Ramblings: Guentzel leaves game, Ovy breaks out, prospects getting signed and more (Mar.22)
Well, that was short-lived. And I fear this may be what stops this new line from becoming legendary for two or three years. An injury. We’ve already seen Conor Sheary getting hurt twice this year. And he’s a smaller player so more injuries are certainly a big risk for him. And now Jake Guentzel has gone down. He’s a smaller player too, though in this case it may not have mattered:
Guentzel left the game with a concussion and I think you can pencil him in for another two games missed, but obviously it could be a lot more.
Health issues aside and taking this from a fantasy hockey angle – we have to wonder how often this promising line will get to show what they can do. Crosby – we know about his injury history. Sheary – he’s developing an injury history. And now this? Will they each be 75-game players? 70? 60? And if 70 for example, would that mean they get 50 with each other (as a troika) plus another 20 while one of the trio recovers?
As for Rasmus Ristolainen – a suspension is definitely forthcoming. Five games?
Conor Sheary now has 24 points in his last 17 games. He’s taking a real serious run at finishing up this season with a 1.00 points-per-game average. He needs 14 points in 10 games.
Brian Elliott fell short of the franchise record 12 consecutive wins (Mike Vernon) as Caps really took to him with 40 shots on goal. Nicklas Backstrom has been hot of late – and now (finally) Alex Ovechkin has joined the party. Backstrom had three points last night and has 10 in his last four games. Ovechkin also had three last night and has six in four games.
The two finally clicked with Kevin Shattenkirk. You knew it would only be a matter of time. But Shattenkirk tallied two PP points with those two superstars in on the scoring.
By the way, Ovechkin had 11 shots on goal.
In a fantasy league I fell behind by 24 points as of Saturday, which is honestly about three or four points shy of my simply conceding victory. With two-and-a-half weeks left, anything close to 30 points in this league is insurmountable. But Saturday I gained five, Sunday four. And then Monday, he had four players playing to my zero. His players were Carter, Marchand, plus Pavelski/Burns against a horrible Dallas team that had been letting everything in. I was pleasantly shocked to see Dallas get a shutout and those four players combined for one point. I’m on the edge of my seat for this league. So you can imagine that, as an Ovechkin/Backstrom owner, I’m pretty thrilled by them finding their mojo again! I gained another three points Tuesday, deficit is down to 13 points.
Jimmy Howard has been fantastic since returning to the Detroit lineup as he tries to make another statement that he wants the starting job back. I suspect that the Wings leave him exposed to expansion though. He doesn’t have a no-move clause in his contract and I’m sure the Wings would rather keep their 25-year-old goaltender Petr Mrazek and free themselves of $5.3 million in salary for the next two seasons. And I would have said that Vegas would have passed on Howard too – except he’s really showing this year that he is as good as he’s ever been. Howard is 3-0-1 in four games since returning and has allowed just seven goals on 115 shots. His GAA this year is 1.97 in 20 games.
Brad Marchand, who was leading the NHL in points in 2017 as of a couple of days ago, was finally held off the score sheet. He had 10 points in four games before that.
Ryan Dzingel has just four points in his last 23 games. He still has over 30 points on the season (31), but in the first half he looked as though he could flirt with 50. Perhaps still getting used to the longer schedule. He was moved to the fourth line last night.
The Sens are in talks with Colin White, but according to Bob McKenzie they don’t want him to sign an NHL contract (and burn a year) until the summer. They want him in the AHL. But he doesn’t want to sign an AHL contract when he turns pro. According to McKenzie. White is ranked 17th on my fantasy prospects list. To get our fantasy outlook and scouting report on him, click here.
Extremely disappointed in the Lightning. I loved the idea of a miracle comeback to get into the playoffs, but that loss to the Leafs and now this one to Arizona – they just don’t want it.
Andrei Vasilevskiy? Still not impressing me. And three consecutive games with four goals allowed during the stretch run of a playoff race is not a good sign.
I really like this Christian Fischer kid. He scored again last night for the ‘Yotes after being a late recall. That gives him three goals in four games. He’s only 19 years old, but he’s doing very well in the AHL too (43 points in 51 games), second on Tucson in scoring. He’s been marching up my prospects list from 131 back in January to 61 in February to 48th this month. I’m thinking he’s still too low. For more on Fischer, check out his fantasy prospect profile.
Brent Burns has gone seven straight games without a point. Prior to that, he had gone no more than three straight without a point. His slump has allowed Erik Karlsson to climb back into the D-scoring race. Karlsson had an assist last night to give him 66 points, four behind Burns with a game in hand. In third place is Victor Hedman, who got his 60th point last night.
Other than as a rookie, Joe Thornton had never taken fewer shots on goal than games played in a season. He has 76 shots in 73 games. It would explain his mere six goals – which will easily be his lowest non-lockout total of his career – again other than when he was a rookie.
On the plus side of this losing streak for San Jose, from a fantasy standpoint, is that if the Oilers (or Ducks) make it close for that division title then the stars for the Sharks won’t be “rested”. If they clinch the title, then Burns, Pavelski and Thornton (among others) would sit for Game 82. They have a four-point lead over Edmonton but the Oilers have a game in hand (ditto for Anaheim).
Same reasoning goes for Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus – they all want the division title, it’s tight, so no stars get rested. In fact, the teams with the biggest gap for their spot in the standings are – Chicago, the Rangers, and Minnesota. Those three teams have players who may sit out Game 82, so watch for that.
The Flyers signed prospect Mark Friedman, a defenseman I have ranked 180th on my fantasy prospects list. He’s 21, has a bit of upside, but still requires several years in the minors.
The Blackhawks signed Roy Radke to an ELC, though his upside is minimal. You can get his fantasy profile here.
The Flames signed Adam Ollas Mattsson to an
The Hurricanes signed Hudson Elynuik to an ELC. The 6-5 power forward had a massive breakout this year for WHL’s Spokane with a jump of 29 points to 73. He’s ranked 363 on my prospects list and you can find his profile here.
The Leafs signed winger Jeremy Bracco to an ELC. He’s a small winger with tremendous upside, but don’t go throwing the name Johnny Gaudreau around. Bracco is skilled, but he will need several years – as most small players do. And then there is the chance that he can’t out-maneuver the big hit at a higher level. If you need help in four years and can sit on a player that long, then draft him. Otherwise, I would suggest waiting one more year. Profile here.
The Lightning signed defenseman Libor Hajeck to an ELC. Hajek has a bit of upside, but he’s more of a Brian Dumoulin-type. And while Dumoulin has shown flashes of ability to move the puck, he’s used more as a defense-first player. That’s where I see Hajeck. He’s currently ranked 113 on my prospect defensemen list.
Lots of signings will be happening over the next 70 days or so as teams scramble to lock up their 2015 draftees (or decide not to). Teams have two years to sign junior players after they are drafted, or they go back into the draft. Each team has a maximum of 50 contracts, so they have to use them wisely.
Braden Holtby played in his 300th NHL game yesterday. Per Elias Sports Bureau, here are the goalies with the most wins through their first 300 appearances in NHL history:
193 – Ken Dryden
186 – Braden Holtby
177 – Andy Moog
177 – Chris Osgood
St. Louis is now 8-1-0 in their last nine and have actually pulled ahead of Nashville and back into third in the division. So…they’re doing everything that Tampa Bay should be doing.
Former DobberHockey writer Justin Goldman has started a kickstarter campaign for his latest venture transforming his cool periodic table of goaltending into a full-color book for young athletes. He’s always trying to grow the position of goaltending at the youth level. Check out the details here.
Are you kidding me?
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