Ramblings: Holtby Slumping, Fleury is too, Giroux’s Mysterious Injury (Feb. 25)

steve laidlaw


Ramblings: Holtby Slumping, Fleury is too, Giroux's Mysterious Injury and more.

It was brought to my attention that Andre Burakovsky had been swapped with Alexander Ovechkin onto a line with TJ Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom. Not a huge deal as this is still a good spot. That’s how the lineups started last night until the Canadiens jumped all over the unsuspecting Capitals for the first three goals of the game. The lines were straight scrambled eggs after that.

Burakovsky scored a goal in just 11:30 of action. The lack of minutes isn’t exactly exciting but he has remained productive despite seeing an average of 14 minutes per game. He is up to 19 points in his last 18 games. LEGIT.

Braden Holtby got the hook early in the third after giving up those three goals we mentioned earlier. He is not having a great second half and it could be argued that he is no longer the Vezina favourite. His save percentage since January 1 is a mere 0.905 and his goals-against average is at 2.82. Holtby still leads the league in wins since January 1 but the rest of those stats are sad.

At this point Corey Crawford, even with his ridiculous splits should probably be in the lead or perhaps Petr Mrazek. Though Mrazek has been no great shakes this past week his numbers since January 1 (12-3-3, 1.77 GAA, 0.934 Sv%) are out of this world. Cory Schneider deserves a nod for his consistent brilliance as well.

If you’ve got Holtby you can’t sell him because of this cold stretch though. You just need to ride it out. His full season stats are still great even after nearly two months of bumpy play, which tells you just how unconscious he was for the first three months of the season.

Brooks Orpik is on some crazy rush right now with five points in five games since returning from injury. Rest assured this will not continue. He could go scoreless the rest of the season. Still a nice option for leagues that count hits and blocked shots though.


The Canadiens’ lines last night:














Good on Alex Galchenyuk for producing despite being sent back to the second line and second power-play unit. This is what he needs to do on a consistent basis.

What will be really interesting is whether or not either of Galchenyuk’s linemates from last night are still with the team by Tuesday. The question with these guys is always whether or not they land with a team that will use them in a serious offensive role or if they’ll be pushed to a secondary role where they really don’t gain fantasy value.

Andrei Markov seems to have enjoyed his Mai Tais over the All-Star break. He has nine points in 11 games since after being a ghost for much of January.


David Pastrnak was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bruins last night. He scored two goals, both unassisted. One came on a penalty shot but the other was off a turnover from Olli Maatta. Pastrnak damn near had a third goal off a turnover by Marc-Andre Fleury but Fleury bailed himself out. Pastrnak’s speed on the forecheck was an offense unto itself, which was huge for the Bruins since Pastrnak’s linemates David Krejci and Loui Eriksson did not do a whole lot.

I really do love those linemates for Pastrnak though. He loves to shoot the puck and those two will happily feed it to him.

Brad Marchand is up to 31 goals on the season, which ties him with Tyler Seguin for fourth in the NHL. FOURTH! Did anyone think he had this in him? His 16.9% shooting isn’t even that ridiculous, especially when you consider his career shooting percentage is 15.5%. At that rate, he’d only have three fewer goals this season. Instead, this is a case of a player finally shooting the puck more and doing so without any drop in efficiency. He has just become a way more dynamic offensive player.

Torey Krug is starting to get some bounces. He has points in three straight and four of the last five.


Remember how I talked about Braden Holtby taking a dive since January 1? Fleury isn’t far behind him after getting drubbed last night. His numbers the past couple of months: 11-4-4, 2.61 GAA, 0.910 Sv%. That’s below average work. I totally hang that on Fleury though. This team was rolling until Evgeni Malkin went down three weeks ago. I am looking for a great stretch run from Fleury after Malkin returns this weekend. A couple of my fantasy teams rely on it.


Freddie Andersen rescued a quiet night from the Ducks offense with a 26-save shutout. This was his first shutout of the season and also ends a streak of four straight non-quality starts (quality starts are games with a 0.917 save percentage or higher). This was certainly one that fantasy owners needed especially with John Gibson always looming.

This game nearly came at a cost as Hampus Lindholm was lost for some of the game after a scary knee-on-knee collision with Evander Kane. Fortunately, Lindholm returned and even assisted on the lone goal.


Who’d have thunk that it would be the Sabres without Ryan O’Reilly that slowed down the Ducks’ attack. Credit to Robin Lehner for stopping 28 of 29 in a losing effort. His 0.928 Sv% this season is downright impressive, even if it comes in limited action.

Check out the Sabres’ lines:

















I know people don’t love this scenario for Jack Eichel but would he really be better playing with Evander Kane who rips the puck without conscience? I’m a big fan of Zemgus Girgensons’ relentless play and Jamie McGinn is going to look real good on a contender soon so just wait until you see who Eichel is playing with next week. Remember early this season when his linemates were Matt Moulson and Brian Gionta? We’re a couple of trades away from that becoming a reality again.

A note for those in leagues that count faceoff wins. Sam Reinhart has been moved to center with O’Reilly on the shelf so he could be floating as a valuable addition.


Another game in February, another goal for Jarome Iginla. Iginla’s best months have historically been February and March so enjoy the rush. I think he may finally have more goals than middle names.

Eight shots for Nathan MacKinnon last night but no goals. He did have an assist though, which is huge for fantasy owners who have suffered through 11 games of dread since the All-Star break. Just four points in those 11 games for MacKinnon.


Stick tap to Martin Jones for stopping 38 of 41 to help the Sharks claw a point out of last night.

