Ramblings: Isles/Wings Run Wild; Quick Stones Panthers; Saad Thoughts – February 10

by Michael Clifford on February 10, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Isles/Wings Run Wild; Quick Stones Panthers; Saad Thoughts – February 10

Brock Boeser missed Friday night’s game with a hand injury and there was a pending MRI according to Jason Botchford. With him out of the lineup, Jake Virtanen started the game with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.

The word after the game is that it’s just a day-to-day thing for Boeser and there’s even a chance he could play for their game Sunday in Dallas.

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John Gilmour was called up by the New York Rangers on Friday to help fill out their blue line a bit. As anyone who regularly reads me knows, I don’t delve into prospects, I let the people who know them better educate me in this regard. For those looking to read up on Gilmour, his Dobber Prospects profile is here.

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Troy Brouwer will be out of the Flames lineup for the foreseeable future with a facial fracture suffered in Thursday’s win against New Jersey.

While the hit totals remains stout, Brouwer hasn’t done much else in the fantasy game for a couple years now, so I can’t imagine this will impact many in the fantasy game directly. Indirectly, though, this could be good for those hoping Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski break out of their slumps (they have seven points combined since Christmas): this year, the trio of Bennett-Jankowski-Brouwer are getting absolutely crushed at five-on-five to the tune of a 40.9 percent shot share and 79.9 adjusted shot attempts against per 60 minutes at five-on-five. On second thought, “absolutely crushed” doesn’t do those pathetic numbers justice. On the flipside, the line of Bennett-Jankowski-Garnet Hathaway has a 54.1 percent adjusted shot share and 57.2 adjusted shot attempts against per 60 minutes at five-on-five. It’s incomprehensible how much Brouwer has dragged that line into the abyss.

This forced a power-play change and the top unit for Calgary in this game was Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland-Giordano-Hamilton.

Just keep in mind that as a third line with (hopefully) only one skater on the top power-play unit, upside is limited here. Improving the right winger, though, should at least help them score more than once every six games or so. Don’t give up, Janko and Bennett owners.

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Some news from the Blues blue line:

He blocked a shot early in the first period of Thursday night’s game and did not return.

Like Brouwer, Edmundson likely isn’t a fantasy factor for the vast majority of you, but his injury did give Vince Dunn nearly 20 minutes of ice time in that contest, over three minutes above his season’s average, and his highest mark in seven games. Dunn had been primarily a power-play specialist which is fine but does limit upside (see: Will Butcher) but if he can scrape together another couple minutes a game of five-on-five, there might be something here.

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Johnny Boychuk was back in the Islanders lineup Friday night after missing six weeks with a lower-body injury. He had very good peripheral numbers in the fantasy game and should be expected to resume those numbers. If the Islanders have any hope of reaching playoffs, Boychuk will have to steady their incessant avalanches of shots against.

For those that count hits and blocked shots, he’s fine to add in 12-team leagues. I wouldn’t anticipate too much an uptick in point production despite the high-octane offence. It’s been a few years since he’s been a significant point producer.

The return of the defensively reliable Boychuk saw probably the craziest game of this regular season. Detroit jumped out to a 3-0 lead and carried a 5-2 lead late in the third period. Tyler Bertuzzi then took a 5-minute major for slashing with about 6:30 left on the clock and the Islanders scored four (4!) power-play goals, one each from Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Nick Leddy, and Josh Bailey.

We weren’t done then, though, as the Red Wings tied the game 6-6 with fewer than 30 seconds left in regulation, only to have Nelson complete the hat trick in overtime for a 7-6 Islanders win.

The following players had multi-point games:

Jaroslav Halak got a six-save win after relieving Thomas Greiss following Detroit’s fifth goal. It was also Barzal’s third five-point game of the year.

Speaking of Barzal:

Just absolutely wild stuff.

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Ondrej Pavelec started the Rangers game but was lifted after the first period due to an apparent knee injury. Expect lots of Henrik Lundqvist in the coming games, which is especially hilarious considering coach Alain Vigneault laid the Rangers’ disappointing season at Lundqvist’s feet.

Kevin Hayes led the way for New York’s 4-3 win, posting a goal and assist with six total shots. Gilmour played in all three phases for the Rangers, manning both the second power-play unit and earning some penalty kill time.

Brett Kulak scored his first NHL goal and Curtis Lazar scored his first of the season for Calgary.

