January 30, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-01-30

Good job by the Rangers to get some real value out of reclamation projects Benoit Pouliot and Derrick Brassard. The two former top 10 picks have provided some essential depth scoring to a team that has whiffed on a number of first rounders over the years (Huge Specimen, anyone?) and had some terrible luck as well (RIP Alexei Cherepanov).

 

They have combined with the nifty Mats Zuccarello on the third line. Zuccarello has slow down a bit of late but with three points across the Stadium Series he is back on track.

 

Rick Nash's five-game scoring streak came to an end last night. He'd scored 11 goals in his last 11 games as well, a truly impressive run. What's crazy is that he has yet to register a single assist in 2014. Just one of those statistical anomalies I guess.

 

As disappointing as Nash's season has been he has still been firing the piss out of the puck adding another five SOG last night.

 

*

 

Two games back and no points for Lubomir Visnovsky but they are coming. As expected the veteran blueliner is back out on the top power play unit, which screams "$$$$$$$" with John Tavares (quietly the league's second leading scorer) out there. Of course, we've seen many players struggle upon their return from a concussion so maybe it'll be a while for Visnovsky but I have a tough time believing he won't get the odd assist just by proximity.

 

Visnovsky's return has relegated Andrew MacDonald to the second power play unit and fantasy irrelevance (unless you count blocked shots).

 

Take a look at that second power play unit for a second. Last night it featured MacDonald, Calvin de Haan, Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck and Brock Nelson. Who is the headliner on that unit?

 

What the hell, let's give it to Nelson who hammered home the lone Islanders goal off a pretty touch pass from Matt Donovan.

 

 

Nelson is a real solid forward that you'll want to keep your eye on for keeper leagues. He's another prototypical US forward, like the Rangers' Chris Kreider, who is just big, fast and tough to play against. Nelson's not as fast or as skilled as Kreider but he isn't that far off. I'm interested to see just where he fits in for the Islanders long term.

 

Nelson is currently skating as the third line center but with talents like Tavares and Frans Nielsen ahead of him right now as well as Ryan Strome (who could play wing) coming up as well it'll be tough for Nelson to carve out a permanent top six role even though the talent is there.

 

Solid start from Evgeni Nabokov last night. His first in a while.

 

*

 

It's not enough that Ben Scrivens is one of the most gif-able players in the league he had to go set the