Ramblings: Pacioretty’s Fate, Bishop and Boeser Go Down, and more (Mar 6)

steve laidlaw



Tank re-enforcements for the Canadiens yesterday with Max Pacioretty being ruled out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury and Victor Mete ruled out six weeks with a broken finger. Their seasons are done!

Good riddance for Pacioretty. I couldn’t bring myself to drop him despite a run one goal and six points in 15 games. Now that I’ve cut ties with this anchor I can hopefully soar through the fantasy playoffs.

Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen both got cracks at Pacioretty’s top unit PP time in their last outing. I’d lean towards Byron if you are stuck scraping the bottom of the barrel. Lehkonen is having a nightmare year, while Byron can get as hot as anyone. Montreal has 11 games during the next three weeks, so they represent a desirable team to pluck from. If Alex Galchenyuk isn’t available, you might find better options outside the Canadiens however.

Low ownership LW on Yahoo:

Travis Konecny – 48%

Evgenii Dadonov – 47%

Daniel Sedin – 42%

Patrick Maroon – 38%

Galchenyuk – 33%

Kevin Fiala – 30%

Alex Killorn -17%

Timo Meier – 6%

Vinnie Hinostroza – 2%


Jay Bouwmeester’s season is done as he heads for hip surgery. Bouwmeester isn’t fantasy relevant but given his declining play, his absence may actually help the Blues’ goaltenders. Of course, more helpful would be the return of Joel Edmundson but he is still a couple of weeks out after surgery on a broken forearm.

This surgery has implications on St. Louis’ off-season plans. With the final year of Bouwmeester’s deal on the books at $5.4 M for next season, might they have considered a buyout to free up space for a big free agent splurge? Even counting Bouwmeester’s deal they’ll have roughly $18M in cap space (assuming a $78 M salary cap) with seven roster spots to fill. They are counting on some youngsters like Robert Thomas making the leap so most of those roster spots will be filled by players on minimum deals. Still, they could open up an extra $3.6 M by buying out Bouwmeester’s final year. That could be the difference between affording a superstar like John Tavares and not being able to quite fit him in.

I have no idea if the Blues are considering a buyout, or if they’d really need to in order to get into the Tavares sweepstakes, but because Bouwmeester is now an injured player he’d have to agree to any buyout, and I can’t see that happening.


Update on the Bruins’ injury situation:


Anton Khudobin has been good for spot starts all year. He seems like a good bet especially with a punchless Red Wings team on tap at home.


Wild prospect Luke Kunin is done for the year with a torn ACL. He’s looking at a 6-8 -month recovery time. Seems like guys usually beat those estimates, but this could mean he doesn’t come into training camp in quite as good of shape as you’d like, which might mean waiting another year for him to truly arrive.

The Wild specifically waived Chris Stewart with the intent of clearing room for Kunin (and Jordan Greenway, whom they hope to sign when his college season is done). Stewart was mostly a healthy scratch, so it isn’t a huge loss, just an unfortunate loss of opportunity. Now Greenway may have an easier path to regular minutes, though he’s unlikely to make an impact this season.


Watch Mikael Backlund savagely dangle Kris Letang:


Good grief. That gives Backlund seven points in the last seven games. He was one of my favoured pickups for the week thanks to Calgary’s glorious off-night schedule, playing Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Sunday. You can still stream in some Flames for the final trio of games, which is a great way to maximize your limited roster space.

The other Flame worth considering is Micheal Ferland, back after missing four games with injury. He was back on the top line but skated just 11:13. He went scoreless extending his drought to eight games without a point. Not ideal. I’m using him in my multi-category league that counts hits and PIM. Otherwise, he’s sitting on the waiver wire.

The Flames’ playoff chances fell to 14.5% after last night’s overtime loss. They have collected just eight of a possible 22 points since Mike Smith went down, boasting a 3-6-2 record. They’ve given up 41 goals in those 11 games. Jon Gillies and David Rittich simply have not been up to the challenge, which highlights just how good Smith has been all season. Smith isn’t travelling with the team, which means the earliest he can return will be Sunday. Not sure the Flames can survive this.


How many fantasy leagues will Evgeni Malkin swing with his supernova second half? He’s been good all year but has 50 points in 30 games since Christmas. Half of those points have been goals so we’re talking about an 80’s-esque run of 25 goals in 30 games. Kudos to everyone daring enough to take the swing with Malkin. He’s been worth all the risk.

Back-to-back overtime wins for Tristan Jarry after both he and Casey DeSmith were DeStroyed in that DeFenseless DeBacle against DeBruins. Surprisingly, Jake DeBrusk did not score in that game.

