Ramblings: A Tale of Two Teams (Jan 14)

Ian Gooding

2017-01-14

JVR, Hellebuyck, Skinner, Korpisalo, plus more…

The Midseason Guide is here! Besides the second-half projections, this beauty will also have players on the trade block (and what it means), prospects ready to make the jump for a dozen games down the stretch, the lowdown on undrafted or unsigned free agents (both in college and in Europe) and much more. Last year’s Midseason Guide, for example, had one of my personal faves in Troy Stecher, as well as Drake Caggiula, Nick Lappin, Brandon Tanev, Alexander Radulov and Anton Rodin, to give you a small sample. Imagine getting a heads up on players like that in January instead of finding out about them in April or even July? Order it here.

*

Some teams develop faster than others. On Friday, two promising young teams played in separate games. One of those teams has won seven of its last nine games and is charging hard toward a playoff spot. The other team, well, I’ll get into their plight later.

The first promising young team is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Those who took a chance on Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, et al are already being rewarded. After years of apathy, these young Buds are a delight to watch. Surprisingly, they currently hold the league’s fifth-ranked offense (3.08 goals/game) and third-ranked power-play (23.3%).

With another goal on Friday, James van Riemsdyk has a six-game point streak in which he has posted ten points. You probably drafted him in spite of the fact he plays for Toronto. Now you are hoping he won’t get traded out of Toronto (which he won’t, unless the Leafs fall into a major tailspin).

Another player I was concerned about entering the season, particularly because of his trade to Toronto, was Frederik Andersen. But he’s been money in leagues that count saves with over 1000 after Friday’s 34-save performance. Only Cam Talbot has more at the moment.

*

Rick Nash owners were looking forward to his return from injury, but he failed to record a point with just two shots on goal in 15 minutes of icetime on Friday.

Mats Zuccarello took nine shots on goal, but it was all for naught in the goal department. But he didn’t come home empty-handed, recording one assist. Over his last five games, Zuccarello has fired 23 shots on goal.

One Ranger who is red hot offensively is Chris Kreider. With a goal on Friday, Kreider now has eight goals in his last eight games. He’s also taken 32 shots over his last eight games. So both Zuccarello and Kreider have been averaging about four shots a game recently.