Ramblings: Hot Hutton, Injured Goalies, Bottom Teams Shine

by Ian Gooding on January 24, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Hot Hutton, Injured Goalies, Bottom Teams Shine

Hot Hutton, Injured Goalies, Canucks and Sabres Shine, plus more…

Hopefully you weren’t the unlucky fantasy owner that rosters both Cory Schneider and James Reimer. Schneider left Tuesday’s game against Boston with a lower-body injury, while Reimer also left his Tuesday game against Dallas with what appeared to be a lower-body injury.

Since the Devils’ and Panthers’ other goalies (Keith Kinkaid, Roberto Luongo) are also inactive because of injuries, both teams had to make a go with their third-string goalies for the rest of the game. Ken Appleby took over from Schneider, stopping all four shots he faced in the third period. Meanwhile, Harri Sateri was in longer, allowing six goals on 36 shots. Neither third stringer is that appealing in fantasy, although they could both be starters in the near future should Schneider and/or Reimer miss time.

I’m going to go off on a penalty minutes tangent for a bit. The Stars/Panthers game was a particularly chippy affair with 138 minutes in penalties handed out. Noted tough guy Radek Faksa had not one, but two fights in this game. Surprisingly, noted pain in the butt Antoine Roussel had just five penalty minutes, all from a fight with Keith Yandle stemming from the Reimer injury, where Roussel appeared to bump Reimer.

What is more amazing: Wes McCauley’s on-ice charisma or Micheal Haley’s 39 minutes in penalties in this game?
 


By the way, Haley leapfrogs into the penalty minute lead with 131 penalty minutes.

Lost in the kerfuffle was the two goals and assist from Alexander Radulov, who now has an eight-game point streak with 15 points (6g-9a) over that span. Moving to Dallas has agreed with him, as he is on pace to shatter his career high of 58 points.

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The hockey story of the night might have been the Avalanche’s win streak ending at 10 games at the hands of the struggling Habs. We’ve already covered a lot on how hot the Avs are both here and here, so  with a very busy night I’ll focus on some other teams.

This isn’t saying much, but since December 1 Nicolas Deslauriers has as many goals (7) as any player on the Habs. As well, he leads the Habs with 120 hits in spite of missing 20 games. He scored one of the Habs’ goals on Tuesday while dishing seven hits. And guess what? Deslauriers was placed on a line with Jonathan Drouin (three points on Tuesday) and Alex Galchenyuk (two points on Tuesday) in this game. If this arrangement sticks for a while, Deslauriers could have some sneaky value in deep leagues that count hits.

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With his overtime goal, Travis Konecny has goals in three consecutive games and points in four consecutive games. Playing on a line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier has helped boost his fantasy value. You can learn more about Konecny and his line in this week’s Lining Up.

Also from the Flyers/Red Wings game… Dobber wanted me to mention this one…
 


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The St. Louis Blues are riding the hot goalie. Right now that goalie is Carter Hutton, who stopped all 25 shots he faced in the Blues’ 3-0 win over Ottawa. On a micro level, Hutton isn’t hot, as he was pulled from his last start on Saturday against Arizona. But dating back a little further, Hutton has started eight of the Blues’ last ten games. He’s earned it, though, posting wins in six of those eight games with a 1.96 GAA and .931 SV%. Meanwhile, Allen has been tagged with losses in eight of his last ten games.

So what do you do with Jake Allen? Pick up Hutton as a handcuff, if you haven’t already. If that’s not possible or Hutton is already owned, then wait this out as much as you can. Allen will be back at some point once Hutton starts to struggle. Don’t forget that this is a league where salary, not merit, decides who receives the better role beyond the short term. Allen earns $4.35 million for three more seasons after this one, while Hutton and his $1.125 million is a UFA after this season.

Here’s an interesting take on the Blues’ goaltending situation from Jamie McLennan in an interview with ESPN Radio in St. Louis.

