Ramblings: Buff Situation Getting Complicated, Shutouts On Saturday (Nov 3)

by Ian Gooding on November 3, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Buff Situation Getting Complicated, Shutouts On Saturday (Nov 3)


If you were watching the Leafs/Flyers game, you may have noticed a different look for the Flyers on their first-unit power play. Ivan Provorov took over from Shayne Gostisbehere on the first-unit power play and looked effective, scoring a power-play goal in the first period, then adding a power-play assist on Claude Giroux’s goal in the second period. Provorov totaled seven shots while logging a season-high 28:06. The returns looked great, so Provorov’s value appears to have increased assuming he stays on the Flyers’ PP1 for the time being (and subsequently, Ghost’s will take another hit).  

Joel Farabee, who I mentioned yesterday, was also on PP1, although he was held without a point. Farabee has value in dynasty leagues, although this situation should warrant him consideration in deeper single-season leagues as well.

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The relationship between Dustin Byfuglien and the Jets has hit complicated status, with his fantasy value completely up in the air. Here’s the latest on the Byfuglien saga from Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada, followed by a general manager's take from Brian Burke.


Between the injury itself and a possible arbitration hearing as to whether Buff’s ankle injury was a hockey-related injury, it could be a while before Buff returns to hockey action – if he returns at all. My prediction is that I think Buff will play in the NHL again once his injuries heal, but it will be with another team.

In the meantime, if you’ve ever played defense, then the Jets might try to sign you to a contract. Heaven forbid if the Jets get another injury on defense, as Tucker Poolman did on Saturday. That meant Neal Pionk logged nearly 30 minutes (29:24 to be exact) and Josh Morrissey was out there for his usual 25 minutes. Although minutes are great and they result in more opportunities for counting stats, I’d be concerned about overuse if I own either of those players.

Mathieu Perreault broke his seven-game stretch without a point by scoring two goals. Perreault is a very hot-and-cold player, and he’s owned in very few leagues at the moment. He’s on the outside looking in as far as top-6 minutes go, but he did receive first-unit minutes on Saturday.

Kyle Connor scored the overtime winner for the Jets while chipping in two assists in Vegas. Connor is holding a hot stick right now with seven points over his last five games.

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Shutouts galore on Saturday:

Semyon Varlamov, 27 saves – That’s nine wins in a row for the Islanders! Varlamov and Thomas Greiss obviously cannibalize each other’s value, but is either a goalie that should be carrying the load for 60+ games? Right now I’d be happier with Varlamov starting just once and it being a quality start, rather than one quality start and one poor start. The first scenario helps your team more, provided you’re not living on the edge with minimum goalie starts.

David Rittich, 43 saves – Someone in my auction keeper league paid what I thought at the time was laughable money for Rittich. Big Save Dave hasn’t been perfect this season, yet I happen to be facing this owner at the wrong time. The Flames obviously believe in Rittich as much as this owner does, starting him a league-leading 13 times compared to Cam Talbot five times (which includes Sunday in Washington, according to Goalie Post).

Sergei Bobrovsky, 22 saves – In spite of his poor start, Bobrovsky has posted wins in each of his last three starts to go with a 6-2-3 record. If Joel Quenneville was supposed to turn the Panthers into a lock-down trap team, that hasn’t happened (at least not yet). The Panthers are still a top-5 team in goals for per game played, but also a bottom-third team in goals allowed per games played. Don’t forget that Bob is a notoriously slow starter but fantasy playoff MVP, but at this point in time his owners should prepare for wins without the standout ratios if old habits die hard in Florida. Surprisingly, my son was able to add Bobrovsky off waivers in his shallow 8-team league a week ago. In this particular scoring system, Bob had negative value at that time. So yeah, buy low if you can. 

Darcy Kuemper, 33 saves – Your goals-against average and save percentage leaders are Tuukka Rask and Kuemper, who seems to have evolved from backup goalie to fill-in starter to timeshare starter and now to starting goalie. Antti Raanta is not a terrible goalie by any means, but Kuemper has earned the right to be a starting goalie. And he’s a damn good one at that.   

