Ramblings: Barkov Is Unstoppable; Pacioretty Keeps Scoring; Improving Players – January 20

Michael Clifford

2018-01-20

There was significant injury news that came out Friday, Dobber heads.

The first bit of news was the revelation of a knee injury to Rangers defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. He’s apparently been playing through a meniscus tear in his left knee through all season and it’s gotten to the point where he needs surgery. As reported in that linked story from Newsday, the hope is that the surgery being done now will afford him the opportunity of returning this season.

This is a big blow for his fantasy owners. He hadn’t been superlative this year, but it’s hard to find a waiver wire replacement for a d-man on pace for nine goals, 40 points, and 160-plus shots on goal. The assumption is that Ryan McDonagh will assume top PP duties for now and that this should open up a role for Tony DeAngelo, who was called up on Friday.

I understand that people will want Brady Skjei on the top PP unit, and he may at times, but Alain Vigneault loves his veterans. Anyone who follows their lineup decisions on a day-to-day basis knows this. I’m just not sure AV turns the keys of the power play over to Skjei. It’s not to say he won’t earn some more ice time, I would just expect McDonagh to eat most of the prime man-advantage minutes.

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We got an update on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins:

Those 5-6 weeks are due to cracked ribs suffered in his last game. In the meantime, Drake Caggiula was moved to the top line, Leon Draisaitl is centering the second line, and Ryan Strome was moved to the top power-play quintet. I put the over/under on how long Strome lasts on the first PP unit at 5.5 periods.

This is pretty poor timing for RNH as he was well on his way to his first 20-goal season since 2014-15, leading the Oilers in that category, and generally had been playing well.

I suppose Strome would be the immediate replacement, but I would take a shot on Mark Jankowski if he’s available in your leagues. The Flames have four games in the next six days, three of them at home, and the road contest is in Edmonton.

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