Ramblings: Dobber’s thoughts on Drouin, Chytil, Zacha, Seabrook, Howard, Hinostroza, Comtois, Kovalchuk and so many more… (Nov 22)


To all my American friends out there – Happy Thanksgiving. I enjoyed my favorite meal of the year a month ago, as I’m Canadian. But now I’m jealous that you get to enjoy it now. Although you’re stuck watching football on your Thanksgiving (we’re blessed with hockey games on Canadian Thanksgiving!). Have a safe holiday and leave the belt at home.


So it turns out that all Pavel Zacha needed was to show that he dominates at the AHL level in order to properly get a chance at the NHL level. Prior to this latest stint, his only time in the AHL was a three-game run back in 2015 (three points). This time he was down for four games and got five points. Upon this latest recall he saw 16 minutes four out of five games. In his first 10 games before being sent down he saw 16 minutes just three times. A big part of that, too, is the fact that he is now playing with Jesper Bratt as opposed to Tommy Stonehands or Jimmy Lunchpail. Zacha has four points in his last three games and those are his only four points of the entire season. He’s earned PP time as well – Wednesday he saw 18 minutes of ice time and one minute on the second PP unit and scored on it.

Looking at Zacha’s career numbers, as a rookie he had 13 PPPts with just 1:50 per game. Between that and the AHL it tells me that he thrives when given room, but has trouble creating that room himself. I suppose Bratt’s speed opens things up a little for him.

Taylor Hall has a two-point game (Wednesday), a four-point game and five zero-point games in his last seven. Frustrating for fantasy owners.

Damon Severson has six points in six games, five at even strength. Will Butcher is pointless in eight games despite manning the top PP unit. Butcher has just one point at even strength this season. Playing with Ben Lovejoy is tying his hands, in my opinion. Meanwhile, Severson thrives thanks to his partner Andy Greene holding the fort. I also think at 24 and in his fifth NHL season, Severson is coming into his own. I’m not saying he’ll get his 57-point pace. But he’ll absolutely get his career high (currently 31 points).


Jonathan Drouin has 19 points in his last 19 games, seven of them on the power play. He’s been at his best with Max Domi and Andrew Shaw. He and Domi are helping each other rebound.

Domi has 26 points! Last season Domi picked up his 26th point on February 15 (funny enough – against Montreal).

Carey Price allowed four (or more) goals for the 16th time in his last 38 starts.


Alexandar Georgiev got shellacked in his first game in early October. Since then, thanks to Wednesday’s shutout, he is 4-1-0, 2.02 GAA and 0.936 SV%.

Filip Chytil now has a goal in five consecutive games. He’s seeing regular PP time and Wednesday his ice time topped 20 minutes. He’s now playing with Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes and the line has been very effective. It also allows Mika Zibanejad to play with Vladislav Namestnikov, which boosts Namestnikov’s potential.

Kreider now leads the Rangers with 12 goals and 20 points already, having his big breakout in his seventh NHL season. Power forwards take an extra couple of years and I feel like he would have this last year had he not been injured. All 20 of his points have come in the last 20 contests.

Ryan Strome picked up his first point as a Ranger and saw over 17 minutes of ice time. He’s been playing with Brett Howden and Jimmy Vesey, and getting no PP time. This makes him a solid third liner and 35 to possibly 40 points.


You don’t need me to tell you that Sidney Crosby returned to the lineup and picked up three points. But I feel like it’s pretty big fantasy hockey news so there – I said it.

A few things to come out of that Pittsburgh – Dallas game though:

With Matt Murray giving up 16 goals in his last four appearances, seeing Casey DeSmith get a win and continue to add to his stellar numbers has to concern Murray owners. But to me, DeSmith’s value is a house of cards. The team is just playing better in front of him right now. It’s “buy low” time on Mr. Murray.

Tanner Pearson is still playing with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel at even strength, and he’s a part of what is now a pretty decent second PP unit alongside Jake Guentzel and Derick Brassard. He has three points in his last two games.

Landon Bow is a 6-5 goaltender who was never drafted despite a solid WHL career. He had been invited to camp by the Ducks (2015) and the Stars a couple of times before finally getting signed to an NHL contract a year ago. His AHL numbers leave something to be desired and he’s a career NHL backup. But he finds himself in the NHL this week thanks to the Ben Bishop injury. After Anton Khudobin got pulled, Bow came in and stopped all 14 shots he faced. He is definitely not the answer for you if you need short-term help though. His purpose is to warm the bench while Colton Point gets some badly needed games in for Texas.


Tom Wilson is up to six points in five games now. His Hit totals are down, from the usual 250 per year to a pace that would put him at about 170. He already has two PPPts and with TJ Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov sidelined, he will continue to see the ice time there.


