Ramblings: Impact in Florida, Arvidsson, Rieder, Stolarz and more (Nov 28)
Ramblings: Impact in Florida, as well as thoughts on Arvidsson, Rieder, Stolarz and more
A team that adds Keith Yandle, Michael Matheson, Jason Demers and adds a savvy ‘sleeper’ signing like Jonathan Marchessault should be improving on their record and not regressing. Even if two key players are lost for an extended time. The Panthers acted quickly though, firing Head Coach Gerard Gallant late Sunday night. GM Tom Rowe is the (hopefully short-term) replacement. This is a young team that should boast several players with more than 60 points. Instead, so far it’s looking like Marchessault would barely get there, while the rest of them don’t even reach 50. At the very a least a new coach should light a fire under the likes of Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, etc.
One thing to watch out for when it comes to a coaching change is the players who have yet to cement their reputation in the NHL. Coaches have their favorites, so if the new guy doesn’t like Marchessault or believes he’ll be a better player if he plays with Shawn Thornton and Kyle Rau, well then he’s in trouble. And what if Rowe thinks that Jaromir Jagr is too slow to be playing with Barkov now? Or Denis Malgin deserves more ice time at another level? Or the power play should be four forwards and one D, so Yandle is on the first unit, Aaron Ekblad is on the second – so Matheson loses out? These are the players I would be crossing my fingers about, if I owned them.
It’s difficult to nail down Rowe’s coaching style. He is a former player who played for the London Knights in the OHL and the Capitals and Whalers in the NHL (and a stint with Detroit). He was a tough power forward who once scored 31 goals and another time tallied 190 penalty minutes. Does that mean a tougher brand of hockey? No tougher than Gallant! As a coach, he was at the helm for Lowell of the AHL during the first lockout when Eric Staal led the team. But with Florida’s farm team the last couple of years, he coached a lower scoring team to rather low offensive numbers – 59 points led the squad in 2014-15 (Bobby Butler), followed by four 40-point players and three 30-point players. Not too impressive. So I’m not really expecting a sudden offensive surge.
This team is going downhill fast, ever since they pushed Dale Tallon aside. I mean…Tom Rowe? How did he ever get the GM job? His business acumen?
The Panthers blew a 2-0 lead during a four-minute brain fart in the second period in which they gave up three goals. And apparently that was the last straw.
Apparently the coach and GM didn’t see eye-to-eye. Was it in the way that Gallant used his players? If so, what did Rowe have a problem with? Maybe Nick Bjugstad and his zero PP time? Seth Griffith not getting a shot on a scoring line just to see how he does? Keeping Jagr on the top line? No PP time for Matheson, but a stone-hands like Demers gets 3:16 of PPTOI? The latter is my favorite. I’ll be paying close attention next game to line combos, ice time and the PP units for sure.
Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen have two points each in their last seven games. Noah Hanifin has just one in his last 10. The Hurricanes seem to be a one-line team for now – whatever line has Jeff Skinner on it.
Michael Leighton got his first start of the season (and the win). It was his fourth start since 2010. Regardless of how well he played Sunday, he’s not worth considering at this point. He just spotted Cam Ward for a game.
Connor Hellebuyck picked up a shutout despite the fact that he faced a season-high 42 shots. It was the second highest shots he’d ever faced in the NHL – he saw 44 shots on goal last season against the same team, Nashville.
Viktor Arvidsson was one of three Preds to take six or more shots last night (Josi, Wilson). He now has 67 shots on the campaign, which works out to 3.19 shots per game. That’s tied for 19th in the league and the 18 names ahead of him are some real heavyweights. As far as sustainability goes, I love seeing high shot totals like that.
Nashville pretty much played with eight forwards – Frederick Gaudreau, Pontus Aberg, Austin Watson and Kevin Fiala each saw below 10 minutes of ice time. Arvidsson saw 19:37, so he’s getting entrenched as a ‘go to’ guy there now.
The Jets had two empty netters, so only one puck got by prospect Juuse Saros. Two starts, one goal allowed each start. Pekka Rinne is having a very good season so far and he’s signed for three more years. I think by next year it will be pretty clear that Saros is still the better goalie (kinda like how Matt Murray is showing us he is better than M-A Fleury even though Fleury is still very good). So this could turn into a split starts situation, perhaps as early as 2018.
Bryan Little has been cleared for contact and I’m so desperate for a couple of forwards right now that I stuck him in my lineup. The Jets have four games this week and they don’t play until Tuesday and then Thursday. If he can get in by Thursday and catch three games I’ll be happy. I just can’t keep Conor Sheary active right now, nor do I like Marcus Johansson playing just the two games
Jimmy Hayes scored his first goal in 36 games. He had 11 points in 12 games to start last season. Since them – just 19 points in 83 games. Must be donating his points to his brother.
Tobias Rieder has been chipping in the odd point lately and it has resulted in his getting power-play time. Last year, eight of his 37 points came on the PP. This year he hadn’t been getting any until six games ago. He hasn’t picked up any PPPts yet, but his shot total is rising quickly now. Last night on the second PP unit he was playing with Christian Dvorak and Shane Doan (his ES linemates are Doan and Jordan Martinook). The insertion of Dvorak on that line during power plays bring some potential as Dvorak has been picking up the pace lately. Ever since Dylan Strome was sent back down Dvorak seems to have gained the coach’s trust.
Dvorak is worth picking up and benching in one-year leagues, because I think he’ll really pop if and when Martin Hanzal gets his next injury (when is that scheduled for again? Tuesday?). Rieder is worth owning right now in leagues that count shots on goal. I don’t believe in Rieder long term, as I believe he’s a third liner at best. But he’s holding a hot stick and getting better opportunities.
Can the Senators keep winning like this? Well, yes, if Craig Anderson continues to play out of his mind like this. He’s playing inspired hockey right now and the team is confident in front of him. He’s the fifth goalie to earn three shutouts this season.
Brandon Pirri is clearly a power-play specialist, but at some point Vigneault needs to take a look at the players who are actually scoring. While Pirri played 4:36 on the power play to lead all Rangers, leading point-getter Kevin Hayes saw 0:00 of PP time and leading goal-scorer Michael Grabner saw 0:00 as well. Pirri has one point and is minus-7 in his last 10 games.
The Pimple Matt Puempel faced his former team Sunday and managed zero shots on goal and zero points.
Two games in a row Jimmy Vesey’s ice time has fallen short of 12 minutes. The rookie adrenalin is fading and now with ice time that’s slipping he’ll have difficulty getting back on track.
Anthony Stolarz won his NHL debut last night. I’ve noted before that he could be this year’s Louis Domingue, given how often Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth get injured. Like Domingue, Stolarz is not the greatest prospect, but he’s next in line right now. And now he has a W. If he gets another chance and wins that one, he could be that mediocre goalie who becomes a sort of rallying cry. Not unlike Andrew Hammond a couple of years ago.
Worth noting that Shayne Gostisbehere saw 7:10 of PP time in the game.
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