Ramblings: Jesse Puljujarvi Surgery; Updates on Martinez, Schenn, and Perron; Svechnikov – March 5

by Michael Clifford on March 5, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Jesse Puljujarvi Surgery; Updates on Martinez, Schenn, and Perron; Svechnikov – March 5

 

I’m sure most reading this has heard the news already, but it was learned Monday morning that Ted Lindsay, Hall of Famer and Detroit Red Wings legend, had passed away at the age of 93.

For his career, Lindsay accumulated 851 points in 1068 games, was a 9-time All-Star, won the scoring race in 1950, and procured four Stanley Cups, including back-to-back efforts in 1954 and 1955.

It was his impact off the ice for which Lindsay will most greatly be remembered.

Of course, there was the NHL Players’ Association, the union that would look after the NHL player membership. He helped start the NHLPA to bargain for player rights, which would eventually include free agency, a more equitable share of revenues, better pensions, better health care access, and more. Of course, there was a lot of pushback from ownership around the league, and a smear campaign of Lindsay began. Nonetheless, the NHLPA was eventually recognized and would morph into what we know it today.

Beyond that, I came across this little tidbit: Lindsay did not attend his Hall of Fame induction. Why? Because women weren’t allowed to attend, which means his wife could not attend. This was unacceptable to Lindsay, and his non-attendance led to a rule change that would allow women to attend Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

Talk to five different people of a certain age and you might get five different answers about what they remember about Ted Lindsay. Some might say on-ice stats, championships, the award named after him, the ferocity of his game, his union assembly, or even his Hall of Fame induction. All that means is this was an accomplished man both inside and outside of the rink. Not much more needs to be said than that.

Condolences to Lindsay’s family, friends, fans, and the Detroit Red Wings organization.

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The Sabres announced defenceman Jake McCabe will miss the rest of the regular season – 5-6 weeks to be exact. It didn’t lead to a recall of Lawrence Pilut, though, so it appears Marco Scandella and Matt Hunwick will get some run. I’m not very interested in either for fantasy purposes, even in deep leagues.

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Just wanted to chime in briefly on Jesse Puljujarvi’s injury. It’s clear that three years of development from the Oilers has done nothing, and now he’s on the shelf for most of the summer with double hip surgery. To me, that means 2019-20 will be mostly getting back up to speed as he’s behind the eight ball again. Not that this effectively ends his career, but if next year is basically just trying to get his legs under him following surgery, he’ll be four years into his career with little to show for it, even with this year and next mostly being a wash due to injury. I wonder how much longer we wait before the Oilers move on.

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Jared McCann remained on Pittsburgh’s top line in practice on Monday. That was following Saturday night’s beatdown of the Canadiens where McCann had a goal and an assist and Sidney Crosby had four points.

Obviously, if he sticks, he’ll have the opportunity to produce. How long it lasts, we’ll see. McCann does have solid shot rates (he shoots as often per minute as guys like Anthony Mantha and Mike Hoffman) so that skill set might mesh well with someone like Crosby. I’m optimistic and he might be worth a look as a bench option for the first week of playoffs. The Penguins are a team with four games next week and they include games against the Sabres, Flyers, and Capitals.

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As we look ahead to the 2019 draft, Dobber Prospects writer Jokke Nevalainen had a good read on prospect Vasili Podkolzin. He may have caught the eye of some from the most recent World Juniors, and it's a level-headed look at what he is and what he might be. 

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Chris Kreider was not at practice on Monday for the Rangers. Maybe it was maintenance, but Pavel Buchnevich took his spot on the top line. Maybe it’ll be something more than maintenance? When we know, you’ll know.

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Nazem Kadri was at morning skate for the Maple Leafs skating as an extra. He did not play Monday night but it does look like he’s on the cusp of returning.

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Just spit-balling but I’m not sure what to make of Luke Kunin’s season so far. The underlying numbers aren’t great but how much of that is due to injuries on his part and upheaval of the roster by management? It can’t be an easy situation to overcome. By the eye, he’s looked fine whenever I’ve watched him if unspectacular. He should have a big role on this team in 2019-20 (he’s played 17:40 per game over the last month) so he’ll be a guy to follow over the final month. It could tell us a lot about what to expect from him next year.

