October 12 2015

by Dobber on October 12, 2015

Rambling about Robin Lehner, Robby Fabbri, Dylan Larkin, Francois Beauchemin, Patrick Sharp and more …

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Robin Lehner is indeed out for two months with a high ankle sprain. I agree with Ian yesterday that the team may look for a starting goalie, given that this happened right off the hop. I also agree that Calgary makes sense as a potential trade partner. Had this happened in December, then perhaps they wait it out. Lehner has certainly had his share of injuries already in his young career and this is what I wrote in the Fantasy Guide:

I also have concerns over Lehner getting injured on two different occasions last year. A trend? This Lehner-Johnson duo doesn't feel right. It strikes me as one of those situations where a timely injury happens and (Andrey) Makarov comes up and steals the show. Something to bear in mind if an injury actually does happen at some point.

Here Lehner is getting hurt again and the Sabres recalled Nathan Lieuwen. Makarov or Linus Ullmark are next in line and one of them will be the guy to target in terms of promising prospects. If Johnson stumbles (possible) and Lieuwen stumbles (likely) then watch out. I prefer Makarov, but Ullmark had a monster AHL debut Saturday with 38 saves in a 2-1 win for Rochester. Just know that Lieuwen won’t be the answer, it will be one of the other two kids.

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Update – Someone in the comments below wanted me to expand on trade candidates for Buffalo so I'll do that here. Let me preface it by saying that the odds of a deal are probably more like 30% – a far cry from 100%. But a week ago these odds were 0%. So don't make any decisions in anticipation of a trade. It's still more unlikely than likely. Consider, Lehner is back in December. So what would they do with the extra goalie at that time? It would definitely be a fringe starter or backup and he'd likely have just one year left on his contract. Anton Khudobin is a great suggestion here. But the Ducks, while probably wanting to trade him at some point, likely don't want to move him before January. He's the reason they can give John Gibson more time in the minors. The Flames have three goalies, with Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller each with a year left. But they wouldn't be classified as "fringe" and thus would cost the Sabres a sizable asset. The Sabres are not currently in the business of giving up assets. It has to be a goalie via waivers (the way the Isles did) or for a seventh-round pick (the way the Devils got O'Neill). So maybe when Jaroslav Halak gets back, J-F Berube is waived again and the Sabres can 'rent' him for a few weeks.

One more Lehner point. I think the Sabres have to be very concerned about Lehner's proneness to injury. This is early yet, but as a fantasy owner I have very little interest in him. The risk is too great. So if I were involved with Sabres' management, I would be looking for a Plan B to get into my system.

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Two games in and the mighty Penguins have one goal. Two of my keeper league teams are still Penguin-heavy and this is getting on my nerves. Remember Pittsburgh’s March and April? Unless Mike Johnson gets through to them soon, I think he has to go. Just not a fit. So far, his decision-making has included splitting Crosby and Malkin on two different power plays and sticking Daniel Sprong on the fourth line with Tommy Stonehands and Jimmy Plugger. Just send the kid to junior if you’re gonna do that.

But what you see when a team struggles to score is that there’s line juggling. So what you may see is Sergei Plotnikov coming off the Malkin line and David Perron bumped onto it. Or Sprong.

Sidney Crosby has not had a shot yet in two games this season.

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Case in point the Philadelphia Flyers. After starting the season with two losses and getting hammered 7-1, they need to review the players who they scratched for those two games. Namely Sam Gagner.

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Reminder – early games today. Set your lineups (and use Goalie Post to get your starting goalies).

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In this Buffalo News article, the indication is that Zemgus Girgensons will be moving to center. But what I got out of the article is the fact that Coach Dan Bylsma is sticking to pairings when it comes to his offense. The third man will differ, but for October at the very least you will see Evander Kane and Jack Eichel together. You’ll also see Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Ennis together. Those are your pairings.

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Dylan Larkin is going to make it impossible for the Red Wings to send back down. Even when Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm return. How can they? He keeps putting up points and is working magic on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. Right now Tomas Jurco and Joakim Andersson are getting scratched. Andersson will likely go on waivers (and a team will claim him, I have little doubt). And perhaps they unload Jurco via trade. But I can’t see them not making room for a guy who is putting up points like a star. Several years ago, when I saw Detroit send down Gustav Nyquist even though he was head and shoulders above half of his team, I had it in my head that the Red Wings do things a certain way. But whether it’s the new coach or Larkin’s situation (two players hurt so he’s allowed to get this opportunity), things are different this time.

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Robby Fabbri suffered a possible concussion in Saturday’s game. He played just over three minutes before taking an elbow to the head and leaving the game. He had been playing with Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz (not a bad line…). Troy Brouwer moved into his spot and that meant Kyle Brodziak moved onto the David BackesDmitrij Jaskin line.

