Ramblings: Klefbom, Vermette, Miller, Guentzel and more (Feb. 15)

by Dobber on February 15, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Klefbom, Vermette, Miller, Guentzel and more (Feb. 15)

Ramblings: Klefbom, Vermette, Miller, Guentzel and more (Feb. 15)

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J.T. Miller is on his second seven-game point streak of the season. Between he, Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider all breaking out at the same time, the Rangers have completely compensated for the decline of Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist.

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Evgeni Malkin returned last night and scored, but rather than returning Jake Guentzel to his line, Mike Sullivan instead decided to keep him with Sidney Crosby. Here were the line combos:

 

#1           28.8%    CROSBY,SIDNEY – GUENTZEL,JAKE – KUNITZ,CHRIS

#2           23.6%    BONINO,NICK – CULLEN,MATT – KESSEL,PHIL

#3           23.1%    HORNQVIST,PATRIC – MALKIN,EVGENI – WILSON,SCOTT

#4           13.9%    ARCHIBALD,JOSH – KUHNHACKL,TOM – ROWNEY,CARTER

 

Meaning Kunitz held onto the spot as well. So the question becomes – when Conor Sheary returns in two to three weeks, who stays? Kunitz or Guentzel? Or can Guentzel hang onto it that long?

As an aside, Bryan Rust won’t factor in. He’s out long term, though the team hopes that he won’t miss the entire season. The fact that they had to say that means – it could be a close call. In my opinion, I think you can count on Guentzel, Kunitz and Hornqvist rotating on and off Crosby’s line until Sheary gets back. And then I think Sheary and Hornqvist stay, while Guentzel and Kessel play with Malkin. I believe Guentzel is here to stay, barring a horrible slump (or the team grabbing two forwards at the trade deadline).

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This was supposed to be a big week for me, but so far it’s not going well. Second place in my league has nine key guys out this week for their ‘bye’. My team has just one. I’m supposed to be gaining ground, but last night I gained zero points. If the next three days are like this then I’ll have wasted what I felt was an opportunity to gain significant ground. During ‘my’ bye weeks, he gained a lot of ground. I guess I’m not as lucky! How are they impacting your league?

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Nik Ehlers went into last night’s contest going pointless in four games and posting a minus-9. The Jets broke out for five goals …and Ehlers came up empty. Prior to this five-game slump, Ehlers had yet to go three straight games this season without a point. The last time Ehlers went five without a point? Goes back to 2015 – he ended that year with 11 pointless games (December 5-31). So he’s been money in the bank and this slump is surprising.

On the other hand, Mark Scheifele was pointless and minus-9 in his prior four games…and he went out and got three assists. The lines were shuffled, with Ehlers playing the Bryan LittleBlake Wheeler line and Andrew Copp moving up to the Laine – Scheifele line.

The story of the night though, is Patrik Laine and how he one-upped Auston Matthews. Matthews scored twice for the Leafs…so Laine topped him by scoring three. Matthews now has 27 goals and Laine has 26. Who do you take for the Calder?

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The Leafs won 7-1 last night thanks to a three-point effort from their rookie. Which rookie? If you said “Josh Leivo” (which didn’t, unless you already knew) then you’d be right! Marner, Brown, Nylander, Matthews, Zaitsev each had points. Leivo had three. Just one Leafs rookie was held pointless last night – name him.

For Leivo, it was his first three points of the season and it was in his fifth game. And he did it playing just 9:48, so I wouldn’t expect a repeat.

Interesting note – every Leafs player had either a shot on goal or an assist.

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For Thomas Greiss it’s his second straight loss. He got pulled midway through the third after giving up six goals on 34 shots. His season’s SV% has slipped to a pedestrian 0.918.

Isles rookie Anthony Beauvillier was minus-4 in the game. He hasn’t been scratched since Doug Weight took over as coach, but perhaps that changes for next game.

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Friedman’s 30 Thoughts for this week. Sometimes, when I jot down some thoughts in the Ramblings before the games start, I’ll comment on these. If goalies feel that the equipment has nothing to do with scoring being down (ahem – Scott Darling, Devan Dubnyk), then why would they put weight on their new pants in order to flatten them? Nah, it’s the ice, right? Because the ice in the high-flying 80s was much better, right?

