Ramblings: Another Hat Trick a Treat for Tavares Owners, Ghost Owners Booing (Oct 29)

by Ian Gooding on October 29, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Another Hat Trick a Treat for Tavares Owners, Ghost Owners Booing (Oct 29)

Another Hat Trick a Treat for Tavares Owners, Ghost Owners Booing, plus more…

I can tell you firsthand that this is the wrong week to face John Tavares in head-to-head. Tavares scored a natural hat trick in the third period against Nashville on Saturday, giving him two hat tricks in three games (plus an assist over that span). Or if you go back to last Saturday, ten points in four games. Tavares’ incredible past eight days now pushes him up to third in the NHL with nine goals. Tavares’ power-play goal was his first power-play point of the season.

Prior to this hot run, Tavares had been held without a point in six of his first seven games. Believe it or not, he has yet to record one point or two points in any one game this season. In other words, he has scored points in just four games, but has at least three points in each of those games. Talk about feast or famine.

Worried about Jordan Eberle? Don’t be. Eberle scored his first two goals of the season in this game. Add in his assist from this game and he now has nine points in 11 games as an Islander. The guy that was traded for Eberle (Ryan Strome) is already the subject of trade rumors, according to Nick Kypreos. I didn’t think the Oilers needed to trade Eberle, and so far it doesn’t look like a wise decision for Oilers if you consider the return (three points in ten games for Strome). Trades do take much longer than 11 games to evaluate, but so far the Islanders appear to have won this deal.

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I’ve seen questions on what to do with the struggling Kyle Okposo, who picked up an assist on Saturday afternoon on Ryan O’Reilly’s goal. Okposo has just a pair of assists with a minus-7 in ten games. Okposo doesn’t appear to be the same player after dealing with various ailments over the last couple seasons. If you see a player that is clearly better than Okposo at the moment, then feel free to add him. Keep in mind that Okposo is still in a scoring role on a line with O’Reilly and could rebound to some degree, but not to the level that he was scoring alongside Tavares on Long Island.

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One player that I’m following closely right now is Tim Heed, who has a goal and three assists in eight games while being used on the Sharks’ first-unit power play. This is a great spot for the hard-shooting Heed, although having two right-handed shots on the same power-play unit might not be the long-term plan for the Sharks. Heed is also in the lineup because of Paul Martin’s ankle injury, so either Heed or Joakim Ryan could be the odd man out once Martin returns. Still, there’s great fantasy upside with Heed, who should be owned in more than 2 percent of Yahoo leagues.

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I thought this clip on the HNIC pre-game show regarding Frederik Andersen was interesting, both with the observations from Corsica and with Ron MacLean’s rebuttal.
 


After this graphic was posted, Andersen had a second consecutive non-quality start to keep his goals-against average well above 3.00 and his save percentage below .900. I know that some of you watch the Leafs more than I do. But from what I’ve seen, I don’t think all of this is on Andersen because the defense is part of the issue. The Leafs might be a Vegas favorite to win the Stanley Cup, but I’d have a hard time betting my hard-earned money on that wager until their defensive woes are addressed.

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Shayne Gostisbehere left Saturday’s game with a possible concussion.
 


If Leo Komarov isn’t suspended because this is somehow deemed a “hockey play” (which wouldn’t surprise me), then he should be. It’s time for the NHL to adopt Ken Dryden’s zero-tolerance approach to head injuries, which he provided to the Globe and Mail a couple weeks ago. Would hockey still be a great sport if head checks are no longer allowed? Of course it will. And if you disagree, please at least take the time to read the link because Dryden hits the nail on the head.

Now that I’ve finished my rant for the day, it’s worth mentioning that Ivan Provorov played 27 minutes in this game. Should Gostisbehere miss any time, Provorov would stand to pick up the first-unit power-play role that would help him play at his full potential.

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As a John Gibson owner in one league, I was cringing at the possibility of having to start him and an injured Ducks’ squad against Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and the Lightning on Saturday. Instead, it was Gibson who starred, stopping 31 of 32 shots he faced in a 4-1 win. That also meant that Kucherov’s and Stamkos’ 11-game point streaks came to an end. But if you own either player, you probably don’t mind as they still sit 1-2 atop the NHL scoring race with 21 points and 19 points, respectively.

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This is your highlight of the night. You can’t execute anything better than how the Kings executed this goal.
 

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I said in my last Finding Fantasy Value column for Sportsnet that the Montreal Canadiens were on the verge of a breakout offensively. On Saturday they scored five goals for the second time this week, with Phillip Danault leading the offense with two goals and two assists. If you didn’t think to add Danault, you can’t be blamed, since he had been held without a goal since opening night. But the recent line shuffling in Montreal has Danault centering Max Pacioretty, so there could be more value to be had at least in the short term.

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Sorry if I’m gloating, but here’s another reason you should read Finding Fantasy Value if you’re not already. Taylor Hall scored two goals and added an assist as the Devils continue to roll, this time over the winless Coyotes. Did you think that Hall’s fantasy value would dip with a move to the Devils? Maybe last season, but with the Devils’ offense now more potent, Hall has 13 points (3g-10a) in 10 games.

These two teams hooked up for a minor deal on Saturday, with the Coyotes acquiring goalie Scott Wedgewood for a fifth-round pick. What do the winless Coyotes have to lose? Same with your fantasy team if your goaltending is in the toilet. Or not. At least Dobber gives his okay. He loves telling this story about buying very low and selling much higher. J
 


Jesper Bratt is back. After an out-of-nowhere start to the season (six points in his first three games), Bratt had been held without a point for five consecutive games. Bratt erupted again on Saturday with a goal and two assists, giving him ten points in ten games. No, he won’t score at a point-per-game pace for the remainder of the season, not while pucks are going in at a 40 percent rate. But he’s still better than we thought.

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The 2017-18 Colorado Avalanche played much like the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche on Friday, getting whitewashed 7-0 at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. Fears about the Avalanche not improving significantly were a major reason that supremely talented players like Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen fell significantly in fantasy drafts. But if you looked past the team and drafted MacKinnon or Rantanen anyway, you were rewarded with two goals and an assist from each player on Saturday.

MacKinnon is still prone to slumps, as he had been held without a point with a minus-8 in his previous three games. But with eight points in 11 games, he seems to be in good shape so far. Although you might not have agreed with that assessment before the game.

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Alex Ovechkin was in a helping mood while he was in Edmonton. After buying a homeless man some clothing on Friday, the Great 8 recorded three assists with a plus-4 against the Oilers on Saturday. Ovechkin entered the game with a very Cy Young-worthy 10 goals with just 2 assists, so his output provides his fantasy owners with more balance.

Not surprisingly, Ovechkin has clicked with Evgeny Kuznetsov, who scored two third-period goals to seal the victory for the Caps. This one is exactly how I used to score goals when I played hockey. In my dreams.
 


The third man on that line is no longer Jakub Vrana and is instead Devante Smith-Pelly, who scored a goal in this game. DSP is a player to watch if he sticks on this line, since he’s owned in less than 1 percent of Yahoo leagues. Vrana, by the way, doesn’t lose that much value now that he’s on a second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

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For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.

 

17 responses to “Ramblings: Another Hat Trick a Treat for Tavares Owners, Ghost Owners Booing (Oct 29)”

  1. Jim Phair says:

    Concussions: can’t have your cake and eat it too. Is it not reasonable to expect that the harder one plays or works with something, the more likely it is to suffer damage or injury? Concussions happen in a physical sport. Want to play hard? You’re GOING to get hurt at some point. The game is more than just physical skill. More than skating, more than quick hands, more than shot release, more than on-ice vision. It obviously includes toughness as well (same as Life) – both long and short term. Heck, there’s no way its even just about hits direct to the head. The head moves when body gets hit too and so does the brain. The more contact involved in the sport and the higher up its ranks one moves, the more likely one is to suffer injuries. There are trade-offs to being a pro athlete. If I wanted to watch pure physical grace, I’d have season tickets to the ballet. TLDR: play hard in a contact sport and you WILL get hurt, no mystery. You don’t even have to be a pro…

    • Ian Gooding says:

      Jim, I’m not saying that banning checks to the head will eliminate all concussions. The idea is to reduce the number so that the problem isn’t widespread to the point where we continue to see a long list of players such as Lindros, Kariya, LaFontaine, Pronger, Savard, and hopefully not one day Crosby forced to retire.

      I’ll quote Dryden: “In today’s NHL, a stick to an opponent’s face is a penalty – automatic – no excuses. A puck shot into the crowd in a team’s defensive zone is the same, a penalty – automatic – no excuses. No big deal. Players adapt. The game goes on.” They also said the same thing about fighting. Even without rule changes, we don’t see fighting as much anymore, and teams/players have changed the way that they play as a result. I don’t see why the game can’t evolve in a way that reduces concussions either.

    • fmedleg13 says:

      You’re both right, of course, but can we be a little more sophisticated and just look at the play? He was checked from behind, too far away from the boards. That’s the end of it. It’s a penalty.

