Ramblings: a couple of dark horses for you; Hayes returns and more (Feb 7)

by Dobber on February 8, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: a couple of dark horses for you; Hayes returns and more (Feb 7)

“Uncle!” I cried, to Michael Grabner after he potted his second goal last night.

Fine. His regression will come next season. October, it is. Apparently this season he's immortal.


Kevin Hayes was back in the lineup about a week early. How many of you benched him for this week? Offensively, this team seems unbeatable when everybody’s healthy. But when Buchnevich, Hayes or Zibanejad were out it seemed as if they were just your general above-average team. Why those three? And who else would impact? When Nash was out, it didn’t seem to have this much of an impact. But those three seem to be key, and I suspect Kreider and Miller would have the same effect. Here were the line combos with Hayes back:





Speaking of Miller, he picked up two points for the third consecutive game Tuesday. And he has 20 points in his last 16 games. He’s one off his career high of 43 points set last year in 82 games.


Randy Carlyle gave his fourth line six minutes. Plus Andrew Cogliano and Nick Ritchie saw 11 or 12 minutes. The other seven forwards he leaned on heavily, with Ryan Getzlaf getting 26:14 of ice time. Getzlaf had 24:52 in the previous game.

Getzlaf averages 20:59 per game, which sits him sixth in the league among forwards – and Ryan Kesler is one of the five ahead of him. Silfverberg (18:27 per game) and Perry (18:26) are 60th and 61st in the league. You know which team has zero forwards in the Top 65 for ice time? Washington. Anyway, Carlyle really leans on his guys and as the season wears on, Silfverberg is moving higher and higher up the list. And by the end of the year I wonder if Kesler and Getzlaf will both be in the top three. Kesler is already second in the league at 21:41 per game just two seconds behind Patrick Kane.


Still firmly entrenched in my belief that Thomas Greiss will be a Top 10 fantasy goalie between the Halak demotion and the end of next year. And so far so good – he is 6-1-1, 2.23 GAA, 0.923 SV% with two SO over his last eight games.


There has been a lot of buzz in the comments about Mikael Granlund and all the ‘Dobber writers’ who preach a Granlund slowdown and a ‘sell high’. It was even a featured part of our collaborative Sportsnet piece. Let the record show that I’m not one of them. Yes, he’ll slow down, but only because he’s scoring better than 99% of the league right now. He’s not a 100-point player – his pace over the last 27 games (34 points) is for 103 points over 82 games. So sure, that means a slowdown is inevitable.  But I think he’ll be a 70- or 75-point player over the long term. And I have no interest in selling high. Unless I can get a Top 15 forward back, I’ll keep him. The writers are free to believe what they will, but as long as Bruce Boudreau is the coach and Granlund is on the wing, then put me down as a big fan. He turns 25 in three weeks, so I’ll be enjoying his production as he enters his prime and through the four or five years that it lasts (when he’s healthy). I’ll trade him when he gets hurt, to some rebuilding team, for good value at that time. Be it next week or five years from now.

Granlund was finally shut out last night, ending his points streak.

But the Jason Pominville line sure took over. Four points for Pominville, three each for Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter.


Chad Johnson gets the win against the mighty Penguins, and so the wheel of goaltenders will continue. A poor showing would have helped Brian Elliott secure the top job and make things a little easier for fantasy owners – but it never seems to work out that way. In fact, you could probably forecast how the Flames will do, on a game-by-game basis, simply by looking at the goaltender who is playing and ask yourself the question. Which would cause more complication to the goalie situation – a win, or a loss? And the answer you come up with is the one that will happen. You’re welcome.

Jake Guentzel is settling into the pressures of trying to ‘take over’ for Evgeni Malkin. He scored last night and has points in two of his last three. He’s playing with Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel, which takes the pressure off a lot of the faceoffs with Bonino around.

Bryan Rust is back on the Crosby line, which pushes Patric Hornqvist to the third line (which is actually just an AHL line and not a third line at all, poor guy).


Washington – another shutout at home. Braden Holtby is single-handedly keeping my key competitor, the guy in second place in my league, within striking distance. Without Holtby, I’d already be drinking out of the trophy right now.

Pet Peeve: why aren’t the NHL.com scratched names (in the game stats) clickable? Sometimes I’d like to see how many games in a row they’ve been scratched, so a quick click of the player name would be great.

Marcus Johansson had gone seven games in a row without a point. Those are seven games that his team was winning, too. But he’s back now, with two points in each of his last two games.

I mentioned him on Monday so he’s making me look good here – Brett Connolly had another two points last night and he has six points during a four-game streak.

John Carlson took the PP time back from Dmitry Orlov last night – 1:49 to 0:54. But it was Matt Niskanen (3:14) who was the main QB and picked up two PP points. This team is so hot right now that Barry Trotz is just putting on a blindfold, spinning around twice, and then tapping on a random shoulder and sending them out there. And whoever he taps, scores.


