Ducks’ and Habs’ Injury Woes, Hot Blues’ Line, plus more…
Bad news for Ryan Getzlaf owners: he is going to miss the next two months after undergoing facial surgery. This is a another blow to a Ducks’ team that is already missing Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves, and Cam Fowler, with Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm returning late last month after missing the start of the season. The Ducks are traditionally a slow-starting team, so it will be interesting to see if they can work their way out of this hole.
As a John Gibson owner, I was already expecting wins to be more difficult to come by. But now we might also have to add him to the Ducks’ long injury list. Gibson took a stick to the head after his mask came off during the third period against the Kings and reportedly went to concussion protocol. So Ryan Miller, come on down. Miller is worth a speculative grab at the moment, starting with a possible start against his old team (the Canucks) on Thursday. And when both goalies are healthy, I’d expect the workhorse Miller to start an average of about once a week to rest the injury-prone Gibson.
Ondrej Kase also left the game with an upper-body injury, further complicating things for the Ducks.
So what do all these injuries mean for the Ducks? It means that Derek Grant and Chris Wagner are out there for 3-on-3 overtime. Wagner played just under 21 minutes on Tuesday, which was the second time in three games that he has reached the 20-minute mark. Although he was held without a point and is used far more often on the penalty kill than on the power play, Wagner has seven points in 15 games. So he’s an effective two-way player, but that’s hardly an ideal situation for the Ducks.
Rickard Rakell is going to be leaned on a ton. Rakell scored a goal and added an assist in 21 minutes of icetime, giving him points in three consecutive games. Jakob Silfverberg too, as he was on the ice for nearly 23 minutes.
One of the nice things about living where I do is not having to stay up that late to watch West Coast games. So if you went to bed early, then you may not have caught these icetime numbers on what was essentially a 64-minute game between the Ducks and Kings.
Jake Muzzin: also around 25 minutes
Alec Martinez: 27 minutes
What about Drew Doughty, you ask? 35:31! I kid you not. The Kings lost young defenseman Kurtis MacDermid to injury early in the game, so they were down to five defensemen. Doughty played 31:40 in his previous game, and it’s not unheard of for him to reach the 30-minute mark in a game. Obviously he’s a must-own in leagues that count icetime.
Brown isn’t slowing down either. With a goal and an assist, he’s now up to 13 points in 14 games. As you might expect, his shooting percentage (13%) is still higher than his norm over the past four seasons (5-8%). But he’s still in that prime situation with Kopitar. He’s certainly not a player I’ll be attempting to trade for, but I guess you can keep him rolling.
The last time I wrote the Ramblings, I mentioned that the Blues’ top line was en fuego against the Leafs. So what adjectives should I use following their Tuesday performance against the Devils? Brayden Schenn (a player who is both on my fantasy team and who I am facing in head-to-head competition – the double-edged sword of fantasy sports) scored a goal and added two assists, while linemate Vladimir Tarasenko did the same while firing seven shots on goal. So that’s seven points in the last two games for Schenn, and five points over that span for Tank.
Jaden Schwartz, the third member of the line, was held to “just” one goal in this game. He has four points over his last two games.
A game against the Arizona Coyotes is exactly what the doctor has ordered for numerous teams this season. On Tuesday night it was the Pittsburgh Penguins taking advantage, as Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each scored a goal and added two assists in a 3-1 win. Each earned over seven minutes of power-play time on six power plays for the Pens. Even though the Pens have sputtered at times, both scorers are putting up points at over a point per game.
Justin Schultz returned to the Penguins’ lineup on Tuesday, scoring a goal in just over 20 minutes of icetime.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl team up for a beautiful OT winner pic.twitter.com/zFpg98pPlT— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 8, 2017
Last week when I posted my Sportsnet article, an Oilers’ fan on Twitter pointed out that Cam Talbot has played well, even if his numbers don’t reflect that. Maybe the numbers are finally coming around. After five consecutive starts of allowing at least three goals, Talbot stopped 36 of 37 shots in the win. By the way, I mentioned him as a buy-low candidate in the article. I’ll stick to that, being the sometimes stubborn guy that I am.
The Canadiens are trying to weather through the storm of a Carey Price injury, and now they are dealing with an injury to Jonathan Drouin. The Habs’ forward left Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury, and he was seen icing his hand on the bench. More to follow I’m sure.
Speaking of Habs’ goaltending, Charlie Lindgren earned his second consecutive win filling in for Price. After posting a shutout on Sunday, Lindgren stopped 29 of 31 shots he faced in leading the Habs to a 3-2 win over the suddenly slumping Vegas Golden Knights. Although Lindgren struggled in the AHL this season (3.53 GAA, .885 SV%) prior to being recalled by the Habs, he’s worth a short-term pickup as long as Price is out (which I don’t think will be too long).
Evander Kane piled on two more goals on Tuesday, bringing his total to nine on the season. I could get into what a fantasy asset Kane has been this season, but Scott covered the exploits of Kane very well in the most recent Geek of the Week. But if you don’t have time to read, I’ll just tell you that Kane has been a multicategory beast early this season. If he’s turned a corner on the injuries and off-ice issued that plagued him earlier in his career, then at age 26 he’s developed into quite the fantasy asset.
Vincent Trocheck has now scored goals in three consecutive games. With seven goals and 16 points in just 14 games, Trocheck is having a fine under-the-radar start for a Panthers’ team that currently resides in the basement of the Eastern Conference. Heck, he doesn’t even play on the team’s first line. But he’s an extremely valuable player for the Panthers, as he regularly logs over 20 minutes of icetime per game. But with a 17.9 percent shooting rate, the hot stick might start to cool off a bit.
Dobber favorite Cam Atkinson returned to the Blue Jackets’ lineup on Tuesday. He wasn’t exactly eased into the lineup, logging nearly 24 minutes of icetime and first-unit power-play time. Unfortunately Atkinson couldn’t take advantage, as he was held without a point with a minus-2 ranking.
If you were looking for Kyle Turris on Tuesday, he wasn’t with his new team yet because of immigration issues. Yet they seemed fine without him, posting a 3-1 win. Viktor Arvidsson scored a goal and added an assist, which gives him goals in three consecutive games after a stretch of six games without a point. Steve Laidlaw is relieved.
Hey, guess what? Derek Dorsett scored again, his seventh goal of the season on Tuesday. Still no power-play time, and I don’t expect that to change. Add to that a shooting percentage of 30 percent and you know that this run isn’t going to last. But I won’t dwell on that any further, instead mentioning that this is a nice story after there was some doubt that his career would be able to continue following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery (the same surgery Peyton Manning needed to continue his career).
With Anders Nilsson away from the Canucks while he awaits the birth of his child, there was some thought that Thatcher Demko would make his first NHL start against Calgary as the Canucks were on the second game of back-to-backs. Instead, Jacob Markstrom received his second start in as many nights, stopping 30 shots in earning a 5-3 win. Markstrom was named first star by the Canucks’ broadcast (for what it’s worth) for his ability to handle numerous high-danger scoring chances from the Flames. His ownership at Yahoo is 40 percent and climbing.
Could Mike Smith be tiring after a fast start? Smith has allowed at least four goals in each of his past two games. Eddie Lack has started just once this season and the Flames don’t play back-to-backs until November 24 and 25, so it’s possible they ride Smith until then. Smith has started at least 60 games three times in his career, so he’s used to a heavy workload.
RIP Roy Halladay. Gone suddenly and too soon.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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