Ramblings: Coleman on a Heater, The Price Is Wrong, Black Friday Specials (Nov 29)

by Ian Gooding on November 29, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Coleman on a Heater, The Price Is Wrong, Black Friday Specials (Nov 29)


With US Thanksgiving being a prime day for NFL football viewing, the NHL made the wise choice of scheduling just one game on Thursday, with that game occurring in a Canadian market. The Devils were able to skate to a 6-4 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. Since it’s the only game, I can examine the players involved more closely than I do for a game on a typical night. If 15 games are played, chances are I’m going to miss a few newsworthy events. With one game, it’s less likely.

Blake Coleman scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Devils’ scoring attack. This hasn’t just been a one-off for Coleman, as he now has six goals and 10 points over his past eight games.

I wrote about Coleman’s banger league value in early October, and it seems as though not much has changed. He’s still on pace for over 200 hits, and he still receives almost nothing in the way of power-play time (not even a single second on Thursday). One other note that a commenter made was that Coleman shoots regularly as well, which right now is at around two shots per game. That number could increase with some power-play time, although on its own the SOG total isn’t terrible.

One note of caution: Coleman’s advanced stats suggest a regression, including a shooting percentage of 19.1% and an IPP of 77.8. He was a 20-goal scorer and could well be again this season, so I’d probably still shy away from him in shallower non-banger leagues.

Coleman’s linemates had quite a game against the Habs as well. Travis Zajac had a goal and two assists with a plus-4. This broke a four-game stretch without a point for Zajac, who at the center position simply doesn’t contribute enough to be on fantasy rosters. Meanwhile, Nikita Gusev added three assists with a plus-3 and three shots on goal.
 


Mackenzie Blackwood made 44 saves on Thursday in snapping a personal two-game losing streak. His previous win also came against the Habs. Blackwood hasn’t been helping your goals-against average lately, as he has allowed at least three goals in each of his last four games. Louis Domingue started the previous two games for the Devils, so with Cory Schneider now in the AHL, it might not be all Blackwood between the pipes for the Devils as you might think.  

Carey Price owners, look away. The price is wrong at the moment, as the Montreal goalie has now allowed at least five goals in each of his last three games and is winless over his last five starts (the Canadiens as a team are winless in their past six). At least his five goals allowed on Thursday were over an entire game, which is more than can be said about Tuesday.

Price’s season numbers (10-8-3, 3.19 GAA, .897 SV%) don’t inspire confidence for fantasy owners that drafted him within the top 50, but at least we can admit that goaltending is a crapshoot these days. But the truth is that among 43 goalies with at least 10 GP, Price is 35th in save percentage and 37th in goals-against average. The Habs’ defense isn’t doing him many favors, but in paying him over $10 million per season, the Habs have the right to expect more. So do his fantasy owners. I guess we’re at a “pick and choose” your starts point with Price, at least for the moment. He is still capable of making saves like these, though, which is something positive.
 


In spite of the loss, there was no lack of try on Brendan Gallagher’s part. Gallagher scored a goal while firing seven shots. With 93 SOG, Gallagher’s total is easily the highest on the team, while only six players in the NHL have a higher total.

With a goal and an assist on Thursday, Jesperi Kotkaniemi snapped a nine-game stretch without a point and a 14-game stretch without a goal. With just five points in 18 games, KK is falling victim to the sophomore slump.

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According to Elliotte Friedman, the Bill Peters saga will reach a conclusion soon, with Peters unlikely to continue as the Flames’ head coach.
 


In case you’re wondering why a firing hasn’t already happened, the Flames are taking appropriate due process measures. First, they needed to determine whether the allegations were true (which would be the case, since Peters’ apology letter clearly wasn’t a denial). Second, the Flames need to determine whether they can fire him with cause, which would mean that they would not be responsible for the entire amount of what’s left of his contract. Simply put, keeping Peters on wouldn’t be wise from a public relations standpoint, even if some argue that a firing isn’t warranted if his comments and actions under scrutiny occurred in a previous coaching position. This article from the CBC breaks it down well.

I’ve got this to say about the events of the past few weeks involving Don Cherry, Mike Babcock, and Bill Peters: In absolutely no way should racist, sexist, homophobic, or other unwanted physical contact or comments be tolerated on a hockey team. Think about it: Would these comments or behavior be tolerated in a typical workplace? In other words, what would happen to you if you spoke to a co-worker or customer in that manner? An NHL team is a workplace and needs to be treated as such. In this day and age of social media and ubiquitous camera phones, you have to be extremely careful about what you say and what you do. NHL coaches even more so, given the higher standard they are held to as a leader.

If Babcock’s firing and the follow-up stories about his leadership techniques led to the accusations toward Peters, then I fully expect more dominos to fall here. If that results in a cultural shift and people in a position of power to be held more accountable for their actions, then everyone is better off.

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On a happier note, Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends! Hope you enjoyed a nice meal and some valuable time with family and/or friends. Here in Canada, the last Thursday of November is simply the last Thursday of November. Or the day before Black Friday.

Speaking of which… since today is Black Friday, I thought I’d share some waiver-wire bargains for you to consider. At the very least, this will give you something to look at if you have to wait around at your local shopping center for others to finish looking around at a store you absolutely dread. Or if you need a moment or two away from the relatives in a crazy packed house. At Dobber Hockey, we’re 365 days of the year, so there’s always something for you here. So today, maybe there’s a Black Friday special that’s worth grabbing.

Juuse Saros

If you’ve hung onto Saros in your keeper league for an eternity now (and by “eternity” I mean nearly five years), then at least there’s something to be positive about. Saros has started each of the last three games for the Predators, winning the first two while losing the third in overtime. The Preds play back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday, which Saros and Pekka Rinne should split. Rinne has just one quality start over his last six games, posting a frightening 5.34 GAA and .806 SV% since Halloween night.

Rinne’s track record should suggest that he gets things back in order, but Saros is still worth at least a speculative grab. Note that these Predators aren’t the defensive Predators of old, as they currently sit in the bottom third of the league in goals allowed.

Adam Fox

Figuring out which Rangers’ defenseman to own is like throwing darts at a board. Or for me, picking series winners in last season’s playoffs. Jacob Trouba was supposed to be the man, but given his production so far, we might be in for the pre-2018 sub-30-point version. Unlike Trouba, Tony DeAngelo has been better than advertised, but with seven goals already is he due for a regression?

Enter Fox, who has been taking regular shifts on the Rangers’ first-unit power play. With five points over his last five games and 14 shots over his last four games, Fox might stick around on that top unit for the foreseeable future. Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes are the rookie blueliners getting all the attention, but Fox stands third among rookie defensemen with 13 points in 23 games. Or maybe all I need to say is that he’s a PP1 d-man that is owned in only 13 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Ondrej Palat

Entering Thursday’s game, Palat had a three-game point streak in which he had recorded five points. Although the point streak was snapped on Thursday, Palat continued to skate on what should be the Bolts’ top line with Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. Palat’s production has declined in recent seasons, which has to do with injury issues to some degree (he is a Band-Aid Boy). It is all about linemates at the moment, which makes Palat at least a worthwhile short-term grab.

Oh yeah, Dobber would like to offer some real Black Friday deals for you:
 


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With the early Black Friday start, don’t forget to set your lineups early! The first game starts at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT).

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