Ramblings: Howard, Panik, Fowler (Oct 23)

by Ian Gooding on October 23, 2016

Howard, Panik, Fowler, plus lots more…

New day, same story for the Leafs (as least as far as the young season goes). The young Buds were able to carry a 4-2 lead late into the third period, but two late Chicago goals took the game to overtime before the Hawks won in a shootout.

William Nylander scored two goals, with Auston Matthews assisting on both of them. Nylander also took a team-leading seven shots on goal in this game. Both Nylander owners and Matthews owners should hope Nylander will take lots of shots if Matthews can deliver passes like the one below.

It would be easy to blame Frederik Andersen again for the loss, but he made some critical saves late in the game to keep it from ending earlier. His owners still won’t be happy with the effort, though, as he allowed another four goals and recorded a .886 save percentage for the game.

There’s an interesting thread happening on the Goalie Post Forum on how Mike Babcock’s coaching style might be playing a role in Andersen’s early-season struggles (and how it hurt James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier last season). This makes Toronto look like a goalie graveyard. But since the days of Johnny Bower, has that not been the case most of the time?

For the Hawks, Richard Panik scored his sixth goal of the season. Yes, that’s six goals in six games. A visit to his Frozen Pool profile page shows that he has averaged around 19 minutes over the past two games and that he has found his success alongside Jonathan Toews and promising youngster Tyler Motte. However, the page also screams “sell high”, as Panik’s shot total (9) isn’t much higher than his goal total. So although Panik may finally cement himself as an NHL regular, you probably know the chances that he’ll keep up this pace.  Coincidentally, Panik’s six goals and two assists in eight games matches his total from all of last season (in 30 games).

Artem Anisimov also has two 2-goal games over his last three games to go with a +6 over that stretch. More on Anisimov in my Waiver Wire picks for Sportsnet. Steve was listed as the writer, but it was actually mine (no seriously, it is!) They did give me credit for this 20 Fantasy Thoughts last weekend, although Neil was the second author after Steve on this one. One day if I decide to use an alias when I write, then things will get really confusing.

That was also Brian Campbell with three helpers in that game. Thanks to the Trevor van Riemsdyk injury, Campbell’s icetime jumped from just under 13 minutes on Friday (when the Hawks used seven defensemen) to over 20 minutes on Saturday. TVR is expected to miss 5-6 weeks, which should help Campbell’s icetime. Campbell had not played 20 minutes in any of his previous five games.


Here’s a note about waiver wire pickups. I was asked a question earlier this week about replacing Ryan Pulock for a series of options, including a group of notable rookies (Zach Werenski, among others) and established veterans (Mikko Koivu, among others). My response may answer the question as to when to add a top prospect and when to add an established veteran to your fantasy team.

“It depends how much risk you're willing to assume. You know that a guy like Koivu will score around 50 points but not much more. But with a rookie you have no idea. I think if you can simply stash the player on your bench, then go for the youngster. But if you need to plug the player in right away as an injury replacement, then go for the guaranteed production.”

Thoughts? The temptation is often to go with the young player with considerable upside. But in some cases, I might have a tough time adding a player whose icetime and power-play opportunities will be limited. Obviously there are more factors at play, though.


Do you like to buy low and sell high, whether it is fantasy hockey or the stock market? If so then you need to visit Dobbernomics. I thought this tweet was interesting about who the most viewed profiles are. Maybe players whose value could increase? My stock tip of the day, I suppose.


Cam Fowler owners have experienced a nice little run to start the season (four points in five games, which includes two power-play points). However, a closer examination of his numbers reveals the following:

2016-17: 24:46 per game, including 4:39 of power-play time per game

2015-16: 22:47 per game, including 3:00 of power-play time per game

Do the math, and he’s received around an extra two minutes of icetime per game – almost all in power-play minutes. That’s the effect of Hampus Lindholm remaining unsigned. I like the tools that Fowler brings offensively, and obviously so does Randy Carlyle. But once (if) Lindholm resigns, remember that Fowler’s situation could change in the form of either a) reduced power-play minutes, or b) a trade to make room for Lindholm’s salary.


Back to the boxscores. Jimmy Vesey posted the first two-goal game of his career. Lots to like here so far, as Vesey is on a line with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello, as well as over two minutes of power-play time.

With an assist, Mika Zibanejad has six points in his first five games as a Ranger, with points in four of those games.


