Rambling about the new line combinations for traded players; McDavid vs. Eichel; and how I did in my leagues
In two of my leagues the trade deadline came and went - and I threw in the towel. In all three of my leagues, I was sitting ninth or 10th in December thanks to brutal starts that I’ve already described here plenty of times. I crawled back to third, third and fifth. In the league that I sat fifth, I made the decision to sell and let the comeback die. I had Joe Thornton and was looking to upgrade playoffs and future. I managed to complete a package deal that pretty much turned Thornton into Artemi Panarin.
In one of the leagues in which I was third, I stood pat. In the end, I didn’t want to hurt the team that I had (since December 1 my team was first place). And I didn’t want to hurt my postseason – all my key guys will make the playoffs except ‘Ghost’. So I did nothing. I’ll take the third-place money, and take a run at the playoff trophy. If I was going to help a contender, I needed to seriously help my team. And upgrading on my part was too costly. Sometimes it’s okay just to walk away. So I did that, and the top two teams tore it apart for the win. Stripped themselves bare of draft picks and youth and depth. That should help my chances next year.
So in a year in which I thought I would win all three of my leagues at the same time for the first time ever, I’m down to having hope for just one. The league I’m in with the guys from Forecaster magazine. I was 10th in December, I’m third now. I was 103 points back three weeks ago and I’m 62 back today.
But today is a day to review the Deadline fallout and specifically – the new line combinations and how the coach is using the players after their first game wearing the new jersey…
McDavid had both goals, Eichel was held off the board.
Here were the new Edmonton line combos:
#1 26.7% DRAISAITL,LEON - HALL,TAYLOR - KASSIAN,ZACK
#2 21.7% EBERLE,JORDAN - MCDAVID,CONNOR - YAKUPOV,NAIL
#3 19.4% KORPIKOSKI,LAURI - LETESTU,MARK - PAKARINEN,IIRO
#4 18% CRACKNELL,ADAM - HENDRICKS,MATT - LANDER,ANTON
Adam Clendening led the Oilers defensemen in PP ice time but was again held pointless. With nothing on the line for this team, I’d like to see Coach McLellan keep putting him out there until the end. Give him 17 more games there, give him confidence. He’s a one-dimensional guy but that skill set can be used with a team like this. If he’s only getting three or four points over those 17 games, then you have your answer about whether he has a place with this team next year. If you take him off the power play though, you’ll never know for sure.
With Jamie McGinn gone, Cal O’Reilly drew back into the lineup and scored a goal. The AHL players always seem to chip in decent points over the last dozen games or so when it’s for a team that’s out of the playoff mix. O’Reilly saw a season-high 16:29.
And my favorite player in terms of a value bump after the trade – Mikkel Boedker – did indeed line up with Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. He picked up a point on the power play and Coach Roy really leaned on their top PP unit:
This doesn’t bode as well for Matt Duchene owners, as I think Roy will go with this for several games.
And while I did get my guesswork right in my Boedker analysis, I wasn’t so lucky with the Eric Gelinas analysis. Gelinas got the “New Jersey” treatment. Let’s hope this was just a “feeling out” game for the coach because Gelinas barely saw 10 minutes of ice time and didn’t get a sniff on the power play.
The Avs are in a tough playoff race and Semyon Varlamov has hit a bit of a wall. He was yanked last night after one period (three goals) and he lost his prior two games giving up four goals each. Meanwhile Calvin Pickard won his last two games.
Pickard since January 14: 10 GP, 4-4-1, 2.39 GAA and 0.923 SV%
The last thing any team wants is a goalie controversy in March, but this is enough to put the situation on my radar.
The Jason Pominville – Erik Haula - Nino Niederreiter line continues to fly, combining for seven points last night against the Avs. Haula has 10 in nine games, El Nino has nine in nine, while Pommer has 12. I was actually considering dropping Benoit Pouliot, benching Henrik Zetterberg, and claiming Erik Haula. In hindsight I should have done that instead of holding onto Pouliot and hoping he can help me in the final three weeks. Haula has been great and Zetterberg, who I was forced to activate as a result of this decision, has been an absolute anchor lately.
Shea Weber returned to action and picked up three points for Nashville. But it’s Craig Smith who has been surging. Five points in his last two games and nine in his last eight. He’s playing with Filip Forsberg.
And while the Forsberg line has been on fire, Ryan Johansen has been snakebitten. He picked up an assist last night but prior to that he was pointless in seven. He’s off the top PP unit and that’s the reason his ice time was cut to 14 minutes last night – there were a lot of power plays and that ice was given to the Forsberg line.
As expected, Kris Russell was not given any power-play time. With Dallas, his role is 100% defense. Which is what we all knew beforehand.
