Ramblings: Release the Kraken, Box Pool Playoff Picks, Bruins Forward Lines (July 25)

Ian Gooding

2020-07-25

I shared a few thoughts (and even some lame jokes) regarding the Seattle team name on my Twitter account. Complete thoughts don't always appear on Twitter, so I'll expand on what I think.

I'll admit that I thought the Kraken name was a gimmicky joke at first. All I knew about kraken was from the Release the Kraken scene from the movie Clash of the Titans. As I've learned that the kraken is not just a Hollywood creation but also a mythical creature with some history, I'm coming around on the idea that it suits a coastal city like Seattle.

The jerseys and logos, though… a home run. I don't like every hockey jersey I see, but the color scheme, simplicity of design, and symbolism of the primary and secondary logo were amazing. The stylized S with the red eye is fantastic. The anchor shoulder patch with the Space Needle on top is clever. I know Seattle's first choice was probably blue and green, which wouldn't be possible given the team colors of its future nearby geographical rival. The combination of what the team has termed "deep-sea navy, ice blue, boundless blue, shadow blue, and red alert" definitely work for me. 

I don't know if I would have unveiled the name and jerseys on a construction site, but I also understand that the current state of our world limits the options that they had. With what they had and what they used, the Seattle team made quite a splash in introducing itself as the NHL's 32nd team. I can't wait to one day cross the border and drive down the I-5 to watch the Seattle Kraken play at Climate Pledge Arena. It doesn't matter whether it is against the Canucks (a game that will probably sell out) or against any other team.

Overall, I'm super ecstatic that a fine city like Seattle is finally getting an NHL team. Now Seattle just has to focus on getting its NBA team back. This is an opportunity for the Kraken to find spurned Seattle basketball fans and convert them to hockey fans.

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Sidney Crosby returned to full practice on Friday, skating on a line with Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary. There didn't seem to be much worry about Crosby's status for the play-in tournament, but it looks like those who draft Crosby in playoff pools shouldn't have anything to worry about.

On a side note, you might have forgotten that Sheary is back with Pittsburgh. If Sheary ends up on the Crosby line, he could be a sleeper pick in deeper playoff pools. Remember that his best season (53 points in 2016-17) was spent mainly on Crosby's line. In addition, he did finish the regular season with four points in five games not long after being reacquired by the Penguins from Buffalo.

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This shouldn't come as a huge surprise, but Brent Seabrook won't be on Chicago's postseason roster. Seabrook has not suited up since mid-December and is still recovering from hip and shoulder surgeries. With four seasons left and a cap hit of $6.875 million per, you won't find Seabrook on Alex MacLean's Top 200 Cap League Rankings, which will be posted later today.

More Blackhawks news: According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, Corey Crawford is on the Blackhawks' 31-player list submitted on Friday. He is still unfit to play, but the Hawks don't seem to be ruling him out to be ready for August 1. The Blackhawks already have their work cut out for them against Edmonton, and knocking off the Oilers will be an even taller order without Crawford.

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson left practice on Friday after getting tangled up with Carl Soderberg. Coach Rick Tocchet said that OEL is okay but will continue to be monitored over the weekend.

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Brett Kulak has revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19, reporting mild symptoms. Fortunately, Kulak was able to return to Canadiens' practice on Thursday.

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If you haven’t already, purchase your DobberHockey 2020 Interactive Playoff Draft List today! As has been the case in previous seasons, you can customize the teams that advance, or if you’re not sure you can go with Dobber’s picks. There will also be updates, based on injuries and updated player news.

I should also clarify for Dobber that this season's Playoff Draft List is not part of the 2020 Ultimate Fantasy Pack. If you bought an Ultimate Pack recently, the playoff list you'll receive is for next season. It's the 2019 Ultimate Pack that includes this season's Playoff Draft List. Sorry if this is confusing, but COVID delayed the Playoff Draft List (just as it did the playoffs) for a few months.

If you'd like to set up a simple playoff pool but don't know how, Dobber has his free playoff box pool available for download. You might need to perform your own calculations (Excel can do the job for totals), or you can enter players into a fantasy hockey provider.

Just for fun, I thought I'd share my own picks. I won't share all the player names in the boxes, so you'll have to download the list yourself to see all the names in each box. Go left to right, row by row, if that helps. If you're competing with your friends, you can use my picks if you need some tips. Or you can make me your George Costanza, where you will surely win if you do the opposite of me!

C: Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Mika Zibanejad, Brayden Point, Claude Giroux, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Paul Stastny, Brayden Schenn

W: Nikita Kucherov, Mark Stone, Jake Guentzel, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, Jaden Schwartz, David Perron, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Reilly Smith

D: John Carlson, Victor Hedman, Shea Theodore, Oscar Klefbom, Mikhail Sergachev, Kevin Shattenkirk

G: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Matt Murray, Jacob Markstrom

This is the kind of pool where the best strategy might be to load up on players from certain teams and hope they make a deep run. In this case, I've filled my roster with many players whose teams are already on first-round byes, while assuming that the round-robin game points count.

Here's a count of players picked by team:

Tampa Bay: 7

Vegas: 6

Pittsburgh: 3

St. Louis: 3

Washington: 3

Edmonton: 2

NY Rangers: 1

Philadelphia: 1

Vancouver: 1

With these picks, I guess I might be predicting a Tampa Bay – Vegas Stanley Cup Final, though I could easily change my mind between now and the start of the playoffs. Those were the same two teams I picked to meet in the final last season, but that obviously didn't happen with both teams being eliminated in the first round.

As you can see, I'm being very cautious on the President's Trophy-winning Boston Bruins at the moment. I still think they could go on a long run… if everyone is healthy. I am concerned about the numerous absences from practice this week, although it appears that only David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase are being deemed unfit to play.

The Bruins can obviously take their time on Pastrnak and Kase, considering that they're automatically in the round of 16. Kase is another player you may have forgotten was traded, although he has hardly made an impact with the Bruins with just one point in six games. You can read about the fantasy impact of the Kase deal from back in February.

Here is what the Bruins practice lines looked like on Friday, minus Pastrnak and Kase:

Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka are obviously the two main beneficiaries. Bjork would receive a massive uptick in value if he is on the top line in place of Pastrnak for any significant length of time.

Studnicka, meanwhile, is arguably the Bruins' top prospect. He is having an impressive training camp and may be ready for the NHL full-time, starting with the playoffs. The 2017 second-round pick had an impressive first full season in the AHL, leading the Providence Bruins with 23 goals and 49 points in 60 games. The Bruins don't have a lengthy list of top prospects, but fantasy owners could do worse than Studnicka, ranked #31 in Dobber's latest Forward Prospect Rankings.

For more on Studnicka, you can check out his profile on Dobber Prospects.

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Tomorrow I’ll discuss more on the upcoming play-in series. Talk to you then.

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

UPCOMING GAMES

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HOT PLAYERS

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LINE COMBOS

  Frequency N.J Players
29% NICO HISCHIER KYLE PALMIERI MILES WOOD
19.5% JESPER BRATT NIKITA GUSEV PAVEL ZACHA
12.5% JOEY ANDERSON JACK HUGHES TRAVIS ZAJAC

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