October 14 2015

by Dobber on October 14, 2015

 

Rambling about Gagner, Larkin, Stralman, Stamkos, Crosby, Parayko and tons more…

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Sam Gagner finally got into the lineup and picked up an assist and was the third star. His PP time was secondary, but I’m still optimistic on his having a career year. Even without Claude Giroux on his line, I think a fresh start and a healthy season outside of the spotlight will finally get him over the 50-point hump.

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Teemu Pulkkinen – Tomas TatarDylan Larkin were being floated around the Internet as a possible Detroit version of the Triplets…and then Jeff Blashill split them up after what must have been a period-and-a-half together on the weekend. Completely split up. Line combos last night (and you can get these line combos LIVE right here, or you can analyze line combinations from any custom date window going back to 2007!):

20.95%

EV

8 ABDELKADER,JUSTIN – 71 LARKIN,DYLAN – 40 ZETTERBERG,HENRIK

19.05%

EV

29 FERRARO,LANDON – 41 GLENDENING,LUKE – 20 MILLER,ANDREW

16.19%

EV

14 NYQUIST,GUSTAV – 56 PULKKINEN,TEEMU – 15 SHEAHAN,RILEY

15.24%

EV

26 JURCO,TOMAS – 17 RICHARDS,BRAD – 21 TATAR,TOMAS

 

Elliotte Friedman, in his latest 30 thoughts, said that Blashill wanted Nyquist to seize control of his own line. So while Larkin gets the leg up playing with the vets, Nyquist anchors the next line. Both players picked up a point.

I was asked what to do with Larkin yesterday in a one year league and I suggested treating him like a star. When Pavel Datsyuk returns, it’s going to be kind of hard to send him down. And at this point he’s not getting split from Zetterberg.

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By the way, Zetterberg is on fire thanks to Larkin. Seven points already. He’s going to kill my Bodog over/under from last week.

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Johan Franzen was a last minute scratch because he wasn’t feeling well.

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From famine to feast. One game on Sunday for my Monday Ramblings, and now Tuesday’s games I have about 500 things that jump out at me and no matter how fast I type I won’t be able to get it all out (or even remember what I wanted to write)…

Somebody wants to serve notice. Jimmy Howard has allowed one goal in two games. Granted, he’s only faced 43 shots but still…And Petr Mrazek faced 47 shots in just the one game (got the win). It’s a real battle, but so far the team seems to want to play in front of Howard and not so much Mrazek.

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Remember last year when I tracked Steven Stamkos vs. Tyler Johnson? It ended in a tie, but boy are poolies ever taking Johnson seriously now. However, this year I’m looking at Jonathan Drouin’s four points vs. the two from Stamkos. Do I smell another contest brewing? Or are we ready to finally admit that Stamkos is star of Patrick Kane caliber…but not of Malkin/Crosby/Ovechkin/McDavid caliber?

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Anton Stralman continues to improve. He’s 29 now, so just past the middle of his prime. But I love it when defensemen break into the league and the hype is about their offensive potential and they don’t show it for a few years. Then the hype becomes more about their defense and possession game. And now, Stralman is a complete player and he’s rebuilding his offensive game based on that foundation. I’m starting to, in my mind, nudge his projection up closer to 47 or 48 points this year.

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Connor Brickley scored his first career NHL goal last night. He also has 10 PIM so far in his three-game NHL career, but that’s a blip. He’s probably a 70+ PIM guy though, with potential for 35 points as a rookie.

Brandon Pirri got his third assist of the season. Why is that interesting? Because last year he had 22 goals and two assists. So he’s already topped it.

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I can’t stand this. John-Michael Liles, from Planet Useless, hogs 3:07 of PP time while Noah Hanifin saw 0:00. Liles hogged PP time from Sekera last season if you recall. And for what? The 10 or 15 points that he’ll get?

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San Jose is red hot to start the season. Again. If you didn’t believe me last week, or last year, or the year before (because I keep saying this) – believe me now. Thornton/Pavelski/Marleau/Couture all those guys are “must owns” for the first month and “must trade” in December.

But of bigger importance is Martin Jones. So much for my thinking that the goalie duties will be split between he and Alex Stalock. Can I have a Mulligan on that one? I thought the two would split and then sometime in February one of them (and I leaned towards Stalock) would pull away. But it’s hard for Stalock to get a foothold on the position when Jones keeps reeling off shutouts. One goal allowed in three games? Really? Why on earth would the coach ever switch him out? Sorry Stalock owners.

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Alex Ovechkin missed this game due to personal reasons.

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Well, on the plus side Sidney Crosby took four shots on goal – the first four of his season. And the Penguins scored twice, also for the first time this season. But they’re snakebitten, just like back in March. And this is after they made some changes – Perron was up on the Malkin line in place of Sergei Plotnikov and Malkin was back on the top PP unit in place of Perron. So some good and bad for Perron, but frankly I think overall it’s an upgrade. Two minutes of PP time with Crosby or 14 minutes at ES with Malkin? Give me the latter, I think.

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Tomas Fleischmann picked up his first point as a Hab. He’s been getting steady minutes, but secondary PP time and I think it’s safe to keep him in your “about 30 points” mentality.

The other reclamation project on the Habs, Alexander Semin, played just 11:54 – his lowest of the season. Very concerning. Obviously a short leash.

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Nikolaj Ehlers with his first career NHL goal:

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Michael Hutchinson stopped 40 of 41 shots. So far, the Winnipeg goalies…

Pavelec: 1-1-0, 2.53, 0.932

Hutchinson: 2-0-0, 1.00, 0.968

And then the guy who I think is the best in the Winnipeg system, Connor Hellebuyck, sits at 0-1-0, 4.08, 0.879. This stuff either makes you love fantasy hockey, or pull your hair out.

