Ramblings: Crosby Surgery Impact, Oil and Lightning Strike Early and Often (Nov 15)
It was an eventful day in the world of hockey, and that was even without all the fallout from the Don Cherry situation.
Sidney Crosby is expected to miss at least the next six weeks following surgery to repair a core muscle injury. As much as Sid the Kid was known for missing extended time due to concussions earlier in his career, he’s actually been the picture of health in recent seasons, having played a minimum of 75 games over each of the last six seasons. Given the expected recovery time, he won’t likely reach that number this season. Crosby had been held without a point with a minus-7 over his last four games, so it appears that the injury just became too unbearable after he reportedly declined the surgery last month.
One thing to keep in mind – back when Sid was out of the lineup a lot, Evgeni Malkin became superhuman.
So watch for that
— Dobber (@DobberHockey) November 14, 2019
The proof is Malkin’s lifetime 1.33 points-per-game average without Crosby, which works out to 109 points over a full 82-game season (although we know Malkin can’t possibly play a full season). In fact, that pace parallels the 2011-12 season, when Malkin exploded for his only 50-goal season and 109 points while Crosby played just 22 games. Since Crosby and Malkin only ever seem to meet up on the power play, one’s fantasy value is helped to a degree when the other is injured. Now just cross your fingers that Malkin doesn’t get injured himself!
Crosby’s absence will be a moment of truth for Jake Guentzel, though. The bulk of Guentzel’s even-strength and power-play minutes this season have been with Crosby. Guentzel has been at least a semi-regular linemate of Crosby’s throughout his career, although that amount increased during Guentzel’s breakout last season.
Before the first period ended, Connor McDavid had already racked up two goals and two assists. By the end of the second period, McDavid had himself a hat trick and added another assist. Yet it all dried up in the third period – geez, that’s not good enough, Connor. Still, McDavid had himself a single-game career high of six points, which was the highest total in Oilers’ history since Sam Gagner’s eight-point outburst in 2012. You may recall that McDavid had a hat trick just two games before as well. If you own him, I don’t need to give you any advice on what to do.
The more important question is, will McDavid remain at the top of the November Roto Rankings? You’ll find out today.
The only person standing in McDavid’s way in the scoring race is teammate Leon Draisaitl, so you knew he’d get in on the fun as well. Draisaitl recorded a career-high five points (all assists) in this game, which places him at a near-two-point-per-game pace (1.95 PTS/GP). Remember, Draisaitl reached 50 goals and 105 points last season, so he’s simply picking up where he left off, even with a 20+% shooting percentage over the past two seasons.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals of his own, giving him four goals over his last three games after just one goal (but 10 assists) over his first 18 games.
Avalanche third-string goalie Adam Werner was chased after allowing the Oilers’ fifth goal. So the Avs turned to fourth-string goalie Antoine Bibeau. The Canucks have had trouble scoring recently, but they might be in a good spot in potentially facing one of those two inexperienced goalies on Saturday.
The Lightning got off to their own lightning-fast start on Thursday, scoring four goals in the first 6:42 against the Rangers. Once all was said and done, the Bolts hung nine goals (including five power-play goals) on the Blueshirts. The nine-goal and five power-play goal totals both tied franchise highs.
Worried about Nikita Kucherov? He scored a power-play goal and added three assists in this one. With the four points, Kucherov now climbs back into the top 50 in scoring. Even though that still seems low, Kucherov and the Bolts have played 16 games, which is the lowest total of any team. Teams have played as many as five more games than the Lightning. If you’re into trading for last year’s leading scorer for some kind of discount, there might not be a better time to do it.
Alex Killorn scored two goals and added an assist, which gives him four goals and six points over his last five games. All of Thursday’s points came on the power play, which is where five of those last six points have been generated. Killorn is being used on the Bolts’ first-unit power play at the moment, which as you might know features nothing but lethal options. He’s just 6 percent owned in Yahoo leagues, so add him in deeper leagues if your power-play point totals need a boost.
Yanni Gourde also posted three points (a power-play goal and two assists). He’s another Lightning forward that has been heating up, as he has now scored goals in four consecutive games. This after scoring just one goal over his first 12 games, so this might be some market correction doing its thing.