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If you’re on a line with Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov, you have to earn points by osmosis. That’s what Chris Kunitz finally did, scoring a goal and adding two assists on Tuesday. Kunitz now has goals in back-to-back games, but prior to that he had not recorded a point in seven games and not a goal in 18 games. If you’re in a deep enough league, maybe you take a flier on Kunitz. But I’m not going out of my way to add the 38-year-old Kunitz, even if his situation in Tampa improves with Ondrej Palat on the shelf for 6-8 weeks.

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Fantasy hockey can have some strange twists and turns that can make any given night anything but predictable. We are reminded of this when basement dwellers like the Sabres and Canucks can go on a goal-scoring run, like both did on Tuesday.

First, the Sabres. Jack Eichel put up a four-point game (1g-3a) on the Oilers, extending his point streak to seven games. Over that span, Eichel has been scoring at a two-point-per-game pace with 14 points (5g-9a). Now that’s the Eichel you were hoping for when you invested that high pick on him in your redraft league.

Some other Sabres have also been heating up. Sam Reinhart chipped in with a goal and two assists of his own. He’s recorded six points over his last four games. Meanwhile, Ryan O’Reilly scored twice, giving him eight points (4g-4a) over his last seven games. With two assists, Kyle Okposo has nine points (2g-7a) over his last six games.

One more, in case you’re thinking that Rasmus Ristolainen hasn’t brought you joy this season:
 


As well, Ristolainen has taken 26 shots over that span, averaging over two shots per game. Even though Ristolainen has missed nine games, he still leads the Sabres with 108 hits.

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It was a Loui Eriksson scoring two goals and adding an assist kind of night. There hasn’t been much good in Eriksson’s tenure in Vancouver, but he might be waking up a bit with six points (3g-3a) over his past five games. Not that I’d recommend you should invest, though.

Not to be outdone, Thomas Vanek scored a goal and added two assists of his own. Ask any Canucks’ fan and they’ll tell you that they would rather have given Thomas Vanek the long-term $6 million contract than Eriksson. Yet Vanek could be on the move in what could be an interesting trade deadline, although there have also been rumblings that the Canucks may want to keep Vanek around to mentor the younger players. I like what Vanek has brought, but the best thing the Canucks can do with him is trade him for a future asset.

It’s hard to believe, but Brock Boeser scored his first goal in seven games. In fact, he scored two goals on Tuesday. The delusional Canucks fan in me didn’t want to believe that Boeser would cool off, but it happened. We have yet to find out if his 18 percent shooting accuracy will be his norm, but with his dynamic shot it could be sustainable. The Brockfather might be losing ground in the Calder race to Mathew Barzal, but he has still accrued 24 goals and is still at a near point-per-game pace (43 points in 45 games).

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With a goal and two assists on Tuesday, Ryan Getzlaf now has 31 points in just 25 games. Over a full season, he’d be on pace for over 100 points. That point-per-game pace (1.24) puts him ahead of everyone in the league not named Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon, or Brad Marchand. This after some awful injury luck earlier in the season. That’s why you look beyond the overall point total when evaluating a player.

In a losing cause for the Rangers, Rick Nash scored two goals on seven shots on goal. You might not be into Nash anymore, but it’s worth mentioning that he has three 2-goal games over his past five games. He’s still in the top 15 in shots on goal (156) with a relatively low 7.1% 5-on-5 shooting percentage. So perhaps a case could be made that Nash is still rosterable in many leagues.

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No one personifies the first-place Vegas Golden Knights like William Karlsson. Wild Bill scored goals number 26 and 27, which ties him for second in the league in that category. We all know that team and player have both far surpassed expectations. I’ll focus on the player here, though.

To find out if there were any signs of this goal explosion coming, I went to Karlsson’s Hockey DB page. There it showed that Karlsson has never scored like this – at any level. This is even taking into account seasons where he has played a similar number of games as he has played so far in Vegas. Also note a now 27 percent shooting accuracy, and you can see where this could be heading. He won’t completely turn into a pumpkin, though, as he still has the icetime and the strong linemates and the power-play minutes. Fantasy owners should enjoy while it lasts – or maybe even try to sell very high.  

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Finally, keep an eye on the status of Joe Thornton, who was injured late in the third period of the late game between the Sharks and Jets.
 


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For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.