Namestnikov, McDavid, Jagr, when to veto trades, plus more…
The first game of the day saw Andrei Vasilevskiy stop all 32 shots he faced in the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Flyers. The shutout is Vasilevskiy’s second of the season to go with a league-leading .953 save percentage.
Vasilevskiy now has seven games this season compared to Ben Bishop’s 12. That means Vas is on pace for 30 starts while Bishop is on pace for the remainder. So if the Bolts decide that Vasilevskiy is the goalie for the future and continue the trend toward phasing him in, Bishop could very well end up with less than 50 games. Something to consider if you’re a Bishop owner.
I profiled Vladislav Namestnikov in this week’s Waiver Wire Report for Sportsnet, mainly because of the possible increased role with Steven Stamkos out for a long time. He picked up one assist on Saturday, but did so with only 10 minutes of icetime. Maybe he’s not such a shoo-in for increased icetime? Valtteri Filppula, who skated 20 minutes in this game, could be that beneficiary instead. But a closer look at the icetime in this game reveals the following:
Namestnikov: 2:38 PPTOI, 0:00 SHTOI
Filppula: 0:41 PPTOI, 5:21 SHTOI
So Namestnikov received the first-unit power-play minutes, while Filppula led the Bolts in shorthanded time on ice. So despite the Lightning win, Saturday’s game might not be the right example of what will happen going forward. As Laidlaw mentioned in this thread on the Forum, the Bolts were defending a lead and killing penalties for much of the game.
If you’ve stuck with Ondrej Palat this long, you’ll be encouraged that he scored a goal and added an assist on Saturday. The two points snap a four-game pointless drought and a five-game goalless drought. Because of his slow start, he’s now available in over 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. It’s too early to say he’s heating up, but he might be worth kicking the tires on.
Another one from the Waiver Wire Report is Paul Byron, who scored another one on Saturday. That’s five goals in his last seven games from the speedy forward. He’s still on the top line as well, reuniting with Alexander Radulov after the Russian missed two games because of illness.
Carey Price continues to be Mr. Saturday Night. No matter the price, you need to start him that day. He’s 25-1 on Saturdays over the last three seasons. Actually, it doesn’t really matter what day you start him.
John Klingberg scored on Saturday… into his own net.
That goal snapped Connor McDavid’s 10-game goalless drought. That’s something we probably won’t see for a long while again. In fact, Connor scored his first career hat trick in this game. But does it really count for three if one of them was an own goal by the other team’s player? (Kidding.)
Offseason signing Drake Caggiula played in his first regular season game, recording an assist in just under 13 minutes of icetime. He didn’t really see any time with the Oilers’ big guns, playing on a line with Matt Hendricks and Tyler Pitlick.
In the same game, Patrick Eaves found the twine yet again. These guys in my last Waiver Wire Report just keep on rolling. That’s five consecutive games with at least one goal for Eaves, who has six goals over that stretch and now nine goals on the season. Eaves received the golden ticket to line up alongside Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for this one. Eaves is by no means a long-term option for your fantasy team for a variety of reasons, but he’s someone to use in the here and now.
Patrick Sharp returned to the Stars’ lineup after missing most of the season with a concussion. He didn’t record a point in 18:36 of icetime, playing on a line with Antoine Roussel and Radek Faska.
And one more from the Waiver Wire Report… Anthony DeAngelo, who recorded an assist on Saturday. That’s four points and a +3 in six games, with three of those points on the power play. With the kind of offensive pedigree that he has, I’m shocked that he’s owned in only two percent of Yahoo leagues.
In case you were worried that Jaromir Jagr would never score a goal again, the 44-year-old scored a goal and added two assists on Saturday. The goal was Jagr’s first in 14 games and just his second this season. At what point is Jagr no longer a viable fantasy option and simply just a nice story? Maybe not yet. With a 4.8 shooting percentage after consistently averaging at least 10 percent throughout his career, a minor improvement in the goal department could be near.
