Ramblings: A Schneid Comeback

steve laidlaw


This summer I took over a team in a 24-team cap league. It needed a major overhaul, including the fact that the best goalie on the roster was Al Montoya. WOOF.

Given that it was a rebuild, I wasn’t going to rush things and overpay to land a starter. I scooped up Kari Lehtonen in our pro draft as a band-aid solution. You can’t take enough swings on goaltenders in deep formats because you never know what injury and subsequent hot streak might land you an effective starter, even if it only lasts for a week.

Anyhow, yesterday I finally landed a legit starter moving Jordan Eberle and Reilly Smith for Martin Jones and Marcus Johansson.

I value all three forwards similarly. I don’t expect any of the above to be offense drivers. I have them pegged as 45-55-point scorers seeing top-six but not always top-PP usage. Smith sees the most ice time of the three (18:43 per game) but the difference between he and the other two is almost entirely built on PK usage. Essentially, you could boil this down to Eberle for Jones and I make that deal in almost any league, especially one where goalies are so scarce.

Now, I’m not very high on Jones. He was in my third tier for goalies this season because while he was guaranteed to be the Sharks’ starter, he wasn’t guaranteed to be any good. I am not certain that Jones or the Sharks are very good. So far, he has been excellent with a 0.927 percentage through nine games but no one should be making goalie decisions based on such a sample. I jumped at Jones figuring he’d be closer to his career 0.917 save percentage playing behind what looks like a creaky Sharks team. But the early returns are good thus far.


The early returns on Johansson are not nearly as handsome. He took a scary tumble into the boards last night:

He did not return and you can expect he’ll miss some time.

With Johansson and Kyle Palmieri still on the shelf, Jesper Bratt continues to be of interest, although I do have concerns that seven of the rookie’s 10 points have come on special teams.


An impressive 37-save shutout cranked Cory Schneider’s save percentage up to 0.921. It was at 0.909 going into the night. That’s how quickly things can change and why it’s silly to overreact to goalie performances early on. Schneider is 6-1-0, with an above-average save percentage. Pretty easy to conclude the bounce-back is in effect. Maybe, but he’s already missed time with injury this season and battled injuries last season. You’ll win more than you lose betting against injured goalies in their 30’s.


A couple of teams struggling on the power play went with some new looks last night. Chicago rolled out this forward combination when they finally broke an 0/16 run on the power play:



Cody Franson manned the point on this unit and notched an assist. Decent spot for him but it is worth mentioning that the Blackhawk PP combos were all over the map last night. Tough to say if this unit will stick so don’t get out of hand with Franson. After all, Duncan Keith did still lead all Blackhawks in PP time. However, if this forward groups sticks for a few games it could help to snap some cold runs for Anisimov and Schmaltz.


Meanwhile, in Edmonton, the Oilers split Leon Draisaitl onto the second unit, opting for the following top unit:



That was with Oscar Klefbom continuing to man the point. The top unit did score one goal, albeit with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in for Caggiula on a change. If you’re going to give Maroon a run in your lineup, now appears to be the time.

By the way, that McDavid character was up to more shenanigans:


The Flyers are starting to get banged up on the back end. With Shayne Gostisbehere and (gulp) Andrew MacDonald already out, they lost Radko Gudas to injury as well. They’ve got some good young defensemen in the system but they recently had to call up journeyman Will O’Neill. They are getting stretched thin. This is exactly how a promising start can get derailed.

Brian Elliott performed well in a 3-0 loss, conceding just two goals. Despite a winning record, Elliott has been the epitome of inconsistent for fantasy owners with just five quality starts in nine games. His 0.892 save percentage does not inspire confidence. He should settle in to some more consistent play. Remember, it took him until mid-season to perform well for the Flames. But it could be rough in the near term for Flyers goalies with so many defensemen on the shelf.


Patrick Marleau was shuffled down to center the third line. Pretty successful outing for him with a goal and an assist. Of course, these sorts of moves always end up being temporary but it’s worth checking in on the latest Leaf lines since they are such an explosive offensive team:













Given the number of “concerned Marner” inquiries I get you just might be able to buy low on the dynamic sophomore. He is now on his second four-game scoreless drought of the young season. And no, I am not concerned.


Another game missed by Ryan Getzlaf who is out following a puck to the face:

Count him out until next week.

Ondrej Kase scored the lone Duck goal last night. He has four goals in the last five games and is seeing some usage on the top power play unit. He’s interesting if you need to stream someone in for a couple of games this weekend. The Ducks play one of the rare games this Friday night.

Hampus Lindholm saw big usage last night as he joined Brandon Montour on a two-defenseman look on the top PP unit. He led all Ducks in PP time (5:01) and overall ice time (27:25). So much for easing him back in. Looks like all systems are go for Lindholm, although he has yet to achieve full fantasy relevance. This sort of deployment could finally drive him there but it’s ultimately dependant on how long Cam Fowler remains out.

I have picked up Lindholm in one league but only because we score hits and blocked shots. Otherwise, Lindholm is waiver fodder until he proves otherwise. Simply getting big minutes isn’t enough.


Travis Yost looks at some players with declining ice time who may be on the trade block:

Outside of those teams, two other names caught my eye: Rick Nash in New York and Tyler Bozak in Toronto. Nash is a fantastic scorer on an expiring contract. Bozak is a respectable scorer also on an expiring contract. (Bozak’s situation may even be more dire – he’s being relegated into third or fourth-line duty at this point in Toronto, usurped by younger and better talent around him.) What are the odds that one of Nash or Bozak is traded before the deadline? I’d take them, whatever they are.

Forget the trade speculation for a second, the players mentioned in this article should all be under suspicion for declining results relative to traditional expectations. We all know that opportunity is a huge factor in determining fantasy production.


As always, some juicy tidbits in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts:

14. The Pittsburgh GM pointed out that all of the team’s defeats except one (last Saturday in Minnesota) were on the rear end of back-to-backs and the blowout in Winnipeg was their fourth game in sixth nights. A lot of the blame was thrown on Antti Niemi, who was waived and claimed by Florida.

“I feel bad for him,” Rutherford said. “I’m not pointing the finger. We gave up some goals that you could point at the goaltender. But the same goalie made five or six saves that should have been goals.”

Casey DeSmith initially came up from AHL Wilkes-Barre, but Tristan Jarry is now with the team and likely plays in Calgary on Thursday. They wanted him to get another weekend of AHL action before calling for him. Is he ready to be the full-time number two?

“Ability-wise, yes, but our preference was for him to have at least a half a season in Wilkes-Barre, get him even more games. We had to accelerate this.”

The Penguins need a solution at backup. They have gotten smacked around on the back half of every back-to-back they have played conceding 10, five, seven and seven. That’s not all on Niemi, who was never going to be a solution – his goose is cooked. I do wonder if this isn’t a case of the Penguins coming in tired/lackadaisical after two straight Cup runs. Something has to give after that heavy a workload. In any case, they need an option who can steal a game for them as the backup, or at least hold the fort if they get off to a poor start. Using Murray on both halves of the B2B is just asking for trouble. He’s already encountered injuries early in his career. The Penguins have 13 B2Bs remaining on the schedule, including tonight in Calgary.

Jarry is one of the best goalie prospects out there, and not just because he plays for the Penguins. He could absolutely do damage as a backup option but as indicated above, the Penguins would prefer not to rush him. The best thing for fantasy owners who don’t own Jarry? Having him get thrashed, perhaps as early as tonight. That could result in some lost confidence, a demotion and ultimately a chance to acquire him. Be ready to pounce. Jarry is the guy for Pittsburgh if Murray ever gets hurt.

Read more on Jarry here.


That’s some shitty news.

Backes hasn’t been relevant in fantasy since joining the Bruins so I doubt much changes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is ineffective upon return. This type of surgery will surely affect his diet and ability to keep muscle on.


Some positive news:


Minor piece of news but you can scratch PA Parenteau off your plans for this season as he has signed a deal to play in the KHL. Parenteau was never going to have value except for in the deepest of leagues but there is always room for scoring talent to go on a hot streak. Instead, it’ll likely be some young player grabbing those minutes, wherever Parenteau might have signed.


Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.


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