October 25, 2015

by Ian Gooding on October 25, 2015

Schwartz out 12 weeks, dried up Ducks, Boedker hat trick, the Montreal machine, plus much more…

First, some bad news for the St. Louis Blues. Jaden Schwartz is expected to be sidelined for 12 weeks with a fractured left ankle. No mention on whether the surgery was successful, but I’m sure it was, so Dobber should be thrilled!

As mentioned by Steve in yesterday’s Ramblings, Ty Rattie was recalled while Robby Fabbri and possibly Kevin Shattenkirk are expected to be back Tuesday. A teaser for this week’s edition of The Contrarian: more analysis on the Blues’ ever-growing injury situation.

The Blues’ game against the Islanders did go into overtime on Saturday, but here’s a list of icetime for notable Blues’ forwards, each of whom averaged around five minutes of power-play time:

Jori Lehtera: 22:40

Alexander Steen: 23:45

Dmitrij Jaskin: 20:46

David Backes: 22:20

Vladimir Tarasenko: 23:18

Troy Brouwer: 19:25

The rookie Jaskin is suddenly a player of interest, even though he had not seen more than ten minutes of icetime in his previous three games. Although he was held without a point in this game, he did take a season-high six shots on goal. Meanwhile, recent callup Rattie played just 6:20, which probably means that Ken Hitchcock doesn’t think he’s quite ready.

In case you were wondering, Scott Gomez played 11:11, and Scottie Upshall was a healthy scratch. Even with the injuries, ignore both and move on.

On the blueline, Alex Pietrangelo skated a Drew Doughty-like 29 minutes in this game. But with Shattenkirk expected back soon, that won’t keep up.

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It’s getting rather fowl in Anaheim. The Ducks were shut out for the fourth time in seven games, and they have now scored only six goals all season. The Bruce Boudreau doomsday clock moves one minute closer to midnight.

Over those seven games, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, among others, have failed to score a goal and own just one helper apiece. Preseason sleeper Jakob Silfverberg has yet to record a point with a -5, identical to offseason acquisition Kevin Bieksa.

If you own Perry and Getzlaf, no, it’s not time to trade them. Historical stats and trends show that these guys will come around, so stay patient. The first month of the season seems to be the most heavily scrutinized by fantasy owners, yet fantasy championships are not won and lost in October. Don’t be one of those impatient owners that thinks “Fantasy Stud Player X is struggling, so I need to trade him now.” An astute fantasy owner will pay pennies on the dollar and reap all the rewards.

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A somewhat scary moment in Philly tonight, as Michael Raffl collapsed on the bench. The actual collapse wasn’t caught by the camera, but about halfway through the video you can see Raffl get caught in the head with a Jarret Stoll elbow. Fortunately, Raffl is expected to be okay, although he is dealing with an “upper-body injury.”

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Mikkel Boedker, who had just a goal and an assist over his first seven games, recorded a hat trick in another win for the Coyotes. I remember targeting Boedker in one league after Dobber projected him for 55 points in the Fantasy Guide, even though I personally didn’t think he’d reach 55 points.

The quick emergence of Max Domi (assuming Domi stays as his linemate) should mean that the 55-point projection is well within reach. Someone has to do some scoring in Arizona, even though we stayed away from the Coyotes in fantasy drafts.

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You probably bet the under on Carey Price making 49 saves against the Leafs, but Price had to work a little harder than he probably expected to in the Habs’ 5-3 win. The Canadiens are now a perfect 9-0-0 to start the season and now hold the NHL record for most consecutive regulation wins to start a regular season.

The Habs will obviously lose a game at some point and will thus come down to earth a little. But we now know that they are a legitimate force in the Eastern Conference and are clearly Canada’s best bet to end the 20+ year Stanley Cup drought.

Back to Price for a moment, although this is not fantasy related. Price played minor hockey in the same town as I did (although years after I did), so it was great to see him provide $10,000 worth of new goalie equipment to the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association (CBC.ca). This is huge for the WLMHA, especially with the barriers to entry to minor hockey becoming higher and higher because of the equipment cost.

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There’s no official diagnosis right now, but it’s not looking great for Evander Kane. He left Saturday’s game with a left knee injury after taking a hit from Devils’ defenseman David Schlemko. Not surprisingly, he was in a lot of pain (see below). He’s someone you should move to your bench for the coming week.

Remember that Kane is a certified Band-Aid Boy, playing an average of only 50 games over his previous two seasons. It looks as though we will continue to wonder “what if” with Kane.  

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Break up the Blue Jackets – they’ve just won their first game of the season! They even did so on the road, although it was against a struggling Avalanche team. But as a wise man once said: A win’s a win.

Boone Jenner, whose in-your-face style will probably endear him to John Tortorella, scored two goals for the Jackets. Ryan Johansen, who was benched in the third period of Torts’ first game on Thursday, missed this game due to illness. Apparently Johansen was benched on Thursday due to fitness, so we don’t know whether the two are related. We shall see.

By the way, David Savard is Saturday’s winner of the Tortorella shin guard, handed out to his player who has the most blocked shots in a game. Savard blocked four shots to go with two assists in 24:31 of icetime. After a -10 ranking got him dropped in a few leagues, Savard might be worth reacquiring. Remember that he was the Geek of the Week earlier this month.

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For the latest up-to-the-minute starting goalie updates, don’t forget to check out Goalie Post. It’s free, and you can even register for email notifications if that’s more convenient for you.

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It wasn’t a game that produced heaps of scoring, but it was a Stanley Cup Final rematch. Kristers Gudlevskis, who made his first start of the season and only his second NHL start, recorded the hard-luck shutout loss. It is worth mentioning that Gudlevskis was called up from the AHL earlier in the day.

Even though he’s no higher than third on the Tampa goaltending depth chart, I still think Gudlevskis has a future in the NHL. Remember, he’s the Latvian goalie who made 55 saves against Canada during the 2014 Olympics in what was a close 2-1 game.

Gudlevskis yielded his overtime goal to Jonathan Toews, who scored his first goal of the season.

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Yes, that’s Jaromir Jagr who scored another goal and added another assist tonight, giving him ten points in eight games. You may have hit an age where you’ve felt your body ache significantly more after strenuous physical activity. Jagr is well past that age. In fact, Jagr has 28 points in 28 games with the Panthers dating back to last season. I don’t know how long this will last, but it’s awesome to see.

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I don’t know who picked the three stars in the Canucks-Red Wings game. But I don’t know how Petr Mrazek was only picked as the game’s third star. For two periods Mrazek kept the Wings in the game, keeping the Canucks to only a 2-0 lead before the Wings took over in the third period to tie the game and eventually win in OT.

I heard an interesting comment in this game, although I can’t remember who made it. It suggested that the Red Wings’ goaltending situation isn’t so much about the diminished play of Jimmy Howard as it is about the impressive play of Mrazek. With Howard signed for four more years at $5.2 million per and Mrazek an RFA after the season (Cap Friendly), I can’t help but wonder how the Wings’ goaltending situation will play out. If Howard has a subpar season, I’d think the Wings would consider buying him out.

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Finally, Joel Ward recorded Saturday’s second hat trick, giving him five goals on the season. The Ward – Patrick MarleauTomas Hertl line seems to be working reasonably well for all three parties, although Marleau seems to have cooled off a bit recently after a quick start. As for Ward, his value in San Jose might be limited due to the fact that he likely won’t see more than second-unit power play time there. It is worth noting that all of his points (three goals, five assists) this season are all even strength.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your Sunday.