Ramblings: Klingberg and Hintz injured; Garland and Keller; Fabbri trade – November 8

by Michael Clifford on November 8, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Klingberg and Hintz injured; Garland and Keller; Fabbri trade – November 8

 

With Bryan Little out for the foreseeable future, the Jets are going to try Blake Wheeler at centre between Jack Roslovic and Nikolaj Ehlers. That puts Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine on the top line with Mark Scheifele.

The team has to try something here – I’ll discuss them a bit more in depth later – but I’m skeptical a line of Connor-Scheifele-Laine won’t get constantly hemmed in defensively. We’ll see tomorrow when they square up against the Canucks.

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Not even 24 hours after I post a Ramblings that contained several hundred words of disappointment about how the Kings were treating Tyler Toffoli this year, and have treated him in years gone by, he was slotted on the top line with Anze Kopitar for their game in Ottawa Thursday night. Miracles do happen!

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The Oilers have put Tomas Jurco on waivers, ending the likelihood of Ty Rattie Jr. ending up on Connor McDavid’s wing for any period of time.

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I was going to write about the Robby Fabbri trade, but it really does not seem necessary. Let’s summarize this:

  • Jacob de la Rose goes to St. Louis, where the Blues already have like four Jacob de la Roses. He’ll be fighting with the Sundqvists, Blaises, McEacherns, and Barbashevs of the world for ice time. He has no fantasy value.
  • Robby Fabbri goes to Detroit, and Fabbri was once a highly-touted prospect. He has been derailed by several injuries, the most important being a torn ACL in his left knee and then subsequent re-injuring of that repaired knee.

If Fabbri can rehab past the injuries and become the player everyone thought he’d be like three years ago, this will look like one of the most lopsided trades in recent history. If he can’t get past the injuries, then this trade is basically a wash. So, does he leave the injuries in the past and become that player? No one knows and anyone saying one way or the other with any sort of confidence is a liar.

Good luck to Fabbri. I really hope this works out for him and the Red Wings.

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You know who has been fun to watch since getting to the NHL? Conor Garland.

I have a lot of time for small players who effectively have to learn to navigate an NHL ice surface without being decapitated. But that guy is a shooting machine, with 38 shots in 15 games. Averaging just over 2.5 shots per game isn’t generally a monster number, until you see that he’s averaging under 13 minutes a night in ice time.

Meanwhile, I’ve been getting some questions about what to do with Clayton Keller and I think people need to be patient here. He’s on pace for like 55 points and is shooting five percent himself. Combine that with the team shooting 5.1 percent at five on five with him on the ice, and the fact that he’s on pace for 55 points should be encouraging, not discouraging.

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Looks like Nicolas Hague is sticking around after all.

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I’m going to go all conspiracy theory here.

There’s no reason for the Jets to have both Ville Heinola and Sami Niku in the AHL. They’re both better than at least half of Winnipeg’s currently blue line. Niku, for certain, should be in the NHL. That he’s not, and it’s so obvious he should be, got me thinking.

What if Cheveldayoff, following the departures of Myers and Trouba, along with the injury to Byfuglien, has decided for basically a one-year reset? Sneak-tank this team into a lottery position and hope to luck into one of Byfield or Lafrenière. Then come back next year with an elite prospect, both Heinola and Niku ready to go, and, hopefully, Byfuglien back in the lineup? Even if they don’t get one of the top-2 picks, they could still get a top-end prospect (or a high pick to trade). Given all they’ve lost on the blue line, I think the fans could stomach one year out of the playoffs.

Anyway, I’ll put the tinfoil back in the drawer… for now.

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Both Nick Leddy and Jordan Eberle were in regular jerseys for practice on Thursday but Barry Trotz said that it was an optional practice and to not read a whole lot into that. Consider them still injured for now, I guess?

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The Dallas Stars will be without both Roope Hintz and John Klingberg for the next two weeks, at least. The prognosis on Klingberg was that it may be up to a month. Either way, the hill just got a little bit higher for Dallas. Expect Heiskanen and Lindell to play as many minutes as they can stomach.

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It was a wild game between the Penguins and Islanders as a 3-0 third-period lead for New York turned into a 3-3 tie in seven minutes thanks to goals from Bryan Rust, Jared McCann, and Evgeni Malkin.

Rust ended things in overtime with a wrap-around with a bit over a minute left in overtime, the team’s 40th shot. Semyon Varlamov was busy.

It was a justified result for the Penguins, who dominated the Islanders virtually start to finish. That they guaranteed themselves a point is probably not something that happens a week ago without Malkin in the lineup.

