Matthews and More Injured, Penguin Road Show, plus more…

In case you missed the news release a few days ago, Dobber had announced some management changes on the site.

First off, I wish Steve Laidlaw well as he continues his main career as a firefighter. I hope that he sticks around the Dobber community in some way, but at least we can still follow him on Twitter. Steve’s contributions to this site have been enormous, as he was a must-read when he covered the Ramblings. He’ll be a tough act to follow for me, as he has been an incredibly talented writer and editor.

Next, congratulations to Cam Robinson on his appointment as managing editor of Dobber Prospects. Cam has quickly risen through the ranks at Dobber Prospects with both his top-notch analysis and can-do attitude. He has been getting his name out in the hockey community right now with regular interviews on both local sports talk radio stations in Vancouver (one more reason I like him: he’s a west coaster like me!) I look forward to working with Cam as we further integrate Dobber Hockey and Dobber Prospects under the overall Dobber Sports brand.

Finally, thanks to all of you who took the time to congratulate me in some way on my appointment as managing editor of Dobber Hockey. It is great that the work that I do is noticed and appreciated, which inspires me to continue to provide you with what I know and learn each time I author the Ramblings. I will admit that this will be a challenge in balancing my day job and family life with this responsibility, but I hope to rise to the occasion and continue to help make Dobber Hockey an elite fantasy hockey resource in numerous ways. Also, a special thank you to Dobber himself for showing faith in me with this opportunity.    

Anyway, I’ve got lots of Ramblings from a busy Saturday, so let’s get started.  


In one of the early games, new Islanders’ captain Anders Lee scored a goal and added three assists with a plus-3 in the Islanders’ 6-1 trouncing of the Flyers. Lee now has points in three consecutive games with a plus-5 over that span. So far he has been all right without a certain center with the initials JT with nine points (3g-6a) in nine games.

Perhaps more notably, two of Lee’s assists were on Brock Nelson goals. Nelson, who is widely available in Yahoo leagues (4% ownership), now leads the Islanders with five goals.

The bad with Mathew Barzal, as mentioned by Mike Clifford earlier this week: Super low shot totals. Just one shot on Saturday, which puts his total at a dismal eight shots in nine games. That all adds up to just one goal on the season and no goals in his last seven games. Not to mention a minus-7 ranking. But there’s some good here too: he’s still piling on the assists. With two helpers on Saturday, Barzal has nine assists (and ten points) in just nine games. Suffice to say, Barzal’s value is way higher in pure points leagues than in multicategory leagues at the moment.

In his season debut, Michal Neuvirth was the victim of the Isles’ scoring attack. Neuvirth allowed six goals on just 22 shots. It’s just one game, but he hardly seems like the answer for a Flyers’ team that is allowing on average a sieve-like four goals per game. The Carter Hart that Flyers’ fans are hoping for can’t arrive soon enough, although he has so far struggled in the AHL


Leon Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula each scored twice in the Oilers’ 5-3 win over Nashville. If you’re thinking that Draisaitl scored two goals in another game not so long ago, you’re right. Draisaitl, who also fired seven shots on goal on Saturday, also scored twice against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Mikko Koskinen stopped 24 of 27 shots, earning his first NHL win since all the way back in 2011.

Jesse Puljujarvi was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. With just a goal and no assists in seven games, he’s droppable in all but the very deepest of single-season leagues. I’d expect him to be back in the lineup before too long, although the Oilers probably won’t make many changes to a winning lineup for their next game today in Chicago.

In the loss, Filip Forsberg recorded a hat trick on seven shots on goal. That makes him the third player to reach the 10-goal mark this season. That’s a far cry from two seasons ago, when Forsberg didn’t reach the 10-goal mark until the new year. Last season Forsberg had a similar fast start, scoring eight goals during October. Forsberg is a strong bet to reach 30 goals for the third time in four seasons. 


Because of Tom Wilson’s suspension, the third man on the Alex Ovechkin/Evgeny Kuznetsov line has been a revolving door. After trying all of Brett Connolly, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana received his turn on Saturday against Calgary. He didn’t waste much time paying dividends, scoring a first-period goal. Should this arrangement stick for a while, Vrana could be worth taking a flier on. He has four points in his last four games.

Although he eventually settled down after allowing two first-period goals, Mike Smith again didn’t provide his owners with what they needed. Smith has allowed at least three goals in six of his eight starts this season. Although I can’t see him losing the starting job outright, Smith might have to give way to David Rittich (2.37 GAA, .933 SV%) more often than we expected during the preseason. If I owned Smith (which fortunately I don’t right now), I’d keep him on the bench for now.


Carey Price picked up a shutout against the Bruins on Saturday, stopping all 33 shots he faced. With his first shutout of the season, Price equaled his shutout total from all of last season. So that should give you a hint as to whether he has improved over last season. With a 2.13 GAA and .922 SV%, Price has looked like the Price of old so far. In other words, the kind of goalie that has now won more games than Patrick Roy in a Habs’ uniform.

With another goal on Saturday, Max Domi now has five goals over his last five games. This from a guy who scored a grand total of nine in each of the last two seasons. Yes, his shooting percentage is abnormally high (23.8%). But so far, the trade to Montreal and the move to center seems to be agreeing with him.


