Ramblings: Bruins take a licking…Knights are Golden, other fantasy hockey thoughts (Apr 30)

by Dobber on May 6, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Bruins take a licking…Knights are Golden, other fantasy hockey thoughts (Apr 30)

AWWW! Now I have to wait all summer before I can watch Brad Marchand lick someone’s face again.


The Bruins are out, which actually surprises me because I felt that Tampa Bay went from being by far and away the best team in the league in the first half – to being seventh or eighth best in the second half. Andrei Vasilevskiy fell apart, Nikita Kucherov came back down to earth and Steven Stamkos turned into just ordinary.

Click this – Steven Stamkos. Shameless plug to get you to check out our new player profiles, but hell after seeing these you will remove the bookmark for any other player profile because this is what you need. What we’ve added in the last week – a buy/sell meter on several stats. You can find them in the Advanced Stats tab. For Stamkos, you can see that his four stats are in the “normal” color code. Check other players for their buy/sell meters. Very fast loading too. Now go to Career stats and scroll beneath them to see a new thing we added – quarterly comparison. At a glance you can see that Stamkos had 35 points in the first quarter, 51 in the next three quarters. So he really dropped off after that hot start.

We added the above two tools based on your requests, so keep ‘em coming.

Look at this play with JT Miller and Nikita Kucherov:

This was a play that they had practiced and had saved it for this situation – and were stoked that it worked. Very cool story.


Although Tuukka Rask ended up with a 0.903 SV%, there wasn’t really a point where he was terrible. He was also never really great, either. At least – Boston didn’t lose because of him. Saddle him with one of the losses against Tampa and one against Toronto. But the rest – it was the scoring. And you certainly can’t blame David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron there. The three combined for 53 points in the 12 games. But in each series that trio exploded out of the gate, but by Game 3 of each series both Toronto and Tampa figured out how to slow them down.

It’s ironic that Boston’s undoing came in the form of their scoring depth. Because this is a team that can make Danton Heinen, Brian Gionta and Tommy Wingels healthy scratches last night – and at other times had Ryan Donato scratched. One of the two or three best (if not “the” best) teams in the second half. And that’s why I thought the Bruins would win this round.

It should be worth noting that Jake DeBrusk was the other forward who had a very strong postseason. I’m a big fan of his playoff upside and I love that his regular season floor is still very good. His ceiling isn’t the highest – maybe 65 points one day depending on how he works with future linemates. But he’s a good steady player in terms of production who turns it up a notch in the postseason. Something to remember for future playoff pool drafts. It was a shame that he only played 13:16 Sunday and his PP time disappeared (and was fairly minimal throughout). Four power-play points with 12 minutes of PP ice time says to me that he should have gotten more.

David Backes left the game with a UBI after taking a pretty big hit from JT Miller. Almost looks in slo-mo, but the collision was the worst angle.


I think we’ve seen the last of Brian Gionta. Yes, he made a huge splash early on as the “new team adrenalin” kicked in – he had six points in his first five games. But he was pretty bad in the Olympics and after those five games he only managed one points in 15 games. And then he only got into one uneventful playoff game. Now 39, at best he’ll get a training camp invite – and then he’ll be released. That’s if he doesn’t retire before then.

In the end, was Rick Nash worth the price of a) putting Danton Heinen in the press box and b) Ryan Spooner, Ryan Lindgren, Matt Beleskey’s contract, a 2018 1st and a 2019 7th? Nope. But we knew that immediately. As we do with most trade deadline deals and most July 1st signings.


As a GM, I would only target the truly unattainable (for most of their career) players on July 1st. This year that would be John Tavares and John Carlson. Last year I don’t think there was anybody. Every other player – I’d ignore. Let other GMs shoot themselves in the foot. Because three years after a big signing we always see either fans flooding social media with pleas for a buyout…or just bad contracts that are untradeable but that fans wish were off the books. Every single one. So I would just chase the franchise players only. The guys who are safe from looking bad in four years. And then later in July I would sign one or two depth guys on the cheap to fill other needs. Honestly you just build through the draft along with smart summer or early-season trades when there is no pressure. That’s how you rein in spending, and not enough GMs practice it. Dobber for GM!


