Ramblings: Flying High, Duchene Rebounding, MacKinnon for Hart? (Jan 7)

Ian Gooding

2018-01-07

Flying High, Duchene Rebounding, MacKinnon for Hart?

The Philadelphia Flyers might be right where we expected them to be in the standings. But it’s fair to say that two Flyers that have stuck together for most of the season have exceeded preseason expectations.

Many fantasy owners were loath to drafting Claude Giroux, as his point totals have declined for three consecutive seasons. But this season, Giroux is not only proving there’s lots left in the tank, but he’s also one of the NHL’s top scorers. With a goal and two assists, Giroux has three goals and 20 assists in his last 14 games, which places him third in NHL scoring. It may have been about finding the right linemate, though.

Last season, Giroux and Sean Couturier spent virtually no time on the same line, as both were used as centers. This season, however, Giroux and Couturier have been used on the same line over 90 percent of the time, which has benefitted both. With two goals on Saturday, Couturier has reached the 20-goal and 40-point marks for the first time in his career. And he’s done so in just 41 games.  

Can Giroux and Couturier keep this pace? Or are they both potential sell highs? Both are seeing pucks go in the net at about a 16 percent rate – much higher than the roughly 9 percent career rate for both. Couturier would stand to lose more from regression, as he is more of the goal scorer and has taken 125 shots compared to Giroux’s 80 shots. Giroux has more of a history of high-end scoring, so I’d be more inclined to retain his services. And although you can’t argue with an x-factor like chemistry, Couturier would fetch a much higher return via a trade now than you would have had to pay in a draft or from waivers.

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Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin, and John Klingberg were kind to their fantasy owners on Saturday. Each banked three points before the Stars have to go on their bye week, which works out to a one-week break. The Stars play just once next week (against Colorado on Saturday), so weekly leaguers may have to consider sitting Radulov, Seguin, Klingberg, and/or Jamie Benn. Adam Daly-Frey has more schedule-related start/sit recommendations, as well as a bye week schedule, in this week’s Looking Ahead.

The Stars have at times split up their big three of Radulov, Seguin, and Benn in an effort to generate more offense throughout the lineup. But it worked wonders for them on Saturday, as someone from that line was in on four of the Stars’ five goals. Deploying this super line snuffs out the fantasy value of every other Star save for Klingberg and