Brent Burns reached 20 goals after his pass out front banked in off Erik Johnson’s skate. A bit of good fortune but with the volume that Burns shoots the puck he can stand to get a little luck. He landed five SOG last night, which means he remains on pace for over 350 this season.

A silent night for Crosby and Kuznetsov opened the door for Joe Thornton to take the league lead in scoring for the second half and he capitalized. He is the first player to 30 points since January 1 and accomplished that feat in 23 games.


Minor trade to report as the Canucks acquired the rights to Philip Larsen for a conditional fifth round pick. Canuck fans hate their management group so they immediately think this deal is garbage but a fifth round pick nets you a player who plays 100 NHL games about 15% of the time historically. Not very good odds. Larsen – a former fifth round pick himself – has already hit that mark before he went to the KHL for the past couple of years.

Larsen has 17 goals and 61 points in 108 KHL games the past couple of years, great numbers for a defenseman in a low scoring league. Larsen had done really well at the AHL level his last few years in North America scoring 17 points in 19 games across his last three seasons of North American play. He just couldn’t quite get things to translate at the NHL level.

Larsen is still just 26. We’ve seen enough late bloomers where you never want to write a player completely off. If he is to make his bones at the NHL level it will be as a point producer and maybe the Canucks will find room for him if they move on from Alex Edler this summer.

Assuming he signs with the Canucks this summer and makes his return you may want to flag Larsen to see how he does in training camp. There may be something here. Odds are that he just cannot make the transition but you never know.


Both the Flyers and Wild will be without their top forward for tonight’s contest against one another. Claude Giroux remains day-to-day with a concu… I mean upper-body injury.

Zach Parise, meanwhile, is also day-to-day with an upper-body injury. With Jason Zucker also out with a concussion the Wild are looking awfully thin up front in the near future. I am looking for Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek to step up into the void as they have been reinvigorated under John Torchetti:

“I think Torch has definitely stepped in and gave us freedom to make more plays offensively and came in with new ideas and created a spark for our team,” Pominville said.

Asked what he meant by freedom, Pominville said Torchetti, an offensive-minded coach as long as you’re playing “the right way without the puck,” has “given us the green light to make plays offensively, whether you’re behind the net in the offensive zone, you can make plays as long as you come back and defend. Even though you’re 200 feet from your net, you should have time to get back and recover from it.”

I put up some Minnesota Wild polls the other day after their hot start under Torchetti.

With 22 games remaining, Pominville needs 11 points to clear this hurdle. Not a huge ask but given how his season has gone 11 in 22 would be an improvement. I think he gets there, which could make him a nice waiver add.

You have to figure Dubnyk will start somewhere in the neighbourhood of 18 of the Wild’s final 22. In fact, he may even start all 22. This team is desperate for points. They gave Dubnyk all the starts down the stretch last season though his unconscious play helped to give them the green light. They may be wearier with his less dominant play.

Dubnyk needs 13 more wins for the over but really, the Wild probably need 15-16 wins to make the playoffs. I like the over since the Wild should ride Dubnyk.

Charlie Coyle is now a top line/top power-play unit option. He has scored quite a few goals over the last month but his overall point production hasn’t been stellar. He needs 15 points in the final 22 to clear this over, which will be tough but that 15-point level is probably what you need him to achieve to be a worthwhile waiver pickup, which is why I set the line there. Looks like most folks are steering clear.

With 20 points already, Matt Dumba needs 10 more to clear this over. It’s also right around that point-every-other-game mark that is the difference between waiver fodder and asset for fantasy defensemen. The majority of folks like the over and I do too. That means Dumba should be added in most fantasy leagues.


I’ll spin back to Giroux for a minute. We’re all pretty certain he has a head injury after the high hit he took from Subban the other night. The Flyers aren’t saying what this injury is, which is all too reminiscent of the Crosby concussion after the Winter Classic a few years ago. I’m not saying you should bail on Giroux but if you can do a star-for-star swap that might not be the worst idea.


Three-game suspension for Ryan Reaves so that removes him from the player pool this week if you were looking for a streaming option for PIM.


Plenty of goodies in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts:

9. Calgary GM Brad Treliving wasn’t offering any clarity, but several rumblings indicate the Flames asked about Matt Murray during talks with Pittsburgh.

The 21-year-old was the AHL’s Top Goaltender and Rookie of the Year last season. I don’t think Calgary’s the only team that’s tried to pry him from the Penguins, either. So far, everyone’s been rebuffed, meaning they either aren’t trading him, or it’s in stealth mode. (Probably the former.)

I haven’t seen much of him, but didn’t come across anyone who didn’t like him. There are different opinions about how ready he is for the NHL, but he’s got a lot of fans.

Quite a bit to dissect here. You could basically tell this same story about my dynasty league team where I have Fleury and Murray. I get asked all the time about Murray but the answer is quite simply, “not for sale.”

I need that Murray insurance even with Brian Elliott and Connor Hellebuyck already in tow. The reality is that I could envision moving Elliott or Hellebuyck for the right price but Murray is required as long as my ride is hitched to Fleury.

What is interesting is whether the Penguins’ attachment to Murray is for similar reasons or if it is because they realize that he is their future in goal. Fleury has three years remaining on his deal, at which point he’ll be 34. We may very well see the Penguins transition from Fleury to Murray before the end of that contract in July of 2019.


Check out the latest prospect ramblings. Seems like these are coming with more fervor now that Pete Harling is on board as Dobber Prospects Managing Editor.


Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of DobberHockey. You can follow him @SteveLaidlaw.


Mar 30 - 19:03 BUF vs WSH
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Mar 30 - 19:03 FLA vs NYR
Mar 30 - 20:03 DAL vs VAN


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