I was really pulling for Carolina forward Derek Ryan, a late-bloomer who was never drafted. But he is now pointless in 10 straight and minus-7 in that span. Bill Peters seems to be sticking with him though. Fantasy owners should not.


Coach gets fired, goalie becomes awesome. This time it’s Jake Allen, who is 2-1-0 and has allowed just four goals on 87 shots (0.954 SV%). Allen owners: your patience has paid off and your hardships are finally over.

Ivan Barbashev’s first NHL goal:


You know, generally speaking, a career AHLer is a career AHLer. But I’m glad to see that sometimes, if an AHLer is having a special season, then his NHL club will give him a shot. Maybe not a fair shot, and maybe not a long look…but he’ll get one. Kenny Agostino was best known for his involvement in the Jarome Iginla trade to Pittsburgh. He had a solid college career and was ranked in my top 100 fantasy prospects, mostly because he was a winger in the Pittsburgh system. But I was told by my contacts that he did not have NHL upside and so his move to Calgary quickly pushed him down (and off) my list. Calgary didn’t tender him a contract offer last summer and he signed with the Blues for depth. But look at him now – he’s leading the AHL in scoring by a wide margin with 60 points in 48 games (Jake Guentzel would be close, if Guentzel wasn’t up in the NHL so much). The Blues called him up and gave him a shot and he has a point in each of his two games. From out of nowhere, this guy is on my radar. A long shot, similar to the aforementioned Derek Ryan, but an interesting option. Agostino is only 24. He’s playing with David Perron and Jori Lehtera.

Alex Steen has 12 points in his last 10 games. Right around the time where I pointed out his year-over-year decline on Twitter. It’s good enough to bring his points-per-game average up around what it was last year…and thus no longer a decline.


Carey Price has won just three of his last 12 games. In that span he posted 3.17 GAA and 0.898 SV%.

Am I seeing things, or did the Avalanche and Calvin Pickard just win their second consecutive game? And a shutout, no less.

Mikko Rantanen picked up his first career hat trick, so I’m guessing that his plum spot on the Nathan MacKinnonGabriel Landeskog line is safe.

Mark Barberio, in his second game with the Avs, got top billing on the power play with Tyson Barrie being out. Barberio picked up two assists, with one of those on the PP. He’s a definite option for you, for as long as Barrie is sidelined.


The Sharks had a 4-1 lead with 11 minutes left in the third against the ‘lowly’ Sabres. And the Sabres won the game in overtime, scoring four goals in 12 minutes. Here’s the winner – a beautiful goal…followed by a scary crash into the boards by Evander Kane. He’s apparently “OK”.







7 responses to “Ramblings: a couple of dark horses for you; Hayes returns and more (Feb 7)”

  1. Benjamin Burns says:

    SOLID GOLD DOBBER: “Barry Trotz is just putting on a blindfold, spinning around twice, and then tapping on a random shoulder and sending them out there. And whoever he taps, scores.”

  2. Cam Robinson says:

    Just for clarification, this Dobber writer simply illustrated in the Forensics column that Granlund is riding some unsustainable numbers which usually suggest some negative regression. That isn’t to say he isn’t capable of being a strong fantasy asset, but to not be mistaken as a potential 90+ point scorer.

    Selling high on a 24-year-old who’s currently a top 15 scorer means pulling in an established superstar. He should be taken seriously; he has pedigree, on a high scoring and quality team. I was pointing out that he is/was riding a terrific wave of production and you could look to parlay that into a Jamie Benn-type asset if you were so inclined.

  3. larrylintz says:

    while I realize you can’t be jumping in to contradict your writers every day, I think on a dark horse guy who has been this hot for this long it would have been useful for us had you jumped in a little earlier. I respect all the writers here but you’re the brand, if you disagree with several of your writers on someone like this please weigh in! Had I known views were mixed in Dobberland I would have taken a more serious look at him when he was still available in my league in mid-January, but I had the impression there was a consensus that he was playing way over his head.

    • Dobber says:

      Agreed. But if they say something on Thursday or Friday, then by the time it rolls around to me again the issue is long forgotten. But this Granlund thing has really picked up steam throughout the end of last week so I was finally able to comment on it while it was still current.

  4. Chucklez says:

    Didn’t you guys say that Rants was going to score like 10 points this year? He’s going to be very good in his career.

    • Dobber says:

      I figured he would play about 20 games this year, given his start-of-season injury (that’s two for him – so this is a concern)

  5. Yikes that was a scary crash by Kane, what a wild game! Loved that 6-0 loss by the Sens, and the Habs getting shut out was also quite sweet too.