Another example – a first, second and third-round pick for Tomas “press box” Tatar. That’s a hefty price to pay to acquire a popcorn server. Plus they have to pay Tatar $5.3 million per season the next three years.


Joe Thornton took the ice for warmups Sunday, but didn’t dress for the game. I think we’ll see him again. As a Shark.

The Sharks are out, so now we have to wait all summer before we get to see Joe Pavelski lick someone’s face. Wait…that was just Marchand’s thing, sorry.

Evander Kane had one point against Vegas in five games and was minus-5. Joe Pavelski three points in six games and minus-3. Brent Burns five points and minus-6, and three of those points were in one game.

Seven points for playoff stud Logan Couture, though.

After the game, Kane said that he had been playing with a separated shoulder plus an MCL injury


If Vegas gets to the Stanley Cup Final and loses – the Conn Smythe still goes to Marc-Andre Fleury. Geez, part of me thinks that if they take the Semi-Final to Game 7 and lose he still somehow wins the Smythe and becomes the first non-Final participant to do so. He’s really been awesome.

Reilly Smith has really snuck a lot of points in there. I’ve seen William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault all over the place so of course Smith is going to get his points, but I didn’t know he’d have more than Karlsson (11 to 10).

Nate Schmidt had four of his five points in the San Jose series. Erik Haula had five of his six. Both players I had marked off as playoff sleepers in the Draft List.

In the end, the difference was depth. Vegas had Ryan Reaves play just 10 minutes, but every other forward saw a minimum of 12:30 ice time. Meanwhile, the Sharks had three forwards at under 11:30. It’s nice to comfortably roll four lines.


It looks like Mathieu Perreault will finally get back into the lineup for the Jets tonight. He was ready to go in Game 4 but Paul Maurice said he didn’t want to insert two players back from injury into the same game. Weird reasoning but okay…


If the Caps put Jakub Vrana on the Alex OvechkinEvgeny Kuznetsov line, then the Penguins will be in a lot of trouble. I have a feeling that line would be one of those “ah-ha” moments. The trio had been put together before, and in fact were on the ice together for five of Vrana’s points (20.8% of them) during the season and 12% of his line frequency. But with young players like that sometimes it’s the fourth or fifth opportunity in that situation before things really click. And I’ll tell you – if he’s on that line and it does work and they eliminate Pittsburgh, then that line will continue to fly all the way to the Cup Final. And Vrana would be a massive sneaky pickup at drafts in September. It could finally be his time. The problem is, in keeper leagues, Vrana owners are already watching and are well aware of this. So I doubt there’s a steal to be had.


The 2018 DobberHockey products are now up in the shop for pre-sale! That includes the Ultimate Fantasy Pack, the Keeper League Pack and the Fantasy Prospects Report. The FPR is released June 1 and I’m nearing the halfway point on writing and editing the content, so it’s really coming along nicely.


See you next week





18 responses to “Ramblings: Bruins take a licking…Knights are Golden, other fantasy hockey thoughts (Apr 30)”

  1. Striker says:

    Unfortunately Trotz doesn’t have faith in Vrana’s defensive game. Playing Smith-Pelly with Kuznetsov & Ovechkin is like tying a boat anchor to this line. Good skater but can’t think the game fast enough to be effective with these 2 players not only not helping himself but making them far less effective.

    Play Vrana there live with his mistakes, it will serve him well in the long run.

    Trotz pattern with youth is well defined, your only getting in there if you kick the door down screaming.

    • MarkRM16 says:

      I think Wilson has the top line spot sewn up. I’d like to see Vrana and Burakovsky given bigger roles, but that awful Oshie contract limits their opportunities (when he’s healthy, at least).

  2. Striker says:

    There wasn’t a very vibrant UFA market last season, the best players reupped with their respective treams & I agree with you on many of these UFA signings but some teams do very well & use common sense when signing UFA’s addressing short term needs.

