Ramblings: Canucks Tank; Kessel Catching Fire (March 28)

by Dobber on March 28, 2016

Rambling about the loss of Stralman and Stone; Canucks tanking; Kessel catches fire; and more

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Morning Updates:

Glean from this what you will. But Toronto is reportedly close to signing two KHL superstars. I'm talking about Nikita Zaitsev and Alexander Radulov. Now Radulov we already know all about. Back in January he was reported to have signed an extension with his KHL team. In eight KHL seasons he has a ridiculous 492 points in 391 games. Zaitsev is Radulov's teammate with CSKA Moscow and is a top puck-moving defenseman. He's undrafted and 24 years old. He has 58 points in his last 103 KHL games. Obviously, if the Leafs add these two players, sign a top three UFA (they will – I guarantee it, whether it's Stamkos, Yandle or otherwise), and gradulate William Nylander, Zach Hyman and Nikita Soshnikov, then you're talking about a completely different and vastly improved team for 2016-17. Elliott Friedman believes that Zaitsev is probably going to happen, but has heard nothing about the Radulov portion of this rumor:

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Since we're already talking about rumors, I'm sure you've heard that Nail Yakupov has requested a trade. Just in case you thought he wouldn't be moved this summer, this probably pushes you back in the 'trade' direction. GM Peter Chiarelli is holding out for the right deal. He knows what Tyler Seguin brought in and – justified or not (not), that's what he's looking for and he's focusing on defensemen. Hopefully his demands will drop a little and this can get done without bloodshed.

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Playoff time in H2H leagues! And crunch time for the other leagues. I hope you’re still in it rather than playing out the string. Good luck.

To help you out, I opened up a mailbag yesterday right here. I’ll keep it open throughout Monday until late in the afternoon. My goal with this website is to get as many fantasy hockey league champions from around the world as I possibly can to say “I won, and my go-to site this year was DobberHockey.”

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My Interactive Playoff Draft List will be out on April 8 and finalized (re-released) on April 10. Be sure to pre-order it here. You can run as many scenarios as you like, or you can just go with 'my' picks (also known as – the winning picks!)

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Enjoy Steve Laidlaw this week, because that’s it! As with the last two summers, he’s taking five months off to fight fires. His last day will be Saturday. After that, Neil Parker and Mike Clifford return for summer duty. Ian Gooding and myself, of course, will still be here on our usual days.

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Anton Stralman is out until at best the third round of the playoffs and boy does that suck. He was absolutely integral to the Lightning in my opinion. The tangibles are obvious but I think he was one of the kings of intangibles in the entire league. But besides the devastating blow to the team, it sucks for my fantasy league. I drafted him last summer as my No.5 defenseman (we count the top four so he added great depth) and specifically for the playoff points. Well, he’s been great. My No.5 guy just as I wanted (although ‘Ghost’ was No.4 instead of the original plan of Kronwall), but Stralman also convinced me that he has another gear. He can be a 45-point defenseman. A tough break, no pun intended.

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The Canucks are going all-in on the Austin Matthews odds. Despite lottery odds being the worst ever for a last place team, Vancouver is jockeying for the pick thanks to their eighth consecutive loss (one in OT). In the last seven games the Canucks have scored five goals. So while the team jockeys for position (currently two up on the Leafs), owners of Canucks are getting screwed. I had to drop Ben Hutton on Sunday to fix my “illegal” roster after a couple of players were called up and a guy came off IR. It would have been nice to keep Hutton, but when I had to choose one to drop it was pretty easy to take out the Vancouver player. Owners of the twins have it even worse. I sure hope you moved the two of them by January because the 75-point pace has gone bye-bye. Even 65 is questionable now.

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With three points in his last eight games Jonathan Toews is on pace for just 55 points. That would almost be a career low (54 points as a rookie, 48 points during the lockout-shortened year).