Brent Seabrook had nine shots on goal for Chicago. Under the new coach he’s being given tons of power-play time and he has really been letting loose with that shot. It hasn’t developed into a lot of points, but the situation bears watching and if your league counts the SOG stat he is worth owning right now for that reason.


Geez, Carolina fired 29 shots on goal in the first period alone against the Leafs.

Carolina line combinations with Victor Rask (zero points, two SOG) back in the lineup:















Jeff Skinner has 13 goals in his last 15 games and the Buffalo Sabres have won seven in a row.

Shayne Gostisbehere is minus-6 over his last three games and his now third-lowest in the league at minus-11 (Mathew Barzal minus-12, Tomas Nosek minus-13).


I don’t know how, but Detroit has won nine of its last 11 games. What?

What that means is that Jimmy Howard is a great goalie own right now. Way better than Murray, Mike Smith or Cam Talbot. Howard has won six of his last seven starts and he’s allowed two goals or fewer in five straight.

Andreas Athanasiou scored twice Wednesday and he now has 13 points in his last 12 games. He’s also fired 19 SOG over the last four games.

David Pastrnak doesn’t have a point in either of the games without Patrice Bergeron around. Pastrnak’s great, but I’m a little concerned about this. He’ll still get his points, but I’m doubting it will continue at the superstar level without that line (with Brad Marchand) being complete.


Mike Hoffman is up to 17 straight games with at least one point. He did it with less than four minutes in the game. Oye. I’ve never owned him, but I remember in the summer saying I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. Hopefully you didn’t listen to me.

But Louis Domingue and Steven Stamkos were the stories. Domingue stopped 40 of 43 shots and he’s actually faced 153 shots in his last four starts and yet he’s won three of them.

Stamkos had four points, which snapped a bit of a mini-funk for him. JT Miller (three points) was also in a slump, with just a point in five games heading in. Miller played with Stamkos and Yanni Gourde, while Nikita Kucherov was moved to a line with Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson.


Under the new coach, the Blues saw some line shuffling. Robert Thomas and Robby Fabbri played with Brayden Schenn. Thomas also saw the most ice time of the season, up over 19 minutes, and he scored the Blues’ only goal – the first of his career, set up by Schenn. This is his big chance to make a rookie impact and so far so good.


This really bothers me. Looking at the Top 10 scorers on the Ottawa Senators, Chris Tierney sits fourth with 18 points…yet he’s 10th in PP ice time per game among that group. And despite seeing the fewest minutes there, he’s still sixth in PPPts. So he’s getting it done, yet last night the likes of Bobby Ryan gets four minutes on the PP and Mikkel Boedker gets 3:27. Tierney just 1:50.


With three assists Wednesday, Mikael Granlund now has 22 points in his last 19 games.


After a couple of partial seasons, Cam Atkinson had 39 points in his first full NHL year, followed by 40 and then 53. After that he broke out to 62, but then was hurt the following year and produced similar numbers though in just 65 games. Now in Year 6 as a full-timer (Year 8 overall), he is on a point-per-game pace. Watching Vinnie Hinostroza a couple of times this season (and of course last year), and listening to what the local commentators say about him, as well as coaches, scouts and GMs over the years (I lock onto this stuff, put it in the vault, about all players – I devour this stuff and never seem to forget it which is why I don’t easily adjust my opinion in future years), I can’t help but feel that his career production will follow a similar path to Atkinson’s. A 40- or 45-point guy for a couple of years, mid-50’s in 2020-21, low- to mid-60s in 2021-22 and then upward from there if given the right linemates (which Atkinson has). If you’re patient with this player, I believe it will pay off.


Josh Mahura got some time on the PP for Anaheim and picked up his first point – an assist on the power play.

Max Comtois’ game with San Diego Wednesday marked the last one he is allowed to play there in his conditioning stint. The Ducks now have to decide if he plays in the NHL or goes back to junior hockey. No other option. Considering he has played 10 NHL games and activated his entry-level contract, my guess is that he is back in the NHL. Especially when the likes of Brian Gibbons and Kalle Kossilla are with the big club and easily sent down.


I’m panicking about Ilya Kovalchuk, but it’s too late. Nobody in my league wants him. Can’t even give him away. His ice time is down under the new coach, and that coach was quoted as saying he didn’t trust him in tight games in the third period, and called him a “power-play specialist”. So we have another Sam Gagner on our hands, folks.

Adrian Kempe left the game in the second period with an LBI and did not return.


The one game I didn’t comment on, of the 14 Wednesday, was the game that I was watching as I wrote these entire Ramblings – Winnipeg and Calgary. But I have nothing to say – nothing jumped out at me worth noting in fantasy hockey.


See you next Monday.