    Some UFA signings from last summer I really like. Boyle NJ, Girardi TB, Daley Det, Shattenkirk NYR, Bonino Nas, Kulikov Win, Dadonov Flo, Gagner & De Zotto Van,

    There was only 1 I really hated Hanzal Dal. I didn’t like Vlasic’s extension in SJ signed, he would have been a UFA this summer but signed an 8 year extension at 7 mil per. He’s 31. I don’t wish to slight Vlasic a stud shut down Dman but 7 mil for 8 years? Insane. de Haan is a UFA this summer & not yet fully developed the differences between him & Vlasic are nominal, someone is going to bet getting a solid 2nd pairing shut down Dman that has untapped offensive upside that can play against the leagues best. This is my #1 UFA target this summer. 7 years at 5 mil per give or take 1/2 a mil.

    • Dobber says:

      I would have grabbed – assuming my team needed the depth there – Boyle, Del Zotto, Kulikov and of course Dadonov. No way I’d go after Shattenkirk – that was my point about chasing guys just because they’re best. He’s not elite, and last year with WAS he was brutal and destroyed their shot at advancing. I’d either go after elite-tier players who are almost never available, or I would just sign lesser guys later in the month. Most teams are just fine doing nothing. Fans and a lot of GMs don’t seem to realize that. If prospects are stockpiled, some of them could fill your needs just fine.

      • Striker says:

        We essentially agree but not on Shattenkirk. Yes he isn’t a top pairing Dman but an elite offensive 1 that can play 2nd pairing minutes 5 on 5 & see as much PP time as he can handle & favorable deployment in the offensive zone.

        I love his contract structure. He was 28 when signed for 4 years at a cap hit of 6.65, sliding in real dollars from 8 in years 1 & 2 to 6.6 then 4. He has an NMC for being sent down & a modified NTC starting July 1st, 8 team no trade list for 2 years & 10 in his final season. This isn’t a 7 year full NMC for a 32 year old player.

        When NYR decides to trade Shattenkirk & he won’t complete this deal in NYR. I assume he will be moved next summer certainly by the summer of 2020 the return & ease of doing so will be a walk in the park.

        Shattenkirk was playing great offensively for NYR until he finally had to be shut down trying to play through his injury. Shattenkirk has a ton of warts but he is an elite level offensive Dman. In his 8 years in the NHL he sits 14th in points & that’s with this year dragging him down if not he would be in the top 10.

      • Dobber says:

        I see, so I think we see eye to eye on Shattenkirk’s value and what he’s done and can do. So the gap is standards. You, as an NHL GM, are willing to chase a Top 40 NHL player when he becomes a UFA and will pay top dollar and term for him.
        My point in the Ramblings is that I would limit any “chasing” to elite elite. Top 15 in the NHL, maybe Top 20. I’ll pay top dollar and term for them. Every other player I’ll just let other GMs overpay them. And depth guys (Boyle, Del Zotto, Kulikov) I’ll grab at will later in July. If one signs before I get to them, fine, there are a dozen others of equal talent to fill the niche I want.

        I feel good about Carlson and Tavares four years into their next contract. I don’t feel good about Shattenkirk four years into his. Or two, for that matter.

      • Simons says:

        although the contract probably doesn’t look good down the road but what about radulov?

      • Dobber says:

        The Stars did okay keeping him to just five years, but as GM I wouldn’t have pursued him. I just don’t think UFA is the way in the cap era. Other than elite elite guys that would be the face of a franchise

      • MarkRM16 says:

        I have to wonder if Shattenkirk might ask for a trade. I doubt he signed with the Rangers knowing that a rebuild was due to take place. Finding a partner will prove difficult given his contract, of course.

  3. Striker says:

    Rask was well below average. Did he make some great saves sure, did he let if some he should have yes, to many. Bos’s 3rd line was invisible, all of them Heinen, Nash & Backes. The Nash trade terrible, as we all stated right at point of trade, had they just kept Spooner they would have been better served. You don’t mess with good chemistry if you don’t need to, Bos didn’t need to.

