Just had my final draft of the year, 28th year in this league but it’s also the most basic – strictly points, 12 best at the end of the year count from your 20-player roster. Keep everyone. One thing about having it a few games into the season is that the owners tended to ignore or move down the players who were off to slow starts. Dahlin was actually grabbed ninth, and Lias Andersson wasn’t drafted at all in the 26 picks. I picked 10th and 23rd and got Ryan Donato and was about to take Max Comtois because I really like him for this season and beyond. He’s really clicking well with Jakob Silfverberg and believe he will stick throughout the year and continue to be reasonably productive. But he was grabbed 22nd and so rather than acquiring help for this season I went with the high upside in Vitali Kravtsov. Yes, he only has six points in the KHL right now, but he’s still only 18 years old and those six points are exactly what Tarasenko and Kuznetsov had at a year older and in the same amount of games (15).
Two weeks ago in my deep keeper league (15-team, 33-player, keep all, 18th year) I didn’t pick until 34th overall and I picked seven times between 34th and 60th and I had the last three picks of the draft. Here are the players I grabbed, in order (points only, positions count): Vinnie Hinostroza, Warren Foegele, Vince Dunn, Tom Wilson (just an hour or two before he went head hunting), Ethan Bear, Auston Czarnik and Alex Formenton. I also burned the one FA pick that we get for the entire season, just a couple of days ago. The player has to be at least 24, and it’s first come first served. I rarely use it so early, but grabbed Chris Tierney.
It was a real shame seeing Elias Pettersson go down like that on Saturday. As far as players go, and my early impressions so far this season, it’s Pettersson and Auston Matthews. Pettersson is an elite player and I had no idea just how elite until watching two of his games in the NHL. I feel like he’s gonna do what Mathew Barzal did last season, production-wise. It would be a shame if this injury has any long-term implications on his health (i.e. susceptibility to concussion).
Matthews has been on another planet. You don’t need me to tell you that. But it’s as if adding John Tavares on another line has freed things up for Matthews to the point where he’s just toying with the poor suckers that the opposition trots out there to try to stop him. I had always considered him a Patrick-Kane type of talent, but now I wonder if he’s a Sidney-Crosby type of generational talent. I don’t use that label very easily.
Back to Jakob Silfverberg, I have this “breakout” vibe on him, a la Josh Bailey (last year) or Brad Marchand (three years ago). That’s how good he’s been looking, and I think a big part of that is Comtois. Here:
That’s why it’s such a shame that he left last night’s contest with an upper-body injury in the third. No word from the Ducks about the seriousness. Back in August I mused that Silfverberg was the perfect Bailey/Marchand situation template: Has more offensive talent than he’s shown, has solidified his production window in around that 50-point range, and it’s now at the point where we don’t expect more (just as it was with Marchand and Bailey). And then “whoa”, he gets 65 points out of the blue. So far Silf has seven points in six games so let’s hope he returns soon. The Ducks play just once (Wednesday) before Saturday so maybe he just misses the one game?
So far my “triplets” theory from the summer is holding. Alex Pietrangelo is pointless in five games. I will reiterate – you can’t become a new father and have triplets and expect your offseason regimen to remain unaffected.
San Jose is just two for 22 on the power play so far, after six games. St. Louis is 1-2-2 in their first five games. These are two of the team-based stats that are a little surprising.
But we did know, at least with St. Louis, that there was a risk there with Jake Allen. And sure enough he has allowed 17 goals in four games. In an effort to maximize the odds that Allen will pan out, the Blues put all their eggs into that basket. To give him confidence, and remove any competition for his job. But now we’re seeing the downside to that. Chad Johnson, who started Sunday and was decent, is not going to bail this team out the way Carter Hutton did last year. It’s Allen or bust. Mike Yeo could be the first coach fired this year.
