Ramblings: Russia blows it, Jones blows it, Kubalik, Trenin, Sprong looking good and more (Jan 06)

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The Midseason Guide is out this coming Friday! Shooting to drop this at 3pm EST that afternoon. Pre-order it here, or wait until the last minute. It’s not like online shops have lineups. By popular demand, I have added a spreadsheet. The projections are still in the PDF, but I have also added them to a spreadsheet. There will be a coupon code in the PDF that allows you to get that spreadsheet for free, so don’t buy it. This was the only way I could add a spreadsheet without putting it into your accounts one at a time.

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I started my Sunday afternoon with some fantastic hockey and if you were into hockey over football then I’m sure you did the same. Bouncing back and forth between Washington and San Jose, to Team Canada and Team Russia, I locked onto the NHL game to watch a comeback from a two-goal deficit late – to turn into a Caps OT victory. And then locked into the WJC in time to watch the full comeback from being down 3-1 for Team Canada to win it. I did feel like that over-the-glass call should not have been reversed and Team Canada should have been down 5-on-3 at the end. So that made the cheering a little reserved on my part when they won. I can’t help how I feel! It would have been more excited had they killed off the penalty and still won. But I just know the Russians question that call and thus question the entire win. When I get a win, I like it to be undisputed. Ah well, it is what it is.

I won’t get too much into the WJC here. We have an awesome WJC page right here – with stories, breakdowns, observations – everything you need. But for what it’s worth, I have a few quick bullet points:

– I come out of this most excited about Samuel Fagemo (Kings), who led the tourney in scoring. The Kings are rebuilding, so the prospects are going to hit the NHL sooner than on a lot of other teams. Therefore, I love the upside and I love the wait time (i.e. not long). Profile here.

– Lafreniere was easily the top pick in the draft this summer before the tourney started. Now, it’s just not even close. They should have his pick in its own round. And then the rest of the draft starts at Round 2. That’s how far apart it is, in my eyes. Profile here.

– I claimed Nils Hoglander and put a bid on Fagemo. The league that I could do that in is not a full keeper (only Keep 12), but perhaps I can use them as trade bait. Profile here.

– Florida is only going to get better, as soon as Grigori Denisenko arrives. DobberProspects Profile here.

There were plenty of other prospects who popped out at me (Barrett Hayton, Patrik Puistola, Rasmus Sandin, I could go on) but I don’t want to pull the spotlight off DobberProspects on this (and I also don’t want these Ramblings to hit a dozen pages).

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And so it was. San Jose scored an empty netter with a couple minutes left in the game to expand their lead to 4-2. Then the Capitals scored twice, and then again in overtime.

What bothers me about Washington Coach Todd Reirden is that Jakub Vrana scored the 4-3 goal to put them back in the game (he also scored their second goal). And then Reirden promptly put him on the bench. I mean – come on. What does the guy have to do? Here are Washington’s leading scorers based on points per 60 minutes played (evens out the field):

  1. Evgeny Kuznetsov 3.3
  2. Jakub Vrana 3.2 (!!!)
  3. John Carlson 2.9
  4. Nicklas Backstrom 2.8
  5. Alex Ovechkin 2.7
  6. Big gap
  7. TJ Oshie 2.3

Enough is enough, it’s time to let the dog off the leash!

All that being said, Reirden is…very slowly…noticing. Vrana’s first quarter ice time averaged 14:15 per game. His second quarter ice time is at 15:08. But he needs to start getting star player respect.

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The comeback kind of buried a nice fantasy performance by Evander Kane, who not only had a hat trick, but also eight SOG, 2 PPG, 4 PIM and a couple of bonus FOW. Four goals in two games is his best two-game total of the season. He played with Timo Meier and Barclay Goodrow.

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Some interesting events in terms of goaltending, which is always a problem in fantasy hockey in need of a fresh solution. Antti Raanta is hurt now, and he joins Darcy Kuemper in the injury ward. Raanta is “day to day”. Both he and Kuemper join the team on their road trip. But for the next game at least, Adin Hill will be the starter with Ivan Prosvetov as the backup. The latter has been incredible in the AHL, possibly even stealing the starting job from Hill and certainly forcing a 1A/1B situation. Prosvetov is 11-3-0 with a 0.931 SV% (Hill is 9-3-0, 0.907). Hill is a big goalie at 6-6 and is 23 years old, a former third-round draft pick. Prosvetov is also big at 6-5 and a former fourth rounder, though he’s just 20 years old. Great impression so far. His DobberProspects profile is here.

Robin Lehner is hurt for the Blackhawks, and with Corey Crawford somewhat struggling, there could be an opportunity here. Rather than calling up Collin Delia though, the Hawks went with Kevin Lankinen. And while Lankinen is having a solid debut season in the AHL, it hasn’t been great and it certainly hasn’t been too much better than what Delia has been doing (0.905 vs 0.901 SV% in 15 and 13 games so far). Delia had a pretty strong December for Rockford after a tough start, so maybe the team wants him to continue his groove. Delia is on a one-way contract and next year he has to clear waivers and he could be made available for expansion. Lankinen, an undrafted 6-2 free agent who dominated in Finland last year, is someone the Hawks want to take a closer look at as they evaluate their goaltending depth and future there. There is no word on the severity of Lehner’s injury yet, but I don’t think it’s long term.

Crawford was solid against the Wings on Sunday anyway, stopping 19 of 21.

Chicago has scored at least four goals in six of their last eight contests.

