Ramblings: Thoughts on Kovy, some slumping Rangers, Eberle, Pulock, and uh…Ryan Reaves. No seriously – Reaves. (Oct 29)
I am not and never have been a fan of Los Angeles being a landing spot for Ilya Kovalchuk. I had picked him up last January with the expectation that he would sign somewhere, and was disappointed at his eventual destination. But that being said, I am certainly comfortable with him getting to 60 points this season. Even with a slow start I didn’t think anything of it. He had a three-point game Sunday, which brings him to a pace of exactly 60 points. He’ll have his hot and cold moments and fall above and below that mark, but ultimately I think that’s where his destination lies. Something to keep in mind if he ever gets ahead of that pace by a large amount – if you own him that would be the time to shop him.
Kovalchuk has been stuck with Adrian Kempe and Trevor Lewis as his linemates. His big game Sunday included just one goal with those guys, while the other two were via the power play. I suspect the bulk of his points come on the power play. Four of his five ES points came with Dustin Brown out and he was on the Anze Kopitar line. Sunday marked his first ES point without Kopitar on the ice.
Can Filip Chytil be sent to the minors please? He’s just being wasted right now. Meanwhile Lias Andersson is leading Hartford with nine points in 10 games and getting all the ice time in the world. If his presence is simply to make it feasible to scratch the below two players, then it’s hurting him.
Ryan Spooner scored his first goal of the season. After his sizzling start with New York after being traded last year, we had higher expectations for him. But, as it is with Pavel Buchnevich, the coach isn’t a fan of laziness or perceived laziness (perception is just as important). But what we should have honed in on further was the fact that he had just seven PPPts last season despite 140 minutes on the power play. He’s not the PP asset that he was in 2016-17 (18 PPPts) and 2015-16 (17 PPPts). I don’t normally give up on players 10 games in, but he is one of those few in which enough signs are there for me to write him off. I see him Alex Chiassoning his way around the league for the next three years before fading to Europe.
Another slumping, healthy-scratch guy on the Rangers who showed signs of life Sunday was Vladislav Namestnikov. And as with Spooner, I don’t have any faith in the sustainability of his pop in production. It’s nice to play with Pavel Buchnevich and Brett Howden, but keep in mind that Buch is in the doghouse himself. Namestnikov had his fantasy value beefed up in the first quarter last season when he played with Nikita Kucherov, and at this point it’s pretty clear that he’s a complementary player. Great to have if he’s complementing the right player, but there is nobody on the Rangers who fits the bill. If he’s traded to Pittsburgh and plays with Evgeni Malkin, then sign me up. But otherwise, I just don’t care about this guy in any league format.
Speaking of Malkin, I held onto that guy for a dozen years and he won me a couple of trophies in that particular keeper league. But the last few years he had been killing me with injuries in the final months and so I traded him last summer (2017). So naturally that means he never gets hurt again and is back to his dominant self.
Sebastian Aho has points in all 11 games this year. The only player to do this. In the Frozen Tools Report Generator there is a “most consistent” report you can quickly run to see the players with production in the most games. Mikko Rantanen and Patrick Kane have points in 11 of 12, Thomas Chabot and Connor McDavid has points in nine of 10 (and they each added another on Sunday).
Jordan Eberle has been back with Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. He is coming off a nice 59-point season that was boosted by playing with Barzal, as I think he’s generally a safe 50-point guy. However, tough puck luck and low shot percentage has turned what should be six or seven points by now into four. There will be a market correction, just stay the course. If you expected low-50s out of him you’ll get them.
The above line changes means that Brock Nelson has been with Anders Lee and Josh Bailey, so I upgraded my worst winger for the week ahead – Mikkel Boedker – to get the extra couple of points that Nelson would get me.
Ryan Pulock is another one I’ve been asked about and I’m tremendously more confident in him than in Eberle. But only two points (second one coming Sunday) despite great puck luck (5on5 SH% says his teammates are scoring at a great clip when he’s on the ice, he’s just not in on them) can be discouraging. But I completely believe in his talent, and the fact that he’s leading the Islanders in ice time (22:52 per game) says he will start getting the points. Eventually Nick Leddy will lose his PP time to Pulock, mark my words. Check it: Leddy is in on 16.7% of the PP goals that have been scored while he is out there (that’s one PPPts out of six goals that were scored). Pulock was in on the only PP goal scored while he was out there (that’s 100%, if you don’t have a calculator handy). A trend like that continuing for another dozen games will start impacting the coach’s decision there.
It’s looking as though Petr Mrazek is slowly taking over the top job in Carolina. He’s done fairly well in five games since giving up five goals in his second appearance – a 2.21 GAA, though a still-dismal .904 SV%. That being said, with the higher scoring so far this year, that .904 would sit him 26th in the league among goalies who played at least five games. Right now .904 is the new .914. Based on what this team has had lately, they may just latch onto this glimmer of relative success and ride it. What else are they gonna do, turn to Scott Darling? Meanwhile, Curtis McElhinney is in the press box.
Dougie Hamilton leads all defensemen in shots on goal by a wide margin with 47. Next is 36 and that’s a tie between Morgan Rielly and the rookie – Henri Jokiharju. Joki has 36 shots on goal already and is on pace for 246. He had six SOG on Sunday.
Cam Talbot lost the first two games of the season, giving up seven goals. Since then he is 5-1-1, 0.918 SV%, 2.42 GAA and five quality starts.
Kailer Yamamoto has been entrenched on the McDavid line but hasn’t done anything to steal the job permanently. Ty Rattie is still about two weeks (guessing) away, but at this point his job is still safe.
Interesting stat from the NHL. Wayne Gretzky had at least 17 points in his first 10 games for the Oilers in seven different seasons. Mark Messier achieved the feat once, as did Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson. Now you can add Connor McDavid to the list.
I did a double-take when I saw that Ryan Reaves picked up a goal on the power play. He played on the power play? So I took and look and saw that he had goals in two straight games on October 20 and 24, so Gallant gave him secondary PP time on the 26th, and again on the 28th – and he scored. So I think he’ll keep getting that time until he cools off. What keeps his downside to a minimum is the fact that he’s been a Hit machine. He had just one Hit Sunday, but prior to that he had three straight games of seven Hits and two straight games of five Hits.
Craig Anderson faced 53 shots and stopped 49. His .908 SV% isn’t remarkable, but as I noted above, the higher scoring makes that number not so bad. And it is Ottawa, keep in mind.
We’ve been making a lot (on here) about how the Ducks keep getting outshot badly. Sunday was no different – the Sharks outshot them 49-30.
There were a few things of note in that game, pretty much all related to the Ducks (Sharks got big points from the usual suspects, I won’t waste my time commenting). Firstly, Jakob Silfverberg was back. He had missed five games with a fracture on the tip of his finger. Despite 19:39 of ice time he was held pointless. I think he will get rolling again when Max Comtois returns, hopefully this week.
Secondly, Andy Welinski was recalled and the offensive rearguard picked up a point despite playing just spare minutes (9:32) and none on the power play (the Ducks only had one PP anyway). He’s not one to pick up just yet unless your league is pretty frivolous with roster space and transactions, but he’s definitely one to watch to see if that ice time ekes upwards.
He has shown value in the recent past for short spurts and makes for an interesting waiver claim.
See you next Monday.