Ramblings: Whack-A-Duck (Dec 12)

steve laidlaw


Ryan Getzlaf made his return to the Duck lineup sooner than I had anticipated, but it was a pleasant surprise. The Ducks also got Jakob Silfverberg back last night. Suddenly, their lineup wasn’t looking so bad, but then of course another injury, this time to Corey Perry:

The Ducks had put Rickard Rakell, Getzlaf and Perry together, but there’s an opening on the right side should Perry miss much time. The first assumption would be that Silfverberg would benefit, but he is locked in on the second line with Andrew Cogliano and Adam Henrique. Silfverberg did see use on the top power play unit, however. That unit:

Getzlaf – Rakell – Silfverberg – Henrique – Cam Fowler

I thought we were done with this, but the never-ending game of whack-a-mole with Brandon Montour goes on. Once again on PP2 for Montour.

Ondrej Kase was elevated to the top line after Perry went out and is easily the most interesting option. Not sure we can jump to him yet, however, especially not without top unit PP time.

Henrique’s value has taken a small hit with Getzlaf soaking up the top line duties, but if he sticks on PP1 he should remain relevant in most formats.


Dustin Byfuglien is out week-to-week after an injury this weekend. This only exacerbates what has already been a frustrating season for fantasy owners.

Tyler Myers was tops on the Jets with 23:24 of ice time and 2:40 of power play time, but it’s worth noting that the Jets’ second unit got more of the power play action last night. Myers remained on that second unit, instead Jacob Trouba up on the top unit with Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, etc.

Trouba’s spot is the place to be. He has spent much of the season used in a shutdown role barely seeing any power play time. Now we are going to see Trouba stretched into a role where he can be productive. He is widely owned so you may not be able to pounce on this opportunity, but those hanging onto him are in for a big-time boost.

Trouba has double-digit goal potential and the skills to score at a 50-point pace. It’s worth mentioning that the Jets are not having their defensemen as active in the rush this season, so perhaps lower your expectations for all of them, including Byfuglien when he returns, but assists should flow considering their loaded set of forwards.

The Jets also got Steve Mason back from the IR, sending Eric Comrie back to the AHL. At this point Mason has little relevance, Connor Hellebuyck is rolling as the starter.


The Rangers were without Mika Zibanejad once again. He has been back in practice, but has not been cleared for contact. Timelines with concussions are always blurry, but it seems like we are getting close to a return for the top line centerman. Zibanejad has been dropped in a third of Yahoo leagues, so jumping back in a little early could pay off in the long run.


Are we within range of a goalie controversy in Dallas? I’m not there yet, mostly because Kari Lehtonen hasn’t put together a consistent run in years. Lehtonen has started three of the last five games, and performed well in each of them, even winning two of them.

Meanwhile, Ben Bishop has fallen back to earth after a hot start. His save percentage in October: .920. His save percentage since: .901. It’s not that I think Lehtonen is good, it’s that I think Bishop isn’t much better. Bishop also has injuries to contend with. The irony of the Bishop signing was that he was unlikely to offer a large improvement on the already overpaid, underwhelming and injury-prone duo of Lehtonen and Niemi.

Line changes for the Stars spreading their top forwards across three lines:


#2           18.2%    ELIE,REMI – SEGUIN,TYLER – SHORE,DEVIN

#3           16.4%    BENN,JAMIE – FAKSA,RADEK – PITLICK,TYLER


Radek Faksa remains interesting, but probably not much more than that since he still can’t get a regular power play shift. He’s entering early-career Brad Marchand territory.

We also saw Jason Spezza displace Devin Shore on the top power play unit, which makes him interesting. Spezza skated a season-high 17:28 last night. No points, but we could see him creep back into our lives with continued exposure to Dallas’ top options.