Antti Niemi in his last seven games: 2-3-1, 4.39 GAA and 0.858 SV%
The new-look Florida Panthers went with the following line combos:
#1 27.4% JOKINEN,JUSSI - SMITH,REILLY - TROCHECK,VINCENT
#2 22% BJUGSTAD,NICK - PURCELL,EDWARD - RAU,KYLE
#3 18.9% BARKOV,ALEKSANDER - HUDLER,JIRI - JAGR,JAROMIR
#4 15.2% HOWDEN,QUINTON - SHAW,LOGAN - THORNTON,SHAWN
Jiri Hudler is in Jonathan Huberdeau’s spot while Huberdeau is out with a UBI. What will be interesting is how things shake out when Huberdeau returns. I think they’ll keep the two Czechs together, which means Huberdeau will slot into that Nick Bjugstad line (replacing Kyle Rau). That’s a good second line and it makes the Trocheck line a fantastic third line. If only we were more impressed with that checking line – the Panthers otherwise would be scary.
Jaromir Jagr scored his 21st goal of the season. He’s reached 20 or more 19 times in his career. I was asked recently if I thought Jagr would play again next year. I answered in the affirmative. One hundred percent.
So with key players gone from Winnipeg now, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele saw over 20 minutes of ice time. Those two are going to have an awesome finish to the year, if you can still make a move to acquire them in one-year leagues I think it would be worthwhile.
And Alexander Burmistrov has barely seen two seconds of ice time this season up until the last four games. He has no PP points in the nine minutes of PP time, but has two points in those four games. At this point I’m sure you’ve written off any offense from this guy, but he’s still on 24. I think of these final few weeks as his audition to prove that he deserves a shot at some offensive situations in the future.
Is there anything worse than having your goalie go down with an injury the day after your trade deadline? I’m sorry Craig Anderson owners. Hopefully his LBI is not serious. He had a pretty good game, and Andrew Hammond came in and had an even better one. Hammond went on to stop 11 shots in the shootout before the Blues finally won it. Anderson will be re-evaluated tomorrow but I’m guessing Hammond gets at least the next start. More late-season Hamburgler heroics?
Seven points in 10 games as a Senator for Dion Phaneuf.
J-G Pageau has 18 points in his last 20 games. His numbers have really spiked since they shut down Turris. He has 12 SOG in his last three games
Matt Murray got the surprise start for the Penguins last night and he stopped 34 of 37, but took the loss. Murray’s NHL season numbers are pretty sweet so far: 2-2-1, 1.98 and 0.933. I think Murray will be the backup next year. And I think in 2017-18 he starts pushing Fleury (such as the way Mrazek is pushing Howard this season). Murray could be Pittsburgh’s undisputed starter in 2018-19.
#1 32.1% BERGERON,PATRICE - MARCHAND,BRAD - STEMPNIAK,LEE
#2 14.4% BELESKEY,MATT - HAYES,JIMMY - SPOONER,RYAN
#3 13% ACCIARI,NOEL - CONNOLLY,BRETT - FERRARO,LANDON
#4 10.7% ERIKSSON,LOUI - KREJCI,DAVID - PASTRNAK,DAVID
So how many more Eric-less games will Jordan Staal go without a point?
The winner of the Draft Kings contest on Monday? Derrick (@MightyMoose67). Congrats guy! I was disappointed that only 29 participants signed up. But that meant for $3 you pretty much had a 50/50 chance at winning money - $150 in prizes. So by playing, the odds were pretty sweet on a win. So who won? Not me, I loaded up on the big guns in Dallas. Spent most of my daily salary on Seguin, Benn and Klingberg.
The revamping and retooling of Frozen Pool continues. Currently we are working on widening the site. But also in the works, I have a couple more ideas for the player profile pages (such as quick links to other seasons, Draft Kings player values), adding new reports to the report generator, new columns to the hot/not area. I won’t get into all of them, but the list filled an entire page. I love what’s happening with Frozen Pool and my only regret is not getting this done three years ago.
Speaking of the Hot/Not page – I’ve had complaints from some who preferred the old page because they could customize it. I’ve decided to put the old one back in, alongside the new one. I will be tracking the page views over the next month because I want to see which one is used more. So one will be called Hot/Not (Auto) and the other - Hot/Not (Custom). Try them both. Your vote will be weighed by your mouse-clicks.
And a shout out to former DobberHockey Sunday manager Thom Drance, who was on Sportsnet’s intermission show during the Canucks – Islanders game last night. I was writing these Ramblings and only half paying attention when I did a sudden double-take. I had no idea he was going to be on. I thought he did well.
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