November 16 2015

by Dobber on November 16, 2015

Rambling about Artemi Panarin, Reto Berra, the Penguins’ suckitude, Mats Zuccarello; plus Barkov returns and more …

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The other shoe has dropped. Semyon Varlamov is now on injured reserve thanks to a groin injury. Reto Berra has been red hot and now he gets a few games to really run with it. Berra makes $1.45 million (per) through next season while Varlamov makes $5.9 million through 2018-19. So if Berra “seizes” the top job, he’ll never truly seize it. What you’ll see is a Michael Hutchinson type of scenario in which Varlamov plays the role of Ondrej Pavelec. While that means Berra has some fantasy value now and a lot of it in spurts, it still acts as a drag on his overall value in that his games will be limited to 50 at the very most. But I get ahead of myself – he has to seize the job first.

ANNOUNCEMENT – the player profiles just got even better. Goalies now have a little calculator where you can click two dates (start and end) and it will give you their stats between those dates without leaving the page. Not sure what I mean? Just try it out – try Berra’s page (here) and use the dates November 6 to November 15. Can’t believe there hasn’t been a tool like this out there yet.

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Aleksander Barkov is set to return tonight. The fantasy impact? Since October 24, his linemate Jonathan Huberdeau has seven points in 10 games and his linemate Jaromir Jagr has five in eight. Nick Bjugstad, Barkov’s replacement at even strength, has seven in 10 while Vincent Trocheck (who saw added PP time) has eight in 10. I would suspect that this helps Jagr the most and hurts Trocheck.

I would also guess that Rocco Grimaldi gets sent down. He’s not quite “there” yet. But getting close. I’d like to see him dominate the AHL this season.

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I was out of town on Saturday so I was out of the hockey loop, but when I read Laidlaw’s Saturday ramblings on Sunday I understood a few things. Because Saturday night I reviewed the summaries and saw that Michael Del Zotto got on the board and so did Shayne Gostisbehere. I didn’t even know Ghost was called up. But Laidlaw had it right when he suggested that MDZ would get going due to the Mark Streit injury. He finally got his second assist.

Strangely enough, MDZ didn’t get out there for the power play. I didn’t see the game so perhaps he had just ended a shift. But I was interested when I saw that Ghost played 1:00 on the PP and MDZ played 0:00. I’ll be watching for this next game. And I think Ghost is worth a flier. Flyer. Flier. My head just exploded.

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Colorado claimed Chris Wagner off of waivers from the Ducks. Not a lot of fantasy value but a good promising prospect to give a shot on a checking line. Here’s a great, updated analysis of Wagner from a fantasy standpoint.

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I’ve been railing on this for weeks now, but I just can’t help but do it again. The Penguins. Killing a lot of fantasy hockey owners. You know who they’re not killing? The owners who felt unlucky because they were unable to draft or acquire any Penguins before the season started. Today, those owners are bragging:

“Ha ha! You’re team sucks! It’s those Penguins – I never would have drafted those Penguins that you did. I wouldn’t have taken Crosby there and I knew all along that Kessel was going to suck!”

Yep, they’re pretending that they wouldn’t have given their first-born to draft the Penguins that you managed to draft. And that this was all “part of the plan”. That’s the beauty of fantasy hockey – if you get lucky you can pretend it was skill and as the champion nobody can argue with you!

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Anyway, I digress. I was saying to my buddy on Friday that if I was the owner of a team that had Malkin, Crosby, Kessel and Letang then I would fire the coach every time they went 0-for-5 on the power play. I don’t care if I go through 10 coaches in 10 games. I’d hire the hot dog vendor. If you put that kind of talent on the ice and remove a player from the other team and they can’t score, five consecutive times…then you don’t deserve to coach. Yes, this was the rant of a drunken angry fantasy owner, but still…the point is valid.

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Mike Green is a minus-7 since returning four games ago. He has a four-game week this week and I have to decide if I can trust him. Because he’s on a new team, it’s really hard to put my finger on this. I’ll role with him, but I don’t feel comfortable about it.

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Andrew Hammond was injured again. He’s out indefinitely and basically hands the reins to Craig Anderson for the duration. They had gone every other game over the past week, so Anderson owners will be glad to know that it stops now. Two early season injuries to Hammond have me concerned about how this campaign will go for him.

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Three points for Mats Zuccarello against the Leafs Sunday give him 11 in eight games. That’s his third three-point effort in that span. He’s 28, in the heart of his prime, and if he’s healthy he’s ascending into stardom. I had a feeling this would happen…

Zuccarello gets three points and Rick Nash, his linemate, gets the big goose egg.

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Quickly run the calculator for Jonathan Bernier – set the dates from Christmas of last year through today. That’s ugly, and it’s for over 40 games. You call that a trend, not a streak. You know what’s even uglier? This…

I’m at a loss for words. Do you see Mike Babcock’s expression? That alone makes that clip worth watching several times…

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We’re spending a lot of time talking about Artemi Panarin and how great he’s been doing. We’re still a little in shock over just what is happening with that guy. And we’re speculating in fantasy hockey circles, wondering if he’s the real deal and if he can keep this up. That’s enough. Move on. He’s a star. Let’s stop being paralyzed by surprise, accept it as fact, and carry on. Let’s move the conversation to where it needs to go now – Patrick Kane. Here is an 80- to 85-point player. Put him with quality linemates and that’s where he’s at if he’s healthy. But he’s with Panarin – and whether it’s because Panarin is a superstar or because Panarin’s game really gels with Kane’s, the bottom line is that Panarin is pushing Kane’s production upward. The NHL’s top scorer and he could push the 100-point mark.

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The new 3-on-3 overtime is going to end up adding about three to five points to the top players on each team by the end of the season.

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This week’s 20 Fantasy Thoughts – this one’s all Laidlaw, I get too specific with dates and points and trends that it’s hard to pull something from four days prior and have it relevant in a Sunday article, so I won’t always make the cut! Ramblings clips are taken from Wednesday through Saturday.

My Fantasy Mailbag from Friday, courtesy of Sportsnet – here.