April 07, 2013

Dobber Sports

2013-04-07

They had a slow start to the season, but the LA Kings are still the class of the league. No club in the NHL sports better possession metrics than LA and Jonathan Quick is slowing beginning to round back into form. Two guys who have begun to find the net more often for Los Angeles are Dustin Brown and Justin Willians, both of whom managed points in the win over Edmonton on Saturday afternoon. Brown in particular was snake-bitten to start the year, which he put down to playing in Europe during the lock-out to some degree, but with six points in his last seven games (and now 24 points in 38 games), Brown is again a decent fantasy option.

 

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Another King to keep an eye on is young defender Slava Voynov. The 23-year old sophomore scored his fifth of the season against the Oilers and now leads the Los Angeles blueline in scoring with 23 points. Voynov was a big scorer in the AHL, managing 15 goals and 51 points in 76 games for the Manchester Monarchs back in 2010-11, so this is hardly out of character for the former second rounder. Since then, Voynov has grown into a capable all around defender for LA and only trails Drew Doughty in terms of average ice time per game (22:32). Look for his role and responsbility to grow in LA as he develops, which means his fantasy value will only grow.

 

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Speaking of growing fantasy value, PK Subban with another two points at the time of writing and the game against the Bruins isn’t even over yet. He’s been fantasy gold this year.

 

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The Carolina Hurricanes are being sunk by their goaltending. Cam Ward wasn’t having a great season before being felled by injury, but his replacements have struggled even more. Veteran back-up Dan Ellis has been the de facto started since Ward went down (aside from a brief stint on IR himself) and he has lost five straight games, including a three goal on seven shot performance versus the Capitals on April fourth. The Canes are down by three to the Rangers at the end of the second period as I type this (three goals on 30 shots for NYR) and are watching their playoff aspirations evaporate right before their eyes.

 

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Sticking with the Canes, it’s still hard to believe how eager they were to get rid of the highly useful Jussi Jokinen. Carolina moved him for next to nothing to the Penguins at the deadline and even agreed to pick up part of his salary in the deal. Jokinen debuted for Pittsburgh on Friday night and displayed his utlity by scoring their lone goal in regulation and winning 87% of his face-offs. On top of all that, he scored the game winning goal in the shoot-out to boot. He was named the game’s second star

 

I have no idea why Jokinen was ignored by the other GM’s when he was available for free via waivers, nor why the Pens were able to acquire him for a song (when objectively worse players like Jarred Smithson at least garnered a mid-round pick) but the move was a savvy one by Ray Shero. My guess is Jokinen sticks with the Penguins, at least through next year which is the last one on his current contract. If that happens, and especially if his shooting percentage rebounds, he will be a worthwhile mid-round pick in next year’s drafts.

 

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How about Alex Ovechkin? the much maligned Capitals captain scored three goals and one assist in Washington’s win over the Panthers yesterday. He now has 23 goals and 41 points on the year, good for second and seventh overall in the league, respectively. There’s no question Ovechkin isn’t as dominant as he once was ̵