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I have a good feeling about Mats Zuccarello this season. He’s firing a lot of shots on goal right now (11 in his last three games), is in his prime (just turned 28) and just seems to be ready to take off. With all the “advanced stats” this and “highlights that” lately, I thought it would be nice if I throw down a hunch for no real reason.

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 Mark Giordano is pointless in three games, but Dennis Wideman has three points. Wideman is a guy I figured would take a huge step back due to Giordano returning, and Dougie Hamilton on board. Haven’t seen any sign of that happening yet, but then again there has been tons of PP time to go around so far. There’s also been the injury to TJ Brodie, which sure helps Wideman’s ice time.

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Defenseman Colton Parayko scored the first two goals of his NHL career. The Blues’ rearguard makes for a great pickup early on. And kudos to my DobberProspects St. Louis scout Matt Kowalski for pointing him out to me for the Fantasy Prospects Report. Back in April I had given out the assignments and Parayko wasn’t on the list. However, I urged the scouts to find a few that I didn’t have (I harken back to Nyquist from seven or eight years ago). Kowalski insisted on Parayko being included. And here is what we had for him:

There is plenty of buzz on Parayko deep within the Blues organization and fan base. He is absolutely enormous, and has shown to be offensively gifted. Every year he's led team defensemen in points at University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and even finished toward the top of the conference in points among rearguards. He plays physical, blocks shots and is one of the better threats on the power play in WCHA, all while logging huge minutes. His coaches rave about his work ethic and commitment to the game of hockey. After another successful 2014-15 collegiate season (six goals, 17 assists in 34 games), he turned pro and played in the AHL for Chicago Wolves. He made an impact immediately, with four goals and three assists in 17 AHL games. It is easy to tell he has all the tools for a top-four defensemen in the NHL. Most promising for his NHL career is that when he plays you notice him. It is impossible not to feel his impact on the game offensively, defensively, and physically. Like most big guys, he needs to improve upon his skating, but his matured large frame helps overcome that deficiency. Vannelli and Schmaltz get all the attention within the organization, but the underrated Parayko has quickly shot up the list for the Blues. Many believe he is the “diamond in the rough,” in the Blues system.

UpsideVictor Hedman (15-35-50, 40 PIM)

3YP – (6-25-31, 30 PIM)

Certainty (NHLer; Upside) – 75%, 30%

Expected arrival – Probably 2016-17

DobberHockey Draft Advice – Too soon at this point. Wait until next year to draft.

 

Read Parayko’s updated scoring report here.

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Parayko is an excellent short-term pickup now because Kevin Shattenkirk left the game with an injury. It was to his lower body and he’s questionable for Thursday’s game.

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Jason Spezza with the hat trick and somehow Ales Hemsky got his fourth point. Maybe all Hemsky needed was that hip surgery he had in the offseason? This has my attention more than the Spezza hatty. Ears are definitely perked up.

Rookie Mattias Janmark has a point in each of his first three career NHL games. He’s looking like a genuine scoring-line forward already. How good of one, well that’s the question.

Meanwhile, Patrick Sharp continues to find ways to not get points. Seven shots on goal last night and 13 overall this season to go with his zero points.

Patrick Eaves left the game with an injury. (I just leave that sentence in my Ramblings template and only remove it when he actually doesn’t get hurt. Easier that way.) The injury sounds serious though, he could be out for awhile.

The Dallas goaltenders are producing at a point-per-game clip. Niemi has two assists in two games, and Lehtonen tallied an assist last night.

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Connor McDavid’s first NHL goal…

A tip-in is anti-climactic but at least you can file away the fact that it was Kari Lehtonen who gave it up (for future trivia questions)

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are the last-ranked franchise on ESPN’s annual list of sports franchises. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the top-ranked NHL team, coming in at third. I always have a problem with these types of rankings because they’re more reactionary than they need to be. The NHL’s Top GM award is another example, or THN’s ranking of the top NHL GM’s. I remember when THN had Garth Snow dead last for a couple of years and I shook my head thinking he was doing a great job. Now look at him. Great team at a great price locked in long-term, bright future.

One year ago, I would happily put the Leafs in that last spot. And the year before. And they’d be in the Bottom 10 for the better part of a dozen years. Because even when they were winning they didn’t have a direction or a plan. It was pretty much just “throw another old guy/big name onto the current roster to make it better”. But now the Leafs actually have a plan in place. Lou Lamoriello aside, and he’s the one weak spot (that’s another article right there though), the organization has a great coach, great management, an analytical presence and two dozen new scouts. So the question that should be asked for these kinds of ratings is – over the next decade, how good will this team be? Naturally, the Leafs will be a losing team this year and next. And probably the year after. So will the ensuing seven years erase that losing record? Well, there’s enough hope there to move the Leafs up from last place (122nd out of 122 franchises).

The next bottom hockey team is Vancouver at 113 and then Edmonton at 112. So you look at Edmonton there and immediately you have to wipe the entire list from your mind because you just wasted a click. You can’t tell me that with Connor McDavid there, you wouldn’t trade 50 other franchises for them. Granted, the “ticket affordability” and the Canadian market is acting like a huge drag on the rankings for these teams, but there’s obviously some factors that weren’t accounted for that should have been. My worst franchise? New Jersey. Very affordable though, so I guess that means they move up 48 spots to 74? Bad team, no hope, no future. Well, some hope: I think the new GM will turn the ship around, but it hasn’t started yet (not the way it has in Toronto).

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Jake Virtanen finally got into his first NHL game…Not much in the way of ice time but he was a force in terms of hits. He’ll get his nine-game trial at the most. The Canucks don’t seem inclined to treat either him or McCann like full-timers right now.

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Rick Roos gives you his buy low/sell high list over at Sportsnet…