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Alexander Wennberg is out with a concussion and here were the Columbus line combos with him sidelined:

17.28%

EV

71 FOLIGNO,NICK – 19 JOHANSEN,RYAN – 20 SAAD,BRANDON

12.13%

EV

18 BOURQUE,RENE – 17 DUBINSKY,BRANDON – 38 JENNER,BOONE

8.82%

EV

13 ATKINSON,CAM – 43 HARTNELL,SCOTT – 25 KARLSSON,WILLIAM

8.46%

EV

40 BOLL,JARED – 11 CALVERT,MATTHEW – 9 CAMPBELL,GREGORY

 

While I think we can all agree that the top line just plain works, the Karlsson line was absolutely torched on Saturday (four goals against, zero goals for). Atkinson and Hartnell need a quality setup man and the only one in the Columbus system is Johansen. I think those two will have a slow, trying start to the season. Dubinsky may be their best bet, but even that would ensure no more than 50 points and both players can do so much better.

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Derek Roy has signed to play in my favorite fall-back option for fringe NHLers – the Swiss League. Those who read me all summer are probably sick of my saying that it’s a brilliant choice to play there, between the taxes, the (from what I hear) lifestyle, the pay. Kudos to Roy, who hasn’t been the same player since his quad surgery.

James Sheppard signed there as well. Do these guys read my Ramblings?

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So is it time to pick up Francois Beauchemin? After all, we’ve seen him put up decent numbers before and he already has five assists. In a word – no. He’s getting second-unit power-play time for the Avalanche and that’s actually been a good thing so far. The Avs are 4-for-6 on the PP and they’ve drawn a ton of penalties. Beauchemin has two PPPts and none of the above numbers are sustainable. Enjoy what you’ve had so far and enjoy a possible hot streak of another game or two, but then prepare for the inevitable cold streak.

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I don’t know how long this will last, probably not very long, but for now Cody Eakin is lining up with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. He scored twice on Saturday. Of concern is Patrick Sharp, who isn’t clicking with Jason Spezza on the second line and isn’t producing despite all the PP time (over five minutes on Saturday). I’d kick tires about his availability and see if I can land him cheap, because at some point he’ll get his look on that top line.

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Finally getting to the lone Sunday game, Tomas Plekanec scored twice and already has three on the season. However he has zero assists and last year after three games he had five points. Hot starts are his thing, so I’d definitely play on that and be in full-on shop mode.

It was Matt O’Connor’s first career NHL game and he stopped 31 of 34 in the loss. Craig Anderson was reportedly only rested Sunday because the Habs intended to start Mike Condon instead of Carey Price. No update on how much longer Andrew Hammond (groin) will be out.

Condon stopped 20 of 21 to win his debut.

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Love what Sportsnet is doing with DobberHockey ever Sunday. Did you see the DobberHockey “20 Fantasy Thoughts”? What a fun read! I wrote a quarter of it and it was still fun! Modeled after Elliotte Freidman’s “30 Thoughts”, Sportsnet takes the 20 most interesting tidbits of advice over the past seven days of Ramblings, and fires them off one by one. I honestly haven’t enjoyed a fantasy hockey read that much in years – and that includes my own stuff. Every Sunday, watch for it. Very helpful if you miss a Ramblings or two during the week.

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Announcements

1. Goalie Post should now be working 100%. Any issues please let me know – you now should be able to sign up for free email starting goalie notifications without issue, I believe all the bugs are ironed out. So just login over there and set up your emails (i.e. select which teams you want notification for).

2. Frozen Pool “Fantasy Manager” works again. You have to be logged in at DobberHockey, but then when you go to Frozen Pool you can put in your team (and other teams) and track it (them). However, I’m sorry but your teams that were in there before the relaunch are gone. The reason is – all customer IDs were reassigned (WordPress treats it differently than Joomla). So when we tried to reinstate the teams, you were all getting other people’s entered teams. So this one time you’ll have to start over.

3. Dobbernomics is tracking points and dollars, and we appreciate all the bug reports. Up next is search functionality in the player section. When that part is going I’m going to give a cash reward to the person who can build the highest value on his team by the end of the season, as a thank you for your help in this ‘Beta’ year – and also give incentive to get good at the ‘buy low’/’sell high’ concept of player value. I haven’t decided how much.

4. I don’t expect many (or any) more Draft Kings deposits as part of that $10 deal – though it still runs until October. However, I got a new computer on Friday and lost access to the reports from Draft Kings. I’m getting it back later today but if you deposited money Saturday or Sunday I’m a little slow getting you your Ultimate Fantasy Pack and I apologize.

5. To see how you’re doing in the DobberHockey pool, simply go to OfficePools.com and if you’re logged in you will see the standings (or if you have another league there you may have to switch leagues via the drop menu). Just an FYI.

6. The player links now point to the 2015-16 season – and ICYMI I now have color-coded PDO and On-Ice SH% stats to indicate ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ trends on the player.

7. I owe you a Top Prospects list. Thanksgiving weekend often causes this to be late, but I’ll hopefully get this up today.

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You know who's on a mission? Nathan MacKinnon. Beauty! If this MacKinnon is back – the Avs are in the playoff race, simple as that: