Ramblings: Kucherov Hurt, Lindholm Signs, Anderson’s Absence (Oct. 28)

by steve laidlaw on October 28, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Kucherov Hurt, Lindholm Signs, Anderson’s Absence (Oct. 28)

Kucherov hurt, Lindholm signs, Anderson on a leave and more.

Uh oh! Nikita Kucherov had to leave the game last night and he did not return. It seemingly occurred on this tumble into the wall:

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The fall doesn’t appear to be that bad, nor does the contact with the wall.

That really isn’t much to go off of. I’m assuming he’s day-to-day until we hear otherwise.

Brayden Point might jump into a bigger role if Kucherov does miss some time.

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It happened again. The Canadiens had Pacioretty skating with David Desharnais and Andrew Shaw, while Paul Byron was with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.

22.61%  EV           DESHARNAIS,DAVID – PACIORETTY,MAX – SHAW,ANDREW

13.79%  EV           LEHKONEN,ARTTURI – PLEKANEC,TOMAS – RADULOV,ALEXANDER

13.41%  EV           BYRON,PAUL – GALCHENYUK,ALEX – GALLAGHER,BRENDAN

10.34%  EV           DANAULT,PHILLIP – FLYNN,BRIAN – MITCHELL,TORREY

That the Canadiens have won two in a row with this nonsense merely emboldens Michel Therrien to continue. We can’t complain too much since Pacioretty and Galchenyuk both scored but I’d be more comfortable if they were still skating together.

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The Wild notched a big 4-0 victory in which Devan Dubnyk pitched a 38-save shutout but they lost Marco Scandella to a lower-body injury. No update on him yet. Scandella isn’t fantasy relevant anyhow, but his absence could mean Matt Dumba continues to see big minutes, even if Jared Spurgeon gets back into the lineup.

Joel Eriksson Ek continues to produce despite barely skating 10 minutes a night.

The sooner that takes place the sooner I start taking Eriksson Ek seriously in one-year leagues. Right now, he’s just a fun story.

In terms of productive youngsters on the Wild, I’d much rather have Charlie Coyle, who continues to produce skating on the top line and top PP unit.

Ryan Suter is off to another hot start with seven points through seven games. I figured he’d regress towards the 40-45 -point range but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Just remember, Suter started with 20 points in his first 22 games and then finished with 31 in the final 60. 50 points really does appear to be the max for him. Might be worth selling high on Suter if you can find a buyer. The Wild won’t keep scoring at these high rates.

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Just as things were going well for Thomas Vanek an injury popped up:

(/source} This is the type of thing that can derail productivity. On the plus side, Vanek is really just playing DH for the Red Wings, skating on the third line but on the top PP unit. His absence could hurt what has been a productive power play. The Red Wings were held to just one goal by the notoriously stingy Blues and went 0/5 on the power play, however one of those chances came with just 19 seconds left in overtime so perhaps it shouldn’t totally count. In any case, their only score was a shorthanded marker from Frans Nielsen. Justin Abdelkader got back into the lineup and took Vanek’s spot on the top power play unit. Abdelkader’s a decent net-front guy but Vanek makes them far more dynamic. I thoroughly enjoyed the skill from Tomas Tatar here even though he got robbed by Jake Allen:

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Some line changes of note in Philadelphia:

14.77%  EV           COUTURIER,SEAN – READ,MATT – SIMMONDS,WAYNE

13.64%  EV           GIROUX,CLAUDE – KONECNY,TRAVIS – VORACEK,JAKUB

11.36%  PP           GIROUX,CLAUDE – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – SIMMONDS,WAYNE – VORACEK,JAKUB

10.61%  EV           COUSINS,NICK – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – WEISE,DALE

6.44%    EV           BELLEMARE,PIERRE-EDOUARD – LYUBIMOV,ROMAN – VANDEVELDE,CHRIS

I cannot say I am enthused about Brayden Schenn getting buried on the third line but he continues to see top power play minutes so I cannot be too upset. He also scored a goal and had two assists. Two of those points came with the man advantage.

