Ramblings: Fabbri out, Panthers’ defensemen, Larsson rounding out his game and more (Feb 6)
Robby Fabbri is out for the season with a torn ACL. Playoffs too. He’s expected back in time for training camp – so you know when they add that little note, it’s pretty damn serious. Fabbri was having a great season and for my money he has more upside than anyone on the Blues other than Tarasenko. And that includes Jaden Schwartz. He was having a great year, but then was demoted about three weeks ago to the Patrik Berglund line and his production hit a wall. So maybe this is a blessing in disguise for Fabbri owners – you’re no longer tempted to have him on your pro roster.
In one of my leagues – one that has 40 moves per season, Keep 12, I need to replace my temporary depth defenseman Dennis Wideman because he plays just one game. Pickings are extremely slim, so my thinking is to go for a four-game week from a guy who is on a hot streak. After reviewing the slim pickings, I narrowed it down to Dan Hamhuis and Philip Larsen. Hamhuis has three points in three games and is fairly reliable to get about 0.50 points per game according to our system, with a bit of upside if he continues his hot hand. Larsen has been back from his injury for three games and has points in each of his last two. Both players play four games. Do I go with steady and reliable – likely two points on the week? Or roll the dice on Larsen, which would mean between zero and six points? It’s two points – I’m gonna risk it and go Larsen.
The return of Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau to the lineup means more than a boost to those players and their linemates. It also means a huge boost to the puck-moving defensemen. If your top-scoring forward is a 50-point player, then the likes of Keith Yandle, Michael Matheson and Aaron Ekblad can be knocked down about 15 points each. Now, with two 65-point (or 70) players in the lineup, those three rearguards get that back. You’re already starting to see it with Yandle.
The Capitals have won nine games in a row at home and that includes four shutouts. They’ve outscored opponents 45-12 during that streak.
This isn’t overly impressive by any stretch, but it’s worth at least noting that Brett Connolly has 13 points in his last 28 games. A top draft pick who is still only 24 years old, looks like there’s some life in Connolly’s career yet. He doesn’t have the first-line upside that we figured he had six years ago, but if he’s producing like this with minimal ice time, I think he can salvage a second-line future in a year or two. Depending on who the Capitals sign in the offseason to fill the same job. Alternatively, he’d be one to watch if he gets scooped up in expansion. He has four points in his last three games.
Philipp Grubauer’s 38-save shutout gives him three on the season and in 15 games he’s posted a 1.98 GAA. The Barry Trotz Effect! My guess is that he starts one in three games for the caps going forward – so nine of the last 29 games, which gives him 24 appearances or two more than last year. We’ll see if the strategy of giving the key players more rest throughout the season ends up paying off in the playoffs, as I’ve often mentioned here that Alexander Ovechkin’s ice time has been down, too.
Michael Grabner scored again on Sunday and has 23 goals – which is a 27-goal pace. He’s shooting at 20.2%, which is obviously insane by any standard. Depending on the year he has, his SH% bounces between 8% and 14.8%. But he’s seven goals away from reaching 30 so that seems in the bag. His breakout rookie campaign saw him score 34 goals on 228 shots, and this year he’s on pace for a shot total of 181.
Hotshot rookie Pavel Buchnevich has now gone six games without a point. So that post-injury adrenalin has obviously worn off. His ice time over the last two games was 8:30 and 7:10, which were the two lowest of his season so far. Next stop could be press box, and frankly I think he’d respond well to that.
The Sharks sent down rookie Kevin Labanc, as well as Timo Meier. This means that Joonas Donskoi is likely back for next game, and either they then roll with 12 forwards or they recall Labanc. But Labanc lost his spot on the Logan Couture line to Patrick Marleau.
Related: Marleau is now on fire with 10 points in his last six games. So Labanc isn’t getting that sweet spot in the lineup any time soon. He’ll need to wait until next year, when Marleau is gone to a new team.
Anze Kopitar had 15 points in 12 games before getting shut out on Sunday. His typical first-quarter slump went a few games longer than usual this year, but otherwise it’s the same ol’ Kopitar.
Adam Larsson has set a career high in hits already with 169. That’s a pace of 254, which shatters his previous best of 161. He has 26 hits in his last six games. He also has eight points in his last 13 games, which doesn’t hurt.
In his last 92 appearances, Cam Talbot has a GAA of 2.34 and a 0.923 SV%. Big enough sample size for ya?
Look at the NHL’s top scorers. Did you do a double-take when you saw the player who sits at No.3?
Brian Elliott’s three-game winning streak came to an end Sunday, so I’m guessing Chad Johnson will have the chance to seize the net back. If he doesn’t – if Elliott goes back in – then it’s clear that the Flames want Elliott to be their starter no matter what happens. That was the case for the first month of the season, but then Johnson eventually changed their mind. And now Elliott could be changing it back. I think next game makes things crystal clear in terms of how the Flames’ goaltending will look down the stretch.
In case you’ve missed it – DobberProspects has a regular podcast out and the 11th episode was out late last week. Listen here. Prospect talk!
Still haven’t moved servers. Unfortunately, still no hard timeline to give you. We’re six weeks into what I had figured would be a week, but obstacles happen
Destroys the water bottle!
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