I guess John Tavares is the insurance policy that the Leafs needed. Auston Matthews, who entered Saturday’s game with no points in his last three games, left Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. Given the player and the team he plays for, you’ll probably be provided with plenty of updates. The shoulder injury was to his left shoulder, not the same one that was injured last season. Mike Babcock has already said that Matthews won’t practice on Sunday and won’t play Monday against Calgary. It sounds like this injury will cost him multiple games, so you’ll want to look for an alternative for next week.

Here’s video on the Matthews injury, which appeared to occur as a result of a hit from Jacob Trouba:

The injury resulted in Nazem Kadri moving up to the top line alongside Patrick Marleau and Kasperi Kapanen. Just as it was thought that Kadri would lose value with the Tavares addition, Kadri should probably gain value as a result of the Matthews injury.

Kapanen, who scored the game-winner late in the third period, continues to score with goals in back-to-back games. Yet I have to wonder about his value over the next little while if a) Matthews misses significant time, and b) William Nylander is finally signed. Add in a 24 percent shooting accuracy and you have multiple reasons to sell high on Kapanen in single-season leagues.  

Patrik Laine entered Saturday’s game with no points over his last four games, so he started the game on the fourth line. The demotion didn’t cost Laine any power-play time, but unfortunately it’s now no points over his past five games. Laine owners should simply consider this a speedbump that they’ll have to manage, as he has too much talent to be kept in that spot for long.


I didn’t look at the entire list of players in the comments of the players sinking your fantasy team question on the Dobber Sports Facebook page, but Jake Allen had to be somewhere on that list. It only went from bad to worse for Allen, who left Saturday’s game with a possible concussion after making a save in a collision late in the second period. Chad Johnson took over in net and was able to preserve the win for the Blues. There was no update on Allen’s status following the game.

Here’s film on the play:

The Blues don’t play again until Thursday, so I’d wait for some more updates on Allen before determining whether Johnson is worth a pickup.

I have to mention Zach Sanford, who scored a goal and two assists for the Blues while playing on a line with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron. After being called up from the AHL two weeks ago, Sanford has racked up six points (3g-3a) with a plus-6 in just five games. If his name is in any way familiar, it’s because he was part of the return for the Blues in the Kevin Shattenkirk trade with Washington. He might be worth taking a flier on in deeper leagues, particularly if this line arrangement continues.


Another injury to mention: Victor Hedman will be out for at least a week with an upper-body injury resulting from Friday’s game in Vegas. Hedman was knocked into the boards by Ryan Reaves. See below:

Additionally, Ondrej Palat is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Bolts certainly missed Hedman, as they were trounced 7-1 by the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. While Hedman is sidelined, Mikhail Sergachev’s value receives a bump, as he will take over the first-unit power-play duties. Hopefully you weren’t quick to add him for this game, though, as he was held without a point and was a team-worst minus-6 (ouch!) Ryan McDonagh assumed second-unit power-play duties.

The Coyotes were definitely due for something, let alone a goal outburst against one of the league’s top teams. Both Derek Stepan and Michael Grabner scored their first goals of season (Grabner ended up scoring two). Stepan entered the game without a goal on 24 shots, while the “all I do is score goals” Grabner had been held without a goal on 16 shots. The Coyotes are just outside the top 5 when it comes to shots on goal, averaging 34 shots per game.

Other Coyotes who are due: Nick Cousins (no goals on 25 shots), Kevin Connauton (no goals on 24 shots), and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (no goals on 21 shots). If you can buy low on OEL right now, I’d say go for it.


One more injury (ugh): Jonathan Quick will be sidelined for at least a week, according to LA Kings Insider. Jack Campbell is worth a pickup once again. But with the Kings struggling mightily and mired at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, he might have a tough time earning wins.


It’s just business as usual for the Penguins. After torching the Flames for nine goals on Thursday, the Pens scored another five on Saturday. With two goals and an assist, Evgeni Malkin is on a 7-game point streak with points in eight of his nine games this season. Not surprisingly, Malkin has moved up to a top-5 position in the league’s scoring race. This is what he’s capable of when he stays healthy.

After scoring another two goals on Saturday, Sidney Crosby has five goals over his last three games. That was after Crosby had been held without a goal in his first six games. You can’t keep Sid the Kid down for long. (By the way, can we call him that anymore?)

Minor injury scare for Kris Letang owners, as he left the game in the first period after taking a hit. But he returned to the game and played 21 minutes, although he did not record a point.

With both Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser returning from injury, the Canucks were expected to receive a major boost in the scoring department on Saturday. But backup Casey DeSmith and the Penguins slammed the door, stopping all 29 shots he faced in a 5-0 shutout.

DeSmith: 4 GP, 1.95 GAA, .939 SV%

Matt Murray: 5 GP, 3.37 GAA, .910 SV%

Any chance DeSmith factors more into the Penguins’ goaltending situation going forward? Murray did earn wins in Pittsburgh’s previous three games while posting a .951 SV% over that span, giving the Pens a four-game sweep in their road trip through Canada. Murray shouldn’t have anything to worry about in terms of job security, but DeSmith is definitely now in the mix for backup goalies that you should be able to add for spot starts.

From Murray, a tweet that unfortunately sums up the non-hockey related news of the day. Something that is happening far too often in the world these days.


For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.