Carey Price is indeed rattled. As I mused in Monday’s Ramblings, and now Friedman confirms – he’s trying new things such as switching back to his old skates. And opponents say they’ve never seen him this way.

I don’t understand why the Leafs would want Brian Boyle and as a fan I certainly hope they don’t give up an asset for him. Stay the course. They’re not winning the Cup this year. They’re on the right track (finally) and they have an amazing ‘future Boyle’ in Frederik Gauthier. Keep your first or second rounder and stay the course.

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Still with the Leafs, I said this before but in case you missed it – I predict a lot of angry and loud online Leaf fans in 2017-18. In the summer if I told you that in 2017-18 the Leafs would get 90 points, these same fans would be cheering and doing cartwheels. But because in 2016-17 they’re likely going to get 92 or 94 points…then a slip to 90 would suddenly be seen as ‘disgraceful’. I don’t see that at all. I see it as the team adjusting to other teams adjusting to them actually being good. If you can understand that confusing sentence. They’ll be better next year, but games will be more difficult. Hopefully fans don’t get too harsh because in 2018-19, as long as they stick with it, this team will be a contender with 100 points or more.

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What the linesman did here is ridiculous. What Antoine Vermette did afterward is even more so! The ref was over-dramatizing his dropping of the puck (as we see too often). Vermette stood up, thinking the puck wasn’t going to be dropped, and Koivu cheated his leg around and took the draw uncontested. Then Vermette gave a little chop to the linesman’s leg! Check it out:

If Dennis Wideman got 20 games (later reduced by an arbitrator, who was subsequently fired), then I figure Vermette gets 10 games here.

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The Wild were 0/5 on the power play while the Ducks were…0/0. Perhaps that played a role in Vermette’s frustration? It’s not often you see one team get five PP’s while the other gets zilch, deserved or not.

Anyway, in a game in which I needed a 10-9 score (see my ‘bye week’ note above), I of course got a 1-0 score. I should just give you guys a heads up in advance of any games in which I need lots of goals. Then you can bet the opposite and make a killing.

John Gibson has slowly (and sneakily?) turned his season around to something decent. His SV% is up to 0.921. But he’s still doing it in the inconsistent Gibson way – by following up a five-goal thrashing with a 37-save shutout. Since December 17, here are Gibson’s numbers: 12-6-4, 1.99 GAA and 0.933 SV%

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Oscar Klefbom has been seeing a ridiculous amount of ice time lately, hitting 25:26 last night and seeing at least 23:30 in four straight games. It’s not ridiculous if your name is Ryan Suter or Drew Doughty, but the average of 25 minutes per game is reserved for just 10 or 12 players in the league. If Klefbom is joining that club, then his future in fantasy is obviously bright. With three points last night he has seven points in his last 10 games. He has 20 points in his last 40.

Since Jordan Eberle had that four-point game and us fantasy experts started touting how “he’s back” and “watch out”…well, it hasn’t really worked out that way. He’s gone eight games without a point. His production was correcting…and now it’s sunk back to where it was. This is despite playing with Connor McDavid.

On the other hand, the other McDavid linemate – Patrick Maroon – is impressing. He scored last night (his 20th!) but more importantly he fired eight shots on goal. He has 12 SOG the last two games and lately he’s been seeing upwards of 20 minutes of ice time. It’s only a matter time. I think he has more production to give because he’s fitting in on this line. The results will come. I think McDavid could do for Maroon what Crosby did for Kunitz.

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2 responses to “Ramblings: Klefbom, Vermette, Miller, Guentzel and more (Feb. 15)”

  1. larrylintz says:

    As an Eberle owner I’m encouraged by what I saw last night, he played an important role in Maroon’s goal and had the third assist, and I saw him just miss on a chance at a goal, and I only saw bits of the game. I think he COULD break out given his second chance on the line. I also think Oilers are showcasing him for a trade.
    Also, didn’t I read in a recent Ramblings that Sharp was getting NO PP time? Well, last two games I watched he was on top unit and was playing a key role, hit several posts. I’m not a buyer as I don’t trust Ruff, and maybe they’re also showcasing him for a deal, but if I were an owner I’d be more enthused.