Anyhow, Jarry seems to be settling in as expected, although he’s still a risk with how leaky the Penguins defense has been. I’m not sure I trust him in any of the upcoming matchups with Philadelphia, Toronto and Dallas next up. As always, I recommend using GoaliePost to confirm your starting goalie when making lineup decisions. Also, DFS resources or betting lines can be a good indicator of what type of game you are in for. I typically steer clear of using goalies when the over/under for goals hits 6.0.


Notorious giant killers, the Buffalo Sabres have now taken out Boston twice in a row, Tampa twice in a row, and now Toronto, all with Chad Johnson in goal. This is of course quite random as there were games (losses) against other less mighty opponents sprinkled in, but it’s funny to note all the same. Buffalo has Toronto three more times, and Tampa Bay once more. Can they keep this run going?

I am loving Ryan O’Reilly since Jack Eichel went down. So far he has 12 points and 36 SOG in 11 games, while skating absurd minutes. When Eichel first went down I suggested you could get 75% of Eichel from O’Reilly, but instead he’s giving you closer to the full meal.

Jason Mayor of Pominville, Lord of the Apples has six points in the last six games. Perhaps worth a flyer in deep leagues.


Did you enjoy what you got out of your Leafs last night? I hope so because they don’t play again until Saturday, and then not again until the following Wednesday. They have one game in the next eight days!

What a nightmare. I am putting serious consideration into dropping Mitch Marner over this. Certainly, you should consider dropping any fringe Leafs if you’re competing in a head-to-head league. Where do you draw the line? Depends on the league and how you feel about your matchup, but you could sell me on dropping just about any of them. It’s do or die time, and fortune favours the bold.


Oscar Klefbom and Milan Lucic ended some deathly goalless droughts of 33 and 29 games respectively.

Lucic appears cooked although he still has value in multi-category leagues. He has only managed to score at a fourth-line rate in the far-too-many minutes he has skated alongside Connor McDavid. There’s some shooting percentage noise in there. He’s only 29. No one thought the cliff would come this quickly, but he seems to have tumbled over.

Klefbom seems like a strong rebound candidate after battling through a shoulder injury all season. He has years of solid production ahead at age 24. He remains their best offensive option on the blue line. Their power play cannot be as terrible as it was this season.


I hope you Ben Bishop owners have your Kari Lehtonen handcuff. Bishop had to leave last night’s game with a lower-body injury. He will miss at least the next two games, and possibly more. Stay tuned. This is why I don’t like to invest in 30-year-old goalies with groin history.

Lehtonen has been remarkably capable all season boasting a .919 save percentage, but you may want to think twice about rolling him out there in their next game against the Predators. Nashville has been tuning teams up. The Stars will also be without defensive center Radek Faksa and top-four defenseman Esa Lindell. Not great circumstances.


Check out this slick play by Thomas Hickey:



Brendan Leipsic has made a big splash with Vancouver scoring five points in his first three games including the overtime winner last night. He’s been put in a good spot to succeed as well getting center by Bo Horvat while skating over 16 minutes in all three games. Vegas didn’t turn him into a superstar so I’d assume he’s a bust but so far so good.

He may be needed as Brock Boeser was forced from the game after a brutal collision with the open door frame:


No word on Boeser’s status but he had to be helped off and later a stretcher was required. Not good news.


Dobber mentioned yesterday that we are entering signing season for college/undrafted players. I scooped up a couple of undrafted signees in my dynasty league over the weekend:

Alex Barre-Boulet – signed with Tampa Bay out of the QMJHL. He has 109 points in 60 games as a 20-year-old. I’m not so impressed with that number. That type of production is expected from an over-ager. What I am more intrigued in is the 51 points he scored in 68 games during his 17-year-old draft year. That’s the season that really matters when it comes to projecting forward. He was 10th in the Q among under-18 scorers that year. His estimated points/60 at 5-on-5 (courtesy of the fantastic Prospects-Stats.com) puts him within spitting range of drafted prospects like Mathieu Joseph and Nicolas Roy. It also doesn’t hurt that he was signed by Tampa Bay who is making a killing off prospect selection and development. Worth a flyer in deep keepers.

Brayden Burke – signed with Arizona out of the WHL. Similar story here. He’s destroying the WHL as an over-ager, but whatever. Going back to his 17-year-old draft year, he scored 34 points in 42 games. That’s intriguing. He sat well down the list of overall under-18 scorers in the WHL that season, but in terms of per-game numbers he was ninth in scoring. In terms of estimated 5-on-5 production his points/60 that season ranks ahead of drafted players like Mathew Barzal, Nick Merkley and Jake DeBrusk. Highly intriguing. Read more about Burke here.


One more signing to discuss with the Oilers giving Colin Larkin, Dylan’s older brother a two-way deal. Larkin destroyed NCAA Div III for four years, but there isn’t much track record for players coming out of that league. This is most likely an organizational depth signing. Don’t chase the name.


Check out my latest fantasy hockey stock market post.


Thanks for reading! You can follow me @SteveLaidlaw.


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