Ramblings: One-Category Dominant Defensemen, Crosby Finally Scores a Goal (Oct 24)

Ian Gooding

2018-10-24


One-Category Dominant Defensemen, Crosby Finally Scores a Goal

Let’s start with one defenseman who likes to take shots and another who likes to block shots.

I’m already being asked whether it’s worth it to trade Dougie Hamilton. I realize that Justin Faulk – not Hamilton – is quarterbacking the first-unit power play in Carolina. Yet we’re only nine games into Hamilton’s stint as a Hurricane, and Faulk is simply more familiar with the system. Besides, if you’re in a league that counts shots on goal, Hamilton is a must own. As of this writing, Hamilton is fifth in shots on goal in the entire NHL. No, not among defensemen – all skaters. If you filter by defensemen, Hamilton is at the top of the list with 39 shots – 11 clear of second-place Shayne Gostisbehere and Roman Josi with the same number of games played.

The frustrating part for Hamilton owners, though, is that not one of those shots has gone into the net. That’s zero goals on 39 shots. It may not make much sense to fantasy owners that Faulk is running the first-unit power play in Carolina. But he is off to a great start (five points and 27 shots in nine games), has taken over 200 shots in a season three times himself, and has also been a solid power-play producer throughout his career in his own right. Both are right-handed shots, though, so it might be one or the other on the first-unit power play – not both. That’s unfortunate, because we’re not seeing aHaHamilton at his full potential at the moment.

Alex Edler blocked only one shot on Monday. This isn’t normally newsworthy stuff, but that gives him a league-leading 39 blocked shots for the season. What’s even more interesting is that he is already 9 blocked shots ahead of the player in second place (Cam Fowler). Edler is a borderline scoring option among defensemen in average-sized leagues, but he’s a must-own in leagues that count blocked shots.

I’ll give you one reason why this pace might continue, and one reason why it might not. This pace could continue because the Canucks are simply pinned in their own zone in many games and lack blueliners with the ability to transition the puck – a key skill for teams in today’s NHL. Edler will simply be counted on to reduce the damage of the Canucks giving up so many shot attempts. The reason this might not continue? Due to injuries, Edler has averaged only 65 games played over the past five seasons. Yes, he’s on the latest