Ramblings: A Ghost siting, and thoughts on DeAngelo, Granlund, Sheary, Gibson and more


I hit Black Friday hard yesterday, spending into the four digits over the course of six different businesses. By the time I realized that there was an early game – it was over. A clear indication that I’m not nearly as on top of the NHL in between Ramblings as I should be.

Anyway, the first thing I noticed was that Matt Puempel scored for the Rangers. But before delving into that further, my eye caught something that makes for bigger news: Shayne Gostisbehere scored. He had gone five games without a point and you can toss in a healthy scratch to boot. Some growing pains for the 23-year-old. Between the slump and the emergence of Ivan Provorov, Ghost owners have been panicking. But the reality is – if that post he hit in Game 7 went in, and that brilliant setup  on the power play in Game 12 was tapped into the net instead of wide, then his current pace would about match what he was doing last year. That’s the impact that two points has when you’re just 20 games into the season. Two points too few, and you’re in a sophomore slump and have fantasy owners panicking. Two points too many and you’re on your way to a massive breakout.

I checked the PP times, curious to see if Provorov usurped the Ghost in that regard…but Philly had exactly zero power plays. So no data to gather there. At this point, I’m on the fence with him for this year. There’s no question that Gostisbehere will be a frequent visitor to the 50-point mark. Not in my mind. And his upside is tremendous – one of the rare defensemen who can reach 70 points. But this year? I’m torn. But a sophomore slump would still mean 42 points, while ‘status quo’ would be 55 to 57.


Yeah, so Puempel scored in his first game as a Ranger. He played on a line with Jimmy Vesey and Josh Jooris and saw secondary PP time. Playing with Vesey is a nice gig even if it is on the fourth line.

Vesey has been in a slump of late. Even with the assist on Puempel’s goal, Vesey has just three points in his last 10. He had 10 in 12 before that.


Jonas Brodin was a defenseman that I was quite high on when he was heading into his sophomore season. But he showed minimal improvement offensively despite seeing reasonable PP time. In Year 3 he managed just 17 points, which was actually a bit of a regression and in Year 4 he had just seven stinkin’ points. With Ryan Suter already in the mix, Matt Dumba showing flashes of his tremendous potential, and Jared Spurgeon also showing upside – I wrote Brodin off. Defensive specialist, nothing more. But his three points on Friday give him six in his last five games and he has 10 points on the season. Again – he had just seven stinkin’ points last year in 68 games and he’s already topped that by nearly 50 percent by the 20-game mark.  He has three PPPts in the last two games, and those games he’s pretty much logged all the PP time he’s been given this season other than a few games in late October. Brodin shoots left while PP partner Dumba shoots right, and the two are forming a solid pairing on that second unit. Anyway, if you haven’t already, upgrade Brodin’s status from “ignore” to “buy”.


Mikael Granlund has been on fire lately, posting five points in his last three games. Again and again we’re learning that we can give up on, or pigeonhole, a player before he’s 26. A skill guy with upside who gets into the league at 19 or 20 can sometimes make an impact quickly. But if he doesn’t, then that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a third-liner at best. Sure, with each passing game it becomes just a little more likely…but don’t call it 100% until he’s 26 and still not showing signs of life. Granlund, Kreider, Hayes, Atkinson, Silfverberg, etc.

Not that the above players are slam dunks to do well this year, they’re just off to great starts and showing signs of the promise we were hoping to see last year. I own all five of those guys in one league or another, which is one of the reasons why I had such a horrible start in my leagues last season and couldn’t come back from it… and one of the reasons why I’m winning all my leagues today. Patience pays.


I’d like to add Gustav Nyquist to the above list of players too. But I think Detroit’s top scorers may be capped under the current roster makeup and coaching style. He does have points in three straight though.

I’m liking these Detroit lines:




#4           9%          BERTUZZI,TYLER – OTT,STEVE – SHEAHAN,RILEY

This really spreads the offense among the two lines, assuming Anthony Mantha keeps firing on all cylinders. Mantha picked up two points Friday and has three points in three games. Even more promising is the fact that he has 13 shots on goal in those three games and his ice time has been up about two minutes per game. His presence there is helping both of his linemates.

Since 2007, you can get your free line combo data right here. Or quick glance here.


John Moore has eight points in his last 14 games, thanks to two points last night. Still nothing on the power play, though his PP time has spiked the last couple of games as he’s been moved to the top unit. He’ll build on last year’s career high of 19 points, though reaching 30 would be a bit of a stretch. But we’ll see.

I turned down a trade offer involving Mike Cammalleri last week, so of course he gets nine points in four games. Sorry, I should have given you a heads up because it’s a foolproof strategy.

It’s a modest point total, but Beau Bennett has seven points in his last 12 games. Not spectacular, but considering he’s mostly on the third line and sees secondary PP time, it’s pretty good. And I think it’s sustainable. His issue has never been talent, it’s always been injury.


Conor Sheary was doing great on the third line and you’d think that moving to Sidney Crosby’s line would be a gold mine. And he hasn’t looked terrible there either. He’s quick, he’s shifty, and he can keep up with the play. And more than once, he’s been robbed of a point because the other linemate couldn’t convert. That being said, I think he’s struggling there because he’s facing the other team’s top defenders. On the third line, facing Johnny Stonehands and Jimmy Meathead, it’s child’s play for him – he’s producing at will. But against real tough, strong defensemen he’s getting bumped off the puck. Frankly, I think his production is suffering on the Crosby line. Silly as that sounds. He has two points in eight games on that line.

Maybe Chris Kunitz on that line with him would work better. A bit more size. Just thinking aloud.

Jake Guentzel, on the other hand, fits just fine with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. He seems to handle the tough stuff much better. He picked up his first NHL assist on Friday.


Anthony DeAngelo has points in four straight games and has six in eight games overall. I had cold feet about this guy when he was traded from the Lightning out of the blue like that. I figured there had to be a reason. So I tweaked his ranking and value down. Clearly that was much ado about nothing. What I think is working is that he’s playing with Alex Goligoski at even strength, and of course Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the power play. He’s a right shooter and those are two lefties. But more importantly, DeAngelo is a wildcard. He’s a one-dimensional player. But at even strength he’s playing with a very defensively-responsible Goligoski and that gives him some freedom to make mistakes and/or take chances. And playing with OEL on the power play is, of course, fantasy gold. Three of DeAngelo’s points have come on the power play.

My opinion? I think DeAngelo is here to stay. And he’s going to keep Kevin Connauton in the press box and you’ll see Jakob Chychrun go play in the World Juniors and then get returned to Sarnia (OHL).


If the Ducks want to make the playoffs this year, I think they need to start Jonathan Bernier a lot more for now. He should have had the start against Chicago. Let him take the tougher game and give the mentally fragile (for now) John Gibson against the marginally easier Sharks.

Remember all my discussions last year in the comments of the Ramblings and goalie rankings about how I felt that Frederik Andersen was the better goalie? Where do we stand with that discussion now? After his first five games (call those his training camp), Andersen is 7-5-0, 2.46 GAA and 0.931 SV%.


Tyler Johnson is on a six-game points streak. Hmmm…


Now Patrik Laine is finding out what Auston Matthews was going through. He could do no wrong, up until November 10. Since then he has just two points in eight games and is minus-3.


Ryan Johansen was off to a very slow start and that’s a big reason why the Preds haven’t been winning. I was in the forum Thursday and told a reader not to give up on him (he had been considering a trade that would have ‘sold low’ on his Johansen). Johansen will get his points every year, you can count on him as long as he’s healthy. He has five points in his last two games and now suddenly he’s just two points shy of where he should be.


I didn’t think this would be allowed, watching it. Turns out I was correct, but it was closer than I thought. Check out how close this Connor McDavid near goal is:


Matt Carle announced his retirement. He had 283 points in 730 career games. His best fantasy season was in 2006-07, his first full year in the league. Talk about a tease! Best year is first year? Yikes. He had 11 goals and 42 points, plus another five in 11 in the playoffs.


Last night’s games officially marked the quarter mark of the 2016-17 NHL season. How are you doing in your leagues?

From Elias Sports Bureau:

* 194 games (62.2%) have been tied or within one goal entering the third period.

 * 150 games (48.1%) have featured one-goal margins.

 * 132 games (42.3%) have seen a team overcome a deficit (at any point in the contest) to win, including 54 in the third period. Of those 132 games, 31 have featured a multi-goal comeback (including 10 in which the winning team trailed by multiple goals in the third period).

* 75 coach’s challenges have been used (including seven initiated by the Situation Room), with 56 calls upheld and 19 overturned – 49 of the challenges have been for goaltender interference (39 upheld/10 overturned), while 26 have been for offside (17 upheld/9 overturned).