Ramblings: Big Buff is back, Mason on fire, Caggiula a sneaky-good pickup
The Zetterberg-Mantha-Tatar line is still rolling along nicely. Between that line combo and the Howard injury, the Wings have found a bit of magic going 5-1-2 in their last eight. Six of those eight games have gone to overtime. The line combination, in the unlikely event that it sticks for the duration, has the potential to push Anthony Mantha up over 45 points this season. I’d pencil him in for the low 30s for now, and assume the line gets broken up when they hit a wall (could be a week, could be a month) or when someone (ahem – Zetterberg) gets injured. It’s also got Tatar rolling as he has four points in his last three games.
Dustin Byfuglien has been on fire. I was starting to think that the 31-year-old was beginning to fade, but he has points in five straight and seven of his last eight. In the last two games he’s taken 14 shots on goal. Kudos to you if you were able to pick him up on the cheap say two weeks ago.
Richard Panik had 10 points in 10 games to start the season, but his assist last night gives him just two points in his last 18 games. He played with Tyler Motte and Dennis Rasmussen, but he saw a fair bit of PP time. He’s not nearly as good as his start would indicate, but he’s also not so horrible as what we’ve seen this past month. But obviously I’ve downgraded him from the 50 points I said last month that he’d get. His pace is for 35 points right now, but I think he will get 37-41.
Scott Darling is 1-2-0 since Crawford went down, after last night’s shutout. The Blackhawks next play on back-to-back nights on December 17 and 18 and I suspect that Corey Crawford will be back for that. We always hear a hockey player, after an appendectomy, returns a week or two early. The 18th would be 15 days, which is six days shy of the three-week estimate. So my guess is that we won’t see Lars Johansson.
Marian Hossa’s market correction had been steep and it hit fast. Just one point over eight games after starting off with 17 in 18. But he got two last night, so his current pace (click his name to see his pace, and other stats) is for 60 points.
Another goalie injury that has vaulted another goaltender’s value upwards is the Philadelphia situation with Michael Neuvirth (the injured) and Steve Mason (the beneficiary). Devoid of competition, Mason has been absolutely rolling. He’s won five in a row and made 42 saves last night. His stats are slowly creeping up towards ‘respectable’. During his winning streak his GAA is 1.74 and his SV% is 0.947.
Rookie Travis Konecny saw just 11:50 of ice time last night, which was his second lowest total of the season. And his lowest total came about when he had 17 minutes in penalties. So consider last night his ‘actual’ lowest.
Philly defensemen on the power play last night:
Shayne Gostisbehere 4:03
Ivan Provorov 1:39
Mark Streit 1:04
Andrew MacDonald 0:29
Michael Del Zotto 0:00
The Ghost is still king, Streit is getting pushed further down, and MDZ has become a PP afterthought (if you haven’t noticed already).
Keith Yandle has now played in 578 consecutive games but it almost ended last night. He took a shot off the foot Monday and was supposed to be “out for a while”. But he ended up actually playing last night. That being said, I suspect he’ll be playing at half-speed for the next couple of months. So if you were expecting 16 points in his next 28 games you can probably dial that down to eight or nine points. Call it a hunch.
Florida line combinations without Jonathan Marchessault:
#1 24.9% BARKOV,ALEKSANDER – JAGR,JAROMIR – SMITH,REILLY
#2 23.5% JOKINEN,JUSSI – SCEVIOUR,COLTON – TROCHECK,VINCENT
#3 11.7% BJUGSTAD,NICK – MALGIN,DENIS – THOMPSON,PAUL
#4 7.5% MACKENZIE,DEREK – RAU,KYLE – THORNTON,SHAWN
It’s already paying dividends for Reilly Smith, who picked up an assist last night.
Two more points for Johnny Gaudreau. And Alex Chiasson is still leeching from that. I’m sure he’s available in your league so scoop him up if you want some short-term offense. I suspect Gaudreau will be one of the hottest players in the league for the next couple of weeks and Chiasson will be in on some of that for sure.
Small sample size, but given Pekka Rinne’s play over the last season or two I’m a little concerned. And I will be concerned every time he has two weak games in a row. One game, sure, that can be a one-off. But I cringe every time he strings back-to-back stinkers. Fortunately this season that hasn’t happened…until now. He’s given up eight goals in the last 50 shots. The Preds did get the win last night though, and they’ve been red hot. That should be enough to pull him out of his mini-funk. Still worried.
Semyon Varlamov – four losses in a row and 5-12-0, 3.08, 0.905
Calvin Pickard – 4-2-1, 2.44, 0.920.
Are the Avs just gonna punt the season, I guess? If so, and they get eliminated early, I wonder if they shop Varlamov?
Alex Steen has five points in three games since his return.
Anders Lee has quietly picked up six points in seven games despite not playing on a top line.
Prospect defenseman Scott Mayfield has been quite fantasy relevant in each of the three games that he’s played this season. He had 17 PIM in the first game, two assists in the second game, and a goal in the third contest. The points are an illusion, as he’s likely a future 15-point player. But he has tremendous potential in the PIM and hits category.
Kevin Hayes has now gone pointless in five straight. But his ice time has remained stable (18-plus minutes per game lately) and he saw 3:52 of PP time last night. So he’s getting a chance to work out of his funk. He had been playing with Rick Nash and Jimmy Vesey, but Nash was injured and left the game. JT Miller took his spot.
Nash tweaked his groin and is day to day for now.
Philip Larsen was carried off on a stretcher after this brutal-looking (but in my opinion clean) hit. Tough to watch:
Julius Honka left last night’s game with a UBI and was later seen in a cast. That being said:
Ruff said Honka injury "doesn't look serious, but he couldn't play."— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) December 7, 2016
Honka has a great future with the Stars, but has zero fantasy relevance this season. I think he makes the team full time next year, but has little impact fantasy-wise. Expect him to start being useful to your team in 2018-19.
Mark Fayne left last night’s game. Normally that doesn’t mean anything, but the Oilers already have Darnell Nurse on the sidelines and we’re all well aware of just how shallow the defense corps is there. In the minors, Griffin Reinhart (back) has only just returned from injury and has played just eight games so far. And Jordan Oesterle is also sidelined. Will this force the Oilers to make a move?
Drake Caggiula played on the Connor McDavid line last night and promptly posted two points. He’s worth a flier as this could really pay off. Leon Draisaitl also saw time on that line, but given Caggiula got the points I’m guessing he’ll see some more time there.
Streaks – Josh Bailey and Blake Wheeler are on six-game points streaks. Dustin Byfuglien, Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg are on five gamers. You can get a quick rundown of hot players by checking out our hot/cold tool.
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