Ramblings: Columbus Cannons, Calgary Conundrum (Nov 13)

by Ian Gooding on November 13, 2016

Columbus cannons, Calgary conundrum, Seth Griffith, plus more…

The early news of the day had Seth Griffith being claimed off waivers by Panthers from the Leafs. Griffith is only 23 and has impressive AHL numbers (77 points in 53 games last season), but his 5’9” stature combined with his lack of NHL production (11 points in 37 career NHL games) could be the reason that he has already been waived twice this season.

Griffith did not play in the Panthers’ 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders. In the meantime, the Panthers seem to be pushing icetime on the scorers that are healthy. Four forwards reached 20 minutes (Aleksander Barkov, Reilly Smith, Vincent Trocheck, Jussi Jokinen), while early-season waiver wire favorite Jonathan Marchessault came very close at 19:56. In fact, Trocheck played over 24 minutes in a game that nearly went the maximum possible 65 minutes.

So surely there’s room for a player like Griffith on the Panthers, at least for the moment. I’m surprised (yet not surprised) that the Canucks, who were one of several teams ahead of the Panthers on waiver claim priority (reverse order of standings), didn’t put in a claim on Griffith. Any team that averages fewer than two goals per game won’t find an option much better on the waiver wire. But Jim Benning hasn’t made a lot of moves that have made sense.

Speaking of Marchessault…


The small, speedy Paul Byron is looking like a great waiver-wire option at the moment. Playing on the Alexander Radulov/Alex Galchenyuk line, Byron scored another goal on Saturday, which gives him a three-game goal streak and four-game point streak. That gives him 10 points and a plus-7 in 15 games. He’s worth a look as long as he can stay on that line.

Shea Weber scored his sixth goal of the season, five of which have been on the power play. As you’d expect, the goal was a slapshot from the point seconds into a power play. P.K. who?

This game was another glimpse into the awesomeness that is Carey Price. That’s ten consecutive wins to start the season and a 22-2 record if you combine his injury-shortened record from last season. It goes without saying that the Habs are a completely different team when he’s starting.

Class move by Andrew Shaw, who scored a goal and added two assists in this game.

In case you heard, Bickell has recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The Jimmy Howard that we expected finally surfaced on Saturday, allowing five goals in two periods before getting the hook. Howard had not allowed more than two goals in any of his seven games.


Saturday also featured the first-ever Auston Matthews/Sidney Crosby matchup. Not surprisingly, it was Crosby and the boys who came out on top for the 4-1 win.

You may have noticed that the Pens’ first-unit power play (Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang) stays out for nearly the full two minutes. Each of these players has averaged at least 2:45 of power-play time this season, while no one else on the Pens has averaged more than two minutes of power-play time. The fab five connected for Malkin’s power-play goal in the second period. Malkin now has eight points (4g-4a) over his last six home games.

Matt Murray stopped 35 of 36 shots in earning the win. Murray is now 4-0 since starting the season 10 days ago. He’s now started four of the last six games over Marc-Andre Fleury, who is now (again) seeing his grip on the starting job slipping. Fleury has allowed at least three goals in each of his last three starts, so his fantasy value has officially taken a hit with his recent struggles and Murray’s return.


Tell me you haven’t heard this one before: Michal Neuvirth is injured again. Steve Mason replaced him to start the second and stopped 19 of 20 shots to earn the win. For what seems like the thousandth time since the start of the season, I’m going to tell you that starting any current Flyers goalie is risky. The Flyers have a team 3.63 goals-against average, which is worst in the NHL.


Hopefully the cannon at Nationwide Arena was well-stocked with gunpowder on Saturday. Barely a week after a shocking 10-0 barrage on Al Montoya and the Habs, the Blue Jackets exploded again for eight goals on the Blues. The Jackets now have 21 goals over their last three home games played.

As far as total points go, Cam Atkinson was the star of the game, recording four helpers. Sam Gagner scored two goals – don’t look now, but he now has goals in back-to-back games. Same with Nick Foligno, who scored goal and two assists in this one. With 16 points already in just 13 games, Foligno is well on his way to a bounce-back season, although you shouldn’t budget for him to be a point-per-game player.

How often does a player have a four-point game in a loss? Vladimir Tarasenko did so with a goal and three assists. Tank now has a five-game point streak. By the way, all four of those points (and all four of St. Louis’ goals, for that matter) came on the power play.

After he was a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game against Nashville, Robby Fabbri came back with a vengeance, scoring two goals on Tarasenko’s line. Ken Hitchcock explained that Fabbri had been scratched for not displaying enough “tenacity,” so hopefully this serves as a wake-up call. Fabbri is down to 30 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues, so he’s worth a look in your league if someone has already dropped him.


The Hurricanes had their own attack in a surprising 5-1 win over Washington. Sebastian Aho scored the first two goals of his career and added an assist, while his linemates Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen each scored a goal and added three assists.

Aho had already recorded seven assists this season, but he had already hit a rookie wall with a seven-game stretch without a point. He is certainly one to target in keeper leagues, but it looks like you’ll have to experience the ebbs and flows of a typical 19-year-old. The 22-year-old Teravainen had also gone seven games without a point earlier this season. The Canes have some promising forwards, but these players will probably be frustrating to own at the moment.


Many fantasy owners are breathing a sigh of relief now that Filip Forsberg has finally scored his first goal of the season in his 14th game. The fact that he already has ten assists should soften the blow, but you could look into trading for Forsberg from any owner that is focusing too much on the goal total. Forsberg will need to up his shot total, since he is averaging around two shots per game and is on pace for only 160 shots. Forsberg has taken over 200 shots in each of his two previous seasons.

Pekka Rinne stopped all 27 shots he faced in a shutout of the Ducks. It’s been a tale of two months for the veteran goalie, who currently features these splits:

October: 1-4-1, 3.22 GAA, .906 SV%

November: 4-0-2, 1.14 GAA, .958 SV%

Rinne owners shouldn’t be too worried right now.


We would normally suggest giving a look to the third member of the Johnny Gaudreau/Sean Monahan line, which happens to be Alex Chiasson. But both Flames’ first-liners have struggled to score, and Chiasson has just one point in his last seven games and just four points all season. To think, Chiasson is even receiving first-unit power-play time too. I should have tweeted Glen Gulutzan during After Hours to ask him why in the world Chiasson is being deployed in this situation.

Dennis Wideman returned to the Flames’ lineup after missing the last four games as a healthy scratch, earning an assist on the Flames’ only goal. Wideman was paired with Mark Giordano and played nearly 22 minutes in this game, although he could only latch on to the second-unit power play late in the game. That’s a bit surprising considering that Wideman has two of Flames’ five power-play goals, which is one of the worst team totals in the NHL. Again, I’m wondering how satisfied Flames’ fans are with their new coach.

The Gaudreau/Monahan struggles have been well documented, but the Flames’ early-season struggles have also affected Giordano. The Flames’ captain has now been held without a point in nine consecutive games. You can’t blame it on a lack of trying, as Gio took six shots on goal in 27 minutes of icetime. Your best bet would be to remain patient with the three struggling Flames, since this dropoff isn’t normal. The Flames have a 0.962 PDO, the lowest in the NHL (Sporting Charts), so there’s some buy-low opportunity here.

The Rangers have a diverse offense that currently has three dangerous scoring lines. That balanced offense worked well on Saturday, as no Ranger recorded more than one point in their 4-1 win. But only three Rangers’ forwards did not earn a point in this game (one of whom was Rick Nash). The Rangers currently hold the league’s second-highest PDO at 1.052, so the team’s average of over four goals per game probably isn’t sustainable.

Brady Skjei’s six-game point streak was snapped, but he was a plus-2 in this game. I featured Skjei as one of my six options in this week’s waiver wire report for Sportsnet.


One last thing, and I’ll put this out to the people. I have a Sunday roster dilemma with four RW playing, but only 3 can start. My options are David Pastrnak, Brendan Gallagher, Mark Stone, and Marian Hossa. To me, the only must-start out of the three is Pastrnak, who is tied for second in the NHL with 10 goals.

At the start of the season, I would have said Hossa should be the one to bench, but he is experiencing a resurgence with 14 points in as many games. Because of an unexpected 22 percent shooting accuracy, Hossa should probably slow down. (So will Pastrnak, who is at 21.7%.) But Hossa should improve from 33 points last season, considering that he had a meager 6.8 percent last season and missed 18 games due to injury.

Steve mentioned Stone in Saturday’s Ramblings, so I won’t steal his thunder. Check out the full discussion in his tweet about Stone’s situation.

Gallagher is currently slumping, as he has been held without a point in his last five games. Being bumped off the top line doesn’t help his situation, as he has basically swapped places with Paul Byron. So I’m leaning toward benching Gallagher. Agree or disagree?


Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.