Ramblings: Another Hat Trick a Treat for Tavares Owners, Ghost Owners Booing (Oct 29)

Ian Gooding

2017-10-29

Another Hat Trick a Treat for Tavares Owners, Ghost Owners Booing, plus more…

I can tell you firsthand that this is the wrong week to face John Tavares in head-to-head. Tavares scored a natural hat trick in the third period against Nashville on Saturday, giving him two hat tricks in three games (plus an assist over that span). Or if you go back to last Saturday, ten points in four games. Tavares’ incredible past eight days now pushes him up to third in the NHL with nine goals. Tavares’ power-play goal was his first power-play point of the season.

Prior to this hot run, Tavares had been held without a point in six of his first seven games. Believe it or not, he has yet to record one point or two points in any one game this season. In other words, he has scored points in just four games, but has at least three points in each of those games. Talk about feast or famine.

Worried about Jordan Eberle? Don’t be. Eberle scored his first two goals of the season in this game. Add in his assist from this game and he now has nine points in 11 games as an Islander. The guy that was traded for Eberle (Ryan Strome) is already the subject of trade rumors, according to Nick Kypreos. I didn’t think the Oilers needed to trade Eberle, and so far it doesn’t look like a wise decision for Oilers if you consider the return (three points in ten games for Strome). Trades do take much longer than 11 games to evaluate, but so far the Islanders appear to have won this deal.

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I’ve seen questions on what to do with the struggling Kyle Okposo, who picked up an assist on Saturday afternoon on Ryan O’Reilly’s goal. Okposo has just a pair of assists with a minus-7 in ten games. Okposo doesn’t appear to be the same player after dealing with various ailments over the last couple seasons. If you see a player that is clearly better than Okposo at the moment, then feel free to add him. Keep in mind that Okposo is still in a scoring role on a line with O’Reilly and could rebound to some degree, but not to the level that he was scoring alongside Tavares on Long Island.

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One player that I’m following closely right now is Tim Heed, who has a goal and three assists in eight games while being used on the Sharks’ first-unit power play. This is a great spot for the hard-shooting Heed, although having two right-handed shots on the same power-play unit might not be the long-term plan for the Sharks. Heed is also in the lineup because of Paul Martin’s ankle injury, so either Heed or Joakim Ryan could be the odd man out once Martin returns. Still, there’s great fantasy upside with Heed, who should be owned in more than 2 percent of Yahoo leagues.

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I thought this clip on the HNIC pre-game show regarding Frederik Andersen was interesting, both with the observations from Corsica and with Ron MacLean’s rebuttal.
 


After this graphic was posted, Andersen had a second consecutive non-quality start to keep his goals-against average well above 3.00 and his save percentage below .900. I know that some of you watch the Leafs more than I do. But from what I’ve seen, I don’t think all of this is on Andersen because the defense is part of the issue. The Leafs might be a Vegas favorite to win the Stanley Cup, but I’d have a hard time betting my hard-earned money on that wager until their defensive woes are addressed.

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Shayne Gostisbehere left Saturday’s game with a possible concussion.
 


If Leo Komarov isn’t suspended because this is somehow deemed a “hockey play” (which wouldn’t surprise me), then he should be. It’s time for the NHL to adopt Ken Dryden’s zero-tolerance approach to head injuries, which he provided to the Globe and Mail a couple weeks ago. Would hockey still be a great sport if head checks are no longer allowed? Of course it will. And if you disagree, please at least take the time to read the link because Dryden hits the nail on the head.

Now that I’ve finished my rant for the day, it’s worth mentioning that Ivan Provorov played 27 minutes in this game. Should Gostisbehere miss any time, Provorov would stand to pick up the first-unit power-play role that would help him play at his full potential.

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As a John Gibson owner in one league, I was cringing at the possibility of having to start him and an injured Ducks’ squad against Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and the Lightning on Saturday. Instead, it was Gibson who starred, stopping 31 of 32 shots he faced in a 4-1 win. That also meant that Kucherov’s and Stamkos’ 11-game point streaks came to an end. But if you own either player, you probably don’t mind as they still sit 1-2 atop the NHL scoring race with 21 points and 19 points, respectively.

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This is your highlight of the night. You can’t execute anything better than how the Kings executed this goal.
 

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I said in my last Finding Fantasy Value column for Sportsnet that the Montreal Canadiens were on the verge of a breakout offensively. On Saturday they scored five goals for the second time this week, with Phillip Danault leading the offense with two goals and two assists. If you didn’t think to add Danault, you can’t be blamed, since he had been held without a goal since opening night. But the recent line shuffling in Montreal has Danault centering Max Pacioretty, so there could be more value to be had at least in the short term.

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Sorry if I’m gloating, but here’s another reason you should read Finding Fantasy Value if you’re not already. Taylor Hall scored two goals and added an assist as the Devils continue to roll, this time over the winless Coyotes. Did you think that Hall’s fantasy value would dip with a move to the Devils? Maybe last season, but with the Devils’ offense now more potent, Hall has 13 points (3g-10a) in 10 games.

These two teams hooked up for a minor deal on Saturday, with the Coyotes acquiring goalie Scott Wedgewood for a fifth-round pick. What do the winless Coyotes have to lose? Same with your fantasy team if your goaltending is in the toilet. Or not. At least Dobber gives his okay. He loves telling this story about buying very low and selling much higher. J
 


Jesper Bratt is back. After an out-of-nowhere start to the season (six points in his first three games), Bratt had been held without a point for five consecutive games. Bratt erupted again on Saturday with a goal and two assists, giving him ten points in ten games. No, he won’t score at a point-per-game pace for the remainder of the season, not while pucks are going in at a 40 percent rate. But he’s still better than we thought.

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The 2017-18 Colorado Avalanche played much like the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche on Friday, getting whitewashed 7-0 at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. Fears about the Avalanche not improving significantly were a major reason that supremely talented players like Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen fell significantly in fantasy drafts. But if you looked past the team and drafted MacKinnon or Rantanen anyway, you were rewarded with two goals and an assist from each player on Saturday.

MacKinnon is still prone to slumps, as he had been held without a point with a minus-8 in his previous three games. But with eight points in 11 games, he seems to be in good shape so far. Although you might not have agreed with that assessment before the game.

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Alex Ovechkin was in a helping mood while he was in Edmonton. After buying a homeless man some clothing on Friday, the Great 8 recorded three assists with a plus-4 against the Oilers on Saturday. Ovechkin entered the game with a very Cy Young-worthy 10 goals with just 2 assists, so his output provides his fantasy owners with more balance.

Not surprisingly, Ovechkin has clicked with Evgeny Kuznetsov, who scored two third-period goals to seal the victory for the Caps. This one is exactly how I used to score goals when I played hockey. In my dreams.
 


The third man on that line is no longer Jakub Vrana and is instead Devante Smith-Pelly, who scored a goal in this game. DSP is a player to watch if he sticks on this line, since he’s owned in less than 1 percent of Yahoo leagues. Vrana, by the way, doesn’t lose that much value now that he’s on a second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

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For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency COL Players
22.9% NAZEM KADRI GABRIEL LANDESKOG VALERI NICHUSHKIN
22.4% NATHAN MACKINNON VLADISLAV NAMESTNIKOV MIKKO RANTANEN
18.8% PIERRE-EDOUARD BELLEMARE MATT CALVERT MATT NIETO

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