January 17, 2015

steve laidlaw

2015-01-17

Drafting this weekend? Pick up the Midseason Guide HERE

 

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Oh my goodness, Kyle Okposo! The Penguins were on their way to a big divisional win and then, BAM! Okposo runs up the score on them with three third-period goals to go on top of the one he'd scored earlier. Was there some memo sent out by the league that we need more four-goal outings? Because this is the third in the past couple of weeks.

 

What's crazy is that even after that big night, Okposo is still shooting below his career average of 10.2% so he might have more to offer yet.

 

Josh Bailey and John Tavares both hit the jackpot with three assists apiece on Okposo's big night. For Tavares this continues his 2015 outburst with 10 points in seven games since the calendar flipped. Bailey makes for a nice short-term add but we know that LW spot on the top line is in constant flux so don't treat him as reliable.

 

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When I left the Penguins-Islanders game I thought my lead in was going to be Sidney Crosby's big night with two goals and an assist but then Okposo goes off and Crosby gets bumped. He has quietly cranked it up a notch in 2015 with 12 points in six games. This is why he's always the pick to win the Art Ross. He can turn it on like nobody else. Bet you didn't realize that Crosby had popped into a tie for second with teammate Evgeni Malkin, just two back of Jakub Voracek for the league lead.

 

One thing is certain, this is shaping up to be one hell of a scoring race. The top nine scorers are all between 47 and 52 points. The only thing that's disappointing is that it took a decline from some of our best scorers to create this race. I mean, if we even had one player on pace to clear 100 points then this race probably isn't exciting but because we've lowered the ceiling we can have more interesting race. I dunno if I'm happy settling for "mediocrity."

 

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Shutout win for Ryan Miller and the Canucks in Dan Hamhuis' first game back after missing 22 games. I don't necessarily want to draw a link there but it's worth discussing. Like we did with Derek Stepan yesterday, let's take a look at Hamhuis' WOWY (With or With You) numbers:

 

Canucks with Hamhuis: 13-6-1 – 2.80 goals for per game – 2.80 goals against per game

 

Canucks without Hamhuis: 11-9-2 – 2.72 goals for per game – 2.32 goals against per game

 

Now that's some wonkiness right there. The Canucks goal differential through the first 20 games was that of a .500 team but they played well above that. Over the next 22 games their defense picked while their offense remained about the same but the team played .500 hockey.

 

You might jump on Hamhuis because of the team's improved goal differential without him but Hamhuis actually suffered from some bad luck early on with a PDO of just 955. Where he was really hindered was some