Ramblings: Pastrnak is a Bad Man, Klingberg is Back, Hintz, Dach & Hughes (Nov. 27)
I'll take just a moment to discuss what is happening right now in the hockey world. It is unheard of. It began with Don Cherry and his xenophobic and divisive remarks. It bled into Mike Babcock and the abuse of power and the dynamics that come from toxic coach-player relationships. It's now focused squarely on the reports of physical and emotional abuse, as well as racist patterns by Calgary head coach, Bill Peters.
Now we see players from all levels of the game stepping out and standing up against the injustices that have occurred to them in the past. It’s sad that these stories are coming from players who are now either out of the NHL or retired. Their fear for their livelihood is no longer keeping the gag in their mouths. I can't be the only one who believes there are countless stories that current players could be sharing but won't due to the stigma that will immediately stick to them.
These latest implications against Peters don’t hold much water in the fantasy hockey landscape, but they certainly do in the human landscape. And we’re all members of that league. Racism, intolerance, physical, emotional, or verbal abuse has no place in hockey. It has no place in our society as a whole. It should be treated as a weed. Torn out by the roots and not left to fester or grow back.
While it was reported by Sportsnet early on Tuesday that Peters had been fired, apparently that is not the case. We can only hope that it will be the case if even one of these allegations are true. And it sure sounds like they all are.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 26, 2019
If I asked you to bet $100 on who leads the league in slap shot goals, how many of you would guess Alex Ovechkin? If not, maybe you’d pick a defender who loves to bomb away like Shea Weber? Well, you’d all lose your money. It’s David Pastrnak.
Pasta’s seven slap shot tallies lead the league and are two more than Weber, Anthony Mantha and Dougie Hamilton. He scored a goal on Tuesday night that may get credited as a clapper as well. He finished the night with a hattrick – the sixth of his career. He’s up to 23 goals in 24 games. It’s getting ridiculous. What's not ridiculous is the 26-1 odds I got on him in the preseason to win the Rocket – but I digress.
What might be most impressive about Pastrnak’s goal-scoring this season is his efficiency with that slap shot. This is traditionally a low-conversion option but the NHL goal leader has converted on 35 percent of his clappers. That’s not bad.
Here’s the thing though, the 23-year-old isn’t scoring the 79 goals he’s on pace for this season. (Yes, he’s on pace for 79 GOALS). Regression is coming. But his metrics aren’t that far out of whack. His personal shooting percentage is about five points above where it should be. His 5v5 shooting percentage is maybe two points too high. This screams of a player set to cusp 50 for the first time ever and should have a good shot at the illustrious 60-goal mark if he can maintain his health (and the health of his dynamic linemates)
The Bruins laid the hammer to the Habs at the Bell Centre on Tuesday defeating their divisional rival 8-2. They did so without Patrice Bergeron who stayed back in Boston and will miss at least a couple of games with a nagging groin injury. No worries though, David Krejci took the top spot and recorded a couple of assists. I’ll be honest, I thought last season’s rejuvenation was an aberration and we’d see the veteran centre fall back to the 50-60 point range. But so far this season – especially the past dozen games, he’s been very good. Obviously we like him, even more, when he's centring the top line – which sounds like it will occur fairly frequently as the Bruins attempt to manage Bergeron's load.
Oh, Brad Marchand had three more points and continues to be on pace to break 140 points. I swear this guy is Benjamin Button.
Im fully convinced that Brad Marchand is Benjamin Button.
Age 27: 61 points (65-point pace)
Age 28: 85 points (86-point pace)
Age 29: 85 points (103-point pace)
Age 30: 100 points (104-point pace)
Age 31: 138-point pace
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) November 22, 2019
Carey Price got the hook after allowing five goals on 11 shots. It was his first yank in 112 starts. Price was hung out to dry on a few of the tallies, but still, it wasn’t his night. Frankly, there have been a few nights that weren’t his this season. The 32-year-old has posted three Really Bad Starts (RBS) in the past four games. For reference, an RBS is a game where the starter fails to achieve at least a .850 save percentage. On the season, the highest-paid netminder is sporting just a .900 mark.
If Price isn’t able to drag this team, then a top-10 pick is the far more likely result than a playoff run. At least it’s a hell of a year to pick at the top!
Stars during warmup in Chicago:
— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) November 27, 2019
You can’t ask for much better deployment.
Early on this season while the Stars were dim, Hintz was clearly the best player on a nightly basis. His speed and skill continue to elevate as his developmental arc curves upwards. However, the metrics shout that he needs to shoot the puck a whole heck of a lot more, and/or have his mates begin to finish plays. There’s no chance he keeps this 25 percent conversion rate up. He’ll be lucky to stay at half that level. That said, there are tons to like about his potential this season and beyond.
Hintz was held without a point – as the entire Dallas was shutout by the Blackhawks so hopefully, the lines don't get put in a blender just yet.
Speaking of Stars, John Klingberg is back and he is looking like his old self. After producing just four points in 17 games to begin the year, the 27-year-old defender has returned from injury and had four points in the two games since. It sure doesn’t hurt that the Stars and their, well, stars, are back rolling as they should. I told you all to buy Klingberg and Seguin if possible. I remain lukewarm on Benn. He was certainly due for some positive gains, but I still don’t like him for much more than a 60-point pace.
5v5 Last 60GP
Eichel 15G 18A 33P
Nylander 11G 21A 32P
Ovechkin 15G 17A 32P
MacKinnon 12G 19A 31P
Seguin 13G 18A 31P
B.Tkachuk 16G 15A 31P
Barzal 11G 18A 29P
Marner 6G 22A 28P
Pettersson 7G 21A 28P
Aho 11G 17A 28P
— Activated Defenseman (@TheOakLeafs) November 26, 2019
Kirby Dach was centring Patty Kane and Alex DeBrincat on Tuesday evening. I’ll say it just to take up more space: I love that spot for the 18-year-old. I’ve also been vocal in my overall praise of the most recent third-overall selection. He’s one of the reasons why I don’t love Dylan Strome longterm, and also why I have hope in the Blackhawks retooling on the fly.
He’s very good.
Don’t go out and expect the kid to click at a 60-plus point pace from here on out. The big numbers are in seasons to come. He’s a big kid with a ton of skill that will need to be fleshed out. But his upside is very high – especially if he forms a lengthy bond with DeBrincat and a twilight-Kane.
Of the three, only Kane registered a point in the 3-0 win over Dallas. Kane now has 22 points over his current 13-game point streak. The dip in production isn't here yet for the 2007 first-overall pick.
Jack Hughes grabbed an assist as New Jersey lost 3-2 to Minnesota. The 18-year-old has struggled to string together productive games with that point just his second in the last nine contests. Like Dach, the big numbers are coming in the future. And Just like Dach, the ceiling is very high. Don’t sell low in keeper leagues. Just grit and take the hits this year so future you can reap the rewards.
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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