As interesting is Travis Konecny up on the top line. The Flyers have dabbled with this recently but went with it for a good chunk of last night’s game. The real question is how long it takes before he bumps Schenn from that top PP unit.

The Flyers are interesting because their power play is crazy good. The trio of Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere and Wayne Simmonds is so good that you can probably plug anyone else in and around them and they’d put up a top-10 power play. Right now they are so loaded with young offensive talent that they could easily split time between their first and second unit. For instance, Ivan Provorov would be on the top PP unit for most teams but he’s blocked with Gostisbehere entrenched. Good problem to have. Bad problem for folks hoping that these young guys will be featured in top roles.

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Big win for the Coyotes who could easily see this season slip away on them. So far the only team they have bested is the Flyers, who they have beaten twice. Unfortunately, they won’t see them again.

The Coyotes schedule has been heavily road slanted. They just completed a six-game East coast swing. One can only imagine if they had finished 0-6 on that trip. They’ll be at home on Saturday, where they are 1-0.

Louis Domingue still got lit up but he got a much needed win, his first of the season.

Dylan Strome was a healthy scratch. I could see him sent back to junior given where this season could be headed for Arizona. Certainly getting scratched isn’t a positive sign. I’ll gladly eat crow if I’m wrong. It just seems to be headed this direction.

One guy who had been amazingly productive for Arizona is Brad Richardson, who has six points in seven games, three of which have been shorthanded. That should tell you something about the role Richardson is playing and how much scoring we should expect going forward. This is a defensive specialist so don’t rush out to scoop him up. I have him in a DEEP salary cap league and he’s mostly valuable because he has a cheap contract and wins faceoffs despite having wing eligibility. The shorthanded points are a great bonus, even though it’s a stupid stat to keep score of.

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Aleksander Barkov has gone three games without a point but Jonathan Marchessault refuses to settle down. Barkov will get back on the board soon enough, especially since this group is obviously generating offensive chances.

I am more concerned about Vincent Trocheck who has three goals in seven games but those are his only points. I genuinely thought that the Trocheck, Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith line might be Florida’s top offensive line, with the Barkov group taking on the opposition’s best lines. So far that hunch has not panned out. Of course, Florida’s offensive depth has really been tested with Jonathan Huberdeau, Jussi Jokinen and Nick Bjugstad all missing time.

I won’t be panicking or making a drop because the usage is still where I like it. Trocheck skated over 21 minutes last night with about 40% of the available PP time. Just hasn’t heated up yet.

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Great quote from Patrik Laine after scoring a pair of PP goals last night:

Boy has he ever. Laine really needs to have the Alex Ovechkin rules applied to him. You simply cannot give him time or space to get a shot off.

Also, how fun is this?

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Interesting look at how the Jets are dealing with a dense schedule filled with lots of travel:

The point is to not overwork the body to where additional muscle fatigue or damage is caused. There is a fine line. That’s where last season’s experiments will pay off: the Jets collected and studied different biomarkers that would theoretically help determine that line.

Cool as it is, I assumed every team was doing this but maybe they aren’t. The schedule is too long, too dense and just downright grueling. I am surprised we haven’t seen a team adopt a system like the San Antonio Spurs where they sit players frequently just for rest. The margins are different in the NBA where wins and losses are much more predictable so a good team can afford to take a night off without their best players.

We see it in the way goaltenders are now deployed. You rarely see a starter in the crease on both ends of a back-to-back. 70-game seasons for goaltenders are vanishing. Last season the most appearances by a goalie was Jonathan Quick’s 68 games. Some of this trend is because of a saturation of talent at the backup position but player health/performance is a focus as well.

