Every Sunday, we share 21 Fantasy Rambles from our writers at DobberHockey. These thoughts are curated from the past week’s 'Daily Ramblings'.
Writers/Editors: Ian Gooding, Michael Clifford, Alexander MacLean, and Dobber
1. Florida is known as a place where retired people move to so that they can enjoy their golden years. It’s also been a place where several players discarded by other teams have not just found new life, but also taken their games to a whole new level.
Less than one calendar year ago, Sam Bennett was being healthy scratched by the Flames, seemingly destined for a fourth-line career path. That experience is now well in the rear-view mirror for Bennett. Since being acquired by Florida at last season’s trade deadline, Bennett has picked up 36 points (including 20 goals) in just 38 games. Not a bad return for a second-round pick.
At one point Anthony Duclair couldn’t find an NHL home, his ears ringing from John Tortorella’s comments that he didn’t know how to play. Duclair is now leading the Panthers in goals with 16. Since joining the Panthers, Duclair has accrued 60 points in 72 games, including 28 points in 29 games this season. Take that, Torts!
During the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, Carter Verhaeghe averaged less than 10 minutes per game on the eventual Stanley Cup champion Lightning. He just wasn’t going to get an opportunity with a lineup as set as theirs is. In two seasons with the Panthers, Verhaeghe has totaled 67 points in 80 games for an average of 0.84 PTS/GP. In other words, a 68-point pace over a full 82-game season. (jan15)
2. Bennett and Duclair in particular owe much of their success to Jonathan Huberdeau, who is on an insane tear (20 points in his last eight games), giving him a league-leading 38 assists. Huberdeau is the fourth player to reach the 50-point mark and is now battling with Draisaitl, Ovechkin and McDavid for the league scoring lead. Stepping into this elite group of scorers, Huberdeau might be getting some Hart Trophy votes this season. (jan15)
3. On Friday, Anton Khudobin made his first appearance since November 18. As much as the Stars signing Braden Holtby didn’t make a whole lot of sense when it happened, the fact that they still have enough goalies with Ben Bishop being forced to retire and Holtby in protocol means that they’re in a better spot than they could be. (My own contribution to the Midseason Guide is the goaltending writeups, which is not surprising the way I ramble on about them sometimes.) (jan15)
4. After scoring two goals and adding an assist on Friday, Mats Zuccarello is scoring at over a point per game (