.
I love these goals…
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