March 12, 2014
Those of you into UFC, I’m running a fun little pool here if you want to join.
My column for The Hockey News yesterday continues my look at the Trade Deadline
Look at this headline. Funny. The good people of Nashville have been starved for offense for so long that four goals is considered “pouring on the offense” and the fact that they scored four in two straight games is headline-worthy.
I posted a couple of videos in the forum last night showing the chemistry that Jordan Staal and Jiri Tlusty had last night. They’ve been together for a few games now, but maybe the pieces are falling into place after a couple of nice goals last night. Too late to help their fantasy owners – Tlusty should have 37 or 38 points by now and Staal should have 45. Instead, they barely have half that.
How many of you took advantage of the “he’s playing with his brother” hype and traded Jordan when he went to the Hurricanes? It’s actually looking like he’s a worse producer as a second-line center for Carolina than he was as a third-line center for Pittsburgh. After 113 games, he has 63 points for the Canes – which is a 46-point player.
Tlusty is an RFA this summer, and not looking at much of a raise on his $1.6 million. What’s the minimum the Canes have to offer, 10%? So $1.76 million qualifying offer. He should take it. And I’d give him one more year before writing him off. I wouldn’t draft him – I’m just saying I’d keep an open mind on him…maybe in the bench rounds of the draft.
Another game, another Brad Richards – Martin St. Louis fail. One assist in four games for each of them. How much longer would you give them as linemates? What if they swapped Carl Hagelin out for Chris Kreider or Rick Nash?
The Cam Ward win in conjunction with Khudobin’s blowout from last game will see to it that Ward gets the next start and as long as he’s at minimum ‘average’…the ‘Canes will keep riding him. Ah, the advantages of being a Golden Boy.
Andrej Sekera reached the 40-point mark last night. I knew he could do it! He has 16 points in his last 17 games (plus-9).
With two points last night, Craig Smith leads the Preds in goals (20) and plus/minus (plus-9) and is second in points (42). He’s played over 19 minutes in each of the last two games so maybe the Legwand trade is helping and/or maybe Trotz is coming around.
This Zajac – Ruutu – Jagr line has been something. If you had dropped Ruutu/Zajac (or someone did) and they’re sitting on the wire, they’re a safe play right now. The line is really clicking.
Cam Atkinson has been a healthy scratch for three straight games now. I know the coach and some observers can point to lack of effort and results, but we all know that Atkinson was doing just fine before Horton returned. Knocking a player down the depth chart is going to hurt that player. Fewer shifts to show the required effort, fewer power-play minutes to give results. And when a player has fewer than 130 NHL games under his belt, then it’s an easy call to sit him. If a veteran like Horton put forth less effort and had worse results…the Jackets aren’t benching him. Hockey politics at work. Now that being said, he’s been outplayed by Comeau, Calvert and Tropp. And since the Jackets are winning, I don't see the situation changing anytime soon. Atkinson will be better next year.
After a terrible slump that had many of us panicking, Radim Vrbata has six points in his last four games, with a three-point effort last night. He’ll flirt with 60 this year again and despite all the ups and downs he’s been consistent around that number for three seasons now.
Brandon Pirri scored his first goal as a Panther and played over 17 minutes. He has 12 shots on goal the last three games and I always look at those two indicators (shots and TOI) to try to get an early jump on a trend. The problem is, it’s Florida. A good “trend” for a Florida player is five points in eight games.
In his second NHL game, Evgeni Kuznetsov played nearly 15 minutes. He has five shots on goal in his two games, but it’s looking like he’s not going to help any fantasy leagues this season. I know it’s just two games, but the ‘splash’ we were hoping for hasn’t happened yet. A great Calder candidate for next season.
I thought Jaroslav Halak played great last night. Definitely an upgrade to Holtby. But the Caps aren’t scoring and they’re not going to make the playoffs. If he’s going to have an easy time as a free agent this summer, he needs to carry the team into the postseason. Otherwise, I don’t think it will be as easy as you’d think. As a Halak owner, I would prefer he just re-signs in Washington before July 1. The goalie market is so unpredictable.
Vladimir Tarasenko has 24 points in his last 27 games. He’s look at 52 to 55 points this season, but the way he’s playing in the second half you have to think he’ll top 65 next year.
Ryan Miller is 4-0-1 on his new team. The guy has a real shot at 30 wins.
Tim Thomas has 34 saves on 36 shots with Dallas, and two wins. With Lehtonen out with a concussion for two or more weeks, Thomas owners have struck gold with that trade that seemed to kill his fantasy value at the time.
Crap, I just saw that I’m 13 days older than Thomas.
Mark Arcobello is making a fool out of the AHL. The guy has 24 points in 12 games. I had to double-check in case I had the numbers backwards. I wish I could say he’ll thrive in the NHL. I think he can thrive, but I doubt he’ll ever get the chance.
Viktor Fasth won his first game for Edmonton and his first game since November. I really like the Fasth/Scrivens combo for Edmonton next year. Very underrated.
The Ducks are looking at some new lines, according to the OC Register – Koivu is back with Selanne while Patrick Maroon is up on the big line again with Getzlaf and Perry.
M-A Fleury – “The Scorpion” save on Kuznetsov:
No data at this moment.