Ramblings: Letang Hurt Again, Tarasenko Finding Another Gear (Dec 16)

steve laidlaw

2016-12-16

Letang hurt, Tarasenko finds another gear, what to make of Brad Hunt and more.

The Ducks made some intriguing changes to their lethal top power play unit, putting Rickard Rakell in Corey Perry’s spot and Shea Theodore in Sami Vatanen’s. Both Perry and Vatanen were fine and skated on the second power play unit. The Ducks went 0/3 with the man-advantage so we may not see these changes stick.

Two more points for Rakell, though obviously none came on the PP. Rakell’s upside would spike by five points if he could stick on that top unit for the rest of the season but I wouldn’t count on it. Look for him to finish in the 55-60 -point range.

Vatanen notched an assist giving him 13 points on the season. Eight of those have come on the PP. If he’s on the second unit, we can start thinking about dropping Vatanen entirely.

*

Look at the passing by the Blackhawks:

Good grief. These guys are silly.

As crazy as it is that a quarter of Artem Anisimov’s shots have gone in, you understand why on plays like this. And it’s not like Anisimov is some shmuck. He’s always been a high percentage shooter because of his ability to go to the dirty areas. Now he is getting consistent time as the Blackhawks’ net-front man. A 30-goal/65-point season looks to be in the cards.

I rarely mention Artemi Panarin because his excellence was established last season and the genius that he and Patrick Kane put on display nightly is so palpable but with six points in the last three games, Panarin is back among the top-10 in league scoring. He’ll linger there all season.

*

The Anders Lee yo-yo continues. He was on the top line and scored a goal. I can only assume that this means he’ll be back on the fourth line. Either way, he is on quite the hot streak with eight goals and 10 points in the past 11 games and makes for an excellent short-term pickup. I scooped him up because of the Islanders’ Thursday/Friday/Sunday schedule to close this week.

The upside for Lee is probably 40-45 points, which isn’t bad considering his slow start. Scoring in that range would mean around 30 points the rest of the way.

Andrew Ladd also scored a goal, and fired six SOG. He’s still being used in a secondary role so don’t jump back on board just yet. I’d rather roll with Lee than Ladd.

*

Just when you thought Henrik Lundqvist would regain control of the Ranger crease