Ramblings: Dominant Demko, Wheeler’s Wonderful Game, Comeback Players – Larkin, Laine (Feb 13)

Ian Gooding

2022-02-13

Thatcher Demko spoiled the fun for the 50 percent (or more) of the Vancouver crowd that was cheering for the Leafs on Saturday. Demko made a career-high 51 saves in stealing a 3-2 Canucks win over Toronto. Since Bruce Boudreau took over, Demko has a sparkling .936 SV% to go with an 11-4-1 record and 2.02 GAA. If you didn't think Demko deserved to be an All-Star, you got to see why on the Hockey Night in Canada national broadcast – on at a time that was suitable for Leafs fans watching from Ontario, no less. If the Canucks turn out to be any good over the next few seasons, Demko has the upside to be a top-5 goalie in fantasy leagues. Pure skill-wise, I believe he's already there.

With Quinn Hughes out of the lineup due to COVID protocol, Oliver Ekman-Larsson has stepped up the offense. With an assist on Saturday, OEL has five points in the three games without Hughes. Ekman-Larsson has also benefitted from first-unit power-play time in Hughes' absence. Hughes is expected to make his return when the Canucks cross the border for their next game in San Jose on Thursday, which will zap some of OEL's value.  

Brock Boeser hasn't had his strongest season, but he has turned it up a notch recently. With a power-play goal and an assist on Saturday, Boeser has eight points (including four goals) over his last seven games.

Blake Wheeler doubled his season goal total in one game. That's right – he scored a pair of goals on Saturday to double his season goal total from two to four. He also added three assists for a five-point game (three of which were on the power play) to go with eight shots. Between injuries and a lack of goals, Wheeler hasn't had a memorable season.

Wheeler has been a good-but-not-great goal scorer throughout his career with no 30-goal seasons but eight 20-goal seasons. His shot total (2.5 SOG/GP) is similar to his total from the last few seasons, so more pucks should start going in for Wheeler. Even if he is facing an age-related