With the Kuemper shutout, Nathan MacKinnon played his first game of the season without scoring a point. His point streak ends at 13 games.

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Elias Pettersson was held off the scoresheet on Friday against Anaheim, but he couldn’t be kept down on Saturday, scoring two goals in the Canucks’ win at the Shark Tank. Over his last seven games, Petey is scoring at a two-point-per-game pace with 14 points (4g-10a). He’s now at 20 points in 14 games, which places him firmly in the top 10 in scoring. His linemates J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser are also along for the ride, pushing for a spot in the top-20 in scoring. Suddenly the Canucks are a top-5 offense. Trust me, this is a fun team to watch. If you’re a Canucks’ fan, you might agree with me that things feels different this season.  
 


The opposite seems to be happening in San Jose. Should you load up on players who are facing the Sharks? In yesterday’s Ramblings I discussed the struggles of Martin Jones. On Saturday, the Sharks tried Aaron Dell, but ended up with the same result. Peter DeBoer is clearly on the hot seat here. Firing him could result in an immediate short-term turnaround that happens when many teams bring in a new coach with a clean slate. Friedman did say that Doug Wilson firing DeBoer would be a last resort, so I wouldn’t look for this to happen tomorrow. A trade has to be another possibility.  

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If the Stars are turning their season around (wins in six of their last seven games), then maybe there’s hope for the Sharks. Denis Gurianov is getting himself noticed down there, scoring a pair of goals in the Stars’ 4-1 win over Montreal. Gurianov also fired a season-high seven shots on goal while lining up with the red-hot Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski. Gurianov was a first-round pick (12th overall) picked ahead of Hintz (second round, 49th overall) in the same 2015 draft, so the two could be on the same line frequently going forward. Gurianov is a one percenter in Yahoo leagues, but I think that is about to change.

By the way, we’re starting to see signs of life from Pavelski, who now has points in three consecutive games (five points total).

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The numbers for NHL leading scorer David Pastrnak are staggering. After being held without a point in his first two games, Pasta has piled up 27 points (13g-14a) in just 11 games. I covered him on Friday, so I’ll let you read more about his current success and how to handle it if you are his owner. The Pasta-Brad MarchandPatrice Bergeron line combined for seven points on Saturday.

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Jonathan Huberdeau has points in all but three games this season. This includes his three-point effort on Saturday, which also saw him fire eight shots on goal. Hubie also has nine goals over his past nine games, and he also has back-to-back two-goal games.

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In the twice-annual matchup of scoring stars, both Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid were held without a point in a low-scoring 2-1 overtime win for the Oilers.

Mike Smith made 51 saves in earning the win over the Penguins. Smith has now won each of the Oilers’ last two games, which should give him the advantage in one of the league’s more uncertain goaltending situations.

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Alexandar Georgiev is in the same boat as Smith, winning back-to-back games for the Rangers, including the afternoon game on Saturday. His season numbers (2.27 GAA, .933 SV%) are considerably better than Henrik Lundqvist’s (3.58 GAA, .906 SV%), so it might be time for Lundqvist owners (70% in Yahoo leagues) to consider adding Georgiev (16% owned in Yahoo leagues) as either a handcuff or an outright swap. Lundqvist’s number have been on a downward course for five seasons, so this shouldn’t be a bold statement even with his status as a potential future Hall of Famer.

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Scary moment for Scott Sabourin, as he was stretchered off the ice after being knocked unconscious from a collision with David Backes. You can view the hit here, as I won’t embed it directly as I do with other videos due to the severity of the hit. Backes was emotionally shaken up as well to the point that he left the ice. The good news was that Sabourin was responsive and was able to move his extremities.

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Finally, Milan Lucic will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety for completely overreacting to Kole Sherwood getting an extra poke after Rittich covered up the puck.
 


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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.