Ramblings: Mantha, Athanasiou, Anisimov, Ferland and more! (Nov 16)

by steve laidlaw on November 16, 2017 | (16 Comments)
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Mantha, Athanasiou, Anisimov, Ferland and more! (Nov 16)

The Eddie Lack experience got off to a horrible start as the Flames’ backup gave up five goals on 15 shots before getting yanked half-way through an 8-2 loss to the Red Wings. I was skeptical about Lack’s chances of going on a hot run for the Flames and so far the returns have not been good.

Mike Smith remains day-to-day with an ailment they are merely describing as an upper-body injury. While he did not travel with the team to Detroit, the plan is to have him join the team later in the road trip. When exactly? Not soon enough.

Top notch goalie prospect Jon Gillies (#6 on Dobber’s list) came on in relief of Lack conceding three goals on 12 shots. Not great, but I would like to see Gillies get some run in the starting role. He offers more upside than Lack. However, I am not sure if any Flames goaltender stands a chance when the team is taking penalties. After conceding four power-play goals Calgary’s penalty kill fell to dead last at 70.8%.

Click here for more on Gillies.

Johnny Gaudreau did manage to extend his scoring streak to eight games, taking sole possession of third in league scoring with 26 points.

Micheal Ferland also stayed hot scoring a goal for a fifth straight game. His situation has Patrick Maroon written all over it, so he could have staying power as a fantasy asset. I probably won’t be dropping him until he cools off.

It should be noted that Ferland’s use is essentially done for the week as the only game left on Calgary’s schedule is on a densely packed Saturday in Philadelphia. However, the Flames have a juicy Monday/Wednesday/Friday slate next week where you should get a few extra games played. If you have lots of moves you could try a little catch-and-release hoping to scoop up Ferland on Monday, but my plan is to ride it out unless I get desperate and need to stream someone in on Sunday.

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If your league still scores penalty minutes, last night was one of those matchup tilters as ridiculousness broke out during a TV timeout towards the end of the Flames-Red Wings game.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone in your league has Luke Witkowski, but the Red Wing defenseman somehow receive three match penalties and a total of 37 PIM. This was just the 72nd time since recording of PIM that a player put up 35 or more in a game.

More relevant was Anthony Mantha with 25 PIM. In all, nine match penalties were handed out and 135 PIM overall. Even Gillies and Red Wing goaltender Jimmy Howard got into it with minor penalties. I don’t see how any of this was productive but sure, fantasy points galore.

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Mantha also contributed in positive ways including a pair of power-play markers, good for a three-point night. Mantha is probably the best Red Wing forward to own given his big body and nose for the net in tight. He is skating most of his shifts at even strength with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist as well as seeing use as a net-front man on the power play.

The Red Wings’ lines and PP configuration have been all over the place, however. They have also been splitting time almost evenly between their two PP units. Check out the breakdown of the ice time for Detroit:

Player

Pos

GP

PPTOI

TOI

GREEN, MIKE

D

19

2:19

23:24

DALEY, TREVOR

D

19

0:56

21:28

ERICSSON, JONATHAN

D

19

0:13

19:52

ZETTERBERG, HENRIK

C

19

2:22

19:45

DEKEYSER, DANNY

D

3

0:08

19:30

LARKIN, DYLAN

C

19

2:04

19:20

KRONVALL, NIKLAS

D

16

1:35

19:09

TATAR, TOMAS

L

19

2:11

17:25

MANTHA, ANTHONY

R

19

2:03

17:20

NYQUIST, GUSTAV

R

19

2:13

17:10

ABDELKADER, JUSTIN

L

18

2:22

16:56

OUELLET, XAVIER

D

19

0:03

16:02

HELM, DARREN

L

18

0:12

15:50

ATHANASIOU, ANDREAS

L

9

1:38

15:50

NIELSEN, FRANS

C

19

0:58

15:30

JENSEN, NICK

D

19

0:09

15:21

GLENDENING, LUKE

R

19

0:07

12:27

FRK, MARTIN

R

18

2:04

11:21

SHEAHAN, RILEY

C

8

1:22

9:03

WILSON, SCOTT

C

11

0:09

7:55

WITKOWSKI, LUKE

R

8

0:00

6:35

BOOTH, DAVID

L

5

0:32

5:54

 

No one is skating more PP time than Zetterberg or Justin Abdelkader at 2:22 per game. They’re 10 most utilized PP skaters see between 1:30 and 2:22 in PP time per game. That’s a recipe for a bunch of 45-55 -point scorers, but Mantha stands out the most. He has six goals in the last seven games.

Andreas Athanasiou also had a big night scoring a pair of goals and an assist. His ice time is up two minutes higher than last year and he is skating most of his shifts with Dylan Larkin, which is a good situation. Most encouraging, however, is the shot volume we are seeing from Athanasiou with 30 SOG through nine games.

Check out the vision and precision on this four-line bank pass by Larkin:

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Artem Anisimov broke out with a third-period hat-trick against the Rangers. That gives him four goals and 15 shots in the past three games. He has recently slotted in at center alongside Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz at even strength and on the power play. Anisimov’s minutes are also up in this stretch with three of his five games of 18+ minutes coming in the past three games. It’s no surprise then that he is producing. While this spot is not as juicy as it was when Panarin was skating in Schmaltz’s spot, getting exposure to Kane in multiple phases is a big deal.

The problem, for those focused on short-term results, is that the Blackhawks have just three games in the next 11 days, with two of those falling on loaded Saturdays. I have trouble fitting my regular centermen in on Saturday’s let alone a waiver pickup. I’d be more excited if we hadn’t seen Anisimov go through fits and starts on the Kane line in the past. He’s one bad period from getting bounced again. Keep him in mind for daily fantasy but I don’t see him helping you so much.

You cannot really complain after a two-assist night, but Duncan Keith continues to not see time on the Blackhawks’ top power play unit. He’s still getting time on the second unit but he’s not really the same top-flight fantasy asset. The alternatives on Chicago aren’t any more appealing however.

Jan Rutta and Cody Franson split duties on that top unit, with Franson closing out the game with two assists of his own and five SOG. Franson would be more appealing if not for continual healthy scratches or Rutta nibbling into his time.

You’ll notice I have not yet mentioned Brent Seabrook, who while registering an assist also skated a season-low 16:26. He is slowly bleeding minutes with all four of his sub-20-minute games coming in the last five. Seabrook still has value in multi-category leagues but in your standard league he is fading from relevance. Given how Franson cannot seem to keep a foothold in the Blackhawk lineup, a resurgence from Seabrook cannot be ruled out, however I am a big proponent of getting out too early rather than too late. Owned in 70% of Yahoo leagues, now seems like the time for folks to bail out.

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I am not in love with Rick Nash’s usage but it’s hard to argue with the hot run he is on with six goals and 10 points in his last eight games. He had just one point through the first 11 games of the season. Ultimately, I have Nash as a 45-point/200-shot guy. There is value in that sort of player in plenty of leagues. He is a high-floor option because of the shot volume he provides.

Thoroughly enjoyed the work by Chris Kreider setting up Mika Zibanejad for this goal:

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Hampus Lindholm was a game-time decision for Anaheim and did not end up playing. He did appear in the morning skate but was ultimately ruled out with a lower-body injury. Other than a short spurt, Lindholm wasn’t really fantasy relevant anyhow, but he is an ice-tilting defenseman who the already banged-up Ducks can ill afford to be without. It sounds as though he'll be able to play on Sunday.

John Gibson was sturdy without Lindholm stopping 39 of 41 shots in a win. I still don’t totally trust Gibson because of all the talent absent from the Ducks’ lineup and because of his own propensity for injury. I do think he could be a great one to own for the stretch run if the Ducks can linger in the playoff hunt. A healthy Duck squad could be a terror in the spring, perfect timing for the fantasy playoffs.

Corey Perry upped his output to five points in eight games since Ryan Getzlaf went down. Not bad, and certainly not enough to have me write him off. My only qualm with Perry is his rapidly declining shot volume. With 35 SOG in 18 games he’s on pace for his worst shot-volume season since he was a rookie.

Rickard Rakell, by the way, has eight points since Getzlaf was lost. He may be immune to the effects of others at this stage of his career.

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David Krejci was unable to make his return for the Bruins last night, however there is some optimism that he can play tonight in LA.

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As always, some good stuff in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts:

8. Jason Spezza is playing 13 minutes a night, lower than any season since he became an NHL regular. I do believe it is Dallas’s preference to make this work. You can never score enough in this very tight league, and Spezza is a skilled player who can create offence. But it bears watching. Doing some research into his contract, Spezza has a unique clause. There is a window to trade him, but it’s in the summer. After the Stanley Cup is awarded until Sept. 1, he can submit a list of 10 teams Dallas cannot send him to. Other than that, Spezza has a total no-move, so he controls the situation. He also has one more year at $7.5 million. This is purely guesswork, but we know Columbus is going to look for one more high-level offensive player.

I can’t envision a trade scenario working. Who has the cap space for such a deal mid-season? Also, if Spezza could provide more depth offense wouldn’t he be more valuable to the Stars, who are starved for something outside of their top line?

I have no doubt that Spezza can produce more than he has, even given his reduction in minutes but I doubt we’re getting back to a 60-point threat if he were jumped into a top role.

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Jared Bednar suggested yesterday that Sam Girard would be sticking around for the year with the Avalanche. Great news for folks in keeper leagues and in deep one-year settings. I don’t doubt that Girard could push 25-30 points this season.

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Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.

 

  • Masta_Byte

    I don’t think the Wed-Fri schedules next week are so juicy. Schedule adjusted for Thanksgiving in the US.

    • Ryan Wicks

      The schedule overall is a train-wreck imo. Less to do with any holidays, more to do with the NFL and ratings. Buut then dont televise either EDMvPIT regular season match-up nationally…? Good call -_-

      Intense number of b2bs for many teams, yet there are two bye weeks for teams? NJ for example has already had a 7 day break and will still have normal bye week in Jan. Why?

      If im missing a key point that would make the schedule make sense, ill listen. Current opinion is its an embarrassment. But I sure am glad my money league has small bench so I dont have to watch half my team score bench points on Saturdays.

  • Striker

    Ferland is right at my breakthrough point for forwards of his size, 200 NHL regular season games, he’s at 190 as I write this. My projections were 1st line RW with Geaudreau & Monahan for most of the season, scoring 20 to 25 goals & 40 to 45 points. If everything went perfectly could break 50.

    Ferland has scored in Major Jr & has shown when deployed with offensive players in an offensive role he can produce. That deployment has been very rare & we have only seen short glimpses of it.

    I drafted him in 6th round, 15th overall in my 20 team 12 keeper league; we protect 240 players. CBS has him at LW the 2nd hardest position to fill, RW is a wasteland. We have 24 man rosters, dress 14, 3 at each forward position, 4 D & a G. All offense, 1 bonus FP for DG’s, PPG’s, OTG’s & 2 bonus FP’s for SHG’s.

    • MarkRM16

      Is he an Alex Burrows 2.0?

      • Striker

        Quite possibly yes. A potentially great comparison.

      • MarkRM16

        Thank you very much for the compliment!
        I see no reason why he couldn’t fill the same “make-some-space” role that Burrows once did, and the Monahan-Gaudreau duo is one of the best in the league. I whiffed on a few picks this year (like Guentzel) and Pulock), but I drafted both in the same league and they’ve made a huge difference. Thanks for the quick reply as well.

      • Striker

        The sophomore slump is very common, just no rhyme or reason as to who gets effected.

        Publicly has a bright future it’s just not today. 1 year league our fantasy league with protectors?

      • Striker

        Sorry dam spell checker. Poluck

      • MarkRM16

        Both were in 1-year leagues. Do you know how much Guentzel’s poor numbers have to do with Crosby’s struggles? If Crosby’s putting up normal numbers and Guentzel still can’t produce, that’s a definite sophomore slump. If Crosby bounces back soon, Guentzel could go on a crazy run (hopefully!).

        I took a risk on Pulock, figuring he’d line up with Leddy on the Isles’ top PP unit, but he’s in a state of flux right now.

      • Striker

        Certainly Guentzel’s reduced points per game is some what associated to Crosby’s struggles. Expecting Guentzel to maintain last seasons level might have been wishful thinking & a nominal regression probably to be expected.

        That said things have a way of balancing out over the course of a season & a slow 1st quarter start could be made up in 1 of the remaining quarters or at the very least he returns to last seasons level over the final 3/4’s making up for some of the lost points. His icetime both quantity & quality are solid, he’s generating slightly better than 2 shots on net.

        A goo portion of it may simply relate to the brutal schedule Pit has already had to play with 6 of their 19 back to backs already in the books.

        Pulock was just a bad pick, the icetime simply wasn’t available yet. With 8 NHL Dman 4 are being rotated in & out of the line up, Pulock, Mayfield, Seidenberg & Hickey. Until an injury or a trade opens up a roster spot Pulock can’t dress consistently enough to be relevant. He has a very bright future though.

        Few teams in the umbrella age of PP alignments run 2 Dman so best case scenario Pulock see’s 2nd unit PP time as Leddy isn’t losing his #1 spot for a great many years.

  • Striker

    Isn’t Hitchcock a beauty. Spezza is seeing less time than Shore, Shore is playing 4:16 TOI more a game than Spezza, getting 1st unit PP time which went to Spezza last season. Yet they are tied in points but Shore is a minus 10 to Spezza’s +2. Few coaches in the NHL are detested by their players as much as Hitchcock. He has had a pretty illustrious career coaching in games coached & wins but won’t be remembered to fondly by almost all that played for him.

    Dallas does have the leagues #1 PP but Shore with that opportunity has 1 more PP point than Spezza & with the 4+ minutes more per game has been less effective.

    • MarkRM16

      I also don’t get what Hitch is thinking. Even if Shore is a better player defensively than Spezza, how does that make him better on the PP? Spezza’s one of the best powerplay performers since the lockout! Madness.
      Columbus needs a big upgrade at C, but if Hitch doesn’t like Spezza, I’d be concerned that Torts wouldn’t either.

  • Kevin

    That Larkin pass was ridiculously good. Incredible.

  • Yodanovich

    I know that we are being conservative here, but I think Girard could push way more than 25-30 points. With 4 points already and 65? games left I think 40 is his floor – 36 in 65 games. The kid is unreal and already gained the trust of the organization, but I guess it depends on how much Mack/Rants can carry the team.

    • starz31

      Probably depends on how they deploy him with their PP and specifically in regards to sharing the load behind Barrie. He may get enough PP opportunity to push to 40 points, but that could be the difference between 30 and 40 points. Also of note, the rookie wall is a real thing and it’s best to estimate his 2nd half numbers conservatively. Just look at Werenski last year and he’s a step ahead of Girard.

    • JoePToms

      40 is his floor? Get out of here. My money says he doesn’t even get to 35 this season – total – on that team. He is a rookie DMan on COL (where their best forwards will struggle to get to 60) who is behind Barrie on the PP.