Eichel Hatty, Sedinery is Back, Couture Injured, plus more…
Hey there, it’s Ian filling in for Mike today.
It’s been that kind of season for the Buffalo Sabres. Jack Eichel posts his first career hat trick (two of those goals within ten seconds), records an assist on another goal, and they still can’t find a way to win. Eichel did everything he could to win this game for the Sabres himself, firing an incredible 11 shots on goal. He has been criticized for being good but not great this season. In other words, not worthy of his 12.9 ADP in Yahoo leagues. But his super night brings him up to 28 points in 33 games, so he’s at least on the right track.
Evander Kane recorded three assists, giving him points in six of his last seven games. I agree with Steve that Kane is a player to shop, considering that he may not average 20 minutes a night or play alongside a player with the ability of Eichel on another team. But one “plus” from a trade is that his plus-minus could improve from his current minus-7, if your league uses that stat.
Not surprisingly but coincidentally, Sabres’ players’ plus-minuses resemble the winter conditions in Buffalo. The worst plus-minus on the team is held by Ryan O’Reilly, who is a minus-16. That was one reason I dropped him from one of my teams.
Because Mike wouldn’t have mentioned it if he wrote the Ramblings today (kidding Mike… just bringing up an earlier Twitter conversation), a Sabres’ defenseman scored a goal again! In fact, Jake McCabe also added two assists along with that goal. McCabe now leads all Sabres’ defensemen in goals (a big 2) and is tied with Rasmus Ristolainen for the team lead among Sabres’ defensemen with nine points. In case you’re curious, is McCabe worthy of a pickup? He went four games without a point between his first and second goals, averages under 20 minutes per night, and sees very little power-play time. So probably not.
The Brian Boyle story is a great one, even if he doesn’t move the needle much in fantasy leagues. Boyle scored two goals and added an assist in the Devils’ 5-2 win over Dallas. Boyle was used on the first-unit power play in this game and does have three power-play goals to his name this season, so there’s that.
Here are the New Jersey line combinations with no Taylor Hall:
21.05% EV COLEMAN,BLAKE – GIBBONS,BRIAN – ZAJAC,TRAVIS
13.6% EV NOESEN,STEFAN – WOOD,MILES – ZACHA,PAVEL
11.84% EV BRATT,JESPER – HISCHIER,NICO – STAFFORD,DREW
11.4% EV BOYLE,BRIAN – HAYES,JIMMY – LAPPIN,NICK
Drew Stafford hasn’t recorded any points in the two games that Hall has been out of the lineup. But he did fire six shots on goal in an attempt to end his 14-game pointless drought. Moving Stafford onto a line with Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt appears to be a case of sticking a slumping player beside two hotter scorers in an attempt to get him going. But I use the term “hot” loosely here, as Hischier himself is now without a point in five games.
The Flow, the Brock Boes Monster, aka Brock Boeser scored another goal, one in which he simply wouldn’t be denied. He’s surviving just fine without regular linemates Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, as he now has a point in five consecutive games and is up to 17 goals and 30 points in 30 games, now leading all rookies in both categories. Great goal scorers simply find a way to score.
Markus Granlund did him one better in this game, though, scoring a pair of goals. One goal was on the power play, while the other happened just as a power-play ended. Granlund was one goal shy of reaching 20 last season in just 69 games, so he entered the season with the potential to be a fantasy option in deeper leagues. But with just six goals and two assists, that hasn’t happened. But the injuries to Horvat and Baertschi have given him power-play time that he wasn’t receiving before.
Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin each recorded three assists, while Daniel even fired six shots on goal. Since the aforementioned injuries, the Sedins are back to their usual 16-18 minutes per game, up significantly from the the 13-14 minutes per game (sometimes even less!) that they were receiving earlier this season. Are they back to their old selves? Henrik has 15 points over his last 13 games, while Daniel has 13 points in his last 13 games. They are worth a pickup once again if you’d dropped them earlier this season, since the Canucks will be thin up front for a while and will need to lean on them.
Alex Edler played in one of his better games as a Canuck, logging 28 minutes and change in icetime. With Chris Tanev injured again, expect Edler to take on serious minutes, even if he doesn’t score enough to stay in fantasy lineups.
There aren’t nearly as many injuries to mention as there were the last time I wrote the Ramblings. But I can’t get through one of these without mentioning at least one new injury. Logan Couture left Friday’s game in the third period after taking a hit to the mouth from Alexander Burmistrov (who was given a two-minute penalty). It’s possible that Couture didn’t return to the game because of concussion protocol. Before he left, he recorded an assist with six shots on goal. I can’t give you much else, though.
No update on Couture after the game from DeBoer. And I mean no update.— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) December 16, 2017
Remember when Brent Burns couldn’t buy a goal? That’s in the rearview mirror now. With a pair of goals on Friday, Burns now has five goals over his past five games. He also has multiple points in four of his last five games. Congratulations if you bought low.
In spite of very little power-play time, Justin Braun has been quietly getting the job done offensively. Over his last 12 games Braun has nine points (1g-8a). But he has logged 24 minutes in back-to-back games.
With all his injuries, I’m just as surprised as you are that Marian Gaborik made it to his 1000th game on Friday. He should probably be happy with the output, as he scored a goal and also added an assist. A late start to the season has held Gabby to 11 games, but he’s been fantasy-worthy during those games with five goals and three assists. Feel free to add him in deeper leagues.
The Sens could be parading the Stanley Cup around the ice and Eugene Melnyk would find a way to get to a microphone and ruin the moment.— Bonk's Mullet (@BonksMullet) December 16, 2017
My thoughts exactly on Eugene Melnyk, on the eve of the NHL100 Classic, the big outdoor game being played at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park football stadium on Saturday. I believe the temperature there is expected to be around -20 Celsius with the wind chill (that's below zero Fahrenheit, for our American readers). This will be an interesting game based on the weather alone. I will certainly mention it in the Sunday Ramblings, one way or another.
In marketing, timing is everything. And Melnyk picked the wrong time to share his innermost thoughts on hockey as a business. If the Senators didn’t have an attendance problem during last season’s playoffs, I believe they will now.
In case you missed his eyebrow-raising comments, see below. There’s a lot more than what’s in that tweet.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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