Ramblings: Kakko, DeAngelo, Boston’s Big Line, goalie thoughts, and a pair of big-name vets were scratched (Oct 28)
After three consecutive games of being a ‘minus’ player, nine games with some rotten possession numbers, and terrible power-play results, 34-year-old Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the Blackhawks. The result was an excellent game from the team, stopping a four-game losing streak and it had a domino effect. The big one, to me, was Slater Koekkoek picking up a pair of assists, going plus-4 and seeing a season-high in ice time (over 18 minutes). Seabrook, who has five years remaining on his contract that has an AAV of $6.875M, has been so bad that when he plays he has to be heavily sheltered. He’s being given mostly offensive-zone starts and not creating any offense. But to have him start in his own zone is like giving the other team a goal. The domino effect of having that removed from the lineup is intangible but very real. Those offensive zone starts can go to a player who can do something with them. With Erik Gustafsson or Olli Maatta, the other four players on the ice stand a better chance of picking up points.
Here were the line combos for Chicago last night:
Both Caggiula and Carpenter picked up points in this setup. If your league counts Hits (both players had four last night), these two are worthy wire pickups. Given the 5-1 win I would assume that the lineup remains the same for next game.
Last week I hyped Dominik Kubalik after he had a 10-shot game and had been pounding shots at the net like nobody’s business. He did get an assist last night, but since those Ramblings he has just five shots in four games. I still believe he gets to 40 points this year and 200 SOG. The ice time will come as he earns the coach’s trust so the offense may be second-half heavy.
Jack Campbell, who has been bad this year but is the better of the two goalies, got shelled. He is now 2-3-0, 3.22 and 0.880. Jonathan Quick is 0.849 SV%. Meanwhile, Cal Petersen is 6-1 in the AHL with a 0.937 SV%. It’s only a matter of time now.
Speaking of Kovalchuk, he has two points in his last eight games. Tyler Toffoli has one point and is minus-4 in that span.
In his last 91 regular season and playoff contests, Martin Jones is sporting a 0.897 SV%. That constitutes all the games that he has played under his six-year contract so far. Whoops.
There are a lot of leagues were Jones is very valuable, mostly because those leagues rely heavily on wins and shutouts and are points-only leagues. But he’s gotta be killing Sharks’ fans who are imagining what this team could do if they had even an average goalie between the pipes. When St. Louis finally gave up their Jake Allen stubbornness, some pretty good things happened. What will it take to do the same in San Jose?
It would have to involve a trade, since right now their top available goalie prospect is Josef Korenar, who is having a decent AHL season, but at 21 years old with little pedigree, he’s not going to be a Jordan Binnington.
Nick Paul picked up three points Sunday on a line that really clicked. Connor Brown and J-G Pageau were the other guys on the line. It bears watching. Paul is a 220-pound power forward who needed extra time to adapt to the pro game (as all big men do). He was a key piece in the Jason Spezza trade to Dallas and the Sens have waited patiently for him to show some signs. Last year he finally showed it when he notched 39 points in 43 games. This year he had four points in three games down there before getting called up. Bobby Ryan was a healthy scratch, which allowed Paul to get into the lineup. The move obviously paid off.
Another 6-4 player, one who didn’t need time to adapt to the pro game, also notched three points – Brady Tkachuk.
Connor Brown, by the way, leads the team in scoring right now with 10 points in 11 games. If he keeps it up it should lead to more PP time, which would help him reach that thus-far elusive 40-point mark. At 252 career games, he’s right in that breakout wheelhouse too (or a tad beyond it).
The Ryan scratch shed a weak winger from Chris Tierney’s line. But then again – Tyler Ennis was promptly plopped onto it. Tierney has seven points this year, second on the team among forwards, and he led the team’s forwards in scoring last year (of course – with the mass exodus that wasn’t a huge achievement, but still…). And he does it with the “leftover” linemates.
Carter Hart owners could be in trouble. At least for this year. After back-to-back losses earlier in the month, he was given a few games off to collect his thoughts. Back in net Sunday, he gave up five goals on just 14 shots before being given the hook. Brian Elliott, winner of three straight games, stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief.
And of course Elliott did that. If you make him the starter, crown him and pay him as the starter, then he’ll stink up the joint and spend half the year on the IR. But if he’s a backup who isn’t supposed to be the starter, then he turns into a superstar who steals the job away. He did it all the time in St. Louis.
Derick Brassard has goals in three straight games. However, his line is being used in more of a defensive capacity, seeing most zone starts in their own zone. It’s tough for his linemate Brock Nelson to continue his hot start (10 points in 11 games) and other linemate Anthony Beauvillier to have that breakout if this is how they are being used. But the Mat Barzal line gets the offensive zone starts, as does the “sheltered” line that usually consists of their least experienced guys. So the Brassard line is stuck.
The Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak line continues to be ridonk with another 13 points Sunday. Marchand has a 10-game points streak going and Pastrnak is at nine straight. They each grabbed five points Sunday. Marchand has 20 points in his last 10 games – Pasta has 23 in his last nine! Pasta now leads the NHL in scoring.
It was an ugly minus-4 game for rookie Kaapo Kakko, who now sits at minus-12 in his first nine NHL games. Kakko’s linemates this season have combined for zero goals at even strength (i.e. his 5on5 S% is 0.0%). So that’s about as unlucky as it gets, according the “offensive luck” metric. The coach really loves having him play with Chris Kreider – perhaps he should consider something else.
Ryan Strome, who played with Artemi Panarin last night, has seven points in nine games. The 26-year-old has 22 points in his last 29 games dating back to last season after the trade deadline. That’s a 62-point pace.
Tony DeAngelo has eight points in nine games this year, and he’s currently on a three-game multi-point run. Since being paired with Brady Skjei, DeAngelo’s offense has really taken off. Skjei’s offense has also taken off and I can see this pairing being kept together.
The stumbling Ducks were shelled for 49 shots on Sunday. Not overly fair to John Gibson, but this is the Ducks’ team this year. The early success matched what they were doing last year. Gibson started the year with four straight Quality Starts. Since then he has three QS and two “Really Bad” Starts in six games (we call a Really Bad Start those games in which the goalie’s SV% is below 0.850).
Nicolas Roy’s first NHL goal:
Florida defenseman Mackenzie Weegar has seven points in his last seven games. Pretty much around the time when he was paired with Aaron Ekblad. Sustainable? Well, this is heavily reliant on his pairing. He’s not getting any PP time and that may never happen, since Keith Yandle, Ekblad and Mike Matheson are on the team. So it is dependent on how long he can stay with Ekblad. Coach Joel Quenneville seems to like him. But Coach Q also liked Jordan Oesterle briefly during his Chicago stint and we saw Oesterle eventually sputter and fade after 10 good games (back in 2017-18). So you may get a few games of decent production out of Weegar, but don’t count on anything long-term. A worthy short-term pickup though.
Mike Smith appears to be hurt here:
He did play in the second period but was lit up like a Christmas tree so I’m thinking he wasn’t 100%.
With Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined, it’s opened up some more ice time. David Perron, who had four points Sunday, has seen over nine minutes of PP time in the two games that Tarasenko has missed so far (two of his points were on the PP). Robert Thomas was put on the big line in Tarasenko’s spot at even strength. He hasn’t done anything with the three or four minutes of added ice time on that line as of yet.
Filip Hronek saw a team high (and career high) 27:08 of ice time Sunday, including 3:19 on the power play. He has three points in his last four games, two of those have come on the power play. A legit star and special teams stalwart at the age of 21.
A goalie to add to your bench or minors if you have that option (or depth room): Calvin Pickard. He’s 3-1-1, 0.925 in the AHL right now. Meanwhile, the goalies on the pro team – Jonathan Bernier and Jimmy Howard, are struggling to stay above 0.900 SV%. It’s probably going to take an injury, but when it comes to these two I would expect that to happen at some point.
See you next Monday.
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