November 3rd, 2013

Dobber Sports

2013-09-01

 

Welcome to this Sunday’s special Daily Savings Time edition of the Dobber Hockey Ramblings. It has been an absurd week of hockey news, one of the oddest in recent memory. We’ll break down some of what’s unfolded recently, before moving on to recap Saturday night’s action.

 

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In case you spent your Saturday in a cave somewhere (or with your loved ones, rather than obsessively refreshing your Twitter feed) the Buffalo Sabres placed habitual headhunter Patrick Kaleta on waivers. 

 

Kaleta is due $1.25 million this season and next on his current contract. That means the club will retain $300k of his cap-hit if he clears waivers and is assigned to Rochester. Darcy Regier suggested that it’s a 50/50 proposition for whether or not Kaleta clears, but I’d assume he will. Which he probably shouldn’t, frankly, since he’s a useful fourth-line player on a reasonable deal.

 

What makes Kaleta so useful? It’s not his hockey playing ability really. Its his mastery of drawing penalties. Whether it’s frustrating opponents, or knowing how and when to sell the call: Kaleta is super, super elite when it comes to drawing penalties. In fact he’s led regular forwards in rate of penalties drawn in 2 of the past 4 years (beating out stalwarts like Dustin Brown, Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner). He’s usually among the top-10 skaters in this categrory.

 

Yeah some of that utility is given back by Kaleta’s propensity to take penalties, but generally speaking he’s a net positive in terms of penalty differential. If you’re a team with a threatening power-play: that skill alone makes Kaleta a credible fourth liner, and type of depth piece that can help you win.

 

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Tough week for Steve Downie to say the least. Traded from the hottest club in the West to a cellar dweller, and then injured rather gravely by a massive Aaron Volpatti punch. 

 

Flyers fowrward Tye McGinn was called up on Sunday, and he was productive in the early going this season. On Saturday McGinn played nearly 13 minutes and didn’t do much, but if he gets top-9 minutes with regularity I think McGinn can give you hits and shots at least, and maybe goals. McGinn got a lot of burn on the power-play from Berube on Saturday so he might be worth watching for if you’re in a deeper league.

 

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Other big injury news: Dave Bolland suffered a laceration in his foot on Saturday night. The injury was similar to the one where Erik Karlsson’s achillies was cut nearly three-quarters of the way through. Bolland was taken to be operated on, and will be out long-term.

 

The injury occurred on an awkward play. Canucks forward Zack Kassian went to hit Bolland and his skate lifted as he attempted to pin the Leafs center along the boards. Bolland was instantly in a good deal of trouble, while play continued and Kassian scored a goal to put Vancouver up 2-0…

 

Bolland had been Toronto’s best centerman this season. He was soaking up tough minutes and coming out way ahead (relatively speaking, he still plays for the Leafs of course). 

 

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Toronto center Tyler Bozak was also placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve on Saturday, meaning he’ll be out of the lineup for at least ten games (dating back to when he first missed action). There’s definitely a fantasy angle to be played here, but I doubt that angle is “picking up Jay McClement.” Does Toronto call up Greg McKegg? Does McClement bump into the top-six? Will JVR play some center, perhaps? And how will that effect his shot and hits totals?

 

Or, the sexiest option: do the Leafs consider moving a defenseman for help down the middle?

 

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Let’s move on to Saturday’s games. 

 

In the early game the Chicago Blackhawks buzzsaw claimed its latest victim: hapless Ondrej Pavelec and the Winnipeg Jets. Pavelec was pulled after Chicago’s put four pucks past him and continues to be the major reason why the Winnipeg Jets won’t play hockey into late April this season. He’s signed through 2018 by the way.

 

In terms of fantasy impact, I’d mention that Brandon Pirri played a season high 15:14, albeit in a lopsided cont