    Which brings me to Tatar. Tatar was acquired for next season, he replaces Perron & or Neal in the top 6. Gallant wasn’t benching anyone of his players to work in Tatar this late in the season, no need. Depth insurance for the playoffs, the #2 LW next season when both Perron & Neal walk.

    • NHLGodfather says:

      Striker, you scooped me on your Tatar take. As I was reading this article, I was thinking that Gallant wasn’t about to tinker with the team chemistry by inserting Tatar and benching one of the boys playing regularly. Tatar can score and I suspect he will be an asset to Vegas next season. Besides, Vegas is sitting pretty with their accumulated draft picks and cap room. As we witness the NHL version of the “Miracle on Ice” with this Vegas franchise, I’m still thinking…”Hey George…sign Tavares! I like these type of articles by Dobber that scans various players and teams. BTW: Dobber… hope your feeling good these days.

      • Striker says:

        I’m incredibly impressed with how McPhee has tackled this. Acquiring Tatar was forward thinking. He took him when available even though he didn’t need him now, he needs him later.

        McPhee made numerous side deals I didn’t try to foreshadow but really only made 9 different selections in the expansion draft than I. I didn’t anticipate the Clb, Min, NYI, TB & Flo deals so. We knew Pit & Anh had something happening, MAF was a for gone conclusion, didn’t see Theodore as the cost for Anh. We suspected Clb, NYI & Min had to negotiate something. The TB & Flo side deals really surprised me. McPhee did very well stock piling picks especially in last seasons draft.

        The picks that differed for me were. Engelland from Cal, I would have taken Brouwer, McNabb from LA I would have taken Clifford, I wanted these 2 players for toughness. I would have not negotiated side deals with Min & NYI but taken Dumba & de Haan. Nor would I have done a side deal with Buf but selected Ullmark. I would have selected McGinn from Arz, Lovejoy from NJ, Brickley from Car, Dano from Win, Dhillon from SJ & I would have squeezed something out of Was with both Schmidt & Grubauer on the board. Perhaps McPhee tried, when push came to shove I would have taken Schmidt as well.

        What McPhee showed me was incredibly forward thinking & his trades & selections were sprinkled with analytics. I could never have imagined it working out like this, still truly amazed. I took SJ to beat Vgs, now I’ll take Win. McPhee is thinking about tomorrow more than today & today is shockingly successful. Tatar is part of tomorrow.

      • NHLGodfather says:

        Striker…You would have preferred having two physical forwards (Brouwer and Clifford) versus McPhee’s choices of two physical defenseman (McNabb and Engelland). You can bet that Min and NYI were scrambling to save Dumba and deHaan so McPhee took advantage of that situation. Schmitt never got a fair shake in Washington but McPhee must have seen something there. As to Dano, McGinn, Lovejoy, Brickley and Dillon, I don’t see any upside there. Brouwer had a horrible season with the Flames. Clifford wasn’t any better. McPhee went out and got Reaves who stepped up last night with eight hits. There’s your physical forward. Besides…what are we doing questioning George? He’s a freakin’ genius. Lets not forget him picking up Gallant for head coach after the shabby treatment he received in Florida. Speaking of Florida, and geniuses…Marchessault anyone?

      • Striker says:

        There were so many Dman available & I liked the contractual situation for those 2 players as both had term & I felt Clifford would have some trade value. That said I don’t question what he did now as he has shocked me & the Tatar trade will pay next season moving forward. Engelland & McNabb were both pending UFA’s but check, McPhee took care of those issues.

        The other were just personal preferences that I felt had better short or long term value, of no significant consequence.

