Ramblings: Coyle Traded; Smith-Pelly Waived; Gudas Suspended; Athanasiou – February 21

by Michael Clifford on February 21, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Coyle Traded; Smith-Pelly Waived; Gudas Suspended; Athanasiou – February 21

 

There was a concern that Dmitrij Jaskin has been waived by the Washington Capitals. With everyone healthy, it was a numbers game and it seemed Jaskin was the odd-man out. However, the earlier report was refuted by Elliotte Friedman and Devante Smith-Pelly was waived instead.

Jaskin was a guy I fell in love with after he scored 13 goals in 54 games in the 2014-15 season. He had strong underlying numbers and looked like he’d be a very good two-way winger moving forward. My anticipation was that he’d be something like Nino Niederreiter, if a bit ‘worse’. While he has maintained very strong defensive numbers, his offence never caught up. It’s nice to see him still be valued by an NHL team, though.

I don’t imagine Smith-Pelly clears waivers. He’s a Cup winner on a cheap contract. Teams love that sort of player.

Just to add a bit of intrigue, this particular player being waived might be part of a trade down the road. Was it a team that wanted Jaskin? Washington clearing cap space? Stay tuned.

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Radko Gudas was suspended two games for his “high-sticking” incident with Nikita Kucherov.

Gudas is a guy that I’ll never understand. He plays a tough game but is reliable as a defenceman by many metrics. He helps drive the play better than most realize. He does, however, do dumb stuff like this with far too much regularity. It’s not even the first time he’s been suspended for swinging his stick at a player’s head, for the love of god.

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While he wasn’t skating with a line and wasn’t in the lineup Wednesday night, Nikolaj Ehlers was on the ice for Jets practice Wednesday morning, skating on a defence pairing of scratches in a non-contact jersey. Though he’s not ready to come back quite yet, it does feel like he’s on the verge.

This is huge news for the Jets. Since his injury, their team play has plummeted from top-10 team to a bottom-10 team. Their shot share since the calendar turned to 2019 is lower than the New York Rangers, which is not where any team wants to find themselves. Adding him back to the lineup will give them a much-needed boost.

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One rumour that has caught my eye of late was the Mark Stone-to-Boston rumour. After David Pastrnak, this team is woefully thin at right wing (depending on your opinion of Danton Heinen), to the point where Pastrnak had to be moved to the second line before his freak injury. Having a second line of DeBrusk-Krejci-Stone would give Boston a top-6 that could compete with anyone, and allow Heinen to bring some scoring to the bottom-6. This team desperately needs an impact right winger and Stone is one of the best in the league, let alone the best available.

Note: I wrote the above before the Charlie Coyle trade. I guess that’s something?

Click here to read Cam Robinson's take on the Coyle/Donato swap. 

One thing I'd like to add is that this is a smart gamble from Minnesota. Coyle was probably gone in a year anyway and this year is shot. They're essentially giving up one year of Coyle to find out whether or not Ryan Donato can make good on the potential he's shown in lower leagues. Remember that Donato was very highly thought of in the fantasy community coming into the year, and also by the Bruins as they had him on the top PP unit way back when. For a team that seemingly wants to re-tool on the fly than full-out rebuild, this is a solid move. 

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Colin Miller was a healthy scratch Wednesday night for Vegas. Nick Holden took his spot in the lineup.

This is curious for a couple reasons. First, Miller is pretty good. Second, the trade deadline is around the corner. Could they be holding him out in anticipation of a trade? I personally think that’d be a bad idea but bad ideas have never stopped NHL GMs before.

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In a piece for The Athletic, Pierre LeBrun intimated that Jakob Silfverberg already has a five-year extension in place with Anaheim but there are some small issues that need clarity first. Either way, that’s probably one name that can be knocked off the trade bait board.

I’d like to add: why? The Ducks are already loaded with expensive contracts for guys over the age of 30. Silfverberg, believe it or not, turns 29 in October. This is a team that should be looking toward Comtois, Steel, Terry, and others, not keeping around more older players. I get that they probably want one more kick at the can next year with a (hopefully) healthy Getzlaf, Perry, Rakell, and Kesler, but Perry and Kesler in particular are already a sunk cost. This is just chasing bad money with more bad money, even if Silfverberg is a good middle-six winger.

Regardless, dynasty owners hoping Silfverberg would get a fresh start somewhere else are likely out of luck.

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Can we talk about Andreas Athanasiou for a second?

A couple nights ago, I was looking up Jake Guentzel’s career scoring rates, and came across something interesting:

 

 

There’s Andreas Athanasiou, one of the top goal scorers in the league at five-on-five over the last 2.5+ seasons. His 1.67 primary points/60 minutes at five-on-five (goals and first assists only, data from Natural Stat Trick) is tied with Taylor Hall and Anders Lee for 35th in the league over that span, slightly ahead of names like Jack Eichel, Aleksander Barkov, and Sean Monahan. Keep in mind, he’s done this on terrible Detroit teams while spending less than one-third of his ice time on a line with Dylan Larkin. Maybe that gives him easier matchups, but it’s also given him considerably worse line mates – he’s spent nearly half his ice time with at least one of Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, or Luke Glendening.

Detroit could look quite different next year with Gustav Nyquist likely to be traded, Thomas Vanek on a one-year deal, and both Niklas Kronwall and Nick Jensen pending UFAs, the latter also likely to be traded. That doesn’t include Filip Zadina likely being on the main roster. Where Athanasiou will fit in here is uncertain. It shouldn’t be a concern, though, given Athanasiou has shown he can be plenty productive without top-tier line mates. He just needs more ice time. This guy should be over 18 minutes a game, not playing just 13 seconds more per game at 5v5 than Abdelkader.  

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Just as a small aside: when looking up the primary points rates over the last three seasons, one name jumped out: Brett Connolly. His primary points/60 at 5v5 over that span ties him for 28th among forwards with Leon Draisaitl and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

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I really enjoyed Cam Metz’s head-to-head playoff previews that he’s been doing over at Eastern Edge the last couple of weeks. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. It’s crazy to think how fast the season has gone, but many of us are just 10 days away from embarking on H2H playoffs, which means we should probably be getting ready for that right now. Reading Metz’s H2H previews has been a help for me so I assume they’ll be a help for the rest of the Dobber community as well.

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The San Jose Sharks claimed Michael Haley off waivers. I guess this in response to Nashville trading for Cody McLeod. What exactly is going on here? Why are playoff teams acquiring pure fighters?

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One team that is very interesting for me heading into the deadline is St. Louis. Craig Berube has completely turned this team around, and has done so with strong underlying metrics and not smoke and mirrors. Three months ago, there were rumours of trading Brayden Schenn and/or Vladimir Tarasenko. Now it looks like they’ll be buyers. This is another team that could use Mark Stone, though I imagine that conversation starts with guys like Thomas, Fabbri, or Kyrou, and I’m not sure that the Blues would want to part with pieces like that. Maybe they just add some depth pieces, considering how well this team is playing right now.

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I will say that one guy I’m starting to get worried about is Tyson Jost. I was pretty high on him coming out of the draft, thinking he’d turn into a reliable two-way second-line centre. A watered-down version of Mikael Backlund or something like that. Things haven’t gone well, obviously. I was always concerned that he could take longer to develop because he’d have to learn how to play a well-rounded game to make an impact, and defence usually takes longer to develop than offence. All the same, he’s been below-average offensively and defensively this year, resulting in a brief AHL stint not too long ago.

There is still time, obviously. He’s only 20 years old and the lack of production means the Avalanche can probably extend him for cheap once his ELC runs out next year. They probably have at least three years of cheap control for him to find the next gear. It would be nice to see some turnaround over the final six weeks or whatever, though. My fear is that he turns into a guy we named above in Dmitrij Jaskin, someone who is solid defensively but whose offence is poor enough to keep them out of the lineup.

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Calgary started Wednesday night’s game with Matthew Tkachuk on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. I’m interested to see how long it lasts. Obviously, Tkachuk should fit in very well on the top line but it also depletes their depth a bit, which was a strength of this team. I wouldn’t read too much into this until we pass the trade deadline.

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Speaking of top line changes, the Sabres had Evan Rodrigues on the top line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart in practice. We know about the history between Rodrigues and Eichel dating back to college, so maybe this is something that will last with chemistry. The team is 7-13-2 since Christmas so this feels like a desperate attempt to spark something. I doubt it’ll last very long.

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Patrick Kane had two goals and Erik Gustafsson posted three assists in Chicago’s 5-4 overtime win over Detroit. Those three assists pushed Gustafsson over the 40-point mark for the season, the 14th defenceman to do so.

In the loss, Andreas Athanasiou had a pair of goals, as did Dylan Larkin (to go with an assist), while Anthony Mantha had four helpers skating on the top line for Detroit with Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi.

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The new line combinations for Colorado led to a big offensive outburst in the 7-1 avalanche of Winnipeg. The line of Carl Soderberg, Mikko Rantanen, and Matt Nieto led the way with two goals and four assists between them. Tyson Jost (the guy I said I was skeptical on earlier) had two goals and one assist. Thanks for making me look bad, Tyson!

Without Dustin Byfuglien in the lineup, Tyler Myers played over 25 minutes while no other defenceman cracked 21 minutes. I know this was a bad game for Winnipeg but they were still in the game with 15 minutes left in the third period. This seems like Paul Maurice sending a message to his team.

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Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist, his second multi-point game in a row, in Calgary’s 4-2 win over the New York Islanders. He was a plus-2 with three shots and four penalty minutes, giving him a very solid fantasy output. He’s now up to plus-29 on the season, which is giving him a lot more fantasy value than he’d normally have. Also a concern for the final six weeks of the season.

Johnny Gaudreau had seven shots on goal (one of them went in), giving him 191 shots on the year. His career high is 227, set last year. He’s well on his way to breaking that mark.