Ramblings: Pageau’s impact, Hronek, Gustafsson, smaller guys and more (Jan 07.)


Just four days, folks! The 10th annual Midseason Guide! It’s up for presale and the release date is Friday, January 11. Pre-order it here and make sure it’s in your Downloads section waiting for you the instant I release it.


Jean-Gabriel Pageau was back in the Ottawa lineup and scored on Sunday – and when he scored it was eight seconds after Rudolfs Balcers scored his first goal in the NHL. It tied a franchise record (2011) for fastest two goals. Pageau was brought into the lineup slowly, manning the fourth line. So for now, Colin White remained on the second line and Chris Tierney the third. Here were the line combos:











Still with Ottawa debuts, Marcus Hogberg got yanked early in the second when he gave up his third goal in 26 minutes (16 shots faced). Anders Nilsson made his debut Saturday and had given up four goals in a loss…and coming in Sunday after the Sens tied it with those quick goals, he then gave up the game winner. That gave him two losses in about 17 hours. Not the greatest start.

Highly-touted prospect goaltender Filip Gustavsson is trying to get things figured out at the AHL level and with Hogberg up in the NHL, Gustavsson is getting in plenty of game action. But after two straight wins after the Christmas break, Gustavsson has piled up three consecutive losses despite only facing at most 23 shots in those games. I still believe in Gustavsson, but the wait is going to be a couple of years longer than I had originally thought.


I had come on here a couple months ago admitting that I had underrated Micheal Ferland and conceded that maybe he could be that 65-point first liner. It seemed like that was the equivalent to laying a curse on him, because the guy has just eight points in his last 22 games and has been off the Sebastian Aho line for several games now. At least he’s still on the first PP unit. His high 5on5 S% has now become a low 5on5 S% so the market correction has taken place…but the pendulum has swung in the other direction. This is a contract year for Ferland so my guess is that the pendulum will swing back again soon. But it looks like he’ll have to do it from the third line or via the power play. The 26-year-old started the season with 11 points in 12 games.


Teuvo Teravainen has gone pointless in six of his last nine games…and yet he has nine points in those nine games. So good luck trying to finesse that one in daily leagues, as the points have been huge but only in spurts.


Small guy Dobber Darling 1 – Rocco Grimaldi’s assist Saturday gives him five points in four games. His ice time is up to 14 minutes again. He’s not in the NHL for good, no way I would put a single cent on that…but I like the small, skilled guys and I always preach that they take longer than regular players. He’s still not playing with anyone decent and he’s still getting zero for PP time. But for the first time in three years, he’s caught my attention.


Small guy Dobber Darling 2 – Conor Garland has posted seven points in his last eight games. Because he’s not on a deep team like Nashville, he has a shot at expediting his production curve. His AHL curve was a slow one, not really showing signs of ‘pop’ until this season, but he’s translating his sudden AHL numbers into decent NHL production. Garland is no longer the tiny guy that he was as a teenager, as he’s now up to 5-10, so maybe that is contributing to the faster timeline (Grimaldi is 5-6). But he’ll always be a little guy in my heart. Anyway, Garland has seen over 8:30 in PP time over the last two games and he scored twice Sunday playing on a line with Alex Galchenyuk.


With Darcy Kuemper pitching a shutout Sunday, combined with Adin Hill’s recent slide, that’s probably about it for Hill. Calvin Pickard, in the AHL on a conditioning stint, won both of his games down there including Saturday when he stopped 34 of 35. I can see Hill getting sent back down to get a good workload in while Pickard comes up to be the backup.


Kevin Shattenkirk and Mika Zibanejad were each minus-3 Sunday and minus-5 over the last three games. Zibanejad is minus-14 on the season and minus-37 over his last 113 games.

Rangers’ goaltending is in trouble right now. Henrik Lundqvist got the hook for the second straight game, and has given up 11 goals on his last 50 shots faced (!). Meanwhile, Alexandar Georgiev stopped all eight shots he faced in relief, but gave up six goals on 47 shots on Friday and has a season-to-date SV% of 0.895.


Line combinations with Nik Ehlers out (reportedly for a month):










This obviously helps Connor and Roslovic, who each move up a rung on the ladder. Connor scored on Sunday and Roslovic had an assist so it’s already panning out for their owners. Each of them saw PP time as well.


Filip Hronek isn’t honing in on Dennis Cholowski’s PP time. Yet. But he’s honing in on his status as a points producer. With another goal Sunday, that gives him three points in two games and seven in his last 15. Cholowski has just three points in his last 20 games.

By the way, how ludicrous is it that Niklas Kronwall is now getting far more PP time than Cholowski or Hronek? In the last nine games, the power play has been almost completely his to run. He has just one PP point to show for it, and I’m ballparking he’s had about 17 minutes on the power play in those nine games.


John Carlson has just four points in his last 10 games, so the market correction is taking effect. He’s still close to a point per game and I don’t think he’s quite that guy, but the numbers are starting to settle in now.


How badly did Cam Talbot need that shutout? I wrote in last week’s Ramblings that he needed it on the Saturday prior, and instead he got shelled. And now he gets a shutout? I give up! And it wasn’t even a cheesy 19-save shutout, the guy actually faced 39 shots! Was that seven-goal debacle from last week a wakeup call?

The winner of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes Sunday was Zack Kassian and Jujhar Khaira. That…pretty much makes it every combination that could be tried, unless Brodziak gets in there at some point! Poor McDavid…he may as well play with an ankle chained to a cement block.


Ryan Getzlaf has gone pointless in seven games and is minus-11 in that span. Yikes!


Erik Gustafsson now has 17 points in his last 20 games, with six on the power play. I still have some fears that he could lose his plum PP spot to one of the incredible kids who are on the way (i.e. Henrik Jokiharju, but there are a couple of others such as Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell, Chad Krys).

Drake Caggiula made his debut in a Chicago uniform…and then he was stuck on a line with Chris Kunitz and Marcus Kruger.

Dylan Strome has eight points in his last six games. He’s still playing with Patrick Kane, making him an appealing option in all formats.

Cam Ward got the win, though he was a little shaky at times. Let’s see how Collin Delia does Monday night.

Dominik Simon has been back on the Evgeni Malkin line and he has three points in the last two games. Zach Aston-Reese is now manning the fourth line.


The most points since 2010-11:

Sidney Crosby 661

Patrick Kane 652

Claude Giroux 649

Alex Ovechkin 640

John Tavares 614

You can run that report here.


Jordan Schmaltz has finally been set free. He’s been placed on waivers, let’s see if a team picks him up. A team with an opportunity for him, as opposed to a team that just keeps claiming waiver guys and sticking them in the press box…

Chris Wideman (Florida) and Nikita Scherbak (Los Angeles) have also been placed on waivers.


I just saw that Tyler Toffoli has just 33 points in his last 83 games. He had 30 in 42 before that. I’d like to see how he does on a more high-octane team before ruling him out for keeper value. He is still only 26.


See you next Monday.