There were just three games in the NHL on Sunday night and most of the important news surrounded the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. Not only did they finally add Vadim Shipachyov to the roster, but 23-year old Malcolm Subban, claimed off waivers at the start of the season from Boston, made his third career start in the stead of Marc-André Fleury. Fleury was placed on the injured reserve with a concussion. Jonathan Marchessault was added to the injured reserve as well.
This was the play that injured Fleury:
The Flower will miss at least seven days due to being placed on IR, though how long he’ll actually be out is another matter. We all know how fickle concussions can be. Let’s just hope he’s back and healthy soon.
Shipachyov was put on a line with Brendan Leipsic, and those two were slotted on the top power-play unit alongside James Neal and company. Even when this team’s roster is full, this is where Shipachyov is likely to end up for their power plays. That, alone, will give him relevant fantasy value in fantasy leagues that aren’t shallow. Let’s hope they run top-heavy PP minutes.
He did manage to score his first NHL goal, banging home a rebound in the waning minutes of the second period. But that one wasn’t gif-worthy. What was gif-worthy was Vegas’ first goal against the Bruins from winger Alex Tuch. It was a snipe:
Tuch's it into the top corner. pic.twitter.com/Jj4ZGv8lwR
— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) October 16, 2017
Don’t encourage Steve’s propensity for puns.
Now that Vegas has their lineup rounded out with mostly NHLers, it makes them a deeper team (despite the earlier wins). It’ll be fun to watch Shipachyov especially, seeing if he can grow into an impact player in his first season.
It’s worth noting that they appear to be easing Ship into the lineup. Despite scoring his first NHL goal, he played just 10:26 on Sunday night, including just 1:26 in the third period. Only William Carrier and Tomas Nosek played less in the game as a whole. If this trend continues, it’s hard to slot him into fantasy lineups – unless it’s a deep league – game in and game out. Just something to keep an eye on for now.
Subban nearly had a shutout against Boston, as the team had a 2-0 lead going into the final minute. A centering pass from David Pastrnak deflected off William Karlsson’s skate, though, and past Subban. He did get his first NHL win, and it came against the team that waived him 12 days ago. That’s pretty cool.
Not to take away from Subban because a win is a win, but he faced just 22 shots, and having watched the whole game, not many were of the dangerous variety. Boston looked about as interested in this game as a guy heading to his first colonoscopy.
Vegas only has four games in the next two weeks, but they’re all home games, and a couple of the teams coming to town include Buffalo and Colorado. Again, we don’t know how long Fleury will be out for, but I imagine Subban has the starter’s cage for the near-term. Fantasy owners that are desperate for starting goalies can look in his direction, but understand there is a lot of risk to starting him, and not many games ahead on the schedule anyway.
Some news on the Boston front with regards to Patrice Bergeron:
Bruce Cassidy says Patrice Bergeron is out again on Sunday, but "there is good progression." Anticipates he'll be close on Thursday vs. VAN.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 15, 2017
The team has three days off before a home game in Vancouver so I imagine we’ll get some updates between now and then. It’s good news, at least, that the coach seems to think he can be back this week. Boston, and fantasy owners, need him back.
Also, in Sunday’s game, with about six minutes left in the third, Boston defenceman Adam McQuaid blocked a shot on what looked like the outside of his right knee. He went down in a heap and required assistance to vacate the surface. No word on the severity as of yet.
Good news for John Gibson owners, as he left the team’s last game with an injury but still came back and played on Sunday night. There had been hope that this would be the case seeing as he practiced on Saturday, and all our wishes came true. Hopefully he stays healthy and this was nothing more than a hiccup.
Ryan Getzlaf did not play after being a last-minute scratch in the team’s previous game. He has played just two of the team’s six games thus far, and this lingering injury issue should be a concern for fantasy owners. Nothing can be none right now, though, except to sit and wait on the severity.
Patrick Eaves also missed the game. Basically, at this point, it’s almost quicker to list the healthy regulars than the injured ones.
Buffalo won the game 3-1 on goals from Justin Bailey, Benoit Pouliot, and an empty-netter from Johan Larsson. Both non-empty netters were flubs and scrambles around the crease. In all, it was an ugly game reminiscent of the Vegas-Boston game. Maybe the NHL should just stop scheduling games on Sundays.
Lower in these Ramblings I wrote about some crazy ice time numbers for some of the non-injured Wild skaters. Here are some crazy ice time numbers from the Ducks, and keep in mind this is a regulation game:
Also important: Corey Perry played 18:14 but Nick Ritchie played 19:16. That includes about two more minutes of PP time for Perry. With all the injuries the team has now, this may not bode well for Perry’s ice time when the roster is full. Yes, I know the injuries up front are mainly to the centres, but I’m thinking more in terms of PP TOI than even strength.
Has anyone noticed that Tyler Toffoli hasn’t played 16 minutes in a game *yet* this year? As I'm posting this, it's 1:40 AM local time and the Islanders-Kings game has less than 15 minutes remaining in the third period. Toffoli is sitting at 11:24 TOI. While he got an assist in this game, and has four points in five games this year, earning just 15-16 minutes a game is going to severely hinder his upside.
Nikolaj Ehlers has five goals in five games, totalling seven points so far this year. What should bring a smile to the faces of fantasy owners is not his point total, but the fact that he as 21 shots on goal in those five contests. Should he remain a volume shooter, it seems like a 30-goal season is on the horizon.
The concerning aspect of his season remains the power-play duties. Namely, he’s not getting primary minutes. In their 2-1 win over Carolina on Saturday, he had about 1:30 less than the guys on the top line, and he’s sixth among Jets forwards in PP ice time per game. Now, the gap between he and first (Mark Scheifele) is less than a minute, but there’s a clear divide among the top-4 and the rest. He’s among the rest, and it’s infuriating.
With all the injuries the Wild are enduring, there are a lot of players getting significant bumps in ice time. In Saturday night’s game, Jason Zucker played over 22 minutes, Mikko Koivu played over 20 minutes, and Tyler Ennis played over 17 minutes. That’s more ice time than I’m sure the coach would like to have them play, but there’s only so much that can be done with the talent as short-staffed as it is. Though if Zucker is going to play over 20 minutes a night, he should be locked into fantasy rosters.
Lost in Boston’s pounding of Arizona on Saturday night was that Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his first goal of the season. That gives him three points and 12 shots on goal – and a lot of hits – through the first week and a half of the campaign.
For those in plus/minus leagues, he is a minus-9 right now. That pace works out to minus-148 over the course of 82-games. Now, suffice to say he won’t reach minus-148, and this team is a lot better than their record would indicate. If you are in a league with plus/minus, now would be the time to inquire about acquiring him and hope his owner is willing to take the loss up to this point.
Just as a small aside, this was a fun topic of discussion in the wee hours of Sunday morning:
Top 10 release in the league https://t.co/QIYnXKJ4Pf
— Ray Ferraro (@rayferrarotsn) October 15, 2017
Who are some other guys that come to mind for their release? I know Alex Ovechkin can wire a one-timer from the face-off circle, but does that count? To my mind, guys like Vladimir Tarasenko, Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Nikita Kucherov come to mind. Who else? Sound off in the comments.
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