Habs win Game 2, Oilers dominate Sharks and a look at aging players …
Over the past four years, there have only been 48 50-point seasons from aged 30 and 31 players, and only 13 skaters hit the mark in both seasons. Tyler Bozak, David Krejci, Evgeni Malkin, T.J. Oshie, Alexander Radulov and Blake Wheeler will have a chance to improve the total after scoring at least 50 points this year during their age-30 campaigns.
The number of 60-point campaigns during the same timeframe and with the same age criteria is 24, and only five players hit the mark in consecutive seasons. Wheeler and Malkin can make it seven with 60-point showings next year.
This year, there were 103 50-point showings and 42 60-point showings. Only 25 skaters 30 or over hit the 50-point mark and just nine players aged 30 or older hit 60 points. Potentially more important, though, Patrick Eaves was the only player in his 30s to post a career-best point total in 2016-17.
Here are the players aged 28 to 30 that registered 45 points this season:
There are plenty of high-end fantasy assets there, and they're not the decline candidates, barring injury, of course. However, there are plenty of potential fallers to be cautious with.
Mats Zuccarello: How many goals the Norwegian pots is the real determinant of his fantasy value because he's going to provide plenty of helpers. He actually shot more in 2016-17, and it would only have taken a 10.6 shooting percentage to hit the 20-goal mark. Additionally, his 0.36 goals per 60 minutes and 5.6 shooting percentage at five-on-five ranked 127th and 125th out of 136 forwards with at least 1,000 minutes this year, respectively. With correction in his shooting percentage, Zuccarello's go-to role with the Rangers should easily propel him to another 50-point campaign.
Tyler Bozak: This wasn't Bozak's best point-per-game showing, but his 55 points were a career high. Interestingly, the pivot also averaged a career-low 16:26 of ice time per game. Bozak is a serviceable real-world player, but he's a fringe fantasy asset in most settings because of the depth at center. He's also a ripe candidate to see his offensive numbers dip. As the younger players on the roster grow into larger roles, Bozak will likely see his offensive opportunities shrink.
Wayne Simmonds: There is a new wave coming in Philadelphia. Claude Giroux is in decline, Jakub Voracek isn't a go-to scorer, and the Flyers' power-play plummeted to 19.5 percent (14th) with 6.84 goals per 60 minutes (13th). Simmonds isn't going to lose his fantasy value because of his cross-category profile, but after a hot start, his slide might also serve as a sign of things to come. Simmonds scored 15 goals with 10 assists and just 11 power-play points through the final 50 games of the campaign.
Anze Kopitar: The winger carousels on Kopitar's flanks were a real hindrance to his fantasy value and offensive production, especially considering he rarely played with talented scorers. However, the Kings are flush against the cap and have Tyler Toffoli to re-up as a restricted free agent. It's unlikely Kopitar falls much below the 52-point mark he posted this season, but expecting him to fully rebound and approach 70 points seems like a stretch. His power-play production didn’t dip this year, and he averaged 3:00 with the man advantage, so it was the even-strength numbers that hurt his production. Without skilled linemates, those will be tough to improve.
Nick Foligno: When everything was going right for Columbus, Foligno was riding high. Through the final 40 games of the regular season, he had just 15 points. No one is expecting another 30-goal, 70-point showing, but even counting on 50 points could prove to be a stretch. Foligno is best suited in a mid-line checking role, too. And there is a strong possibility the Blue Jackets begin to lean more on some younger assets in offensive situations.
Remember the narrative about how hard it was for wingers to play with Sidney Crosby?
Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel sure haven't had too much trouble. Perhaps, Crosby has become easier to play with as he's aged. Or maybe being fast with good hands is important. It's also interesting that both of the young wingers are off-the-beaten-path finds.
Sheary was never drafted and didn't even post standout numbers in his two final seasons with UMass-Amherst (18 goals and 55 points through 68 games). Guentzel arrived on the scene with significantly more pedigree, but he was still just a third-round pick that never played internationally for America.
The trio has only been together for a few weeks, and they're always dangerous.
A (pretty dumb) Steve Ott hit gave us our first playoffs brawl of the year!
— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) April 15, 2017
This is ridiculous. Show some class.
— Columbus Dispatch (@DispatchAlerts) April 14, 2017
That original tweet has been deleted. Here is more on the Cryin' Sid masks.
This is also brutal.
Yikes. Matt Calvert breaks his steak over Tom Kuhnhackl at the end of Game 2. pic.twitter.com/vjyO0wrr95
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 15, 2017
At one point Friday, all three games were in an intermission at the same time. That's an absolute joke. As a result, I watched very little of the Pens-Jackets bout. The other two on at the same time were better hockey games
The Habs-Blueshirts game was entertaining, and Montreal showed the potential dominance it could have in overtime. The Canadiens had 12 scoring chances and five high-danger chances compared to the Rangers generating just three and none, respectively.
Alex Galchenyuk's two most frequent linemates were Andrew Shaw and Artturi Lehkonen, which is a positive. Alexander Radulov also redeemed himself with the game-winning goal after taking a couple flaky penalties.
Steve Ott posted a 38.46 Corsi For percentage at five-on-five, which is obviously atrocious, but considering there were only three Habs were 50 percent, it's even worse. His relative CF% was a minus-25.1. At least he was gritty out there, though.
Nathan Beaulieu was on the ice for all three Rangers goals.
Through two games, Mathew Dumba has showcased high-end offensive vision, skill and upside. It'll be interesting to see if it translates into more production and fantasy value. He finds soft spots in the offensive zone and shows solid judgement on when to pinch in and retrieve — or battle for — the puck.
One characteristic of the Wild the past two games would be that they're often frantic with the puck, Ryan Suter and Dumba are the exceptions. It's impressive to see Dumba playing so confidently and clam in a difficult series.
Once again, the ice was tilted in Minnesota's favor with the Wild attempting 20 more shots and generating eight more scoring chances than the Blues. St. Louis was credited with just 12 scoring chances and three high-danger chances, and the Wild had 20 and six, respectively.
You've got to love all those Minnesota shot attempts from the wall-side hash mark, though.
Zack Kassian was a fan favorite Friday. He showed excellent burst, physicality and scored the game-winning goal while shorthanded. Connor McDavid scored the clincher — — another absolute beauty — also down a man.
What was crazy about this game was the complete dominance the Oilers had at five-on-five. San Jose attempted just 21 shots, registered only nine and generated two high-danger scoring chances. Albeit, Edmonton was shorthanded six times during the game, but to attempt just three five-on-five shots while trailing in the third period is jaw dropping. San Jose registered just one shot on goal at even strength during the third period.
Back to Kassian, though. With his speed, there is potential for him to be a strong fit with McDavid. Patrick Maroon has one more year left on his deal, which also means the Jesse Puljujarvi experience will likely be ready for a top-six role, but Kassian's career trajectory is back on track.
The next hurdle for Kassian is to improve his possession game.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend, Dobberheads.
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