Ramblings: NYR’s Big Decision, STL’s Goaltending, Dube, & Korpisalo (Aug. 12)
Do you know who would be suffocatingly frustrating to play against? The Columbus Blue Jackets. After dismissing a top-five offensive team in the Maple Leafs during the play-in round, CBJ took on the Lightning in a rematch of last year's first-round series. One in which they handily swept the Eastern Conference powerhouse.
In Tuesday's game, Columbus was outmatched in the shot column but mitigated the number of high-danger chances against. They pushed back with timely tallies including an absolute snipe job from Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Check out the snip by Bjorkstrand pic.twitter.com/vJnaCm2Qfe
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) August 11, 2020
The game went to overtime tied 2-2 and that's when things got serious. Five overtimes. All-time playoff records were broken. All before Brayden Point finally ended it.
Joonas Korpisalo ended up making 85 saves(!) shattering the previous mark of 73 by Kelly Hrudey. Meanwhile, Seth Jones saw a whopping 65:06 – passing Sergei Zubov for the top spot. Zach Werenski’s 61:13 is now the third-most TOI. Just insane numbers.
However, it’s difficult to imagine CBJ coming back from a loss like this. It’s just so disheartening to play for nearly six hours and come away empty-handed. We shall see though.
More good news for the Bolts was that Victor Hedman played and played well. Hell, he played 57 minutes! There were concerns the ankle would hold him out, but he appeared unaffected. No Steven Stamkos though.
What does Korpisalo rocking out in the playoffs mean for Elvis owners? Well, I’m not quite sure. Torts is a madman, so I don’t really believe there is an extended leash for either guy. He’ll roll a hot hand and quickly dump him for the next masked man if it suits him.
The message should be: hedge your bet and get both if possible. In that system, whoever is starting is bringing value.
That game went so long that the league had to send Carolina and Boston back to the hotel and rescheduled their game for 11:30AM EST Wednesday. I’m fine with that. I love some coffee with my playoff hockey.
The Flames jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Stars off the stick of two Dillon Dube tallies. Fun story: Calgary drafted Dube with a pick they acquired in exchange for Kris Russel at the deadline a few years back. Anywho, the Stars came back to tie it in the middle frame, before Rasmus Andersson scored the GWG.
Just three PPs in this one. Which is boring – exactly like the Stars. Sorry, I hate their style. I miss the days of the Stars running up scores and having multiple high-end fantasy assets.
Now, I’m not saying you need to be rushing out to grab Dube in your keeper leagues, but I wouldn’t sleep on him either. He has just 70 games to his NHL resume and clicked at nearly a 30-point pace. That’s seeing just 12 minutes a night with nary a whiff of PP action.
I predict that will change moving forward.
Dube’s main hindrance to more even-strength ice is Andrew Mangiapane. The 24-year-old had a great first full campaign, scoring 17 goals without any PP time himself. The difference is that Mangiapane skates with Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund.
For what it’s worth, both Dube and Mangiapane are skating on PP2 these days. Dube on the point.
The world watched with bated breath on Monday evening as the drawing of the ping pong balls decided where Alexis Lafrenière plays for at least the next nine seasons.
NYR last picked first overall back in 1965. They'll end that 55-year drought this fall
The longest such drought will then belong to the LA Kings (54) years), while the Canucks have the longest streak of never owning the pick (51 years)
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) August 11, 2020
But wait just a moment, despite the event being heralded as the Lafrenière-sweepstakes, there is another contender to go number one and he makes a ton of sense to the Blue Shirts. As Cliffy pointed out in the Ramblings last night, I'm one of the only public evaluators out there who have Quinton Byfield in the pole position on my draft board. It's been that way since December and it won't be changing ahead of the actual event in the fall.
The thing is, if Pittsburgh, Toronto, or Edmonton landed lucky, it'd be a slamdunk for the left-wing, Lafrenière. But NYR is in a slightly different position. They have Artemi Panarin leading the left-flank for the next six years. They just extended Chris Krieder for seven seasons on LW2.
With absolutely no insight into their board, the Rangers are one of the teams on paper who could get wild at 1.
They have Panarin and Kreider locked up on the LW for the next 7 years. Their 2C is Ryan Strome..
I'm just saying, Zibanejad/Byfield down the middle is sexy af.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) August 10, 2020
Meanwhile, they have a true number one centre in Mika Zibanejad and then a patch job of pivots. You slide a potential unicorn down the middle with Panarin, Kaapo Kakko, Kreider and the rest of the wingers and you're dancing in the moonlight.
Now, this isn't to say the Rangers couldn't slide the right-handed Panarin to the right side and open up a spot for Lafrenière in the top six. But do you really want your Hart trophy candidate shifting around?
You could also draft Lafreniere, use him all around the top nine for the first couple of ELC seasons and then look to trade Kreider out, thus making room for the big second-contract and opening up an offensive space. There are a lot of options here.
But of all the teams to grab the top slot, NYR is one who could get wild.
All that said, I'm still expecting the team to take Lafreniere and to me, that only increases Zibanejad's stock moving forward. Sure, the Swedish centre saw most of his even-strength ice with Kreider last season. And probably sees the same next year. But long term, he could/should be centring two of Panarin, Kakko and Lafreniere. That's dream-like stuff for a guy who just scored at a 60-goal pace.
Can you say, top-10 fantasy skater?
I'm writing this portion on Sunday afternoon right after the Blues lost their third round-robin contest to the Stars. They had Jake Allen in net for that one and he was pretty good. In fact, he's been the better netminder all season long. Jordan Binnington posted a .912 in the regular season and then a putrid .895 in two round-robin games.
Against the Blues, the Canucks can’t touch their depth upfront. They're outmatched on the blueline. But one area that they should have the advantage is in net. The big guns need to fire, but Jacob Markstrom will be the key to this series.
Markstrom, he without a contract past this summer shindig has been one of the top netminders in the game the past two seasons. He's going to get paid but we're not sure where yet. That question mark looms large over fantasy owners. There are not many quality teams in the market for a UFA goalie. If he walks from VAN, the situation likely gets worse.
I'm all for waiting it out to see where he goes, but if I'm an owner and can parlay his current resume into a smart deal right now, I'm probably taking the opportunity.
Back to STL's net, I will not be at all surprised to see Allen take the reins in this series. The Blues are ripe for the picking in the opening game or two. It's never easy to flip the playoff intensity switch against an opponent who has been playing do-or-die hockey for a week-plus.
This is why I've gone big time on the #UpsetSeason predictions.
— Dobber (@DobberHockey) August 11, 2020
Personally, I wouldn't be interested in owning Binnington in a keeper. The Blues have zero dollars to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo. They'll need to squeeze the lemon just to fit Vince Dunn in. I'm not a believer in either guy so if the defense is going in the wrong direction, I'll assume the save percentage metrics will as well.
Marc Bergevin is a beast. Dude added a double sleeve combo in his 55th year on earth. Respect.
— Paul Wilson (@prpwilson) August 11, 2020
Look at those elbows too. I wouldn’t want to go near the corners with that guy. Capped and sharpened.
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