Rambling a lot about the Caps…also Krejci’s injury impact, Kucherov, Josi, LA’s new line and more …
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That was a nice little holiday. Though I did Ramble a little on Christmas and Boxing Days, it was more of an “off the cuff” kind of thing. More so than usual, that is. Hope you all had a nice Christmas break – and if you’re one of the lucky ones that extend it right into the New Year…then party on!
No disrespect to TJ Oshie, and I also want to be clear that I admire a coach who sticks to his line combos…but I’m curious to see Oshie on a different line. Look at Oshie’s line combos this year: 95.2% of his ES ice time is with Ovechkin on the ice. I understand that you don’t want to touch the Kuznetsov line because that one is awesome. So why not swap Andre Burakovsky up there? He’s up to 85 games now in the NHL, which even for a conservative-with-youngsters coach like Barry Trotz, that should enough to at least let him have a few games? I say all this with all due respect. After all, this is a team that has won eight games in a row. But I watched a Caps game for the first time in a while, and I’ve been looking over the numbers for Ovechkin and I’m trying to figure out why he isn’t up above 40 points by now. And this was all I could come up with. The reality is, Oshie is one of the best linemates he’s ever had (remember Chris Clark?). So this is just me putting it out there. Oshie is on pace for 56 points and to be honest I think he gets those points whether he plays with Ovechkin and Backstrom…or Beagle and Wilson. But Burakovsky would see a nice boost if he changes lines.
A 31-save shutout for Braden Holtby, this year’s top fantasy goaltender by a wide margin. Wide margin. Don’t forget, his first two games were subpar. His awesome stats are even better if you take them from October 15th onward (you can do that here – click on the date). Since Game 3, his numbers are:
27 GP, 22-3-1, 1.76 GAA, 0.938
More Holtby, from last night:
But I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the last two goalies Barry Trotz has coached just happen to be Top 3 in the league at the time he coaches.
John Carlson’s 412 games-played streak is over. He missed last night with a lower-body injury. Ending a streak like that, I assume it’s not something that a day or two will fix. Dr. Dobber thinks he’ll miss at least one more.
If you didn’t see this yet, I insist. I absolutely loved this write-up by Evgeni Kuznetsov on what hockey life is like for a Russian kid. A fun read, an interesting read – you get drawn in.
David Krejci is out week-to-week with a UBI that has his right arm in a sling. Ryan Spooner takes over on that line and quite obviously stands to benefit here. As for Krejci, he’s a Band-Aid Boy. It’s not about he track record so much as the risk. If you look at the track record, other than last season, he’d been pretty healthy for the prior three years. But, there were a lot of nagging injuries that he played through. Or he’d leave a game early and you think he’ll miss time but instead he’d be back next game. Lots of that stuff that you don’t see when looking at career stats. But Krejci has always had a risk, in my eyes. And now we’re looking at something like eight to 15 games. Possibly more.
Of great concern is the impact on the Bruins as a whole. The team is a shell of itself without him.
Bergeron finds life easier with Krejci in the lineup. He had 28 of his points with Krejci in the lineup (35 games – 0.8) shouldering some of the opposition's focus. But just 27 in 46 (0.59) when Krejci was out.
Alex Galchenyuk has points in four straight now. That’s despite still playing with disappointment Lars Eller and promising rookie Daniel Carr. Galchenyuk is on pace for 54 and I would pencil him in for that come April. Still more to come though, I’m confident he’ll be a 70-plus player in another year or two. Barring injuries.
Vladislav Namestnikov is still playing with Stamkos and Kucherov, but he’s been held without a point in three games. Tyler Johnson was back in the lineup in a semi-limited capacity, and Ondrej Palat is about a week away, so look for Namestnikov to settle back into a depth role. He’ll be ready for a bigger role next year (when Stamkos is gone).
Johnson’s return has already pushed Jonathan Marchessault back down the depth chart. And Palat’s return will send him to the press box. Marchessault’s six-game points streak ended thanks to his seeing just 12:53 of ice time.
Anton Stralman is still getting the bulk of the power-play time for TB. He has five points in his last eight games and three of those points have come on the power play.
Henrik Lundqvist was pulled from a game for the third time in his last six outings. His last eight games played:
2-5-0, 4.14 GAA, 0.869 SV%
If only they could turn to Cam Talbot!
Pulling the King worked though. The Preds didn’t get a shot on Antti Raanta after that and the Rangers scored twice within five minutes of pulling Lundqvist.
Did you write off Mike Ribeiro again? After all, he had just 16 points in 32 games to start the year and he’s 35 years old! Fast-forward four games later and he has 24 points.
Roman Josi has 14 points in his last 13 games. He’s moved up to fifth place amongst defenseman behind another blueliner whom I never thought would be this productive – Justin Faulk. Man, between those two and Ristolainen, I really whiff on my defensemen. Any crystal-ball ability I seem to have with goalies, I balance out with my d-man track record…
Defensemen come into the league with a scouting report that praises their defense. Their poise. Their two-way play. But some guys, as is the case with these three, either take that impressive skill set and improve the offensive element….or they always had it and after a couple of years in the league the coach loosens the reins a little and they take off. Mark Giordano is another one. Solid in all aspects of the game, and after several years starts taking a few more risks and gets used in more offensive roles.
PK Subban isn’t the only defenseman struggling to score despite shooting a lot, though his one goal in 103 shots is the most lopsided number. Two other defensemen, both of whom I own in two leagues, are also missing: Kris Letang (one goal, 76 shots) and Keith Yandle (one goal, 75 shots). These are numbers that, statistically speaking, will turn around.
While Gustav Nyquist (two points in nine games) and Henrik Zetterberg (seven points in 13 games) continue to struggle, Detroit does have a hot player right now. Brendan Smith still isn’t getting PP time, but he’s putting points on the board. He has five points in his last five games (eight shots, plus-1).
It’s not much, but Matt Dumba has six points in his last 12 games. He’s starting to steal some of Jared Spurgeon’s PP time. Spurgeon owners could be in trouble here as the Wild really love to go four forwards plus Ryan Suter. And then they go with Suter (still) and Dumba on the second unit. That leaves Spurgeon to pick up the PP scraps.
Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter decided to put Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar on the same line because Jeff Carter is hurt. Sutter’s probably kicking himself that he didn’t do it in the first place. Kopitar exploded for four assists on Toffoli’s three goals Monday.
The lucky guy on the other wing? Milan Lucic. But I get the sense that you or I could be on that other wing and it wouldn’t impact how great it is. The only problem with this setup is that it leaves the rest of the lines with little. Marian Gaborik is a shell of his former self and Tanner Pearson at this point in his career seems to rely on his linemates for production.
Midseason Fantasy Hockey Guide!
Released Friday, January 8!
- Top 100 Keeper League Goaltenders - August 2019
- Ramblings: Colin White signs long-term; Jaskin to the KHL; positional battles - August 22
- Ramblings: Brassard with the Islanders; Eriksson Ek extended; draft analysis
- Fantasy Impact: Derick Brassard Signs With Islanders
- Capped: Team by team buy and sell, part 3
- Frozen Tools Forensics: Impending contract years, part 2
- Ramblings: The Lowdown on Provorov, Parayko, Nylander, Virtanen, six other players of fantasy interest, plus the Kuznetsov fallout (Aug 24)
- Fantasy Hockey Podcast: NHL Audio Almanac and projections preview: Carolina Hurricanes