Ramblings: Dallas Draws First Blood, Struggling Seguin, More Players Whose Value Has Fallen During Postseason (Sept 20)
It's time to take the Dallas Stars seriously as a team that could legitimately win the Stanley Cup, led by their red-hot backup goalie.
Dallas 4, Tampa Bay 1 (Dallas leads series 1-0)
Anton Khudobin was the big story again. The Stars goalie stopped 35 of 36 shots he faced, including all 22 shots the Lightning took in the third period. Tampa built up their shot total as the game went on, starting with only four shots in the first period. Khudobin has now reeled off four consecutive wins, facing a minimum of 33 shots in each. Khudobin has a 2.54 GAA and .923 SV% during the postseason, but over those last four games he has dialed up the goaltending a notch with a 1.48 GAA and .959 SV%.
Dallas took only five shots themselves in the first period and only two shots in the third period. This clearly wasn't Andrei Vasilevskiy's best result, as he allowed three goals on 19 shots.
Those goal scorers, by the way, were Joel Hanley (zero goals), Jamie Oleksiak (18 goals), Joel Kiviranta (one goal), and Jason Dickinson (18 goals). You know what they say about how in order for a team to win, its best players have to be its best players? Ah, never mind.
That's now five goals for Kiviranta, including goals in back-to-back games. You may remember his other three goals from Game 7 of the Colorado series. The playoffs will create unexpected heroes, and Kiviranta qualifies as that super deep sleeper that would have been in no one's playoff pool. At least before the conference finals, anyway.
Oleksiak isn't known as a scorer either, with 17 of his 18 career goals coming over the last four seasons. Yet he's scored five goals this postseason. He's also contributing in other ways, including leading the Stars in both hits (6) and blocked shots (6) in this game. He also leads the Stars in with 96 hits in the postseason, and is second on the team with 46 blocked shots. The 6-7, 255 lb. defender also used his reach to keep Patrick Maroon socially distanced (sort of).
- Tyler Seguin was held without a point again, which means that he's now been held to a single assist over his last 10 games. He also has three fewer postseason goals than Oleksiak along with the same number of points (eight). And he was your regular-season leading scorer?
- Corey Perry, who was supposed to provide the Stars with depth scoring, has been held without a point in 10 games and without a goal since the first round (17 games).
- Miro Heiskanen has even cooled off with just two assists (one in Game 1) in his last six games.
In fairness, Seguin had a nice scoring chance in this game, so I think he's overdue for something to happen. In addition, his all-around game has been solid by many accounts. And he still has the slick moves, as demonstrated below.
Yanni Gourde scored the lone Lightning goal, which was his first goal in six games.
Brayden Point did suit up for the Lightning in Game 1, but he was held without a point and was a team-worst minus-3 in just over 20 minutes.
Do you want to know if any of our writers chose underdog Dallas to win the Stanley Cup? Check out our Experts Panel for the Stanley Cup Final, which includes the series winner, number of games, and Conn Smythe winner.
I can't believe I waited this long to look this up. Your postseason Draisaitl Hat Trick leader is… David Krejci, with two! If you're not sure what that means, Krejci had two games (August 13 vs. Carolina, August 31 vs. Tampa Bay) where he scored at least one goal, added at least one assist, and finished with a minus-1 or lower. For the record, Krejci finished the postseason with a team-leading 12 points in 13 games. However, he also finished with a minus-3, but that was not the worst on the Bruins.
This is not as embarrassing an accomplishment as it seems. Several players had had one Draisaitl Hat Trick during the postseason, including Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid, Mathew Barzal, and J.T. Miller. Leon Draisaitl himself did not record one in his four play-in games.
On Friday, I listed three players whose fantasy values had fallen during the postseason. One of those players was the aforementioned Seguin, who is going through an unbelievable dry spell in spite of his team's success. Today I'll give you three more players who have not helped their cause during the return to play. This doesn't mean that they're doomed for next season, but just simply something to keep an eye on.
I'm not suggesting that Rask should not left the bubble, particularly if it were for some type of family emergency. Yet after the Bruins were able to rely on Jaroslav Halak for the remainder of the postseason, I wonder if there's more of a 50-50 split with Halak next season. Both goalies will be in the final year of their contract next season, and Rask is believed to be contemplating retirement after next season. Rask made that comment back in March, so I wonder if given his departure from the bubble, he's thinking about walking away from the Bruins for good before next summer.
I don't foresee a huge drop in value for Letang. However, his current situation isn't helping matters either. After a poor postseason performance (zero points in four games), Letang is the subject of trade rumors. That seems puzzling, given the fact that the Penguins will likely the current core intact to make one or two more playoff runs. Maybe this is all smoke that will all blow over come next season, and Letang will be back to his usual spot of producing points with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. There are always the lingering injury issues to contend with for Letang owners, though.
Domi is another player who is rumored to be on the block. And like Letang, he didn't have a postseason to remember (three assists in 10 games, with all three assists in one game). Domi appears to be better off as a center, but after the postseason the Habs appear ready to build around Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi as their top two centers. That would either push Domi to the wing or down the lineup, which is what happened to him in the playoffs, when he started on the fourth line. A trade might help Domi's value, just as it did when he was first traded to Montreal. However, keep in mind that he lucked out a bit during that first season in Montreal with a higher-than-normal shooting percentage. Remove the 72-point output of 2018-19 and the rest might be about what we should expect from Domi.
For more fantasy hockey discussion, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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