I found it interesting that the Hawks had rookie Dominik Kubalik out there in the final minute when Detroit had the goalie pulled. It’s always a little reward from the coach when that happens – a show of trust. The 24-year-old has nine points in his last eight games with the empty netter that he scored. He played with Jonathan Toews and John Quenneville.

Erik Gustafsson has eight points in his last 12 games. Still not at last year’s Erik Gustafsson levels, but for the first time is showing a bit more promise.

Coach Jeremy Colliton played Kirby Dach with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, and that’s been the line for a while now in an effort to get the rookie going. But he has just one points in his last 22 games.

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Andreas Athanasiou: Quest to Reach Minus-100 (A DobberHockey Feature)

Last week: minus-35

Since: injured all week

Season: minus-35

Pace: minus-73

He needs to get back soon if he’s going to keep the dream alive.

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Interesting fact – Roman Josi’s 43 points are the most in Predators’ history at the 40-game mark. His assist Sunday (44th point) gives him points in 10 straight games, a new franchise record for defensemen.

Yakov Trenin was an early birthday so he was one of the older draftees in his 2015 draft year when he was taken 55th overall by Nashville. He had real nice offensive numbers in the Q before making the jump to the AHL. After two years of modest numbers, he suddenly clicked this season for Milwaukee. He soared to 26 points in 20 games. Some guys just snap like that. Conor Garland did it last year. They look as though they are progressing very slowly or not at all, and then zing they’re a star. No warning.

Anyway, Trenin was called up by the Preds and although he’s fighting just to get into the lineup, he has three points in his last four games. He seems to grasp the pro game – not just the AHL game. You can find his prospect fantasy profile here.

After completely blowing it in his first NHL opportunity of the season back on December 22 when he was pointless and a minus-2, Daniel Sprong came roaring back Sunday night against the Preds. A goal and a primary assist, and he was standing in front of the net as the Ducks scored their fourth. A key part of three goals before the second period was up. He was lining up with Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique – and he probably earned a longer look there.

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Florida line combos Sunday:

25.9%

ACCIARI,NOEL – CONNOLLY,BRETT – TROCHECK,VINCENT

20.5%

BARKOV,ALEKSANDER – DADONOV,EVGENII – HUBERDEAU,JONATHAN

20.1%

HOFFMAN,MIKE – TONINATO,DOMINIC – VATRANO,FRANK

18.3%

HAWRYLUK,JAYCE – MALGIN,DENIS – SCEVIOUR,COLTON

 

With Acciari teasing as a possible 25 (?)-goal scorer, it’s causing the non-Barkov lines to get shuffled almost daily. The Vatrano/Hoffman line cashed in twice Sunday.

Goaltender Chris Driedger picked up his fourth win in five games. The 25-year-old has a 4-1-0 record and a sweet 0.944 SV%. The Ottawa Senators castoff is a great short-term option as Sergei Bobrovsky finds his way. But the number of huge hurtles that Driedger needs to jump in order to become a long-term option is just overwhelming. Starting and ending with Bobrovsky making $10M AAV for each of the next five years. The Panthers will keep going back to Bobrovsky until he finds his way. He seemed to from December 7 through 20 when he pulled off six consecutive Quality Starts. But then he fell apart again. I took a closer look – that run started after he had 10 days (two games) off. Give him another break, let him get his head right again, and see what happens. Let Driedger run with the next one, I say.

Despite the Penguins missing key players, Alex Galchenyuk saw just 10:29 on Sunday. He was still minus-2. He’s firmly in the doghouse. Galchenyuk owners need a trade here. There doesn’t seem to be any other way for him to get a chance now, barring a collision between Malkin, Rust, McCann and Hornqvist at center ice that takes all four out of the lineup at once.

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Dougie Hamilton has ‘just’ three points in his last eight games, easily his lowest point total in any eight-game span this year. That’s how good he’s been. So this can definitely be considered a slump. He was also a minus-3 on Sunday when two games ago he had an incredible plus-31 rating overall. Maybe it’s just your typical slump, or maybe teams are starting to catch on to what he means to the Hurricanes this year – and have turned their focus on him. If teams are indeed doing this, they’re doing an incomplete job of it – he has 29 SOG in those eight games (over 3.5 per game).

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Johnny Gaudreau picked up two points for the second consecutive game. He has five in his last three games as he tries to right the ship.

Just one point in seven games for Mats Zuccarello now. And Matt Dumba still can’t buy a goal. But at least Dumba is starting to chip in assists – he has one in two straight games now and is plus-3 in those games.

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In case you’re just getting back from the holidays now and you missed our entire end-of-decade fantasy hockey series, here are the feature articles put together by Mike Clifford, Ian Gooding, Cam Robinson, Tom Collins, Rick Roos and myself. Fun, quick and easy reads for you on your commute:

Top 10 Fantasy Hockey Players of the Decade

1 Jan 2020

Dobber

Top 10 fantasy multi-cat performers of the decade

1 Jan 2020

Michael Clifford

Top 10 Fantasy Seasons of the Decade

30 Dec 2019

Tom Collins

Top 10 Underrated Players of the Decade in Fantasy Hockey

26 Dec 2019

Tom Collins

Top 10 Fantasy Hockey Goalies of the Decade

26 Dec 2019

Ian Gooding

Top 10 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen of the Decade

25 Dec 2019

Rick Roos

Top 10 Fantasy Centers of the Past Decade

25 Dec 2019

Mario Prata

Top 10 Fantasy Wingers of the Past Decade

25 Dec 2019

Cam Robinson

Top 10 Overrated Players of the Decade in Fantasy Hockey

23 Dec 2019

Tom Collins

 

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See you Monday.