Jaden Schwartz didn’t play Sunday because of an LBI. No further word on that other than it’s his foot or leg. Sammy Blais has taken his spot on the power play and seen a lofty bump in ice time. He didn’t do anything with it, which is discouraging, but it does offer us a glimpse of the coach’s personal preference. Blais got the PP ice time over Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou. Keep an eye on that, if Schwartz is out for long.
Ryan O’Reilly was 19-6 at the faceoff circle, Sunday.
Dougie Hamilton is seeing 2:11 of PP ice time per game, his lowest in four years. His overall ice time is down nearly two minutes from last year with Calgary. Meanwhile, Justin Faulk – he of just seven power play goals in his last 180-odd games – is actually seeing his PP time going up! The only logic for this is that it’s a statement. Why did Calgary want to move Hamilton? And is Carolina (Rod Brind’Amour) trying to stamp out that reason with some tough love?
In the third quarter last year, Hamilton had 21 points in 22 games. He had 23 points total in the other three quarters. Just having him for streaks like that makes him worth pursuing if his owner is starting to panic about the PP situation.
I like doing the Monday Ramblings, but I especially like it in the first half of the season. Because there are only a couple of games I can usually watch most of them and Ramble the shit out of them here. In the second half, after the NFL season ends, the Sundays start to fill up and the analysis gets spread out!*
Paul Maurice is shortening his bench and as an owner of several Jets in one of my leagues, I don’t like it. He’s no longer trusting the likes of Mathieu Perreault, though we saw signs last year in the playoffs that this was coming. Perreault’s ice time is now seven or eight minutes a game. The Jets outright waived Marco Dano, so we know where he stands. And Kristian Vesalainen, a kid with tons of potential, has seen about 12 minutes of ice time over the last two games combined. Even Jack Roslovic, a prospect with a reputation for over-achieving and hard-working, is getting eight minutes per game. The top line of Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor are getting 20 or 22 minutes per game now (and even Connor was cut to 15 on Sunday when he went minus-2). He’s not trusting his players the way he did last year and that worries me. Will Roslovic get a chance to snap his funk? Nikolaj Ehlers?
One thing I do like as a guy who does not own Dustin Byfuglien but does on Josh Morrissey in three of my four leagues – Morrissey is getting the sweet ice time with Big Buff out, and he’s taking full advantage. Morrissey picked up two assists Sunday, with one coming on the power play. Buff is listed as day-to-day with a UBI.
Micheal Ferland was a wrecking ball Sunday, scoring a goal but adding eight hits. He even had four faceoff wins, to help out those leagues that count that. His 18:53 of ice time was a season high for him. Boy was I wrong about this guy. I had him trending the opposite way in the Guide. I should have read it better – the Hurricanes wanted sandpaper, they have a hard-working coach. So of course they would give Ferland top billing. I miffed this one, just a poor read. Seems so obvious now.
Kyle Palmieri’s game log after three games: two goals, two goals, two goals. He also has a hit and PPG each game, and has a total of 14 shots on goal. I talked about Silfverberg and the Bailey Breakout, but Palmieri is also a suitable candidate. He’s 27, we have very firm expectations for him and what he can do, as it’s been very stable and reliable in that range. He also plays with Taylor Hall, which can’t hurt.
The big Devils’ line (Palmieri, Hall, Nico Hischier) is also the first PP unit and the trio saw over nine minutes on the power play on Sunday.
Keith Kinkaid is 3-0-0 so far and has allowed just four goals.
Warren Foegele leads all rookies and is 18th in the league overall in terms of shots on goal with 19. He had another four on Sunday but was pointless.
I noted this last week and I’ll repeat it again here. Hell, I’ll repeat it every week until it stops – because it will stop. Arizona has been shut out of three of four games this year. They’ve only scored two goals. Now is the time to acquire them. Clayton Keller is on pace for 20 points. Keep the Coyotes on your team benched until they wake up, but as far as trades go, the value won’t get any lower. So acquire and stash.
See you next Monday.