Artem Anisimov missed last night’s game with an LBI. No timetable, of course. It’s that time of year for injuries. Teams are clamming up now more than ever, so Anisimov could be back next game or out for the season (I’m sure it’s closer to the former!). With Anisimov out, Teuvo Teravainen slid into his spot on that line…

#1 23.6% HOSSA,MARIAN – LADD,ANDREW – TOEWS,JONATHAN

#2 22.6% KANE,PATRICK – PANARIN,ARTEMI – TERAVAINEN,TEUVO

#3 21.6% DESJARDINS,ANDREW – KRUGER,MARCUS – SHAW,ANDREW

#4 14.6% FLEISCHMANN,TOMAS – RASMUSSEN,DENNIS – WEISE,DALE

 

TT scored a goal, but unfortunately because he’s not yet trusted to take a ton of faceoffs he likely won’t hold onto the spot after Anisimov returns no matter how well he plays there.

Patrick Kane has just six points in 11 games. His pace is now for 101 points. It took until almost the end of the season for his numbers to correct. Prior to this slump his pace was still up at 110.

Dale Weise has seen his ice time cup from around 13 minutes per game with Montreal to about 10 with Chicago. He’s playing with similar linemates – still with Fleischmann, and swap out Desharnais for Rasmussen – but his PP time has completely disappeared. He had seven PPPts with the Habs in 56 games, but on a stacked Chicago team he hasn’t got (and never will get) a sniff.

Scott Darling played in back-to-back games/nights and played very well, stopping 57 of 60 to win them both. And just like that, our confidence in him during out stretch run is restored. It looks like he’s going to run the table until the postseason, because Corey Crawford is merely a “we think he’s going to be ready” to make it back in time for the playoffs.

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Jordan Staal picked up an assist Sunday but in all he has just six points in 14 games without brother Eric. Viktor Rask has nine points in that span, including four goals in his last three games. That makes it 20 for the youngster.

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The honeymoon is over for Scott Wedgewood. After giving up just two goals in the first three starts of his NHL career, Start No.4 was not quite as nice. He gave up three goals on 23 shots and took his first ever regulation lost. I’ve always liked Wedgewood but with the Schneider contract Wedgewood doesn’t stand much of a chance. He may get the opportunity to force his way onto the roster as a backup, but there’s no chance of him gaining much fantasy value without future Schneider injuries.

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Two points on Sunday give Phil Kessel seven in two games. That inflates his totals to 54 on the campaign – a number that, just one week ago, we wondered if he’d even finish with. Now he’s looking good for 60 points and a shot at 65 (needs 11 in seven games, quite doable). So tell me, if he makes it to 65 points do you graduate his season’s classification from ‘train wreck’ to ‘sub-par’? Or will the fact that he did it all in the final two weeks never been forgotten?

Tom Kuhnhackl had four blocked shots and saw second-unit PK time. This bodes well for his making the team next season and getting regular ice time. He might work his way up to a plum scoring-line job next year – the spot that Beau Bennett should have taken if he only stayed healthy. Not worth owning in 2016-17, but worth monitoring as a potential 2017-18 point-getter.

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New York line combos, featuring Rick Nash off the Eric Staal line and actually on a good line. Ironically, Staal then finally scored…

#1 25.2% FAST,JESPER – HAYES,KEVIN – STAAL,ERIC

#2 24.8% BRASSARD,DERICK – KREIDER,CHRIS – NASH,RICK

#3 20.3% MILLER,J.T. – STEPAN,DEREK – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

#4 17.1% GLASS,TANNER – MOORE,DOMINIC – STALBERG,VIKTOR

Staal has just five points in 14 games with the Rangers. Somehow he’s managed to be even less productive than he was in Carolina.

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Prospect Ramblings here. Hayden Soboleski takes a look at the draft over the last 10 years and breaks down, by pick, which percentage made the NHL full time.

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In case you missed it Saturday, Michael Stone left the game with this leg injury (warning: ugly). Listen to the crowd at 1:26 when, I’m guessing, it happened on the jumbotron. I would imagine that Stone is done for the season. He had 16 points in his last 22 games, which is just enough to make him a quality sleeper for next year because the hot streak stops with him at 36 points on the season. Had he made it to 40, he would be easier to spot as a possible 50-point guy next year by the common poolie. Anyway, here is the clip: