Ramblings: Updates on Palat, Schenn, Boeser; Malkin; Zuccarello; Assist Rates – November 9

Michael Clifford



There is a lot, and I mean a lot, to get to so let’s not waste time. 


Tampa Bay, and fantasy owners, will be without the services of Ondrej Palat for about a month as an update was given on his lower-body injury. The second line is humming along just fine without him but it does hit their thin LW depth.


Evgeni Malkin will not face any supplemental discipline for the incident with TJ Oshie Wednesday night.


The New York Rangers said that Mats Zuccarello is considered day-to-day with a groin strain. We’ll see if it’s day to day because some Ondrej Palat owners likely thought the same thing and now he’ll miss about six weeks total.

Brett Howden was back on the ice for New York, though, so there’s some silver lining here.


A quick update on Brock Boeser:



Not great.


Some news from the Blues.

  • Brayden Schenn is questionable for their next game.
  • Patrick Maroon will be a healthy scratch.
  • Robert Thomas is expected to play their next game. That would be his 10th and a good indication he’ll be around the rest of the year.


Normally when it’s my night to do Ramblings I like to go game by game to review the significant fantasy performances. Thursday night was, in a word, insane. I’m going to have to just go through the major performances on a macro level rather than game by game.


Vancouver went into Boston, without Brock Boeser, and put up an eight spot on the Bruins. Jaroslav Halak started for Boston and was pulled. Tuukka Rask then allowed three more goals.

Jake DeBrusk had two goals and an assist, David Krejci had three assists, and Matt Grzelcyk had one each.

Vancouver’s production probably works best in bullet form and these are just the guys with multi-point games:

Burn this game tape, Boston, and banish the ashes to the pits of hell.

We did get a good quote from Rask, though:


Philadelphia overcame a two-goal, third period deficit to defeat Arizona 5-4 in overtime. Scott Laughton had a pair of goals, Claude Giroux had a pair of assists, and both Dale Weise and Shayne Gostisbehere had one of each, the latter the game-winner in extra time.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson had 1 and 1 in the loss and is now up to 10 points on the year.


Mike Hoffman had a pair of assists in Florida’s 4-1 win over Edmonton, bringing his point streak to 10 games and 11 points. Roberto Luongo only faced 27 shots but had a few absolute 10-bell saves and was the reason Florida was able to stay ahead all game long.


Tampa, for the most part, did not look great against the Islanders but talent won out and they skated away with a 4-2 win. Andrei Vasilevskiy faced 37 shots from a bad offensive team, to point out how awful the Lightning were for the most part. They got a late goal from Tyler Johnson to go ahead 3-2 and an empty-netter from Steven Stamkos.


Ottawa managed to tie their game with Vegas 3-3 after being down in a 3-0 hole but the Golden Knights got a couple of late goals to seal it. Hopefully a sign of things to come, Colin Miller had a pair of assists, doubling his point total on the year. He is still without a goal on the year with 35 shots and counting. Add two more points to Thomas Chabot’s season total, adding a goal and an assist. Seriously, this is the sell-high window in one-year leagues.


Buffalo won a wild (get it?) game in Montreal 6-5 in overtime. Jeff Skinner and Vladimir Sobotka each had a pair of goals, the former now up to 11 on the year. Max Domi had three assists in this one, bringing him to 19 points on the year. Jonathan Drouin had 1 and 1 with four shots on goal. Linus Ullmark was pulled after the second period, allowing 5 goals on 32 shots.


Carolina goaltender Scott Darling got his revenge on Chicago in a 4-3 win in the Windy City. Darling stopped 35 of 38 shots while Andrei Svechnikov, Phil Di Giuseppe, Calvin de Haan, and Jaccob Slavin all tallied.

It was the first loss for the Blackhawks under new coach Jeremy Colliton. Of note here was that Patrick Kane essentially played both halves of their power plays, which would be a nice boost to his fantasy value. Whether it was just an in-game decision or not remains to be seen. Something to monitor in the next couple games.


Devin Shore skated on the top line for Dallas alongside Tyler Seguin and replied with a pair of goals in Dallas’s 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. Seguin also scored for the Stars, his first tally in a month. Despite that drought, he’s still a point-per-game player. Imagine what he’ll do once he gets hot.

More than anything though, John Klingberg was injured in this game and coach Montgomery said he’d be out three weeks. Expect a lot of minutes, especially on the power play, for Miro Heiskanen.


Minnesota and Los Angeles, after all the craziness we had, played a game that featured 52 shots. I’m sure it was fine.

Jokes aside, Nino Niederreiter got the monkey off his back and finally scored his first of the year. Now would be the time to dig into the waiver wire if you need a winger, that shot percentage is going to correct itself sooner rather than later.



