October 28 2015

by Dobber on October 28, 2015

Rambling about Jimmy Hayes, Ward, Larkin, Trocheck, Zucker, Toffoli, Getzlaf, Jagr and more…

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The Boston – Arizona game was a tale of two market corrections. Giving up all six goals, Mike Smith’s numbers are now in line with where we’d expect them at season’s end. A .500 record (4-3-1 is .500 in my books) and a 0.908 SV%. Yep, sounds about right. And Tuukka Rask with the shutout…well, he still has far to go. But that’s a statement on just how horrible he’s been doing. And we didn’t see the “when” coming, either. He had given up 14 goals in three games and then gets a shutout? Anyway, his SV% sits at 0.874 which is still 0.045 below where he’ll end up.

Jimmy Hayes has eight points in eight games. But actually, he picked up three of those points last night and four of those points on October 14. Pointless in the other five games. I don’t trust the production. I think he’ll chip in the offense, that’s obvious. But he won’t drive the offense. He’s currently out-producing his brother and he’s not a better talent than his brother. A ‘sell high’ player, and you can play up the fact that he’s at a point-per-game.

Loui Eriksson has points in four straight games. None of them goals, but he has seven assists in that span. He’s a different player in Boston. With Dallas he was averaging close to two-and-a-half shots per game. With Boston he’s hovering at around two. Leaning more on setting up goals instead of trying to score them would tap a different but productive well for him.

Here were last night’s line combos for Boston:

#1           25.8%    ERIKSSON,LOUI – KREJCI,DAVID – PASTRNAK,DAVID

#2           25.2%    BERGERON,PATRICE – CONNOLLY,BRETT – MARCHAND,BRAD

#3           12.6%    BELESKEY,MATT – HAYES,JIMMY – SPOONER,RYAN

#4           11.3%    KELLY,CHRIS – KEMPPAINEN,JOONAS – RANDELL,TYLER

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Brett Connolly has goals in three straight games and points in four straight. My money is on him beating Jimmy Hayes this year in terms of points.

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Cam Atkinson took four of Columbus’ 14 shots on net last night. He’s on a three-game points streak. In other news, hey Columbus only took 14 shots on goal last night.

The buy-low window on Sergei Bobrovsky has closed. On the heels of his first win of the season, he stops 23 of 24 for his second win. Shutting the door like that gives him the confidence boost he was (he said it himself) lacking.

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In his first game for Buffalo without Evander Kane in the lineup, Johan Larsson picked up two assists. Go pick him up now, and then come back to this page and finish reading. I mused on Monday that this would happen. His first two points of the season and you can see in his “game log” here that his minutes and line combo improved drastically. He’d been play all season with Deslauriers and McGinn. Last night he played with Eichel and Reinhart.

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John-Michael Liles – 20 minutes of ice time and 1:46 of PP time. Noah Hanifin – a healthy scratch. Drives me nuts.

Cam Ward has stopped 83 of the last 87 shots faced and is 2-1-0 in his last four games. A nice little run that you don’t see often from him anymore.

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Dylan Larkin has one assist in his last four games. He’s with the team for the year, but it may not be the parade to near the top of the rookie scoring race that we thought it might be. His 5on5 SH% is 17.31, which is unsustainable. His pace is 64 points, and while he definitely has the talent to do it right away as a rookie, I’m more inclined to think it will be somewhere closer to 50.

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Jaromir Jagr left the game last night with a lower-body injury. I’ve been worried about his groin issues after his first two seasons back in the NHL, but the last two years he missed five games total. But I guess at 43 you’re never completely out of the woods, no matter how great a shape you’re in.

With Jagr and Barkov out, the lines were in a complete disarray. The four most common line combos:

#1           15.3%    BJUGSTAD,NICK – HUBERDEAU,JONATHAN – JOKINEN,JUSSI

#2           14.3%    BOLLAND,DAVE – PIRRI,BRANDON – SMITH,REILLY

#3           9.5%      BOLLAND,DAVE – JOKINEN,JUSSI – SMITH,REILLY

#4           9.5%      HOWDEN,QUINTON – MACKENZIE,DEREK – TROCHECK,VINCENT

 

Vincent Trocheck had a three-point night and has points in three straight. Man, I’m a big fan of this 22-year-old, but every time I start believing that the “breakout” has begun, he hits a wall. He has nine points in nine games despite secondary ice time.

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After five points in two games to start the year, Francois Beauchemin has just one in his last six. Now that’s the Beauchemin we know…

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Troy Brouwer’s two points last night give him eight on the season. Can he keep it up? Of course he can – I dropped him with my last draft pick in September. Naturally that means “career year”, right?

With the shutout, Jake Allen pulls back into this thing. Brian Elliott has been dominating their 1A/1B competition all month long and now Allen’s numbers are where they need to be – 2.26 GAA and 0.922 SV%. I don’t know why we think things will be any different in St. Louis this year. Two goalies playing 40-50 games each and putting up stellar SV% and GAA, with no one goalie truly seizing the reins and taking over. Round and round we go.

Everyone’s favorite rookie defenseman Colton Parayko has points in three of his last four games and has six points in nine games this year to go with plus-6 and 20 SOG. With Kevin Shattenkirk back possibly next game, I’d have to think that it will be Parayko off the PP unit and not Alex Pietrangelo. Parayko has two PPPts this season.

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Cam Talbot lost another tough one, but I think now the Oilers are at a point where a regular (frequent?) win is just a veteran player or another month or two of experience away. Talbot needs to put up a better wall in that third period, and the kids need to stop getting so nervous when they have a lead late. This is the team I’ve seen the most so far and I get the sense that they’re just so close.

Darnell Nurse scored his first NHL goal in his first game of the season last night. On the power play, the Oilers went with Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom, and Nurse missed out. But there was just one power play, so it’s too soon to tell if Nurse gets his shot there soon or not.

Make it four games in a row for Benoit Pouliot getting points. But for Nail Yakupov – it’s six games. Eight points in his last six games and he’s had four shots on goal in three of those games. And of course, in a related note – Connor McDavid’s points streak is at six games too.

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Jason Zucker has points in four straight. He has just one goal on the season and he’s a natural goal scorer. With 27 SOG so far (three per game), you have to think that there is still another gear with this guy if he can stay healthy.

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Five wins in a row for Jonathan Quick and he’s given up just five goals in that span.

Tyler Toffoli has six points in his last five games. Toffoli had a hot start last year too if you remember, but the Kings will always turn to Anze Kopitar and that line. Kopitar also had a slow start in 2014-15. And then, around the 25th game, these two players reversed direction. Just be wary. Toffoli, by the way, is going for the Cy Young Award this year (7-1, goals-assists)

Dustin Brown has just 12 goals in his last 100 games.

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Of note, Tyler Myers was off the power play last night. The Jets went with Dustin Byfuglien and four forwards for the PP. To rub salt in the wound of Myers’ fantasy owners he was also a minus-4 last night.

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Ryan Getzlaf is out for a few days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy yesterday. In his absence, the Ducks finally scored some goals – three of them in the first period. But then they blew it and lost again. Still, it was nice to see Jakob Silfverberg finally get on the board with an assist.

Nine games into the season and Mike Santorelli leads the Ducks in scoring – and that’s even though he was a healthy scratch once.

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Montreal’s streak is over. And to Vancouver of all teams. Vancouver is a team I have little respect for and maybe I should – I don’t understand how they’re doing so well. Full credit to the coach here

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I’m a little speechless on this one. The St. Louis Blues have invited Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus to join the team on tryout contracts. I thought they didn’t have room for Upshall and Gomez, but injuries made room. And now they want an even bigger logjam when Stastny and Schwartz return? Then again, signing Havlat is just signing another IR spot so I guess he doesn’t count. I don’t expect either player to be a fantasy factor even if signed, but I’d be disappointed if this meant that Ty Rattie spends the entire season in the AHL. He’s finally at the point where he looks like he’s beyond that league now. He has seven points in three AHL games.

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With all the injuries, the Leafs are now actually in a tough spot cap-wise. They had kept Nathan Horton on the books in case they were to shed a lot of salary (fire sale!) later on and needed to stay above the floor. But with the current situation they had to put Horton on LTIR. Just an interesting note about some behind-the-scenes cap juggling…

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As we approach the 10-game mark (within a week for most teams), keep an eye on some rookies who are still junior-eligible. Teams could send down any of the following: Noah Hanifin, Nik Ehlers, Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann and Daniel Sprong. I think Sprong and Virtanen go back to junior, while the rest remain. Of course, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are locks. And Robby Fabbri’s “D-Day” won’t be for several weeks yet due to time missed with a concussion.

McCann sure helped his cause with a pair of goals last night against the best goalie in the league…He’s from my hometown of Stratford! (shout out!). Virtanen helped out his cause with seven hits plus an assist.

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Here is Rick Roos’ latest article for Sportsnet – “Buy low, sell high

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Sportsnet saves of the week: