Ramblings: Radulov Making Waves, Brian Elliott Arrives (Oct 25)

by steve laidlaw on October 24, 2016 | (8 Comments)
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Radulov Making Waves, Brian Elliott Arrives (Oct 25)

Radulov making waves, Elliott arrives, Rantanen recalled, and more.

Big night for Alexander Radulov with a pair of assists, while adding an empty-net goal. He replaced Andrei Markov on the Habs’ top PP unit and looks like a fit. If this sticks, it bumps up Radulov’s upside by 10 points easily. I was having a tough time buying a 60-point season for Radulov without top PP usage. Now it seems within reach. I still prefer him closer to 50 points but the upside boost is important.

On the flip side, Markov sees his upside drop by about 10 points. He has an outside shot at 50 points with consistent top unit PP time. I can’t see him going for more than 40 with mere second unit usage. There’s no telling if this switch will continue but it pushes Markov into the realm where I’d be thinking about using his roster spot to stream in hot options depending on how many moves are allowed and how deep the league is.

We also saw Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais swap power play deployment at times, with Desharnais grabbing some time with the top PP unit. Galchenyuk was getting destroyed on faceoffs all night with just one win in 11 tries so perhaps this played a role in his getting bumped. There’s no spot I see more of an importance for faceoffs than zone draws on the power play. Indeed, it was a mere four seconds into a power play where Brendan Gallagher scored his game-winner, however it was Gallagher himself who won the draw.

Galchenyuk was near even on faceoffs last season at 47.9% but is drowning at just 33.3% this season. It could very well cost him some PP time, if he can’t correct this. Of course, it would be foolish to panic just yet. Galchenyuk just had his first scoreless game of the season after registering a point in his first five games. I’m not worried.

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He didn’t score here but check out the moves from Jakub Voracek:

Voracek would find the net later in the game. With seven points in five games, Voracek is putting last season’s misery well behind him.

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He is a couple of weeks late but it was nice of Brian Elliott to finally join us this season. Check out this save to deny the red hot Richard Panik at the end of regulation:

Elliott even helped the Flames stave off a penalty in overtime and then stopped all seven shots in the shootout to earn the win.

For a minute it appeared that Johnny Gaudreau owners would be playing with house money as the forward was credited with an assist but alas it was switched to Troy Brouwer. Scoreless on the road once again, though not for lack of trying as he fired six shots. A bit of a slow start for Gaudreau but I’m not worried. He should be in the 70-point range once again, at the very least.

The Flames’ top line RW slot continues to get passed around. Last night it was Alex Chiasson back in this spot.

22.37%  EV           CHIASSON,ALEX - GAUDREAU,JOHNNY - MONAHAN,SEAN

17.35%  EV           BENNETT,SAM - BROUWER,TROY - VERSTEEG,KRIS

16.89%  EV           BACKLUND,MIKAEL - BOUMA,LANCE - FROLIK,MICHAEL

10.05%  EV           FERLAND,MICHEAL - HAMILTON,FREDDIE - STAJAN,MATTHEW

I’m fairly certain that Chiasson isn’t the answer here. Though he has flashed a little bit of upside in the past that was many moons ago. I am still waiting for Micheal Ferland to get his shot, although the most likely answer is that this is a problem for Calgary all season long.

I am sure some are wondering when Matthew Tkachuk will get his chance. This might be something he has to earn with production in a smaller role first. Tkachuk was a healthy scratch last night, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a young player. Remember, Gaudreau didn’t really start to take off during his rookie year until after a healthy scratch.

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The injuries are starting to mount for the Blackhawks’ defense:

Forsling is officially day-to-day. Fortunately, the Blackhawks have some depth to spare on the back end and Forsling is really only skating on the third pairing anyhow.

Artem Anisimov notched an assist to extend his scoring streak. He now has nine points in the last five games. I was asked if it would be worth dropping Jason Spezza for Anisimov. This strikes me as a classic over-reaction early on. Spezza is far too well established as a 30-goal/60-point/200-SOG threat, while Anisimov while talented and in a great spot, still only put up 42 points skating with a 100-point producer.

Let’s say Anisimov somehow improves on last season’s performance and goes for 50 points. Let’s also say that Spezza underwhelms and only finishes with 50 points. Same total, but from now until the end of the season, Spezza’s total will still be higher. This is a situation where a little short term pain is worth the long term gain.

Contrast this situation with another waiver wire swap I was asked about, this one involving the dropping of Andrew Ladd for David Perron. This one strikes me as much closer because the expectations for Ladd are much lower. I could easily envision Ladd finishing with just 40 points. While I cannot see Perron finishing much higher than 50 points, there is still something to be gained the rest of the way with this swap.

More importantly, I see the real possibility that Ladd remains waiver fodder all season, so this drop wouldn’t come back to bite you. You could use this roster spot to cycle in hot options. Is Perron the right guy? That’s the question I’d be asking because you don’t get to have him for his four-point game, the only game in which he has scored thus far. That toothpaste will remain in the tube.

Ultimately, Ladd’s opportunity is better than Perron’s so I wouldn’t make that swap but for the right waiver wire option, you could sell me on dumping Ladd. Hell, I’d dump Ladd for Anisimov if I felt confident I could fit him into my lineup regularly.

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Not looking good in the Bruins’ crease:

Malcolm Subban has been recalled on an emergency basis and seems likely to see action. I wouldn’t be jumping on the Subban option just yet – not without some indication that he will see more than an emergency start.

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Things aren’t getting any easier for the Kings as Jeff Zatkoff will miss about a week due to injury. I suppose that means more Peter Budaj!

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Robin Lehner is sick so the Sabres have called up Linus Ullmark. Look for Anders Nilsson to start tonight.

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With Jared Spurgeon out Matt Dumba has been skating some big minutes but that likely stops whenever Spurgeon returns. Dumba has the higher upside but will only achieve it if he can beat out Spurgeon. Thus far, Dumba looks like he is better left as a streaming option off the waiver wire than as a lineup regular for fantasy teams.

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The injuries continue to mount for the Stars. I’m looking at Devin Shore to help fill some larger offensive responsibilities. Definitely an intriguing daily fantasy option.

The Stars have also called up AHL scoring star Justin Dowling. We know that this likely amounts to nothing for Dowling just as it does for most AHL stars who don’t break through by their mid-to-late 20’s

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The Avalanche have recalled Mikko Rantanen from his conditioning stint in the AHL. I am not sure where Rantanen will start out but he is a real gem. He most reminds me of Patric Hornqvist. A large and skilled player who loves to shoot the puck. Rantanen piled up points at the AHL level last season and could probably have an impact at the NHL level.

The presence of Jarome Iginla is a road block to the ever important top power play minutes. Iginla is one of the best designated hitters in the game today, soaking up power play time because of his ability to snipe with time and space.

I wouldn’t rush out to grab Rantanen in one-year settings. Not only is he likely to start out in a depth role but the Avalanche don’t play until Friday meaning any immediate impact will be delayed by the schedule.

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Jeff Skinner missed practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury. They are saying that it isn’t a concussion, which is good news given Skinner’s history but any injury is alarming with his track record. He’s off to such a hot start too, it would be a shame if it were derailed.

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Check out my latest for Sportsnet reviewing some of the hot options from around the league.

I also hopped onto Nick Alberga’s Fantasy Fix Podcast to chat about some of the early trends and some fantasy strategy. Give it a listen!

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Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of Dobberhockey. Follow him on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.

 

  • Steven L

    It always confuses me when I see your articles. My name is Steve Laidlaw…. and im pretty sure im not writing these. haha

  • richard lalonde

    Steve, “ARad” has been the best Mtl forward all (albeit early) season. And I mean REALLY good. With any degree of luck he’d have 3 to 4 more points. He is much more skilled than his linemates (Plekanec and Lekhonen), which is part of the problem. I would happily take the over on 50 points, or 60 points.

  • Dave

    Was at the Montreal-Philly game last night… although it could be thought that Radulov was a perfect fit at the point on the power play… that was far from true… he even was put back as a forward for the man advantage in the late stages of the game… but nonetheless, his implication with the Habs is something they haven’t had in ages!!!

  • Alex McDonald

    Thoughts on Shea Theodore (expecting to get power play time), Mikko rantanen (expected top 6, in practice with Mack and Grig) ?

  • isle b.

    From afar, I could see why you would be down on Andrew Ladd at this point but, IRL, that line is finally starting to click, he is getting plenty of chances and it is a matter of time until he breaks out.

  • Not sure I agree with Gaudreau’s assist being taken away, hard to tell if the puck actually hit Brouwer in front of the net. Hopefully that gets changed for the Gaudreau owners, but he’s looking great out there now at least. Nice to see the Flames get the win, and it’s hard to believe that the Hawks have the worst PK in the league so far!

  • Rick Roos

    Some bold stuff on Ladd. As it so happens, he’s teed up for next week’s (i.e., 8 days from now) Cage Match, so stay tuned Dobberites.

    • steve laidlaw

      I’m interested.