Lundqvist saved 28 of 30 for the win.

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Zach Werenski left the Columbus game in Washington towards the end of the second period with a… lower-body injury we’ll call it:

He did return for the third period, so, all’s well that ends well. Yikes all the same.

Washington was thoroughly outplayed but managed a 4-2 win over Columbus. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller both had a goal and assist to lead the way for the Caps while Braden Holtby stopped all but two of the 37 shots he faced.

John Carlson scored his ninth goal of the year, by the way, which equals his total from last year and is three off his career-best 12 back in 2014-15.

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Without Boeser and Tanev, and playing on back-to-back nights on the road, Vancouver’s outcome seemed easy to predict, and they indeed lost 4-1 to the Hurricanes. Carolina scored three first-period goals and put it on cruise control from there.

Sebastian Aho scored his 20th goal of the season, and that makes him just the fourth player in Carolina’s franchise history to score 20 goals in multiple season by the age of 20. The others were Ron Francis, Sylvain Turgeon, and Jeff Skinner. In other words, Aho and Skinner are the only ones to do it in a Hurricanes uniform.

Scott Darling stopped 21 of 22 shots, giving him his third win in 10 weeks. Seriously.

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The story in Sunrise was Jonathan Quick as he stood tall (or flopped wildly, as it may be sometimes) in net for the Kings, allowing just one goal on 36 shots for a 3-1 Kings win. Aaron Ekblad slapped home a power-play goal in the first period and that was it for Los Angeles.

Anze Kopitar scored his 22nd goal of the season, making it 10 more than last year. Derek Forbort assisted on all three Kings goals, giving him his second three-point game of his career.

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Mark Scheifele returned to the lineup for the Jets and was right back on the top line with Blake Wheeler to his right and Patrik Laine to his left. He certainly wasn’t eased into things as he played over 23 minutes, second-most on the team behind Dustin Byfuglien. It wasn’t enough though as the team fell 5-2 to St. Louis.

The stars shone for St. Louis as Vladimir Tarasenko potted two goals, Alex Steen had a goal and an assist, and Jaden Schwartz had one of each as well.

Remember how I said earlier Dunn might be the recipient of some more ice time with Edmundson out? He played 12:30, his fourth-lowest mark of the season, and lowest since the calendar turned to 2018.

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Speaking for Stars shining, the big guns did work for Dallas in their win over Pittsburgh. Tyler Seguin notched his 29th, Jamie Benn had three assists, Alex Radulov had a helper, and John Klingberg scored the game-tying goal in the third period. Pittsburgh tied the game with the goalie pulled but it was Seguin who scored the winner in the shootout. 

It was a great game. A Stanley Cup preview, perhaps? 

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I have gotten a couple questions over the last week as to what is going on with Brandon Saad, and what to do with him in fantasy. These are fair questions; he’s on pace for his lowest goals/game output since 2013-14, his lowest assists/game of his career, and this is all despite a career-high 17:28 in TOI per game.

So what actually is going on here?

Well, he’s obviously mired in a brutal slump right now. Over his previous ten games, Saad has managed zero goals and one assist. Joel Quenneville has dropped his ice time, and he played under 15 minutes a game over that span (compared to 18:02 before that). He’s still playing well over that frame, though, coming in sixth among ‘Hawks forwards in shot attempts per 60 minutes, and in the same range as guys like Patrik Laine, Rickard Rakell, and Brad Marchand league-wide.

He’s also driving the play in that time, coming in second on the team in adjusted shot share and is on the ice for the fewest shot attempts against of any ‘Hawks forwards. This is a bad defensive team but he’s still more than holding up his end of the bargain trying to help the team win.

That’s the good news out of all of this. Yeah, he’s not having a great season, and recent production has been awful. But he’s still doing everything you want to see out of someone from your fantasy roster by taking shots and help driving the play forward.

If Saad is doing everything that you want to see from a fantasy asset on the ice, he’s logically been a victim of percentages. Unsurprisingly, he’s shooting much lower than we’ve been accustomed to, as he shot 10.92 percent at five-on-five from 2013-17 but is sitting at 8.18 percent this year. He’s also managing a point on just 51.1 percent of goals scored with him on the ice this season according to Frozen Pool, and going back chronologically, he posted rates of 75.7 percent, 70.7 percent, 73.2 percent, and 61 percent in the previous four campaigns. This has caused his assist rate at five-on-five to plummet to a career-low (and it’s not even close).

To answer the question, there’s no real telling what to do with him and fantasy. If these percentages persist and he remains in the Chicago bottom-six with no power-play time, he has no chance of turning things around. Again, though, it’s not as if he’s disappeared. He’s still playing very well and doing all the things necessary to rack up points except actually racking up points. Maybe he goes on a scoring bender over the final third of the season. Maybe he finishes the year on the fourth line and puts up seven points the rest of the way. There is just no telling. I always bet on talent so I would hold on but fantasy owners have a hard choice ahead of them. 

 

6 responses to “Ramblings: Isles/Wings Run Wild; Quick Stones Panthers; Saad Thoughts – February 10”

  1. MarkRM16 says:

    Thanks for answering my Saad questions, Michael. I didn’t expect him to have so much competition from the Hawks’ young guns like Schmaltz, Debrincat, and Schmaltz so soon. I assumed he’d see more icetime overall and on the PP, and that he and Toews would rekindle their chemistry before he was traded to the Jackets.

    I had him pegged for 29 goals and 58 points, not exactly huge totals given his previous production. He had 50 points last year with just 3 PPP, so I didn’t think 58 points was an unreasonable level of production if he had even mediocre PPP.

    Is he this year’s ’15-‘1 Kadri, where nothing went right because of bad luck and then he bounced back big time the next year when things went his way? I don’t have Saad in a keeper, so it’s not a big deal that he’s having such a disappointing year, but I’d still consider him for next year. Too optimistic?

  2. bear town says:

    not sure we’ll see the pens in any playoff game if they don’t sort out the goaltending (and questionable defensive play). think they give the kids more chances (jarry, desmith)?

  3. Striker says:

    Dunn’s TOI/GP is 16:31, his PP TOI:GP 1:47. That isn’t a PP specialist. He has played as StL’s #5 on the 3rd pairing all year. That’s solid icetime for a rookie Dman that just turned 21 in Oct. That’s more than just sheltered minutes as well.

    • Dobber says:

      I know you don’t buy the Midseason Guide, but it clearly illustrates that Dunn gets the most sheltered minutes on the team other than Bortuzzo. At ES he faces the third weakest quality of competition and sat fourth in offensive zone start percentage on the team (tops among D). That’s normal for a rookie though, and he does very well with those minutes so I fully expect tougher responsibilities next season

      • Striker says:

        I basically said the same thing. I wasn’t comparing Dunn to the other Dman in StL but in the entire NHL.

        Most 21 year old Dman aren’t even in the NHL the few that are or have ever made it at such a young age are lucky to see 10 mins agame playing games spairingly.

        Dunn is taking a regular role playing as STL #5 Dman & sure if you like sheltered for StL but not on the whole.

        StL also has the luxury of having 1 of the best top 4 in the entire NHL so why would they expose him more they don’t need to.

        You know I process all data but hard to get all across clearly in text.

        Love what you guys do but call out the oops comments. Saying Dunn is a PP specialist is an oops.

        No I don’t buy your mid season guide but I highly recommend to most other pool that they do so in all my pools. I don’t need to I essentially have my own. Like you & your crew I’m a hockey freak. I make enough money participating & betting on Hockey but have a day job outside this wonderful cash stream. Ha-ha!

        Not meant as a slight to anyone but if your readers haven’t jumped on the Dunn bandwagon yet in any form of perpetual keeper league they may want to stand up & take notice as a stud in the making & that ship should have sailed long ago. I add dropped Dunn in 1 pool in mid Nic & another mid Dec.

        I don’t participate in any shallow pools the shallowest is 255 players deep, Dunn’s not a factor in the slightest. The deepest 460 the common depth is 400. 10, 12, 14 team leagues 10 or 15 players deep are the norm but also not overly challenging as to much talent available at any time. Factor in less scoring but worse what little scoring there is being spread over a far greater # of players as almost all NHL teams roll 3 scoring lines today if not even a 4th compared to the glory years where most scoring was generated from 1 line 2 for some & the distinction today between a good player & an average 1 doesn’t even exist nor is reflected in points any longer.

        You want to challenge your depth of knowledge get in a pool that mimickes real life as best possible. That will force knowledge on anyone quickly.

        As always love the site, your writers & great to have you back in the saddle. Still pulling for you & the family.