To add injury to insult for the Rangers, Jacob Trouba left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury. Trouba has been struggling recently with just one point over his last 11 games. In addition, he has lost his first-unit power-play minutes, as both Adam Fox and Tony DeAngelo have been holding hot sticks as of late. On Thursday, Fox received the first-unit minutes, although his five-game point streak ended. Same with DeAngelo’s point streak, which was also at five games (Although DeAngelo was somehow a plus-3 in a 9-3 loss? I know only four of those Lightning goals were even strength, but still…)
One silver lining for the Rangers: Filip Chytil scored two of the Rangers’ three goals. That gives him four goals over his last four games, a four-game point streak, and six goals in eight games this season. No, that’s not sustainable, as his shooting percentage is 37.5% and his 5-on-5 shooting percentage is 12.28%. Yet he’s had great chemistry with Pavel Buchnevich, who is on a five-game assist streak of his own.
TJ Brodie was released from hospital just hours after collapsing during practice and convulsing on the ice before being removed on a stretcher. The Flames are expected to provide another update on Friday morning. According to Ryan Leslie of Sportsnet, Brodie will not travel with the Flames’ on their two-game road trip this weekend. However, the fact that he has already been released from hospital is great news. Let’s hope for the best.
Sergei Bobrovsky’s current slide is all part of the plan, right? I wish I could bring better news, but Bob has now allowed at least four goals in eight of his 15 starts. Your patience is wearing thin, I know, but remember he’s a notoriously slow starter (3.58 GAA last October) who was nails during the fantasy playoffs last season (1.74 GAA last March). Throw in the adjustment of playing for a new team that is also adjusting to a new system with a new coach (even if his system should improve the defense), and the switch might not be flipped overnight. But fantasy playoffs… yet you need to get there first. It might be best to bench Bob or use him in more favorable matchups for the time being. At least with a $70 million contract and a young backup, he’ll receive a ton more chances to right the ship.
#1 21.3% BENN,JAMIE – DOWLING,JUSTIN – SEGUIN,TYLER
#2 14.4% COMEAU,BLAKE – DICKINSON,JASON – FAKSA,RADEK
#3 13.9% CAAMANO,NICK – GURIANOV,DENIS – PAVELSKI,JOE
#4 10.9% GARDNER,RHETT – PERRY,COREY – RADULOV,ALEXANDER
This might actually work as far as team success (seven-game team point streak and 9-1-1 in last 11 games), even if it doesn’t look great for your fantasy team.
Ben Burnett had a superb Geek of the Week article on what to do if you own certain Stars. I’ll skip Roope Hintz and John Klingberg because both are injured. It is worth mentioning that Joe Pavelski now has two points in back-to-back games with nine points in his last seven games, so you’ve already been rewarded if you’ve been patient. Yet Jamie Benn is stuck on one goal after 20 games. A meager 2.3 SH% suggests that he’ll bump the slump, although I agree with Ben (Burnett, not Jamie) in that the new normal for Benn (Jamie, not Burnett) might be that he’s now a 50-60-point player with added value in banger leagues.
Tomas Hertl scored two goals for the Sharks in their win over the Ducks, which extends his goal streak to five games (six goals over that span). After being held without a point with a minus-6 in his first five games, Hertl has been on a tear with 21 points over his last 15 games. Hopefully you don’t panic that quickly.
— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) November 15, 2019
With a goal and two assists on Thursday, Anze Kopitar now has a three-game goal streak and a five-game point streak with eight points over those five games. Near the quarter pole of the season, Kopitar is on pace for 91 points, which nearly matches his point total from two seasons ago. Not bad for a player who was an afterthought in a lot of fantasy drafts (ADP 155 in Yahoo).
Ilya Kovalchuk was once again a healthy scratch for the Kings, although he did practice with the team on Thursday. The door still seems to be open at least a crack for him to play again for the Kings. Sportsnet via the 31 Thoughts Podcast has the latest on the situation.
Almost forgot that the Islanders placed Andrew Ladd on waivers. This sounds more like an extension of his conditioning stint with the almost zero percent chance that another team will claim him. Here’s the cautionary tale on why the real winners on July 1 are quite often the teams that keep their money in their wallets.
July 1st, 2016:
Milan Lucic: 7 years, $42M
Kyle Okposo: 7 years, $42M
Andrew Ladd: 7 years, $38.5M
Loui Eriksson: 6 years, $36M
Frans Nielsen: 6 years, $31.5M
David Backes: 5 years, $30M
Darren Helm: 5 years, $19.25M
Troy Brouwer: 4 years, $18M
James Reimer: 5 years, $17M
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) November 14, 2019
For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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