Ramblings: Eichel continues to roll, Spooner out, Avs have an intriguing new line (Mar.08)

by Dobber on March 8, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Eichel continues to roll, Spooner out, Avs have an intriguing new line (Mar.08)

 

Ramblings: Eichel continues to roll, Spooner out, Avs have an intriguing new line (Mar.08)

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First, some NHL news that is interesting, though perhaps lacking in fantasy tips…

At the GM’s meeting in Florida, the NHL GMs shot down all rule change proposals. Among the rules that were shot down:

– Icing called during penalties

– Faceoff dots being removed and just one dot in the slot

– Bigger nets (again)

– Offside rules tweaked

– Three points for a regulation win

– Player must be on both skates when blocking a shot (no sliding or dropping to one knee)

Of the ideas, I only like the latter one. But I’ve always felt that shot-blocking is ludicrous. If your team blocks 11 shots, then statistically they saved one goal. How often is a player injured blocking a shot? Every 50 blocks? 80? I have no idea what the average is. But let’s use 100. So he saves nine goals before getting injured. How many goals did he cost his team because he’s in the press box while his inferior replacement is out there for nine or 10 games? Maybe there’s an advantage to shot-blocking, but it’s a slim one (and it may not actually be one at all). You do it in the playoffs if you’re down a game or if you’re team has won three and is trying to finish the series. But otherwise, I think it hurts more than helps.

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I suspect the Coyotes are on the move, based on Gary Bettman’s letter to the Arizona Legislature.

“The Coyotes current location is not economically capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise. For the past 15 years a succession of ownership groups have tried everything imaginable to make the Glendale location financial sustainable. Our combined efforts have all yielded the same result – a consistent economic loss. The simple truth: The Arizona Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed. The Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale.”

(Bettman with the bold font, not me)

Get ready Quebec! It doesn’t sound as though the Arizona Legislature even cares. "Until the NHL can win over taxpayers, they’re going to have a tough sell at the Legislature," said House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, a Chandler Republican.

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Three straight shutouts for Sergei Bobrovsky!

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Bobrovsky! Already in playoff mode – did he burn up his ‘in the zone’ time too soon?

And I brought this up on Monday so you know I’m paying full attention – Oliver Bjorkstrand continues to click with Sam Gagner, possibly saving Gagner from some press box time. Before Bjorkstrand, Gagner was mired in a terrible cold run. And if a PP specialist isn’t putting up points, then the team has little use for him. But now he has four points in three games since getting this new linemate.

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Jack Eichel picked up three more points last night – and his team lost 6-3. I was just buying into the Robin Lehner hype – and I still am, his defense is like Swiss cheese – but he’s been riddled with goals lately. That’s 24 goals allowed in six games, and his third game in his last six in which he’s allowed at least five goals. I wonder if Coach Dan Bylsma was told by team brass to just let go of the reins and let his team go all out offense at the sacrifice of defense? Think about it – if the Sabres are going to build around their current (main) group of forwards, then they would benefit from those guys creating offense and building on their skill set. And if they have no interest in building around the current crop of defensemen (other than Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe), then may as well have them focus on just helping the forwards. Furthermore, getting the top lottery pick can’t hurt either. It just seems like a changed team over the past two weeks. It’s something to keep an eye on – your Sabres could go off like gangbusters offensively (but get killed in plus/minus) in the final month.

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A prospect I used to like, Jordan Weal, picked up two points last night and has three in four games. Look he played with last night:

#1

23.1%

FILPPULA,VALTTERI – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – VORACEK,JAKUB

#2

23.1%

COUSINS,NICK – COUTURIER,SEAN – READ,MATT

#3

19.5%

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SIMMONDS,WAYNE – WEAL,JORDAN

#4

10.3%

BELLEMARE,PIERRE-EDOUARD – KONECNY,TRAVIS – VANDEVELDE,CHRIS

Last year Weal was a victim of the “don’t want to lose him on waivers so we’ll keep him up even though he’s not ready” game. And that’s a game that usually destroys a prospect (Stanislav Galiev, Frank Corrado, Kevin Connauton, Adam Clendening, Joe Morrow, the list goes on, and on, and on). I see no reason why Weal will be any different. The odds are certainly against him. But I’ll be pulling for him. He’s only 24 and is a top AHL producer (has 47 points in 43 games this year).

