Ramblings: Barkov the Superstar, Carter and Hanzal Return, and more

by steve laidlaw on January 8, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Barkov the Superstar, Carter and Hanzal Return, and more

Barkov the Superstar, Carter and Hanzal Return, and more.

Mike Richards wasn’t yet in the Capitals’ lineup but with Jay Beagle out the Caps have gone with Marcus Johansson as third line center. That third line, with Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson looks really good with Johansson up the middle vs. Beagle.

Chimera had a goal, plus seven SOG.

Johansson chipped in with an assist. Unfortunately, Johansson also chucked a hit to the head of Thomas Hickey, which could cost him some games in the future.

Moving Johansson to the third line opens up a slot alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov, one that Andre Burakovsky has grabbed in the short term. It’s quite possible that the Capitals’ willingness to keep Johansson on the third line hinges on the dependability of Burakovsky, which as we learned last season is not something we can count on.

Still, we can look to the example of Kuznetsov for a young player earning Barry Trotz’s trust so keep the faith, Burakovsky owners. No goals, no points, no shots even for Burakovsky last night but he has one goal in four games since getting bumped up the lines.


I finally decided that it was time to activate Shayne Gostisbehere from my minor league stash in one of my keepers. Naturally, he got hurt last night, leaving the game with a lower-body injury and not returning.

Big boost for Michael Del Zotto who stepped up skating 27 minutes. Two goals for Del Zotto including the overtime winner as he seemingly stole Gostisbehere’s flair for the moment as well.

Interesting that it was Del Zotto, not Mark Streit who stepped up here. Do note that it was Streit who grabbed the bulk of the power-play time in Gostisbehere’s absence, he just didn’t produce.

Check out the Flyers’ lines from last night:














You can’t help but like the looks of Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds back up with Claude Giroux but it was the second line that did most of the damage last night.


Thomas Vanek did a really good job of providing depth scoring from the third line of the Wild for the first couple months of the season but it has been ghastly for the past while. Since the start of December, Vanek has points in just four of 18 games. One of those games was a four-point effort but he still has just seven points in the last 40 days. Tough times.

Also struggling, yet again, Jason Pominville. Pominville is skating on the second line with Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. Niederreiter and Granlund are scoring but Pominville isn’t. He is scoreless in his last seven games. I thought he had turned a corner with five goals and nine points in the 12 previous games but no, seven scoreless. I’m glad I don’t have him in any pools, I’m not sure I could handle the swings.

I might be giving Granlund a bit too much credit. Aside from a three-point effort against the Blue Jackets, he hasn’t scored in the last seven games either. One of those points was an empty-netter off the center ice faceoff. Cute play, but not really indicative of future productivity.


Nick Bjugstad is back in the lineup for the Panthers but he is still working his way back into game shape after suffering for a month with migraines. Good guy to buy low on for the stretch run since he should be back to full strength by H2H playoffs. Has seen just 14 shifts and about 12 minutes a night in his first three games back.

If you need instant gratification, Aleksander Barkov is still available in 52% of Yahoo! leagues. Actually, you should take Barkov over Bjugstad regardless. I know I have had the opposite stance in the past but Barkov is the truth. A genuine star. Ignoring it is futile.

Let’s say you need instant gratification and are in a league with sensible folks where Barkov is already owned. Vincent Trochek and Reilly Smith both scored last night and have been offering some decent secondary scoring. They have been too spotty for my liking but you could be in a desperate situation.


Major line shakeup in Dallas:




















You can tell by the bottom two figures that it didn’t take. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn were back together by the third period when the Stars were struggling for offense.

I’d love to credit Connor Hellebuyck for shutting down the Stars but they only got 24 shots through to him in a game that went to 3-on-3 overtime. Just not their night.

I don’t know if the goal of the shakeup was to get the offense going or to get the team playing more responsible defensively but it didn’t seem to work. They got the win though so there is that.

I was really excited to see how Mattias Janmark would do with Seguin and Patrick Sharp and indeed he notched an assist.

No points for Valeri Nichushkin skating on the second line with Benn and Jason Spezza. Seems he produces in far too many fits and starts. He also doesn’t shoot nearly enough for a guy of his talents. When he starts shooting more that’s the sign he is on the verge of something.

No points for John Klingberg who saw his five-game scoring streak come to a close. He has picked it up a bit recently but since the start of December he has 11 points in 19 games. I think we see a bit more of this than the Klingberg who scored 27 points in his first 24 games. I am expecting him to finish in the low 60’s rather than going neck and neck with Erik Karlsson until the end.


Martin Hanzal made his return for the Coyotes last night and on cue Anthony Duclair jumped back onto the scoresheet with a pair of assists. It seems Duclair doesn’t do much of anything unless Hanzal is in the lineup.

Hanzal was initially credited with the game-winner but it seems he did not tip Stefan Elliott’s point shot home. Regardless, look for Hanzal to be productive as he reclaimed his spot on the top power-play unit.

Check out the full lines for the Coyotes last night:

















This is probably the end of the scoring binge for Shane Doan as his top PP opportunity is gone now.

Antoine Vermette also loses PP time but skating with Mikkel Boedker and Max Domi at even strength he still has some hope, especially if Hanzal starts taking the tough matchups again.


Johnny Gaudreau continues to love the home cooking as he scored the lone goal for Calgary. That’s 30 points in 21 home games vs. 11 points in 19 road games.

Sportsnet had a great profile on the TJ BrodieMark Giordano pairing earlier this week:

They’re Keith and Seabrook good right now, of Doughty and Muzzin pedigree, and have become the caboose of a Calgary team that simply doesn’t spend enough time in its own zone to lose many games these days. With a modicum of goaltending.

On a team that was having trouble scoring, Giordano (4-7-11) and Brodie (seven assists) have turned up the offence over the past eight games. That’s 18 points in eight games from two defenceman who give head coach Bob Hartley 25 minutes every night — and Brodie really doesn’t see much power-play time, at 2:35 per night.


Big shakeup for the Kings as they injected Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn into their lineup as well as welcoming back Jeff Carter. Check out the lines:














Nice to see Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli sticking together even though they were held off the board for what feels like the first time in two weeks.

Carter scored a goal and his presence seemed to pump up Marian Gaborik a little bit as the winger had five SOG and an assist. That’s 10 points and 54 SOG for Gaborik in 17 games since the start of December. By no means is that good but he is averaging over three SOG per game, which is highly promising. I am really not looking to grab Gaborik in any leagues but I am highly intrigued.

Lecavalier notched an assist in his debut but skated on the fourth line so let’s please not go out and pick him. Enjoy the moment but do not put him on your roster.


James Reimer returned to the Leafs’ crease and had himself a very strong game stopping 39 of 41 shots. He lost but this still makes things interesting given what a yo-yo Jonathan Bernier has been. Reimer has been consistently good this season. He is the #1 if I am calling the shots.


Minor trade to report on from yesterday as the Habs acquired right wing prospect Max Friberg in exchange for Dustin Tokarski.

Tokarski goes from buried to dead and buried though the trade does raise questions about the health status of John Gibson.

No moves have been reported regarding Anton Khudobin returning from the minors. That would be the real telltale sign.

The latest from Bruce Boudreau is that Gibson is 100% and may get the start tonight against the Blues.


Update on Clarke MacArthur: he is back skating but remains a ways away in his recovery. I’d be surprised if we saw him before the trade deadline.


The latest on Mike Cammalleri is that he will miss tonight’s contest.


It looks like Conor Sheary’s time is up, for now, as he is off to the AHL.


Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.