Ramblings: Andersen on the Shelf, Ovechkin on a Bender, Merzlikins, Vrana, Bernier, & Bratt (Feb 5)
The Canucks continued their road trip in Boston on Tuesday. For the second consecutive game, The Lotto Line was back together. That’s a big sigh of relief for Brock Boeser owners who were not loving the exile to line three and the lack of production that came along with it.
However, Boeser, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and the rest of the Canucks were shutout 4-0. Tuukka Rask popped the shutout and has been dynamite since returning from injury. That all-star break and bye-week timed out perfectly for him and the Bs.
Freddie Andersen may not have a concussion, but he has a neck injury, is considered day-to-day, and will not travel with the team to New York for their tilt against the Rangers on Wednesday. As a result, the Leafs have recalled Kasimir Kaskisuo from the American League.
This could be devastating to the Buds and to fantasy owners. While Andersen hasn’t been at his best – that 0.891 save percentage mark over the last seven games has been ugly. But he’s a proven workhorse who sees a ton of rubber. He’s second in wins, third in starts and third in saves.
Speaking personally, he hasn’t left my lineup once in a two G start, deep league.
This will not be a simple hole to fill if Andy is on the shelf for a while. Generally speaking, a neck injury can be a lot of things and result in a wide range of symptoms and healing times. We’ll keep an eye on the updates, but as for now, you can see about peeling a Henrik Lundqvist or Linus Ullmark (when he returns) for cheap to patch things up.
And of course, the expectant coverage by Michael Hutchinson could prove valuable. But I’m of the mind that he’s not a very good netminder. His numbers back me up on that.
Don’t sleep on Jonathan Bernier either. He’s back from injury and has stopped 58/61 in consecutive games. Jimmy Howard has been putrid in every regard this year. I know the Red Wings are hunting Alexis Lafreniere, but they also want good goaltending for their young squad. Bernier is going to see a lot more action if he keeps this rolling.
To reinforce the gap between Bernier and Howard this season, here's a graph looking at goals saved above expected amongst goalies with >1000 FA against at all situations since 2007-2008. Look at the difference between Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier this year pic.twitter.com/YCWSm2IY9B
— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) February 4, 2020
Hell, the Leafs may try and trade for the former Leaf if Andersen is out for a bit. The price will be cheap and he’s familiar with the organization.
One more thing on netminders.. Another guy who could be a potential deadline add for your playoff run is Carey Price. Yes, the Canadiens will be outside the playoffs again this season which means some losses down the stretch as the effort dries up.
But Price is playing some of his best hockey right now. His .911 mark on the season is slightly above league average, but his .936 over the last 12 games is no joke. At his age, a team that could be a seller likely doesn’t see him as a core piece moving forward.
Go get that rental.
Don’t forget, there is still time to grab your Dobber Midseason Guide. Load it up ahead of the playoffs!
Okay, ONE LAST THING on goalies. Igor Shestyorkin is starting for the Rangers against the Leafs on Wednesday. The rookie is doing what he does – put up strong numbers. He’s sporting a .927 in his first four NHL games.
It won’t be long before he starts to see more regular action. You’ve got to think Alexander Georgiev is gone at the deadline.
PK Subban was out on Tuesday night with an apparent virus. I’d be feeling a little sick with his stat line this season too. Price also sat this one out with the flu.
Both of them missed an entertaining affair with the Habs taking it 5-4 in OT. Blake Coleman (two assists) and Jesper Bratt (1+1) were good for the Devils. Bratt was up with Jack Hughes on the first line as Nico Hischier was out after receiving a cut last game. Coleman continues his underrated season skating with Travis Zajac and Nikita Gusev. Hell, he even saw four minutes of power-play action!
Bratt has six points in his last 4 games and is starting to inch back up to that 50-point pace he produced at as a 20-year-old rookie last season. He was a sexy deep sleeper pick before the season began. It won't come to fruition, but I see some nice things and some real production in his future.
There has been plenty of love spread around Quinn Hughes and his spectacular rookie campaign. But one area that hasn’t been discussed much is that he’s seemingly turning Chris Tanev into a potential fantasy target.
The long-time defensive defender has been matched up with Hughes for a healthy portion of the year. And as Hughes has ratcheted things up, so has Tanev. Coming into action on Tuesday, the 30-year-old had five points in his last four games and seven in the last 10. He’s always been a block machine, but this year he’s already added a career-high in hits.
Most importantly, he’s been healthy for the first time in… well, forever. Nice timing as he approaches UFA.
Rasmus Dahlin was also out of the lineup on Tuesday due to an upper-body injury. The 19-year-old defender was cooking with nine points in his last 10 games so this comes at an especially poor time.
We’ll keep an eye out for updates.
With their best defender out, the Avs laid the boots to the Sabres 6-1. Philipp Grubauer was good. Carter Hutton was dreadful. The Sabres are going to blow things up again, aren't they? I wonder how many times a team can tank out and try again? Let's just ask the Oilers.
Anyone not named Jack Eichel or Dahlin better have their bags half packed.
Zach Werenski played the hero, but the story remains squarely focused on the rookie netminder. Merzlikins outdueled former Blue Jacket, Sergei Bobrovsky – who was very good in this one stopping 44/45. Merzlikins is 11-2-1 with a 0.951 save percentage since taking over the crease at the end of December.
— Alison (@AlisonL) February 5, 2020
What a story.
Instead, he's on pace to break 60 for just the second time in his career. Just insane.
34-year-old, Alex Ovechkin's last 10 games:
🚀 16 goals
🚀 49 shots
🚀 91 attempts
🚀 Avg 6:03 PPTOI
🚀 21:08 TOI
He's now hit at least 40 goals for the 11th time in his career.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 5, 2020
John Carlson had a goal and two helpers in this one as well. He's not up to 65 points in 54 games and continues to track for the first 100-point season from a blueliner since Brian Leetch hit 102 in 1991-92.
No points for Jakub Vrana on Tuesday but he continues to roll on the top PP unit and has 14 points in his last 12 games. That deployment was the only issue holding him back from a 70 point season this year and more to come down the line. Get on board if it's not too late.
Nikita Kucherov is having the quietest 100-point season ever. After last season, we've come to expect that unreasonable from the Russian superstar. He had two assists in Tampa's win over Vegas on Tuesday. That gives him 14 in his last 8 and 63 in 52 on the campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is on pace for 100 points and it's somehow considered pretty meh
This is a lesson to all you kids out there – don't peak too early or your parents will expect high grades on all your report cards. It's all about a nice steady incline
(Yes, I am a school teacher)
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 5, 2020
I wonder if you could convince an owner that he's just really good and not insanely good in a deal? Probably not, but I'm going to go send an offer anyway.
No data at this moment.