Matt Murray has been back in practice, but Tristan Jarry started again last night. It is only a matter of time before Murray reclaims the reins, however Jarry has acquitted himself quite well. Had the Murray injury lingered longer we might have seen Jarry stake out a larger claim to the crease. As it stands now, the Penguins will likely continue shopping for a veteran backup in order to allow Jarry to get more work in the minors.


Aleksander Barkov got back into the lineup for the Panthers after missing only one game. The real question is if this injury lingers. Barkov is spectacular, but has consistently missed 15+ games a year.

Barkov was back on the top line with Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau. They have recently shuffled their PP going with a two-defenseman look with Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle both out there. Yandle has sizzled since displacing Ekblad with 12 points in the last 14 games.

Ekblad is sneaking back into relevance. He had gone 10 straight games without a point before a recent four-game scoring streak, which ended last night. Without top unit PP usage I don’t have time for Ekblad, even as his shot production remains massive. I would consider this run without Evgenii Dadonov in the lineup a chance to try and sell high.


Sven Baertschi has now been ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a broken jaw. That puts two-thirds of their best line on the shelf, with Bo Horvat already out with a broken ankle. Only the Brock Boes Monster remains. Mind you, Baertschi was easily the third wheel on that line and had recently been displaced by Nikolay Goldobin.

With both Baertschi and Horvat out, Boeser joined the Sedins, who may be becoming more relevant. The Sedins have averaged less than 15 minutes per game this season, but with further exposure to Boeser and more run with these injuries I could see them having a few weeks of universal relevance. This line combined for the lone Canuck goal last night.


Tom Wilson’s scoring streak ended last night, but he remains on the Caps’ top line so the potential for scoring lingers for now.


Good news on Ryan Johansen:

The Predators’ next game is Wednesday night, I’d look for Johansen to be back with the lines reset to what they looked like before he went out:

#1           25.1%    FIALA,KEVIN – SMITH,CRAIG – TURRIS,KYLE





Jaromir Jagr remains day-to-day and will apparently miss tonight’s game.


As always, great stuff in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts:

3. With Kris Versteeg out a long time, Calgary may look for a power-play specialist and someone who brings edge to their game. They feel a little “too nice,” outside of Travis Hamonic, Micheal Ferland, Mike Smith and Matthew Tkachuk. I could see the Flames part of a growing group eying Buffalo’s Evander Kane.

It is going to be extremely interesting to see where Kane lands. It is hard to see him getting a better opportunity than the one he has now riding shotgun with Jack Eichel. Kane is one of just 22 forwards skating over 20 minutes per game. I’d imagine that whatever team gets him will use him as more of a second- or third-line offensive specialist in order to limit the damage he can inflict defensively, which could mean he’d go back to playing 14-15 minutes per game, hindering his fantasy value.

Of course, it is possible Kane could remain in Buffalo all season, or perhaps find himself on a team where he could continue to chew up big minutes. These scenarios seem less likely. Do consider selling high on Kane while he is pacing for 71 points and 355 SOG.


Some World Junior news:

I wouldn’t be shocked if Mete is returned to junior after this tournament. He has barely been playing. Very good prospect, but not one that I consider having much fantasy relevance.

It doesn’t sound like any of Tyson Jost, Nolan Patrick or Samuel Girard will be similarly released by their NHL clubs.

I totally get Girard not being available since he is skating 20 minutes a night, although he has recently seen his ice time heavily clipped.

The Flyers not making Patrick available makes less sense to me, but they would have a better idea of what is best for the player’s development. Also, we don’t even know if Patrick has any desire to leave the team. I’m sure he’d love to represent Canada, but he’s a rookie clinging to a roster spot in the NHL, skating less than 12 minutes per game. Can he afford to take a month away from the team?


For more World Junior talk check out Cam Robinson’s latest prospect ramblings, previewing Group A.


If you missed it, I jumped on Roto Hockey Show on Wednesday night to discuss some of this seasons surprises, both positive and negative. You can thank us for bashing the San Jose power play just in time for it to get jump started.


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



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