        My fantasy teams are littered with Vegas players, Karlsson, Smith, C. Miller in 2 leagues, Schmidt in 1 traded him in the other, Perron, Tuch may try to make room to protect him but could be challenging & will protect Karlsson, Smith & C. Miller in 1 of the 2. I have always been a huge Smith advocate, I mention him constantly when people slag Chiarelli for trading Seguin. He didn’t get nothing. He got Smith, Morrow, Eriksson, for years & dumped Peverley’s contract on Dallas. No small feat moving out salary coming out of the 2013-14 lock out season. I don’t like the trade but accept the business decisions teams are forced to make.

      • MarkRM16 says:

        At least Dadonov panned out. Imagine the tire fire without him and the flop of a season that Vrbata had.

      • Nathan says:

        I just don’t understand why there is continued talk to justify that Tatar move- you could have had better than him on the free agent market this summer, for less money and no cost in draft picks for an organization that is still building itself from the ground up- giving up 1st round picks for mediocre vets is dumb at this stage, unless its truly a difference making player. I know they had picks to burn, but if you continue to overpay for guys like that, its not a good sign for the long term health of the organization.

        I don’t know how you spin a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for Tatar as being a valuable move. Great, he replaces Perron or Neal with a less skilled version of them for about the same money. And yeah, it does matter that he’s been in the press box. He already is struggling to fit in with this team’s style of play- they gave him plenty of opportunity to be part of the playoff core, he wasn’t good enough.Its not like they acquired him and said, “nah, we don’t need him till next year, so lets just scratch him the rest of the year.” They saw him as a piece to help now and in the future and he’s not helping at all now, so how does that bode well for the future?

        All this comes with me being highly impressed with what this organization has been able to do over the course of the last year despite everyone doubting it was possible all along the way. But the apologists for this move make no sense to me. It can still be an amazing year, despite that move being a pretty obviously bad one.

      • Striker says:

        You can’t judge this trade until it plays out. Tatar’s contract provides cost certainty. I assume both Perron & Neal will not only get more than Tatar’s 5.3 cap hit but their terms will dwarf Tatar’s remaining 3 years. Tatar will help Vegas buy time for all the prospects drafted last season to develop properly. Tuch will replace Neal in the top 6, Tatar Perron.

        Vegas’s 1st this year, is now guaranteed to be no better than 27th, a 2nd in 2019 NYI’s, & a 3rd in 2021 3 years from now.

        I’m a firm believer in the odds of probability. There is no guarantee that a player selected late in the 1st round will even be a full time NHL player. Move to a mid to late 2nd in 2019 & the odds are virtually non existent that player even see’s a cup of coffee in the NHL. The 3rd good luck. People put far to much value in draft picks. That said Det could hit a homer, the grand slam with any of those picks.

        Lets wait until Tatar actually has a chance to play for Vegas as so far he’s only been a place holder for injured players. His TOI/GP in his 20 regular season games played was 14:48 good for 8th among regular forwards, 16 seconds a game better than Eakin. That’s barely 3rd line minutes. Nor did he make the top 10 in PP time.

        No 1’s producing quality points seeing that quantity nor quality of ice time especially arriving on a team with a defined system & rolling 4 solid lines.

        Again this trade wasn’t about today, this years team, it was McPhee getting out in front of next years needs & expending his 1st when he knew it wasn’t going to be a lottery selection. This should play out very well for both teams but you can’t grade Tatar’s contribution yet he hasn’t been given 1.

      • MarkRM16 says:

        The Tatar trade may have been a good one. We’ll have to wait a season or 2 to judge it fairly. A quick glance at Tatar’s scoring history suggests that a string of 25 goal seasons is possible, and he’s in his prime.
        Neal and Perron are both older players with extensive injury histories and their combined salary and cap hits would be too expensive to justify. Tatar has missed very few games to injury, which provides Vegas with some reliability.Neal and Perron dressed for a combined 141 games this season. I wouldn’t bet on that number next season, especially with the wear and tear of a long playoff run.
        Re-signing either Neal or Perron to a sane, short-term contract might help to maintain on-ice and locker room chemistry and leadership, but McPhee should let another GM roll the dice on the other player (I’d go with Neal).
        Plus, McPhee will have RFAs to lock up soon.