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The Flyers scored six goals and Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov combined for zero points. Instead, it was Radko Gudas who was the fantasy giant – three points, plus-5 with four hits.

Giroux scored his first goal in 14 games. He has just eight points in his last 20 contests.

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Thomas Vanek picked up his first points as a Florida Panther (third game). Here were the line combos. As you can see, there was some juggling mid-game and Marchessault was moved down to play with Sceviour and Sgarbossa:

#1

21.6%

BARKOV,ALEKSANDER – HUBERDEAU,JONATHAN – JAGR,JAROMIR

#2

11.8%

MARCHESSAULT,JONATHAN – TROCHECK,VINCENT – VANEK,THOMAS

#3

11.3%

SMITH,REILLY – TROCHECK,VINCENT – VANEK,THOMAS

#4

10.3%

MACKENZIE,DEREK – SCEVIOUR,COLTON – SGARBOSSA,MICHAEL

When Smith was put on that line, the trio scored almost immediately so I’m guessing Marchessault is now out of the top six. His minus-2 doesn’t bode well either. Marchessault, for now, is a decent producer when his team relies on him. But if the team has other options, then his usage becomes such that his production barely moves the needle. You saw it with Tampa and you’re seeing it now.

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Kevin Hayes had just one assist in 10 games and had gone six games without a point before scoring last night. Hopefully that gets the monkey off his back and he can continue with his surprising season.

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It was Sven Andrighetto’s second game with his new team and they kept him on the Matt Duchene line (with Mikko Rantanen). The line combined for a goal with Andrighetto getting an assist. This is his audition for next year. If he does something with it then he’s fantasy relevant in 2017-18.

Tyson Barrie picked up his first three-point game of the season.

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Jaccob Slavin has assists in five straight games. Overall, his season has been weak in terms of offense (though his plus-15 is pretty nice). But he has 18 points in his last 40 games, which meets expectations. It’s the six in his first 23 games that makes things look worse than they actually are. This is a team with two defensemen at minus-15 or lower. After Slavin’s plus-15 and Brett Pesce’s plus-10, the next highest on the team is Jordan Staal at plus-2.

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Josh Ho-Sang scores his first career NHL goal – and it’s gorgeous. The last angle is the best one:

 

Read our fantasy outlook and scouting report on Ho-Sang here.

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Andrew Ladd may have 10 goals in his last 20 games…but he has just two assists in that span. If we’re trying to find a positive in his season, 12 points in 20 games is really lowering the bar. He has 18 goals and six assists in 61 games.

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This didn’t look like much, but Ryan Spooner is out indefinitely with a concussion as a result:

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The Blues signed their first-round draft pick Tage Thompson to a three-year entry-level contract. He then signed an AHL tryout contract so that he doesn’t burn a year of their rights to him. Thompson is 6-5 and he had 19 goals and 32 points in 34 games for Connecticut and because he played college hockey and not junior – he’ll either be AHL or NHL next season. The Blues usually bring their prospects along slowly, but as things fall apart for this team you may see things change and the prospects get more of a chance.

The Capitals signed a pair of undrafted college free agents. Left winger Hampus Gustafsson, an alternate captain for Merrimack, is a Hobey Baker nominee after tallying 26 points in 36 games. He’s 6-4 and had 43 PIM – not common at the college level. Kristofers Bindulis is a defenseman (6-3, 181) who had 12 points in 28 games for Lake Superior State Univ. He showed a bit of offensive flair at other levels, but his forte is toughness. So the Caps beefed up their farm system.