Ramblings: Blues Riding Hutton’s Hot Hand (Jan 19)

steve laidlaw



As much as the condensed bye week setup was supposed to spare teams from having to go against active opponents coming off their bye we saw five games pitting rusty teams against active teams. Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Buffalo, Washington and Columbus all came off their bye last night and faced teams that had their bye last week. Unsurprisingly, those teams went 1-4 with only Columbus prevailing in overtime.

It’s for this reason that I’m not too hung up on Andrei Vasilevskiy giving up four goals for the fourth straight game. I’m not happy about the trend, but at least in this case I saw the implosion coming.

Vegas, by the way, is fortunate to have their cross-country road trip yield Nashville, Tampa Bay and tonight at Florida against teams coming off the bye. So far, they are 1-1 having conceded just two goals. Hmmm. Indeed, I do like their chances against the Panthers tonight. Other teams coming off the bye against active opponents: Carolina @ Detroit on Saturday, Chicago vs. the Islanders on Saturday, and Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay on Saturday. I’d bet against all the teams coming off the bye.


Tampa Bay’s new look power play clicked for one goal three opportunities. The new top unit looked as follows:

Nikita KucherovSteven StamkosBrayden PointOndrej PalatMikhail Sergachev

Outside of Palat, that group is near universal ownership. Some gain here for Palat.

Obviously, Vladislav Namestnikov takes another hit now having been dumped off the top line AND the top PP unit. However, lines get juggled often. I’ve no doubt Namestnikov will jump back onto the top line and top PP unit at some point.

The Lightning’s second unit is much less dynamic with Point and Sergachev on the top unit. Sergachev’s promotion was demanded by the Victor Hedman injury. I’m not sure about Point jumping up, but the latter move is not something I’d expect to be permanent.

We might see Anton Stralman gain a little more relevance with some secondary PP time.


Shea Theodore ended a five-game scoreless drought. He has been better since his lineup slot became permanent, but we’re talking roughly a 0.5-point-per-game pace. That’s good for a defenseman, but is right on the borderline where you might not want to own him outside of hot streaks. He remains widely available so if you could sell high on a guy like Nick Leddy, Charlie McAvoy or Will Butcher (to name a few), you’d have a replacement wh