Ramblings: Kucherov Hurt, Magnificent Marner and more (Feb 27)

steve laidlaw

2018-02-26

 

Was there a bigger loser of this year’s trade deadline than Vladislav Namestnikov? I don’t think so.

The biggest possibly opening is the one left by Namestnikov as the net-front presence on the Lightning’s top power play unit. There isn’t as much of an opening in the top-six considering Namestnikov fell out of favour of the past couple of months. Last night, we saw Chris Kunitz deployed in that net-front spot, but it’s worth noting that JT Miller hadn’t yet joined the team.

Miller, Kunitz and Ryan Callahan are all candidates here. As I suspect is Yanni Gourde, but I suppose we’ll wait and see.

None of that may matter if Nikita Kucherov’s injury proves serious. He left last night’s game with an upper-body injury and did not return. No word on his exact status, so keep an eye out for updates. The Lightning can survive a few weeks without him, but likely not a few playoff rounds. My fantasy team can survive neither.

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Mitch Marner’s absurd run continues. He has 16 points in the last nine games, including a five-point night and a four-point night. Just like that he’s on pace for 67 points, just shy of the 70 that I forecasted. I held strong on Marner until January and then I started to have doubts. This run is all worth it. I hope he can maintain this through the fantasy playoffs. I also need him to get at least 65 points to hit as one of my few aggressive over bets this season. Until this week, it really didn’t feel like it was in play.

Nikita Zaitsev recorded his first point in 22 games. His fantasy value died a quick death when Morgan Rielly scooped his spot on the power play this season.

As expected, no fantasy relevance to be found in Tomas Plekanec. He skated 11:38 in his Leaf debut. PK time but not PP time.

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Petr Mrazek moved to 3-0 as the Flyers starter without a shutout win over the Canadiens. He was matched until the shootout by Charlie Lindgren who had this miracle save in overtime: