Ramblings: Coyotes Silenced (Dec 13)

by steve laidlaw on December 13, 2016

Duclair scratched again, Coyotes get thumped, Spooner gets on the board, and more.


Just when you thought that Mike Smith was developing into a dependable fantasy goalie, the Penguins come along and slap him back down. Smith has been solid since returning from injury with eight quality starts in 12 appearances. I don’t think we can say that Smith is yet a dependable option. He’s had a rocky enough career, plus the team in front of him is not very good.

You can find ways to use Smith if you are stuck with no better options. Smith has been lights out at home this season, and his career splits favour home play as well:




















I talk a lot about using goalies on bad teams as spot starters at home because teams generally perform better at home than on the road. It’s not a perfect strategy but it can help you make something out of what you might consider a dire situation.

Anthony Duclair was scratched again last night. A few more of these and the next step is a demotion or perhaps a trade. The trade rumours are out there, though I am not certain what the Coyotes could realistically expect in return. His tumble hasn’t hit Nail Yakupov levels but we are heading that direction. I’m not sure that the Coyotes front office is willing to see Duclair as a sunk cost from the previous regime or if they would be willing to sell low. In any case, Duclair has no fantasy value in one year settings. I still think he has keeper league value if you can stash him.

Martin Hanzal is not producing up to his usual standard, but then again, he isn’t far off either. Hanzal typically scores at around a 55-point pace, while missing a bunch of games, and piling up multi-category numbers. The multi-category production is still there but his scoring pace is falling short. Blame the punchless Coyotes lineup. Hanzal is on his usual 20-goal pace, but he has just four assists in 23 games.

I would caution against buying Hanzal hoping that a trade spikes his production. We don’t know what role he’ll be used in. Will he get top line wingers and top unit power play time on a contender? There are a lot of teams Hanzal could make a difference for but perhaps not a fantasy relevant difference.

When it comes to the Coyotes we talk a lot about potential trades. That’s what happens when you’ve got a new GM and a well-respected coach in tight with said GM. Someone has to hang when things go awry. In this case, it’s the players.


 The Penguins are continuing to mess around with a two-defenseman look on their power play. This experimentation has pushed Patric Hornqvist to the second PP unit for the past few games. If this continues, Hornqvist’s value takes a hit, although he does continue to have exposure to Sidney Crosby at even strength. I wouldn’t bail on Hornqvist just yet, as this is all still experimental.

In previous games, Justin Schultz has been the second defenseman alongside Kris Letang. Last night it was Trevor Daley who skated nearly six minutes of action with the man-advantage. Daley scored a goal, though it was at even strength.

Schultz, meanwhile, remained hot despite a demotion to the second PP unit. But that’s what happens when the team gets rolling like they did last night. Only five of the Penguins’ skaters were held off the board.

Finally, a strong start to the week for the Penguins’ goaltenders. I have the tandem in one league and for the past month it seems as though I have been chasing the goalie stats because the Penguins’ first start of the week has been a miserable one. Thank you for the shutout Matt Murray. I don’t care if you run with the starting gig or not, just please stop putting me behind the eight ball every Monday/Tuesday.


There were some lineup changes for Boston last night:





I am not sure what sparked the decision to shift Pastrnak off the top line but it’s not like he loses much value skating with Krejci instead. Pastrnak also saw his debut on the Bruins’ top PP unit, which will only help him on his quest to score 40 goals.

Interestingly, the Bruins’ top PP unit now features four right-handed forwards. It’s not a totally clean fit but with Ryan Spooner’s game in the tank, I suppose they are hunting for options.

Spooner, by the way, had a two-point night, including a dandy move for the overtime winner:

That was his first goal in exactly a month. Spooner skated just 10:57 but could earn himself more minutes with a performance like that. Wait for Spooner to string a few more of these performances together before jumping on the bandwagon. He is on the fourth line for a reason.


The Canadiens get to stew over that close loss for a few days before facing the Sharks on Friday. If you have any fringe performers off the Canadiens, like Paul Byron or perhaps even Tomas Plekanec, you may consider dumping them for someone with a denser schedule.

Andrew Shaw took a good crack from Torey Krug:

Whatever you think of the hit, the NHL will be reviewing it. There is potential for a Krug suspension.

Shaw had to go off after the hit but returned and wound up skating nearly 17 minutes.

Artturi Lehkonen, coming off goals in back-to-back games, was held scoreless last night but look dangerous in setting up a few scoring chances on the Canadiens’ second PP unit. Lehkonen doesn’t get consistent PP time for Montreal for some reason but he really should. He hasn’t had much fantasy value since being split from Alexander Radulov early in the season but there is keeper league value that lingers.


Mark Streit has been ruled out for the next couple of weeks. That means if Shayne Gostisbehere is still out, Ivan Provorov should take over as the #1. No guarantees as Michael Del Zotto also looms.


No word on if either one will suit up but this is trending in the right direction.




 Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.