We are likely headed in the direction of goaltenders seeing no more than 65 starts in a season. Where it gets really interesting is if teams start giving skaters nights off. Some teams do this with their veterans, guys with 15-20 years in the league but what if they start doing it with everyone? That could seriously alter scoring projections. We are probably years away from that, however.

The here-and-now implications are that we probably see the Jets’ goalie rotation continue. Although perhaps the only thing that could halt it is for one of Connor Hellebuyck or Michael Hutchinson to step up and win a few consecutive games. Last night was a good start for Hellebuyck. Hutchinson will go for the Jets tonight.

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Check out this awesome look into how John Tortorella is emphasizing speed for the Blue Jackets:

“Our quote this year is ‘safe is death,’” defenseman Seth Jones. “We need to attack the game. Can’t sit back in this league and watch guys skate around and make plays. Offensively we have to be aggressive.”

Tortorella has a bad reputation and some folks dismiss the Blue Jackets outright because they think he’s a bad coach. Maybe he is but this approach is changed from what he has done in previous stops. Tortorella has committed to using young guys like Zach Werenski and Alex Wennberg in big roles. This evolution is exciting. That quote above is exciting. It hints at a willingness to take chances and win games with offense, rather than the boring defense-first approaches we have previously seen.

If you are a Tortorella naysayer and you are unwilling to alter from that stance, I’d argue you are falling victim to the same closed-minded picture that you have of Tortorella in your head. Keep an open mind. Tough to argue for that after the Jackets got shut down by the Sharks of course.

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I really like this Viktor Arvidsson kid:

He doesn’t see nearly enough ice time to be relevant in most leagues as he is skating under 14 minutes a night, with little power play time. But I love guys who shoot the crap out of the puck and that’s something Arvidsson certainly does averaging 2.5 shots per game. He’s got six points in seven games but I can’t see him scoring more than 40 points with his usage. Keep an eye on his ice time. He could be a good one with a bump in minutes.

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Bad news regarding Craig Anderson:

Andrew Hammond has a chance to really go on a run here. He was slightly below average last season but the year before he was damn near impenetrable. He has a small sample size but over the past couple years Hammond has been one of the league’s top puck stoppers with a career 0.926 save percentage.

The Senators are no defensive juggernaut so Hammond will need to be on his game but he can definitely be valuable. How valuable? Ideally, Hammond would be a nice third goalie option, who you can spot start in favourable matchups, similar to how you would use Anderson. I wouldn’t add Hammond over a guy like Steve Mason or Connor Hellebuyck but he should be a better short term option than guys like Frederik Andersen, Ryan Miller or Robin Lehner.

The Senators’ upcoming schedule is hardly a murderer’s row starting tonight in Calgary before visiting Edmonton and then hosting the Hurricanes, Canucks and Sabres.

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Just days after I suggested you drop Hampus Lindholm the Ducks signed him to a six-year deal worth $5.25 million annually. I’m not wavering from that stance. Lindholm is an awesome defenseman but his talent doesn’t necessarily translate to the fantasy world. If 30-35 points is valuable for a defenseman in your pool, go ahead and keep him. Otherwise, you can drop him without regret.

Lindholm is firmly behind Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen for PP time. He has also missed eight games already and will likely miss a few more while working on his Visa:

The Ducks have seven games in the next two weeks, so he could be up to 15 games missed.

The interesting fallout is how the Ducks go about finding space for him on the roster:

The Ducks ended up sending Shea Theodore back to the minors. They probably could have kept Theodore around since neither Clayton Stoner nor Korbinian Holzer would be major losses but the flexibility to move Theodore up and down made him the one to go. Ultimately, the Ducks probably love having Theodore skating big minutes in the minors and stashed in their back pocket as a black ace should they encounter injuries. Every team needs defensive depth. These guys have it. He’s essentially the best insurance policy against a defenseman injury that exists.

By the way, for anyone in a deep league with hits and blocks, it doesn’t sound like Simon Despres will be back any time soon. The sense you get is that his career might be in jeopardy:

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Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.