The Blue Jackets performed the old prospect swap before Saturday’s game, recalling Sonny Milano while sending down Oliver Bjorkstrand. Milano was a scratch on Saturday, though. Bjorkstrand had failed to score a point in three games with his icetime dwindling to just eight minutes in his last game, so this is probably a case of simply giving him more playing time. Milano had scored a goal in two games in the AHL. These are two players to keep an eye on nonetheless.

One more Blue Jackets’ youngster for you…

Two wins in two nights for Sergei Bobrovsky. After a 32-save win over Chicago on Friday, Bob posted another 32-save effort on Saturday against an injury-depleted Dallas squad, this time resulting in a shutout. He seems like a strong bet to improve on last season’s 2.75 GAA and .908 SV%. Staying injury-free and better hockey from the Jackets will also help.


If Shayne Gostisbehere seems like a candidate for a sophomore slump, he hasn’t shown it so far. The Ghost scored a goal and added two assists, giving him five points in five games. Known as a power-play contributor, Ghost actually recorded his first power-play point of the season on Saturday.

Jakub Voracek matched him in points in this game, scoring two goals and adding an assist. He’s on fire to start the season with two goals and five assists in just five games.


Jonathan Marchessault continued his torrid pace to start the season, scoring another goal and adding an assist. He now sits at three goals and four assists with a +5 in just five games. Marchessault seems to make the most of his opportunities filling in while key teammates are injured. Maybe now he can finally stick as a top-6 forward. Marchessault was another player I covered for Sportsnet this week.

From the same game… Matt Duchene owners shouldn’t be worried about his performance any longer. After being held pointless in his first three games, he scored a goal and added an assist, giving him three goals and two assists over his past two games.


Throw everything you know out the window. From the drafts I participated in and the preseason articles I read, the thinking seemed unanimous: Jimmy Howard was a goalie to avoid. So if you got stuck adding him because your league was fresh out of options, congratulations. Howard posted a 30-save shutout of the Sharks on Saturday, giving him wins in both of his starts this season with just one goal allowed. With Petr Mrazek having allowed at least three goals in three of his four starts, Detroit’s goaltending situation suddenly becomes more interesting. Remember that Howard is getting paid… and paid and paid for three more seasons. So he may not serve as a bench paperweight for as much time as you’d think this season.


The Preds were dealing with a food poisoning issue this weekend, as four regulars (including Pekka Rinne) did not play. Ryan Johansen also left Friday’s game with the same issue. No problem, as Kevin Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson scored two each in a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh. Fiala continues to play alongside Filip Forsberg, although his downside is that he is receiving virtually no power-play time at the moment.

The Penguins face issues of their own with no Sidney Crosby or Kris Letang. With Letang out of the lineup, Trevor Daley logged the highest icetime among Pens’ defensemen on Saturday (23:47) with Ian Cole not far behind (22:06). Justin Schultz was the only defenseman on the first-unit power play.


Loui Eriksson has yet to score his first goal as a Canuck. So he was removed from the Sedin line on Saturday and replaced with Sven Baertschi. All three Sedin points (Henrik Sedin with two and Daniel Sedin with one) were scored on the power play, so Sven was held off the scoresheet.

In spite of the Canucks’ unexpectedly hot start, the power play had scored just once before this game. You might argue that’s what happens when you’re forced to use Philip Larsen as your power play QB. Larsen helped his cause on Saturday, though, chipping in with a couple of power-play helpers.


Here’s how hard up the Kings’ organization is for goalies at the moment. You know that Jonathan Quick is out for a while. Jeff Zatkoff suffered a groin injury during Saturday’s skate. So onetime prospect Jack Campbell was called up from the AHL’s Ontario Reign to backup Peter Budaj – both of whom started the season in the AHL. So Jonah Imoo was called up to be the Reign’s starting goalie on Saturday night. His backup?

Yes, his 46-year-old father. And according to Dusty’s Twitter page, he is also a grandfather. Maybe the first grandfather to suit up for a professional hockey game since Gordie Howe? Unless Jaromir Jagr has grandchildren. Pretty cool story though.


Finally, David Perron poured it on the Flames, scoring a hat trick and adding an assist. There will probably be a few Perron owners kicking themselves after this one, as Perron was due for a benching. He had been held without a point in his first five games. Ugh. I hate it when that happens.

Nail Yakupov recorded another point – an assist – to give him two goals and two assists in six games as a Blue. He was held to under ten minutes of icetime in this game, though. Don’t expect his fantasy value to dramatically increase in St. Louis – at least not right away. An injury to a forward (which wouldn’t be the first time for the Blues) could suddenly change things.


Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.