Tuukka Rask barely broke a sweat on Saturday, as the Jets took only 12 shots on him all game. He and the aforementioned Price now share the league lead with 11 wins. Rask is also second in both goals-against average (1.46) and shutouts (3). His numbers had been trending in the wrong direction over the previous two seasons, but so far he has reversed that trend.
Back to that shots on goal total for the Jets. With the offensive talent that they have, this stat below is both surprising and concerning.
On the opposite end of the shot spectrum, Anders Nilsson needed to make 46 saves to preserve a 2-1 shootout win for the Sabres over the Penguins. He might want to request some overtime pay, as he’s faced at least 40 shots in three of his five starts this season.
I seriously wouldn’t worry about Nathan MacKinnon. He’s reached at least 20 minutes of icetime in each of his last eight games, and he now has back-to-back multipoint games after scoring the game winner and adding an assist on Saturday. That icetime might dip a little once Matt Duchene returns from his concussion. But his recent production puts him at 12 points in 17 games, which is on pace for just under 60 points.
T.J. Oshie is expected to be out week-to-week with an upper-body injury from Friday’s game against the Red Wings. That’s a tough break, as he had just come off a four-point game against the Penguins in his previous game. The Capitals played with only nine forwards for much of the game against Detroit, so we’ll have to wait for today’s game to find out how the lines shake out in Oshie’s absence.
If you didn’t get to watch the late game, you didn’t get to see what kind of player Vinnie Hinostroza can be. The Blackhawks’ rookie scored his first NHL goal on an impressive toe drag and added two assists, even though he was held to just ten minutes of icetime. The Hawks will need youngsters like Hinostroza, Ryan Hartman (who played on Hinostroza’s line) and Nick Schmaltz (who played with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) to fill the void if they are to continue as one of the NHL’s elite teams.
From players just starting their careers to players who have been around awhile, Marian Hossa scored the overtime winner to give him ten goals on the season already. That’s only three fewer goals than he scored all of last season. After a career-low 6.8 shooting percentage last season, Hossa’s SH% is up to well over 20 percent this season. Yes, that will regress. Yes, you should try to sell high. But a rebound was inevitable.
Perhaps flying under the radar, Brandon Sutter is riding a four-game goal streak, all at home. I’m not huge on Sutter as a fantasy option, but he does play on the Canucks’ first-unit power play with the Sedins. That means that 40 points should be considered a very real possibility. That also means this song has played four consecutive games at Rogers Arena (it’s Sutter’s goal song).
All the best to Craig Cunningham, who collapsed on the ice and needed CPR during the Tucson Roadrunners’ AHL game on Saturday. Scary situation. I saw Cunningham play a number of times in the WHL as a member of the Vancouver Giants. He certainly stood out as a scorer that might one day have an NHL career.
It’s time for an editorial comment, and I’m going to be a little wordier in my paragraphs than I have in the Ramblings thus far. Someone that I’ve recently gotten to know through this site recently contacted me about a one-for-one swap of Michael Grabner and Shayne Gostisbehere in his league. Yes, it’s the classic buy-low, sell-high deal. If you follow fantasy hockey closely, you’ll know which player is the buy low and which player is the sell high. I don’t think there’s any debate as to who won this deal, even though one player already has 11 goals and the other was a healthy scratch on Thursday.
The person contacting me wanted to know whether he as the commissioner should approve this deal. In my response, I referenced a multiplayer deal from in one of my leagues a few years ago where one side received Jonathan Quick and the other side received a clearly inferior goalie. Some harsh words were exchanged because one or two other owners thought that the deal was simply one friend helping another with nothing in return. But I allowed the deal because the side trading Quick had proposed the deal, and both teams appeared to be competing and not tanking (this was not a keeper league).
Yes, if there are activities taking place in your league that step outside of the boundaries of fair play and sportsmanship, it is your job as a commissioner to step in. But if two sides agree to a trade, then it is not your job to get in the way. Grabner won’t score 40 goals this season, as his shooting percentage is a totally unsustainable 25 percent. Ghost won’t be a healthy scratch every other game, as Dave Hakstol reinserted him into the lineup on Saturday. There’s a small chance that the deal will work out better for the Grabner side, but it is a chance. Nothing is ever 100 percent.
Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.