With Kris Letang out of the lineup, John Marino was on the top pair and played over 20 minutes. He had a secondary assist on McCann’s goal. I should also mention that Alex Galchenyuk snuck onto the top PP unit and skated on Crosby’s line for the third period. Will it last? Probably not. But that’s about as good a slotting as anyone could hope for.

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Carey Price was vintage Carey Price but it wasn’t enough to skate out of Philly with a win, as the Flyers won 3-2 in overtime. Price saved 40 of 43 shots but he needed to save 41.

Ivan Provorov was moved back to the second PP unit with Shayne Gostisbehere on the first unit. It kind of paid dividends as JvR scored a goal about a second after one of their PPs ended, so a power-play goal in all but name.

After a down year last year, Provocop again looks like the guy everyone expects him to be. He had an assist, four shots, and two blocks in this one. That makes 10 points, 33 shots, 17 blocks, and 13 hits in 15 games on the year. That’ll work.

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Speaking of vintage, Henrik Lundqvist started Thursday night in Carolina after having played Wednesday night. He did not look worse for the wear, saving 45 of 47 for the 4-2 win. Petr Mrazek faced 18 shots total. I think Henrik faced that by the time the people with glass seats sat down with their beers.

It’s worth noting that Adam Fox played nearly 20 minutes at even strength in this one (19:32) and remained on the top PP unit. It’s time to start scouring the waiver wire if you haven’t done so already.

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We had a good ol’ fashioned shootout in Sunrise as the Panthers fell 5-4 to the Capitals in overtime. Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson both had a pair of goals, the former adding an assist with eight shots and two hits, the latter in overtime.

After going back-to-back games without a point, John Carlson had a goal and two assists.

On the flipside, both Evgenii Dadonov and Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist.

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Colorado absolutely laid Nashville to waste on Thursday night by a score of 9-4. Nashville even had a lead in this one, pulling ahead 3-2 about five minutes into the second period before allowing six goals in the next eight minutes. Not a typo; Colorado started the period with two goals and ended with eight goals. It’s easier to just list the important stat stuffers:

  • Nathan MacKinnon: one goal, three assists, 10 shots on goal. He was injured in the game but the team is saying it’s not serious.
  • Joonas Donskoi: hat trick, six shots, one power-play point.
  • Andre Burakovsky: one goal, two assists, two shots.
  • Calvert and Nieto: goal and an assist.
  • Cale Makar: one goal, two assists, four shots, one block, one hit
  • Ryan Graves, one goal, two assists, four shots, four blocks, three hits, two penalty minutes

Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing five goals on 17 shots, meanwhile Juuse Saros then allowed four goals on 19 shots.

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San Jose finally broke out offensively, with Logan Couture going 1-3 with four shots and two hits, while Tomas Hertl went 1-2 with two shots and two hits. Each of Evander Kane, Timo Meier, and Marcus Sorensen went 1-1.

Brent Burns had two assists, three shots, two penalty minutes, four hits. He’s still pretty good for fantasy.

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I think I need a small mea culpa here.

Going into this season, it seemed pretty obvious the Sens wouldn’t be a good team, and that they’d be gunning for the first overall pick in 2020. (That San Jose could provide this first overall pick is, frankly, quite weird.) But I have to give DJ Smith and the team credit: they’re better than I thought they would be, and they’re at least fun to watch.

We’re about five weeks into the season. Remember the NHL having shot location issues for the first week or so which threw off some early expected goals numbers? That has largely been fixed and Ottawa’s expected goal rate is 49 percent which is way, way higher than I thought they would ever get this year; they were 49 percent last year, and don’t forget they had Dzingel/Stone/Duchene for most of it. In that span, that 49 percent is higher than the Lightning, Leafs, Oilers, Avalanche, Blues, Sharks, Sabres, and so on. (No, they’re not better than Tampa Bay, but it’s to give context to how good Ottawa has been.) It’s a small-ish sample (12 games), so we’ll see where they stand around American Thanksgiving, but I’ve watched a lot of Sens games this year and not once did it feel like watching paint dry. At the least, the on-ice product is fun, and Smith probably has them playing to their peak. He needs some kudos here too.

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While we’re talking about team performance, I don’t think anyone was expecting the Rangers to be contending for a playoff spot this year – or they shouldn’t have been, anyway – but that they’re probably the worst team in the NHL is pretty embarrassing. There’s no reason for their metrics to be considerably worse than teams like Ottawa and Detroit.

Again, the bar was very low here and the Rangers are doing to their best to not even crawl over it. It’s almost impressive, in a way.