A few days ago, I talked about the secondary assist rate of Thomas Chabot. His was (and is) so high that, at this pace, he’d be among the points leaders for defencemen through secondary assists alone; he has 13 secondary assists, which would tie him for sixth in points among d-men with John Klingberg and Ryan Suter. Obviously, he can’t sustain anywhere close to that.

It got me thinking, which other players are relying on unreliable secondary assists for production? Let’s take a look. Data is from Natural Stat Trick and this is at five-on-five only (minimum of 100 minutes).


Charlie McAvoy

He’s only played seven games and is still looking to return from injury, but McAvoy leads the NHL in secondary assist rate, having put up four total in those seven games. That’s going to pull back when he returns to the lineup, obviously.

Researching this, though, pointed me to something else for McAvoy: his shot rate is horrific. Through those seven games and 522 players with at least 100 minutes at 5v5, he ranked 473rd in shot rate. Among defencemen only he’s 156th out of 188. That’s bad.

Again, it’s only seven games and we’re still waiting for him to return from injury, so maybe things will change. This is more something to keep an eye on than something to be worried about at the moment, though some extremely handsome Dobber Associate Editor warned over the summer that he was being over-drafted.


Mikko Rantanen

To this point, Rantanen’s secondary assist rate (1.53 per 60 minutes) is more than double last year’s mark (0.73). For reference on that 1.53, of all players with 1000 5v5 minutes in 2017-18, no one was above 0.90. At this rate, he’ll surpass last season’s secondary assist total (14) before Christmas. That obviously won’t happen.

The thing is, even if we take a few assists off his current point total, Rantanen would still have 21 points in 15 games. He also has yet to score at 5v5 this year, blanking on 20 shots to date. If that were to normalize and he has two or three goals, that makes for the drop in second assist rate.

Long story short, there are reasons to believe Rantanen’s point rate will decline (no, he won’t put up 125 points or whatever) but the secondary assist rate at 5v5 should drop in somewhat similar proportions to the increase in 5v5 goal scoring. I wouldn’t worry about those two things specifically.


Evgeni Malkin

If you’re a Malkin owner, and you have a significant hole on your team (say, in goal or on the blue line), now would be the time to trade him. His secondary assist rate per 60 minutes (1.22) is currently by far a career-high, having not been above 0.30 since 2014-15 and never cracking 0.80 in his career. He has as many secondary 5v5 assists this year (4) as he did in 2016-17. That’s the entire 2016-17 season, mind you. He’s one away from last year’s total of five.

Beyond that, Malkin is currently sporting his highest primary assists per 60 minutes of his career at 1.53. He hasn’t been above 1.20 since 2011-12 and is about 50 percent higher than last year’s number. His Individual Points Percentage (IPP), or the rate at which he garners a point when he’s on the ice, is 100%. He just came off three consecutive seasons under 80 percent.

There isn’t just a red flag with secondary assists here, though that will surely regress. There are giant flashing red lights all over the place that indicate Malkin will regress significantly over the balance of the season. He can likely be traded for almost any player in the fantasy game in a straight-up situation. The injury factor is always lurking, too. If you are an owner and need an impact name at a different position, now is the time to make that trade.


Matthew Tkachuk

I just realized that Tkachuk has 19 points this year. That’s a lot of points for the second week of November!

Anyway, as you can imagine, Tkachuk is on this list because of a high secondary assist rate. His total of 5v5 assists (4) has him just behind last year’s total (6) in about a quarter of the games played. You could knock a few points off his total for expected production but that would still leave him roughly as a point-per-game player.

At 5v5, Tkachuk’s IPP is also an even 90 percent, something that will come down either by a little or by a lot. It’s just another reason to think he won’t sustain close to this pace.

Despite all this, I’m not sure I’d be looking to trade Tkachuk in roto leagues. He’s still well over two shots per game, he’s over one PIM per game, he’s over a hit per game, and seems to be locked on the top PP unit. Even if (when) his points pull back a little, there will be more than enough in peripherals to keep him as a top-end fantasy option.

In points-only leagues, though, it might be worth exploring what you can get for him. He won’t be a point-per-game player but maybe he can be traded as one. It never hurts to go fishing.


Anze Kopitar

At the other end of the spectrum, I thought it’d be worth pointing out Kopitar’s start. If only that same extremely handsome Dobber Associate Editor wrote that Kopitar, too, was being greatly over-drafted…

Anyway, hopefully the pendulum has swung the other way. He’s been on the ice for 10 goals scored by LA at 5v5 and he has yet to assist on any of them, be them primary or secondary assists. He won’t put up 90-plus points again but he won’t put up 35, either. I would be checking to see if the Kopitar owner is panicking at this point. If he can be had as a top-125 player rather than a top-25 player, it’s probably a trade worth making.  


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