Ramblings: Big Rig Keeps on Trucking (Jan 15)

by Ian Gooding on January 15, 2017

Marchand, Maroon, Lindholm, plus more…

The Midseason Guide is here! 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, for example, had one of my personal faves in Troy Stecher, as well as 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.


Fives were wild for Brad Marchand on Saturday. In his 500th NHL game, Marchand accrued five points (two goals and three assists) to match his single-game career high. He also helped fantasy teams with a plus-4. Marchand has racked up eight points (4g-4a) this week, and he’s had a great January with 12 points (7g-5a) in seven games. Now that he is on the first-unit power play, Marchand is a contributor in virtually every fantasy category and should now be in the conversation for fantasy elite status.

Marchand’s linemate David Pastrnak, who has been waiting at 19 goals for a month after a fast start, filled just about every other category for fantasy owners. Pasta recorded two assists to go with a plus-3 and six penalty minutes and six shots on goal. The last statistic indicates that he is at least trying to score, as he now has 13 shots on goal over his last three games. Expect him to bump the slump and reach goal number 20 in short order.


Mark Streit, who missed the past month due to a shoulder injury, returned to the Flyers’ lineup on Saturday. Streit was thrust in as the first-unit option on the power play, receiving four minutes with the man advantage while no other Flyers’ defenseman reached more than a minute and a half.

So then… what about Shayne Gostisbehere, you ask? The Ghost was healthy scratched on Saturday, which would be the second time that has happened this season. Broad Street Hockey’s thoughts on the matter seem to concur with fantasy owners.

Expect Ghost to be back on the first-unit power play for Sunday’s game against Washington, unless Dave Hakstol wants to punish fantasy owners further.


It’s been a season to forget for Gabriel Landeskog (and the rest of the Avs, for that matter). But even in another loss, Landeskog scored a goal while taking seven shots on goal in 23 minutes of icetime. He has goals in two of his last three games and three points in five games in January, in case you’re thinking of dropping him.

Speaking of the Avs, potential first overall pick Nolan Patrick returned to the Wheat Kings’ lineup on Friday, picking up where he left off with a four-point game.

But could a Gabriel Landeskog or Matt Duchene trade for some defensive help clear the deck for Patrick? This should be an interesting next five months.


Andrew Shaw and Alex Galchenyuk made their long-awaited returns for the Habs on Saturday. Although Galchenyuk paid immediate dividends for fantasy owners with a goal, Shaw was ejected late in the first period after a blindside hit on Jesper Fast. If you added Shaw for his ability to find trouble, he was able to pile up 22 minutes in penalties, as a fight with J.T. Miller followed. Here’s the hit for you to look at and weigh in on, if you haven’t already.

Phillip Danault, one of my waiver-wire suggestions for the week, added another three assists in just under 18 minutes of icetime. So that’s eight points in seven games in January for Danault. With Galchenyuk back as well as Shaw (if he isn’t suspended), Danault’s usage might decrease, but there should at least be space for him in the top 9 as long as he continues to produce.

With a goal on Saturday, Max Pacioretty now has 15 goals over his last 20 games. Not bad at all. Not surprisingly, the new top line with Galchenyuk back was Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, and Alexander Radulov.

Carey Price is struggling mightily. He’s allowed 18 (!) goals over his last four games. But like he does almost every Saturday, he earned a win. He’s 10-0-1 on the day that I normally write the Ramblings.

Hopefully you were wise (psychic) enough to move Henrik Lundqvist to your bench after Antti Raanta was announced as the starter. Lundqvist went into the game after the first period after Raanta left with an injury and promptly allowed five goals over two periods. To continue where I left off last night, Lundqvist has now allowed at least four goals in four out of five January games. He’s now drifted out of every-game must-start territory.


But if you were daring enough to use Curtis McElhinney in his first start as a Leaf, you were rewarded with a win and a solid outing (35 saves and two goals allowed). I don’t expect McElhinney to be used very often, since Frederik Andersen seems to be okay with the heavy workload. But the Leafs have lacked a solid backup all season, so Andersen may not be forced to start on back-to-back nights.

With two goals on Saturday, Nazem Kadri has scored five goals over his last five games and is on a five-game point streak. That’s the same Kadri that we were worried would be forced into a checking role with the arrival of Auston Matthews. With 18 goals, Kadri is the third-leading goal scorer on one of my fantasy teams, behind Jeff Carter and David Pastrnak – not bad for a player who was a throw-in on a trade I made during the summer. With solid shots on goal and penalty minute totals, Kadri is a multicategory stud who has outproduced where you drafted him.


Something that has happened many times, but doesn’t get any easier to swallow if you own him in a keeper like I do… Kris Letang left with an injury. At least he scored a goal before he left the game. Could a goal, an assist, and an injury be called a Kris Letang hat trick?

Gustav Nyquist owners (the ones that have been patient enough to stick around) haven’t had much to get excited about this season. But with a goal and two assists on Saturday, Nyquist has five points over his last two games. This after a stretch of seven games without a point and 21 games without a goal. With a low (6 percent) shooting success rate, Nyquist was bound to turn it around. Patience rewarded.


The seven Hurricanes’ goals were split by seven players, but a few recorded multipoint games: Brock McGinn (4 points), Lee Stempniak, Jordan Staal, and Elias Lindholm (3 points each). I missed talking about McGinn yesterday after a strong game, so I’m going to give him his due tonight. With two goals as well on Friday, McGinn is now up to four goals and three assists over his last three games. He’s found a nice line with Staal and Lindholm, who have also been hot recently. Staal has seven points over his last four games, while Lindholm has a six-game point streak where he has nine points.

Out of that group, I’d be the most inclined to add Lindholm. He has always had appeal in fantasy but has fallen short, posting back-to-back 39-point seasons. After a slow start (one point in his first nine games) and ten games missed, Lindholm seems to be making up for lost time. With a career-high 0.55 points/game pace, 25 points during the second half of the season seems attainable.


There were some disastrous starts on Saturday, which included Thomas Greiss with seven goals allowed, and Marc-Andre Fleury with six goals allowed. But the one that has to take the cake has to be Antti Niemi’s three goals allowed in four minutes without even a single save. His GAA for the night: 44.81. Oof. A comparable in fantasy baseball: When your closer allows three earned runs without even recording an out.

But thanks to John Klingberg, the Stars were able to tie the game after being down four goals. With the game-tying goal and two assists on Saturday, Klingberg is finding his stride after a slow start. Over his last 12 games, Klingberg has 12 points, including five goals. Hopefully you didn’t sell low. Again, patience is a virtue.


It figured that Jonathan Bernier would start for the Ducks against the 29th-ranked offense of the Coyotes, leaving John Gibson as the likely starter against the Blues on Sunday. So Bernier was able to take advantage and grab the shutout, his first of the season. Bernier had a disastrous December with a 4.59 goals-against average and .843 save percentage, so any streamers had to be gunshy entering this one. But John Gibson has been hot recently in posting two shutouts and just five goals allowed in his last five games, so we may not see a lot of Bernier even after this start.


I was about to drop Patrick Maroon in one league, but just as I was about to he went on another goal-scoring run. With a goal on Saturday, the Big Rig (finally, a hockey nickname done right) keeps on trucking with nine goals over his last 11 games and 18 goals on the season. Looks like he’s found a home in Edmonton.

Maybe Maroon is a better fit with Connor McDavid than high priced Milan Lucic, who has been demoted to the third line with Drake Caggiula and Anton Slepyshev. Lucic hasn’t scored a goal in ten games and counting. Of course you're going to roll Maroon as long as he's on the McDavid line. But it's difficult to think he'll keep this up if he's off that line, particularly with a 17 percent shooting accuracy. 

Lucic doesn’t own the largest slump among Oilers’ snipers, though. Jordan Eberle has no points in his last six games and no goals in his last 17 games. Eberle has a shooting percentage of only 7.3 percent this season when he normally shoots between 12-14 percent, so there’s a real buy-low opportunity. Yet Eberle hasn’t been shooting the puck during his slump, only firing the puck nine times over his last seven games. He had a golden opportunity to score late in the game, so it should only be a matter of time.


The Jets lost again, although they picked up a point. During the game, I think I actually saw a smile on Paul Maurice’s face.

With a goal, Marian Gaborik now has four points in his last four games after a stretch of 11 games without a point. Playing on a line with Anze Kopitar helps. By the way, Kopitar recorded assists on all three Kings’ goals with a plus-3. Kopitar is still stuck on a meager four goals on the season, but he has five points in his last five games.

No points for Drew Doughty, but he took eight shots on goal and in true Doughty fashion skated nearly 28 minutes.


Finally, Joe Thornton speared Paul Stastny, earning 15 minutes in penalties, including a game misconduct.

Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.