Ramblings: Allen and Andersen injuries shift outlooks; Simmonds/Scheifele/Panarin on fire; Pens in good hands with Murray
The St. Louis goaltending situation is anything but boring. It might be a little predictable though. One goalie gets white-hot, then the other steals the job by getting hotter. Then he gets hurt and the first goalie gets back in. Lather, rinse, repeat. Brian Elliott returns from injury on the outside looking in. An injury that removed him from the lineup during a white-hot streak. He gets a start and proceeds to post three consecutive shutouts, effectively stealing the No.1 job back. But then he gets blown out of the water on the weekend and Jake Allen gets the chance to take it back Sunday. Well, Allen left the game after the first period for reasons that were not disclosed. At the time, he had an 11-save shutout going. Rumor is that it’s a leg injury. And so the cycle continues, I don't know why I ever pretend it could possibly be otherwise…
The Blues are on fire right now, scoring 21 goals over their last five games and have won six of seven. Those seven games include four shutouts and two one-goal games. To me, they represent your tie-breaker. If you can’t decide between Player A and Player B this week, go with the St. Louis guy.
David Backes has six points in his last four games.
Troy Brouwer is also hot with 12 in his last 10. Brouwer started the season with 12 points in his first 14 games – it’s the meat of his ‘season sandwich’ that leaves something to be desired (14 points in his middle 55 games).
The Avs need a win now more than ever. And Semyon Varlamov has crumbled under the pressure. Here are his last six games:
1-5-0, 3.48 GAA and 0.910 SV%
Not horrible…but he’s been below average at the worst possible time. His team has been terrible in front of him, but he hasn’t stolen one. And that’s something that he did often in 2013-14.
Just one point in his last seven games for Jarome Iginla. That pretty much takes him out of the running for another 50-plus point season.
When evaluating Artemi Panarin’s numbers for the Keeper League Rankings that were posted on Friday, I decided that he wasn’t going to get 70 points this season, but long-term he still looks great. He then went out and had a four-point game on Friday and another one on Sunday. Suddenly, 75 points is looking feasible…
The Kane – Panarin show overshadowed the fact that Patrice Bergeron set a career high in goals with 32. His three-point game gives him 67 on the season and he looks good for reaching 70 for the first time since 2007.
Brad Marchand 40-goal watch: he scored Sunday to give him 36. He has three games left to get four more. Reaching that number will ensure that he signs at least a six-year, $35 million contract this summer. I’m calling it right now.
Tuukka Rask has given up nine goals on his last 52 shots faced and he got the hook Sunday two minutes into the second period.
The Penguins look like contenders. Under the new coach the team has it all together now. And prospect goaltender Matt Murray is looking better than Marc-Andre Fleury! The Pens have won six straight now, and Murray just played (and won) games in back-to-back days.
Wayne Simmonds had nine points in 23 games to start the campaign. He’s had 48 points in 55 games since then and has a real shot at a career high (current high is 60 points and he has 57 right now). He already has career highs in SOG, hits and even penalty minutes. He sits at 29 goals on the season and he’s never had 30 before so wouldn’t that be icing on the cake if he carries his team into the playoffs with career numbers across the board?
If you’re in need of some hits during this final week, look no further than Dallas rookie Stephen Johns. The guy has 52 hits already and he’s only played 12 games. The 6-4, 225-pound juggernaut clearly doesn’t want to be sent back down.
Jakob Silfverberg has 13 points in his last 11 games, which includes 40 shots on goal. He’s ramping up for the playoffs – if you remember last year when he had 18 points in 16 games in the postseason. Remember that in your playoff pool draft! Don’t worry, you won’t miss him on your list because you’ll be using my draft tool!
Silfverberg’s linemate Ryan Kesler, another good playoff pick, had 12 points in 36 games to start the season. He has 38 in 40 since then.
Frederik Andersen is out with a concussion – and what you could be seeing here is a fork in the road. A key one, but a hidden one. Players become household names or they spiral into anonymity based on one unlucky break such as this.
Scenario 1: Andersen doesn’t get a concussion, he gets hot going into the playoffs and leads the team deep. Perhaps even a Cup. More than enough to land Andersen a fat contract, which would mean he’s the likely No.1 goalie next season and beyond.
Scenario 2: Andersen’s concussion keeps him sidelined for two weeks, which is enough time for John Gibson to seize full control of the net. Gibson leads the team deep. Perhaps even a Cup. He becomes the de facto No.1 next season and Andersen is left as backup. He doesn’t see enough action to put forth many real good games and over the course of a couple of seasons he Budajs himself to the outskirts of the league.
The point is – the timing of this concussion couldn’t have been worse for his fantasy owners.
In the 20 games since Andrew Ladd was traded, Mark Scheifele has been on fire with 26 points. He’s been clicking on a line with Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler. Ehlers has eight points in 10 games since Ladd was dealt. Wheeler has 18 in 20. A very promising line for next season and this could hurt Bryan Little next season if the coach decides to move him away from Wheeler.
My Puck Daddy article from Thursday runs down my Top 10 fantasy players of the season, as well as my Top 10 surprises and Top 10 disappointments (Tom brings you his own Top 10 of the very same thing today on DobberHockey)
Up for more Ramblings? Here are Sunday’s DobberProspects Ramblings