Ramblings: All-Star Game; Marner; Toews; Letang – January 29

Michael Clifford

2018-01-29

The 2018 NHL All-Star game took place on Sunday with the Team Pacific taking home the title with a 5-2 win over Team Atlantic. Brock Boeser was named the MVP with two goals and an assist across the two games. The games themselves were fine. Again, as I mentioned in my Ramblings on Saturday, this is an event for kids to enjoy, not necessarily adults. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I don’t think more digital ink needs to be spilled on the subject of the All-Star Game.

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This is the unofficial mid-point of the season – we’re actually well beyond the mid-point – which means it’s time to solidify rosters for a roto/points push, or a head-to-head playoff run. For some, that may mean not touching their roster beyond some minor changes. For others, that could mean big overhauls to try and get the most out of a lacklustre start.

Here are some players I’m looking to target for trades in my leagues (to my league mates: please don’t read this). I’ll simply go with a starting lineup of three forwards and two defencemen.

 

Cam Atkinson

I assume he will be a popular target because of his consistency over the previous four seasons, but it still doesn’t hurt to ask.

There are a lot of reasons to target Atkinson so let’s take them one at a time.

First, there is his five-on-five performance. The guy is a shooting machine, and this year is no different as he’s averaging a career-high 17.89 shot attempts/60 minutes. That puts him inside the top-20 league-wide among forwards, in the same range as sublime scoring talents like James van Riemsdyk and Nikolaj Ehlers. That level of shooting is supposed to help guarantee some consistency in scoring, but it’s not five-on-five where the problem is.

Where Columbus’ problems are, and by extension Atkinson’s, is the power play. It’s no secret the Blue Jackets PP has struggled mightily most of the year, but things are turning around; since the team united Zach Werenski and Seth Jones on Decmeber 29th, their power-play unit is generating 111.55 shot attempts per 60 minutes. For reference on how good that is, the team as a whole was generating 81 shot attempts per 60 minutes altogether from October through the end of December. That has translated to over 12 goals scored per 60 minutes for that unit. Of course it’s a small sample, and typically two-defencemen PPs aren’t as successful offensively, but we only have 32 games to work