Every Sunday, we’ll share 21 Fantasy Rambles – the original 20 Fantasy Thoughts – from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s 'Daily Ramblings'.
Editors: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford, Cam Robinson, and Dobber
1. In a game with massive playoff implications for the Jets, Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 29 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over the Golden Knights on Friday. Hellebuyck has now earned shutouts in two of his last four games. He’s also put together an impressive run of quality starts, with 11 quality starts over his last 14 games. In fact, he leads the league with 34 quality starts.
Remember that Paul Maurice received an extension earlier this year, and how we mentioned that a high percentage of the performance-related fired coaches were victims of poor goaltending? I don’t watch enough Jets games to know this, but I wonder if any of the Winnipeg faithful would consider Hellebuyck to be the team’s MVP, given the Jets’ offseason downgrades on defense. His performance seems to be having a similar effect on the Jets as Jacob Markstrom has had on the Canucks. (mar7)
2. Someone recently asked me whether I expected Kaapo Kakko to take a similarly-sized step forward in year two that Andrei Svechnikov did this year. The answer is, not quite.
I maintain my love for Kakko despite the muted rookie totals. I expected him to be better than he’s been this year, but that’s okay. It’s damn difficult being an 18-year-old in this league. So, even though I don’t see 35 goals and 70-75 points likely coming next season (although it is conceivable) I do see Kakko pushing up into the 30-goal, 60+ point range. Watch for year three to be the big banger.
3. Of the Flyers’ nine consecutive wins, Carter Hart has won seven in a row. How about this for a home/road split: Hart is 20-2-2 with a GAA hovering around 1.60 and a SV% of over .940 at the Wells Fargo Center. Away from Philly, he’s a much more abysmal 4-10-1 with a 3.81 GAA and .857 SV%. Even though the Flyers are on a heater right now, only one of those last six wins has been on the road. Something to think about if you’re in a daily league or need to choose goalies. (mar6)
4. I had been wondering why Alex DeBrincat was having a down season this year. After scoring 28 in his rookie season, and 41 in his sophomore campaign, he's on pace for just over 20 goals this year. I saw his low all-situations shooting percentage and decided to look deeper. It didn’t take long to diagnose the problem: at mid-week of last, and out of 219 forwards