Ramblings: Reflecting on some Red Wings, top D scorers, Point, Kane, Lee, Couturier, McDavid and more (Apr.10)
I’ll be setting up two DobberHockey contests. One is the NHL Bracket Challenge. The other is the second annual Dobbernomics Challenge – when that one is ready to go we’ll let you know, just sign up here to be notified. For the NHL Bracket Challenge I’ll post an article on it with links. Hell, I’ll include the Dobbernomics in that article at the same time, why not?
It took Riley Sheahan 80 games to finally score his first goal of the season. On the last day. And then he scores twice. How about that? Sheahan had 25 points last year and 36 the year before – not exactly trending in the right direction (13 points this season). How many more wins would Detroit have if Sheahan scored another 12 as he should have? His ice time was only down a little, and that was more towards the end when it was clear that he wasn’t producing. His PP time was about the same too. Just a brutal season and absolutely zero indication that he can ever become even a productive third-liner.
Gustav Nyquist had 20 points in the last 21 games to close out the season with 48 points. Still a disappointment! But an improvement on last year (43 points) and if he can put the brakes on his declining shot percentage I’m back to believing he can beat his career high of 54 points. I’m off my belief, at this point, in his ability to reach 70. He’s 27 years old so we should have seen more by now. His shot percentage, by season, beginning in 2013-14: 18.3%, 13.8%, 10.6% and 7.3%. Generally speaking, in the lower leagues, he was a high-accuracy shooter in the 15% range so it’s safe to say that 7.3% is far too low for him even considering the steady decline.
In the 1000th game of his NHL career Henrik Zetterberg picked up two points and ended up with 68 on the campaign. Most impressive of all is the fact that he’s played in the last two full seasons, not missing a game. I thought he had a bad back that was ready to drop him at a moment’s notice? In his 1000 games he has 904 career points.
How did I do this year? In the DHP, 17-year league, I won. In the MHP, 27-year league, I lost. I finished second as my team faded in the final three weeks – the Malkin and Johnson injuries killed it for me. And now I regret trading Kucherov/Sheary/Buchnevich/Spooner/Silfverberg for Backstrom/Koivu/Kessel/throw-ins (throw-ins were Filppula and Couturier), because it hurt my future and didn’t get me the win anyway. In the Forecaster League, I think it’s my eighth year in it, I finished sixth. I tried so hard to tank to eighth to get more lottery balls but couldn’t sink any lower. Had I not given up at the deadline I would have finished fourth – so that’s why I tanked. Time for a bit of retooling in that one. How did you do?
Brayden Point picked up three points in the final game of the season for Tampa Bay and had six points in his final three games – and 16 in his final 15! It’s enough to get him to the 40-point mark as a rookie, despite his missing 14 games. I had been bullish on him in last year’s Fantasy Prospects Report, ranking him seventh in the entire Report, and this was because of his work ethic and the way he competes. And we just witnessed an example of this – he really stepped up his game down the stretch when the team desperately needed the wins. Those 15 games nearly got the team into the postseason from out of nowhere. Don’t sleep on Tampa next year, I think the young talent on this team learned a lot this past month.
Evander Kane finished with 41 points in his last 59 games after starting with two in 10. He should always be looked at as a 65-game player until he proves otherwise, but he’s convinced me that he can still get 55 points even with those missed games. He’ll be 26 in the fall, which is right in the wheelhouse for players to really start to step up. If your league has a good IR system, a trade for him may be worth investigating.
With two points on Sunday Victor Hedman finishes with 72 and passes the injured and idle Erik Karlsson to become the second leading scorer among defensemen. Three defensemen made it to 70 points this year.
Just 23 defensemen made it to the 40-point mark. In 2015-16 it was 26, in 2014-15 it was 27 and in 2013-14 it was 26. Time to re-evaluate the value of a 35-point rearguard in your league…
It’s also time to cut Shayne Gostisbehere a bit of slack. Ghost managed to end up with 39 points, which obviously puts him tied for 24th in scoring among defensemen!
These last-minute stats pushers, eh? In August when we do our research we’ll forget all about how horrible Jordan Eberle’s season was, and instead just think it was “disappointing”. And all because on the last useless day he scores three goals. That’s enough to get him to the 20-goal and 50-point mark.
I had said this a couple of weeks ago but in case you missed it – I’m very bullish on Oscar Klefbom. He’s doing everything that I thought (in the fall) Adam Larsson would do. And because it took him until about 50-game mark to find that magic, he will still be underrated in the summer. Sure, his owners will see his 38 points and believe that next year he can step up and hit 45. But I think he can do so much better than that. He can be Edmonton’s version of Kris Letang. Klefbom has 19 points in the final 27 games, to give you a sample of what he can do. That being said, if the Oilers grab a proven puck mover this summer such as Kevin Shattenkirk, then this blurb goes out the window. But I suspect they won’t do that.
And kudos to Steve Laidlaw for being bullish on Klefbom to begin with. He was right and I was wrong.
Anders Lee had six goals in six games to end the season with 34 of them. Five of those games were without John Tavares. Don’t forget – Lee kicked off the season with just a goal and an assist in 18 games and was dropped in most league formats. But since then he’s tallied 33 goals and 50 points in 63 games. Very bullish on him for next season, especially since he turns 27.
Speaking of turning 27 – that’s what Josh Bailey did last fall. And then he went out and exploded for 56 points. Count me among the many who had given up on him.
The Islanders and the Lightning end the season with 94 points – and out of the playoffs. The Leafs get in with 95 points.
I’ll repeat my prediction from a month ago in saying that the Leafs will take a tiny step back next season with something like 93 points and out of the playoffs. That’s still amazing, and far ahead of their rebuild schedule…but Leafs fans will be frothing at the mouth and call for heads to roll. But I think Toronto overachieved this season by five or six points, and hitting 93 next year it about bang-on what I’d expect. And the season after that they could easily be a 100-point team.
The Penguins gave Crosby, Guentzel and Sheary a rest – and Malkin another few days off before the playoffs. They also rested both Fleury and Murray, which meant that Tristan Jarry got his first career start. Magnus Hellberg got his first career start (and win) for the Rangers. Both goaltenders were Top 50 draft picks in their draft year. Jarry had a fantastic AHL season and is a candidate to become Pittsburgh’s backup next year. However, becoming a starter is not in the cards within three years. Hellberg is not coming off a strong AHL season nor has his minor-league numbers warranted any fantasy consideration. He’s 26 years old so his time is running out. The only reason he’s still getting consideration is because he’s 6-6 and the NHL obviously loves their big goaltenders.
After going 11 games without a point, Michael Grabner picked up an assist. So he hit the 40-point mark. He had four points in his last 22 games, including just one goal. This after scoring 26 goals in 54 games!
Connor McDavid picked up his 100th point and, just a formality, won his first career Art Ross Trophy. He beat Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane by 11 points. Seven players reached the 82-point mark and 10 hit 75. Last year it was five and 11, and in 2014-15 it was three and nine.
Patrick Maroon was given the day off Sunday, but is an excellent playoff dark horse if you think the Oilers can squeeze past the Sharks and get to the second round. He was red hot in the second half and his game is custom-made for the playoffs.
Drake Caggiula took Maroon’s spot on the McDavid line and picked up an assist. Caggiula actually ended with eight points in 14 games (he had 10 in 46 before that).
Sean Couturier ended the season with 17 points in 19 games, after starting with 17 in 47. Hard to believe that he’s just 24 years old. He’s still being used too much in a defensive capacity, but that could quickly change if he were to start next season the way he finished this one.
Classy. The last shot of Bryan Bickell’s NHL career: