Ramblings: Are Matthews – Brown – Hyman the new ‘Triplets’? (Jan 18)

by Dobber on January 18, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Are Matthews – Brown – Hyman the new ‘Triplets’? (Jan 18)


Ramblings: Are Matthews – Brown – Hyman the new ‘Triplets’?


The Midseason Guide was released last weekend, what are you waiting for? Besides the second-half projections, this beauty will also have players on the trade block (and what it means), prospects ready to make the jump for a dozen games down the stretch, the lowdown on undrafted or unsigned free agents (both in college and in Europe) and much more. Last year’s Midseason Guide had Troy Stecher, Drake Caggiula, Nick Lappin, Brandon Tanev, Alexander Radulov and Anton Rodin, to give you a small sample. Imagine getting a heads up on players like that in January instead of finding out about them in April or even July? Order it here


SERVER UPDATE! The move is still on hold. Details to come as I get some.


I missed the entertaining Washington-Pittsburgh game the other night. I watched the first period when the Caps were up 2-0 and then went to hang out with the wife. But I left the game feeling pretty pissed. I have a lot of Penguins in two of my leagues (that I’m winning) and my main competitor has Holtby. And he’s been gaining ground. So to see so many of my top guys get shut out – by the enemy, no less – left a bad taste in my mouth and I didn’t have any problem at all walking away from that game. So my eyes popped out of my head when I sat back down at 10:30 to watch a late game and review the scores. An 8-7 final! I actually cheered. And then cheered again as I scrolled through all the point-getters. I have Schultz (four points) in two leagues, Sheary (three points) in all three leagues, Malkin (three), Crosby (four) and even Guentzel (one point) as well. That brought on another cheer. Some much-needed breathing room now…


And today I’m still on a high because the Rangers scored six goals. Yeah, it was in a loss – Henrik Lundqvist gave up seven – but I don’t care about NHL standings, I care about my fantasy team. Even more breathing room. And as I noted on Monday, my recently-drafted player Pavel Buchnevich picked up three more points. He now has 13 in 13, but he also has five points in the three games since returning. Not a bad NHL debut. In fact, dating back to before the injury, Buchnevich is on a seven-game points streak (11 points).

Other players I own who cashed in – Chris Kreider (two points) and Mats Zuccarello (three points) in another league I’m in. Thanks guys!

When Pavel Buchnevich returned, I immediately thought that the Rangers would start scoring more as a team. Remember when they were scoring like gangbusters back in October? That was because they had such a deep team with a potent offensive dynamo or three on each line. And when Mika Zibanejad returned last night, that thought resurfaced in my brain. They did indeed score six goals, but the not-as-reliable Henrik Lundqvist gave up seven. We’ll get to that in a minute. First, here were the line combos:





Jimmy Vesey is stuck on the fourth line, and they were pretty much benched in the second half thanks to a couple of goals that they were on the ice for. Ideally, Vesey would swap with Michael Grabner and then you’d have three very potent offensive lines and then a fourth line with a very fast trio who are each have decent offensive seasons. For now though, plant Vesey on your bench.

Three losses in a row for Lundqvist. His SV% has sunk all the way to 0.902. What I see is a goaltender who is aging a little quicker than most star goaltenders. The best goalies – Hasek, Brodeur, Roy, Luongo, Joseph – play well until they’re 38 or 39, then start to fade in their 40s. Lundqvist is 34. I thought he was fading two years ago and again last year – but each time, he had a tremendous second half and pulled his numbers back up to among the top netminders. But now, we see him starting seven straight games because Antti Raanta is injured. He won three of the first four…but the fourth game gave up four goals in the win on 37 shots. Then he allowed 16 goals over three losses (75 shots). Too tired? Unable to handle seven straight starts even with a five-day break thrown in there? A sign of an aging player and I don’t like it. If he starts turning it around next week, then that’s about par for his last few seasons. But if this drags out into February, then Lundy owners are in trouble.

I was asked on Twitter if I’d trade Lundqvist for Crawford, Bobrovsky or Jones? My answer – yes, yes, and yes.


Jiri Hudler is on a three-game point streak and has five points in six games. He’s stuck on the fourth line though (with Korpikoski and Cracknell).

Cody Eakin tallied two points, including his first goal of the season. Now that the monkey is off his back, look for him to get back to his point-every-two-games ways.

Radek Faksa is on a four-game point streak and he has nine points in his last seven contests. A worthy short-term add. He’s getting scoring-line ice time and playing with Patrick Sharp and Devin Shore.

How has Patrick Eaves stayed healthy? Three points last night, now with 16 goals – the most since he was a rookie 11 years ago. His career high for games played is 74. And it’s been eight years since he last played 65 games in a season.


Not to obsess, but a certain Dobber Darling who plays for the Blue Jackets now has 43 points in 43 games. You can keep doubting if this season is for real, but he’s running out of time to hit that proverbial wall. A 40-point pace from here on out would still see him breeze past the 60 mark. If Cam Atkinson reverts back to productivity from prior years, then he still makes it to 70.


The Leafs continue their great season, making a case for playoff hockey. Auston Matthews is looking like he’ll bump Connor Brown and Zach Hyman up long-term when it comes to production. I don’t mean just for this year, but these guys are part of the core and they really complement each other. Brown would be a 55-point player (just my guess) under normal circumstances. But with Matthews – he could easily get to 70. Maybe not next year, but within a couple of seasons. And Hyman is probably a 35-point player, but Matthews would make him 55 or perhaps even 60! I’m thinking, if I could use the Triplets as comparables – Matthews is the driver, so he’s the Kucherov. Brown is the overachieving clutch talent, so he’s the Johnson. And Hyman is the two-way responsible digger, so he’s the Palat.

Morgan Rielly suffered a lower-body injury and could miss some time. Jake Gardiner owners should be very happy.


I think Robin Lehner was pulled after giving his coach the impression that a goal was let in because his head wasn’t in the game. He waves to a female fan for a picture…and then later gives up the goal:


Every forward on the Senators picked up a point last night except for the three guys on the fourth line.

Did the Sens ruin Curtis Lazar? Did they give him the ‘Gilbert Brule’? Pointless in 22 games now.


Nail Yakupov lined up with Tarasenko and Lehtera. Still couldn’t put up a point. KHL bound? Would St. Louis even qualify him when he makes $2.5 million?

Carter Hutton’s SV% is now 0.898. Jake Allen sits at 0.900. Forget about the coach’s ability to get them deep into the postseason…will the Blues even make the postseason? Ken Hitchcock is retiring just in time. Looks like the Blues have a mess similar to the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers. What is saving St. Louis is the playoff format – top three teams in their division get in. Only Nashville has the talent to catch them (I doubt Dallas will). If Nashville does catch them (four points behind but two games in hand), there are three wild card teams that could take them out – the Kings, Stars and Flames. Two spots and four teams. But if they can stave off Nashville, then it’s a moot point. But .900 goaltending isn’t going to stave off Nashville.


In his last 1.5 seasons (123 games), Jarome Iginla has 58 points (prorated 38-points) and is minus-33. I can see another team wanting him at the trade deadline for marginal return, but he’d be a depth player, dressing room guy and frequent healthy scratch on any Cup contender that lands him.

Tyson Barrie has had a tough season, but he does have 10 points in his last 10 games.


Holy crap. Slaps the puck in the air to his stick, then bats it into the net:


Further to my Monday Ramblings, Midseason draft second round (of two):

Tyler Bozak – I didn’t understand why he was dropped in the first round, as his 28 points ranked him third or fourth among the available players. He was dropped when the GM drafted Connor Brown. I understand Brown over Bozak in a keeper, but why Bozak when he could have dropped Vrbata or Faulk (points-only, playoffs count, positions do not matter so D are less valuable)? If he wanted to drop Bozak, why not do it in September? He wanted to wait and see how he did first? Well, he’s having the second-best season of his career and also a rare healthy one. And that’s still not good enough? His 56-point pace would beat his career high of 49. I did project him to slow in the second half to match that career high of 49, but that also includes another two games of injury (yes, I project the GP column too in the Midseason Guide, factoring in injury history). Anyway, Bozak was taken by the last-place team who grabbed Backlund first overall. So now that last-place team jumped from 13th to 10th.

Ryan Hartman – I like Hartman in multi-cat leagues. A lot. But not so much in points-only leagues. He’s Andrew Shaw. Josh Anderson. That type. Limited upside and reaching it quickly.

Adam Mascherin – A fine prospect who does get a blurb in the Midseason Guide, but is years away from helping a fantasy league like this one. He could be dropped in September, drafted again in 2018, dropped again in 2019, and then finally drafted in 2020 when he should be drafted. A player of his size on a deep team like Florida has little chance of forcing his way in the mix before his time.

Brayden Point – Currently injured and so not much help this year, nor can he really help in the playoffs as I have the Lightning missing. So this is a pick for next year and as much as I love point – I don’t see him getting on a pro team in this league next season. A worthy pro team in this league would need at least 45 points from their lowest player. He’ll get around there. Long-term I think he has great upside, so this isn’t a bad pick considering when he was selected.

Paul Byron – On pace for a career-high…actually, he already has a career-high. His 27 points helps out right now and I do think he has the talent to be a 50-point player (his pace). But his upside is fairly limited. Yes, I was high on him about four years ago, but he’s 27 now and strikes me as a placeholder until younger guys like Lehkonen, Hudon or Scherbak can take over. Push comes to shove, I like Philip Danault better – he’s 23 and I think he has sneaky upside.

Mike Fisher – Limited upside and almost no future in a pool like this, even if he makes it to 50 points. He was drafted by the defending champion, who has an aging team that includes the Sedins, Jagr, Stempniak, Thornton and Ribeiro. He also has Gagner. A rebuild is needed here, and so Fisher was a bad call in my opinion.

Frank Vatrano – I can’t fault this pick because Vatrano has been nothing but excellent, if not a little injury prone. He’s dominated the AHL, is only 22, and he’s shown 40-point ability already at the NHL level. He could turn out to be a good one, though I do have concerns about injuries.

Kevin Labanc – My pick. I went with upside, zero waiting time, and playoffs here. Labanc has everything Vatrano has, except a year younger and he was actually drafted (not signed). Labanc dominated the AHL with 13 points in eight games so far, after posting 234 points in his last 133 OHL games. He’s playing on a line with Logan Couture. There was nobody in this draft who could really help me this year, but a couple of players who could make a dent next season as well as contribute to playoffs. And upside. And with Buchnevich and Labanc I achieved this.


Can you explain this call to me?






  • Patrick Hall

    That intent to blow rule is the stupidest rule in sports. I tried to apply to real life and was mostly unsuccessful. Hey TD I intend to pay my mortgage its just in between when I thought of it and when it will happen. Hey wife I intend to do dishes ….absolute garbage.

    • Cal Growette


  • MarkRM16

    How on earth was that goal not counted? If I was the ref behind the net that made the call I’d be pissed to be overruled. The whistle blew seconds after the puck was in the net and Miller never had it under control.

  • Jenkem

    Buchnevich has had a great start and you seem pretty high on him, but he’s still ranked very low in Top 300 and doesn’t have a big 3YP… Where do you project him over the next year or two? Any comparables?

    • Dobber

      He’ll shoot up a lot because of his great return from injury. He’ll be a great player though, better than I thought he’d be

  • Striker


    Should we be jumping on the Stollery band wagon yet? Ha-ha! 4 games 2 PP assists & getting quality PP time. Why does NJ do this stuff?

  • What a game in New York last night, loving these high scoring games! Good to see another Matthews goal and Leafs win but hopefully Rielly isn’t out too long but his leg bent really awkwardly so it’s a worry. Thanks Giordano, you are making me a believer again! 6 goals for the Hawks and 0 points for Kane, weird. Barrie is really coming on now, player’s hot and cold streaks are quite the thing and perplexing at times.

  • messier1701

    Dobber excellent column always fantastic work and analysis.
    I am not sure i agree on Henrik becoming old and ineffective, he’s looked pretty bad and has at least some blame but it seems like the rangers and him go through this phase every year, 2 seasons ago they opened on the west coast, last year it was before christmas i think when they couldnt keep anything out. Every year it seems there is talk about Lund being awful and the fans worry. I know, that 5th goal and some others do not look good. i dont think you can fully blame him overall since the rangers have not been playing good hockey for a while now.

    another point in general why does Price get a complete pass for his last 2 weeks, but Henrik lets in goals and the sky is crashing i don’t get this !

    In any case what is going on with fantasy goalies – 2 i think, pretty safe guys this year, Henrik, Allen, with .900?? that is just wrong! These guys are decent at worst, and on very strong teams. I mean who is doing well?! even murray who i would say is a strong choice hasnt been good.

    if anyone can help me solve my yearly struggles with goalies i’d appreciate it, i draft top guys (Henrik Cory), mid tier guys (Luongo/Allen), punt goalies and use greiss and coreua, i have no clue and never found an answer to playing goalies in fantasy i guess!
    again Dobber always love your work

    • Dobber

      Thanks Mess! Price gets a pass because .922. If he was .902 he definitely would not get a pass. A .902 in today’s NHL is not even a backup goalie. It’s not even a No.3 goalie. It’s like… an ECHL No.5 goalie on the depth chart. Lundqvist is better than this, but he’s not what he once was, or even close.

      • messier1701

        I agree Dobber. I just think the rangers have been a mess the last few weeks. I watch Rangers Stars, with Dallas getting an easy tap in and feeding a wide open guy skating to the net, and Rangers Habs, with Montreal just teeing off in the high slot at will …. then i watch Van Nash, which was basically only shots allowed beyond 30 feet of the goals, the game basically being played in slow motion compared to Habs or Leafs… you can just note a complete difference.

        i think goalie stats are a big function of the team in front of him. Not to say goalies arent a huge factor of course.

        Lund has looked awful on many of these goals and he needs to make some of these saves as you said he is better than this. He was awesome at the start of the year, who knows maybe something happened recently??

  • paul

    just my opinion obviously but Henke has not been the same since he was run over in Dallas by an illegal hit

    • MarkRM16

      That’s what I was thinking. Look what happened to Rinne since his injury-plagued seasons – beast to average upon his return.

  • ChrisP

    Lazar = 1st round bust.

    • MarkRM16

      In Ottawa, sure. A trade might change things.

  • EnragedMukaMuka

    Would you rather have vatrano or guentzel for this year only? Guentzel clearly has the better linemates, but i feel like vatrano is a better scorer and has a safer spot on the team.

  • Michelle

    Shutout by Miller and Gibson playing very well of late for some other points not listed here!

    • Dobber

      Was the shutout earned? (see video clip)
      Gibson – seven good games in a row, very nice

      • Michelle

        Hey you were the one who said ” but I don’t care about NHL standings, I care about my fantasy team” lol a shutout on paper is still worth something! 😉

        Hopefully this means Gibson has turned the corner after a bit of a rocky start!

      • Striker

        Who had the intent to blow the whistle? The ref that was 100 feet away. The down low ref showed goal. If he had the intent to have blown the whistle he would be waiving it off not showing it scored. Or at least should have been.

        The NHL has the best officials in the world & they still can’t get it right enough. There are other solutions to these issues, the fact the NHL isn’t exploring them is unfortunate. I would like to see the on ice officials with ear buds. Spotters up high to assist in making the right calls. Officials the NHL is developing for on ice work. Why can’t linesman have more input? Are they stupid, their on the ice let them call what they see. Having 4 officials on the ice makes it more crowded & they effect the flow of the game constantly even leading to goals but are considered part of the game.

        I would like to see officials huddle like they do in Football occassionally & consult. When was the last time you saw an NHL official waive off an incorrect call? I don’t want to slow the game down but I want the right calls made. NHL games are incredibly quick now in time played. Losing 5 to 10 mins a game potentially if needed wouldn’t be the end of the world. More beer sales added revenue. Again I don’t want to kill the momentum & hockey like no other sport swings on such.

        I was the RIC; Referee & Chief, for our association & the game just isn’t conducive to making the right calls all the time. Its fast, a ton of people are in your way & it’s supposed to be black & white but unfortunately the NHL likes grey. Far to much subjectivity.

  • Alex MacLean

    No way to explain that Nashville call. Minute and a half left in the game right now and it looks like it may cost them a point.

    • Reuben

      I hate the “intent to blow the whistle” rule. It’s like a huge blanket that refs use to cover a multitude of sins. I don’t like that Nashville just pushed and pushed and pushed at Miller to get the puck in, but if the whistle hasn’t blown…it doesn’t matter. Don’t call it back by saying you “meant to blow the whistle”. Stupid

      Canucks got away with one the other day vs New Jersey too, as a late goal was called back on a missed offside. Really hate the ability to go back and review that. Missed calls happen – it’s a fast, fast game.

      Add in that Nashville and the Canucks are/were 9th/10th in the West entering last night’s game, and that call has some repercussions that I really dislike