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Alec Martinez was in a regular jersey in practice for the Kings and looks like he’ll be returning later this week. There are serious concerns about point production and plus/minus, but he should see a lot of minutes and that will lead to a lot of peripheral stats. It’ll be up to individual fantasy owners to determine what their team needs and if he can fit into a league’s scoring system.

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Both Brayden Schenn and David Perron should be back in the lineup soon, especially Perron as he has completed all necessary medical testing, though Schenn will be the one going on the road trip. Now it’s just up to Perron as to when he feels good to return.

It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the top line. Craig Berube hasn’t been shy to swap guys in and out (O’Reilly for Schenn, Schwartz for Schenn when the injury hit) but with the way the team is absolutely rolling right now, why rock the boat. I would expect Schenn to come in on the second line with Perron, but we’ll see.

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Edmonton staged a two-goal comeback, scoring three straight in the second period to beat the Sabres 4-3. With time winding down, Jason Pominville had a glorious opportunity to tie the game and did this:

 

 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in an NHL game.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist while Connor McDavid picked up a couple helpers. Jack Eichel scored a pair of goals in the losing cause. That makes 25 tallies on the year for Eichel, tying his total from last year.

Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and five shots in the loss. Those five shots are a single-game high for him. He hasn’t been given a lot of ice time generally but it would be nice to see him shooting more often like this rather than what he’s done most of the year.

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Let’s check in on Andrei Svechnikov, shall we?

It’s easy for the rookie to get lost in the Carolina excitement right now. It seems Nino Niederreiter’s trade has turned the fortunes of this team around, Jordan Staal is back and healthy, the team is scoring, and even Evander Holyfield is getting in on the fun:

 

 

Watch until the end what they do with Jordan Martinook after Holyfield throws the punch. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Anyway, as I was saying, it’s easy for Svechnikov to get lost in the shuffle. So, how’s he doing?

For one, his ice time has declined since the acquisition of Niederreiter. It’s not a huge decline but losing 40 seconds a game when you don’t penalty kill and play fewer than 15 minutes a night is significant. Even a drop of just 40 seconds a game could lead to 2-3 fewer points over the course of a season. Not to mention that with Micheal Ferland healthy, it locks Svechnikov into a third line role. Not only is he getting less ice time, but lower quality line mates.

It hasn’t really affected his production as he has 10 points in the 19 games since Niederreiter joined the fold, compared to 19 points in 46 games prior. The team has enjoyed a regression of shooting percentage (in a good way) which has led to more goals overall. A rising tide floats all boats, etc.

One concern is that he’s shooting a lot less. He had 120 shots in his first 46 games, or 2.61 shots per game. Since the acquisition of Niederreiter, that has plummeted to 34 shots in 19 games, or 1.79 shots per game. A 40-second ice time drop does not explain such a shooting drop. It’s easy to forget that he’s still just an 18-year old rookie, though.

On top of him just being an 18-year old rookie, the Hurricanes in general have been shooting less: from the start of the season through to January 18th (when the trade occurred), Carolina averaged 35.6 shots per 60 minutes. Since then, they’ve dropped to 32 shots per game. Again, that alone doesn’t account for Svechnikov’s shooting decline, but it helps explain part of it.

The ice time is important to keep in mind when we look at Svechnikov’s 29 points. We don’t expect players getting 14-15 minutes a game to have a significant fantasy impact, even more so at his age. Even Steven Stamkos, who played 14:56 per game in his rookie year, failed to crack 50 points (he had 46). Rick Nash, who played 13:57 per game in his rookie year, only managed 39. Also, Marian Gaborik played 15:26 per game in his rookie year and had just 36 points. All eventually turned into elite players, and sooner rather than later.

Having watched a lot of Hurricanes games lately, he still looks like the guy he always has: an uber-talented 18-year old rookie playing on a third line with third liners. His individual expected goals rate at five-on-five is still among the best in the league, his shot rate his top-50 among all forwards, and his goal rate is solid (it’s actually slightly higher per 60 minutes than Sebastian Aho). Everything else will come along in due time. He still looks like the future superstar we all expect him to be, even if he’s not one of the focal points of the team right now.