Ramblings: Thoughts on Dubois, Gavrikov, Danault, Tatar, Bergevin (Feb 04)
Ramblings: Thoughts on Dubois, Gavrikov, Danault, Tatar, Bergevin (Feb 04)
Last reminder, for any stragglers out there – Midseason Guide was released just over three weeks ago. Still relevant, but you’ll need to grab it soon as by next week I don’t think I can make the claim anymore. Click on the link to see screen shots of much of what you get. At the very least – take a look. Maybe you’ll see it can help you. 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.
I was in the Forum a lot last week (and plan to continue this throughout the next little while), and when explaining to a user what I thought of Oliver Bjorkstrand I used a great comparable. I said to treat him – right now – as if his name was Mark Stone. No longer treat Bjorkstrand as this good young player who has upside and could be a star. Because Bjorkstrand has arrived. Now. There is as little risk with him as there is with Stone. You’ll get your points at the same clip as Stone, and frankly I think he can exceed Stone in the coming seasons, but we shall see if the future Columbus offense will allow for that. Bjorkstrand has 23 points in his last 21 games.
Another player I had my eye on as a breakout player this season (hitting that 200-game threshold) is a player a little further along than Bjorkstrand. I spoke of him last week – Anthony Beauvillier. His issue this year has been the fact that his line is being used as more of a shutdown line. He faces the opposition’s top players and he doesn’t often see zone starts in the other end. It’s usually in his own end where he starts. Despite that, he’s on pace to hit 50 and set career highs in both goals and assists. Because of a recent run of seven points in his last six games, he sits just one point behind Josh Bailey for third on the team. Beauvillier still plays on the second PP unit, which is a shame because nobody on this team has even nine points on the power play. Beauvillier, on the second unit, has six PPPts. The cream always rises to the top – there’s a lot of cream here. He has 22 points in his last 34, which is a 53-point pace. Those are very good numbers considering the way he is being implemented. He’s been around for a long time and his owners are growing tired of waiting. Now is good time in keeper leagues to acquire him. He is still just 22 years of age.
Not sure I approve of Washington’s strategy of giving the Penguins 12 minutes of power-play time on Sunday.
Regardless, the Pens failed to cash in (0-for-6). Interestingly enough, I just noticed that Bryan Rust has 13 PPPts in his last 29 games. Prior to that, in his entire career, he had five PPPts in 262 games. So, a bit of an uptick there…
Say what you want about Jack Johnson, but in leagues that value BLKS he’s been a stud lately. Seven BLKS on Sunday, 33 BLKS and five points in his last 16 games.
Another Breakout Threshold player was in that Washington – Pittsburgh game: Jakub Vrana. Another point gives him 45 on the season already, just two shy of last year’s career high. He’s played 227 career games, but it looks to me as though he found his stride at around the 12-game mark (i.e. his 186th game). He has 40 points in 41 games since then. That’s two-plus seasons to get the league figured out, and then a dozen or so games to find this year’s comfort zone and earn the trust of the coach. Now that he’s getting the PP time (starting about 11 games ago), he has three PPPts. He has 14 points in his last 12 games, picking up a point in 11 of those contests.
The streaky Richard Panik now has five points in his last six games. Still just eight to 10 minutes per game though, so probably not even worth a flier unless you’re completely desperate for some short-term help.
Circling back to Bjorkstrand and Columbus, it was the Pierre-Luc Dubois show. Bjorkstrand has been put on his line since returning from injury and PLD has taken off like a rocket. The two youngsters now clearly represent the future of this team and the fact that they have such great chemistry bodes very well for their upside and their odds of hitting it. Dubois, to me, was a product of Artemi Panarin. Sure, Dubois has loads of talent and he’s a big man who plays a tough game. Generally that means five or six years in the NHL before dominating the NHL. Panarin expedited that timeline and really showed him how to exert his will on the opposition, and to have the confidence to shoot or make plays. Dubois struggled a little early on without that high-end talent on his wing. But now that he has that back again in Bjorkstrand, PLD has taken yet another step. Three points Sunday gives him eight in four games and 24 points in his last 22 games.
It will be interesting to see if Alexandre Texier takes over for Nick Foligno on that line when he returns. Out with a lumbar fracture, my best guess is that Texier won’t be back until March, but that’s really just a guess and I have no basis and I’ve seen no update on it.
Nathan Gerbe signed a well-deserved two-year contract with the Jackets. It’s a two-way deal for the league minimum in the NHL, and a half million in the AHL, meaning little difference in pay no matter what league he is in. When Josh Anderson and Texier return, it will be a shame to see Gerbe get sent down as he’s been such a sparkplug. But that’s likely to happen.
With the win Sunday, Elvis Merzlikins is 10-2-0, 1.76 and 0.947 since December 31.
Vladislav Gavrikov is supposed to be a stay-at-home, stud defensive defenseman but he’s been putting up some reasonable points lately that make me wonder if he’ll be one of those low-30s point players who once or twice will put up a 40-point year. Kind of like Dmitry Yushkevich back in the day. Since December 21, Gavrikov has eight points, 20 SOG, 24 Hits and 28 BLKS in 18 games.
It’s time to stop underrating Phillip Danault. Pigeonholed early on as a depth guy and likely checking-line forward, he’s done nothing but overachieve and improve each year since being a rookie. When will he stop improving his production? At 0.20 points-per-game as a rookie, he followed that up with a pair of seasons at around 0.48 (the second of which he suffered an injury, which can explain away a lack of improvement we can give him a pass). Last year he was at 0.65 and even after being held off the scoreboard Sunday he is still at 0.70 on the campaign. His upside isn’t massive, but he’s starting to be taken seriously as a go-to offensive guy for the Habs, and it shows in his PPTOI. Here are his last five quarters for PP ice time, in order:
0:10; 1:11; 1:21; 1:21 and now this quarter after 11 games he’s averaging 2:23. Most of his points are still at even strength, but now he’s given top billing in terms of his linemates. I’m still not sure where he’ll top out. My best guess is the mid-60s. But, at least in my circles, he’s still being talked about like a high-40s guy who is having a great year. My vote for the Frank Selke winner, he didn’t even place in the overall voting – so he’s underrated there, too.
Another underrated guy on the Habs is Tomas Tatar. ‘Sauce’ has 12 points in his last 10 games thanks to a pair on Sunday. Most of us thought last year’s 58 points were a bit of a reach – my preseason projection had him penciled in for 56 this year and he’ll get there before the 65th game! I think Marc Bergevin isn’t getting enough props for that Max Pacioretty deal. I mean…Pacioretty is having a great season…and Tatar is beating him! Check it yourself. Pacioretty is at 48 points while Tatar is at 49.
The general feel on Twitter after the trade was that it was terrible for the Habs. Not enough. But it clearly was…and I didn’t even get to Suzuki, who is a Top 5 rookie scorer right now at 33 points! Nor did I mention the second-round pick yet…
We were also pretty unanimous about the Subban – Weber trade. That was looked upon negatively for Montreal. But it sure worked out. And the aforementioned Danault was acquired for Dale Weise and Thomas Fleischmann! Does Bergevin know something we don’t?
Warren Foegele ended an eight-game pointless drought with a pair on Sunday. Prior to the drought he had six points in six games. Overall he has 12 points in his last 20 games. I love his trajectory and I can see 40 to 45 points next season followed by a breakout in 2021-22. Not the highest upside, but he seems like the type of player who will get there.
The Canes really want Petr Mrazek to be their starter of the future. He’s young, he has upside and if he works out it would solve a lot of problems for them over the next three years or more. James Reimer wins on January 19 and doesn’t get the next start. Mrazek wins on January 21 and after the bye week he gets the next start. The problem is, if they put their faith in Reimer and sign him next year to an extension, he’s sure to let them down with more injuries and inconsistent play. So I don’t blame them one bit for hoping for Mrazek to take the ball and run with it. Problem is, since December 10:
Reimer: 7-1-1, 2.38, 0.924, 60.0 QS%
Mrazek: 5-7-1, 2.68, 0.906, 46.2 QS%
The test site for the new DobberHockey was ready for me again Friday. I made a list of notes and the programmer is pounding through them. I hope to go live with a new, slick, updated DH website very, very soon. Watch for it!
See you next Monday.
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