      Of course as you play against bigger and faster players, you have a better chance of getting injured. What I believe Ian is talking about is making plays such as this one plainly illegal (if it already isn’t). It doesn’t serve any purpose, it may even make the game worse… we also lose one of the best young defensmen in the league.

  2. maxime laviolette says:

    Hey Ian, great job again on this rambling. I think that it could be very useful to have an article on PIM – HITS guys under the radar with some offensive capabilites (other than komarov, martin, schenn…). Very difficult to identify clearly who look a sure shot for the long run. Right mow I’m curious about if those guys are real or can lose their minutes quickly: john hayden, chris Wagner, josh anderson, tommy wingels, eric gryba & Abdelkader.

    • Ian Gooding says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Maxime. This is a great idea for a future article either for myself or another writer.

  3. Tom Collins says:

    I disagree about the Oilers needing to trade Eberle. They couldn’t afford to hold on to him. The Oilers have only $13 million of cap space next year with only 13 guys signed (unless they get a lot of rookies playing next year).

    As it stands now, they’ll need to sign a backup goalie, six forwards and two dmen for next year. Imagine trying that with Eberle’s $6 million still on the cap.

    • Ian Gooding says:

      Very true, the cap plays a major factor in everything now. The Oilers backed themselves into a corner when they signed Lucic, especially with the young guys like McDavid and Draisaitl needing to get paid.

      I’m looking at this more from a player valuation standpoint, though. Eberle is a better player than he showed last season, so ideally it wasn’t a good time to trade him. What the Oilers effectively did was sell him when his value was 70-80 cents on the dollar. If they’re already unhappy with Strome, then they way undervalued Eberle. If that means taking more time on a deal or even considering other options beyond an Eberle deal, then so be it.

    • Hugo Twigg says:

      They could have traded him after this season. Instead they sold him at his lowest value as he was coming off the worst season of his career. They traded him a year too soon.

      • Tom Collins says:

        It would have been harder to trade him next year when GMs would know the Oilers GM is desperate for cap relief.

      • Hugo Twigg says:

        Not if he scores like he usually does.

      • Lebowski1111111111 says:

        if joradn eberle was worth 6 million he would still be in edmonton.

      • Hugo Twigg says:

        Totally. Peter Chiarelli has never once traded low on a offensive minded player.

      • Lebowski1111111111 says:

        to compare joradn eberle to seguin or kessel is an insult to both players. Eberle is a bum and edmonton got rid of some salary even if strome flames out.

      • Tom Collins says:

        I disagree. First, there was no guarantee he would be able to get back to his old ways considering he posted two sub-par seasons in a row.

        Also, it’s not that easy to trade a player and get what you think the guy is worth. Ask Montreal about Galchenyuk and Colorado about Duchene. And Edmonton about Hall. And Washington about Johansson. And Philly about Schenn. Or Edmonton about Yakupov (remember about the rumours for a long time was that they kept turning down second-rounders for him).

        Also, next summer, he’d have only a year left on his deal. The return could even be less since at that point since there would be a strong chance he would leave the following summer as a UFA.

      • Hugo Twigg says:

        Even if he didn’t get back to his old ways, he’s still a 50+ pts player. You’re aware that his “subpar season” are both better than Ryan Strome’s career year(That happened 4 years ago btw) right?
        If you’re not getting value for your player don’t trade him. Just ask Colorado with Duchene or Montreal with Galchenyuk.
        You are literally using the Hall trade as an argument to justify trading Eberle, that’s ironic. You know what’s a good trade? Not trading for an inferior player when you want to win the Cup.
        You’re better off having two more year (assuming that he goes UFA) of Eberle and increase your Cup chances than trading him for an inferior player.
        Anyway, at this point if you still think it’s a good trade nothing will change your mind.

      • Tom Collins says:

        Funny, because no where in any of my posts did I say it was a good trade. I’m simply stating why Edmonton had to make the trade when they did.

  4. SeaDawg says:

    Re: Jesper Bratt, in the first couple of weeks he was getting top 6 minutes and regular power play time because Stafford and Palmieri were injured. Once they returned, Bratt was playing third line minutes and getting 2nd unit PP time. That explains the lack of point production. However, Palmieri is out again and in two games playing top line minutes, Bratt has 4 points. If he got top 6 minutes all season, he’d get 60+ pts this season. In all honesty, he is a big reason why Taylor Hall has rebounded this year. Hall’s production has been significantly better while playing with Bratt. The two players have amazing chemistry.