Ramblings: Kuznetsov Dishing, Talbot Blanks Canucks, Avalanche Injuries (Mar. 19)

by steve laidlaw on March 19, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Kuznetsov Dishing, Talbot Blanks Canucks, Avalanche Injuries (Mar. 19)

Ramblings: Kuznetsov dishing, Talbot blanks Canucks, Avalanche injuries, Seguin done for regular season and more.


Crushing news for fantasy owners of Tyler Seguin as the NHL’s third leading scorer (tied with Erik Karlsson when he went down) is out for the remainder of the regular season with a cut in his Achilles. Interesting that this is a similar injury that felled Karlsson a few years back, though seemingly not as serious. If you’ve got the stomach for it, Seguin posted a picture of the cut.

The main fallout is that owners lose Seguin. Jamie Benn is still a stud capable of carrying the Stars’ offense on his own so no real worries there. Cody Eakin did notch three assists skating with Benn the other night and perhaps that combination persists with Seguin out but the trouble is that Lindy Ruff coaches this team, which means Benn will likely have at least a dozen different linemates between now and the end of the regular season.

The safe bet is to just assume that Benn, Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp and John Klingberg (whenever he returns) will be productive and that everyone else will have fleeting value. Maybe Patrick Eaves gets his mojo going again.

This injury could really hurt the Stars’ push for the top spot in the West or at the very least the top spot in the Central division. The stakes are pretty high in this regard. Get the #1 seed and you get whoever survives between Colorado and Minnesota. Clinch the Central but not the Conference and you get a streaking Nashville team. Fall to second (or third) in the Central and you face one of the Blues or Blackhawks. They really want that #1 seed.

Also, how awesome would a Dallas-Colorado opening round series be? They’d be burning through lightbulbs from all the scoring. Is there any way we can crowd fund to make sure that series happens?


Other Stars news, they signed Stephen Johns to a two-year extension yesterday. Johns just scored his career goal and has looked pretty impressive as an injury fill-in recently. Not sure he has a fantasy relevant future but perhaps in deeper multi-category formats. Read more on Johns here.


Bad news for PK Subban owners:

Mark Barberio is also out indefinitely with a concussion.

The Canadiens had Tomas Plekanec playing the point opposite Andrei Markov in practice. Perhaps this will get the veteran forward producing. Just one point in the last eight games, though that point did come in their last contest.


Injuries galore for the Avalanche but they won anyway.

Nathan MacKinnon and Eric Gelinas both left last night’s contest. MacKinnon’s injury was to the knee and he will be re-evaluated today. Meanwhile Gelinas’ elbow injury will hold him out indefinitely.

Matt Duchene didn’t even play last night. He is day-to-day with a knee injury.

This is the time of year where just about everyone is playing through some kind of pain. That these bumps are holding Avalanche players out of the lineup in the midst of a playoff push really doesn’t bode well for their severity. Even if they hit a point where they are able to play through the pain you know that there’s a chance they will be limited.

Thank goodness the Flames threw Colorado a bone by giving Niklas Backstrom his first start in almost two years.

With the top two centermen on the Avalanche hurt, watch for Carl Soderberg to potential pick up some steam. He scored the tying goal to force overtime last night. Soderberg has flashed solid production when he is given an opportunity, particularly with regard to power-play time.

Also helpful for the Avalanche: they will get Gabriel Landeskog back from his suspension tomorrow.

Mikkel Boedker’s assist gives him six points in eight games since joining the Avalanche.


Dennis Wideman is done for the year with a triceps injury.

The Flames did get TJ Brodie back from injury, however. He skated a game high 29:20 and notched an assist.


Evgeny Kuznetsov put on a passing clinic last night slicing the Predators for three assists, including this beauty:

Where are you ranking Kuznetsov in a points-only format next season? Dobber has him ranked seventh right now but you could make a case for him in the top five behind Patrick Kane, Benn, Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid. I’m just going off the cuff but that feels like my top five in some order. Seguin is that mix too. Damn, I think he winds up sixth for me.


Vesey could go the direction of Justin Schultz coming out of college and sign anywhere this summer but the Predators were adamant about not adding too much up front that might block Vesey from getting a roster spot right away. He could conceivably join the team in the next couple of weeks and Poile noted that Vesey could play in their top six right away. This is the window that the Predators have to take advantage of in order to keep Vesey and they need to take advantage of it. There’s also upside that Vesey could make a real impact as the Predators attempt to make a playoff run.

Vesey is the Predators’ #2 prospect. Read more on him here.


If you scooped Scott Darling off the waiver wire for a couple of spot starts while Corey Crawford has been hurt you were rewarded with a 28-save shutout over the Jets. I had a stinging feeling this was coming. The Blackhawks had been struggling too much and the Jets just do not have enough depth to hang. The Jets did have some chances but Darling was up to the task, with a little help from his iron friends.

My guess is that Crawford will be ready to go on Sunday but it’s just a hunch.

The Blackhawks shuffled their lines back to normal for much of last night and it was fairly productive. I don’t think that the Tomas FleischmannTeuvo Teravainen combination is one they want to split up. They have been really dangerous together attacking opposing third and fourth lines. Teravainen has six points in nine games since Fleischmann arrived.


Dustin Byfuglien remains an absolute beauty:

Nic Petan was up for the Jets skating over 15 minutes with some second unit power-play time. He might be worth a look in really deep formats but as mentioned previously you probably don’t want anyone off the Jets but their big guns.


Also with a shutout last night was Cam Talbot as he blanked the Canucks with 40 saves. Talbot is 10-9-1 in 21 games since the All-Star break. He also has a 0.926 save percentage and a 2.36 goals-against average in that span. Sneakily very good.


Radim Vrbata left last night’s game with a lower-body injury. I’d suggest shutting him down for the year but Vrbata needs to prove something to suitors down the stretch otherwise he’s looking at getting less than a million bucks on a one-year deal in free agency this summer. Actually, with how Vrbata has played, he might be heading towards that sort of contract regardless.


One more shutout for good measure with Freddie Andersen blanking the Bruins. Very rare that you see that as the Bruins have been one of the league’s highest scoring teams.

A bit of a line shakeup for the Ducks as well:














Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry being reunited is interesting. Having Jamie McGinn as a third wheel is downright scary. What a heavy line. I’ve heard it suggested that McGinn isn’t really an improvement on what they had in Patrick Maroon but I feel like McGinn has better skating skills, which allows him to be a bit more effective as a fore-checker. The effect of McGinn cycling the puck with Getzlaf and Perry is similar though. McGinn’s goal last night ended a five-game scoreless drought.

Brandon Pirri and David Perron skated on the second line but also saw usage on the top power-play unit. They went 0/2 so we shall see if that sticks. Intriguing if it does.

Still no Sami Vatanen. Whenever he returns from injury the Ducks will likely change their power-play formations so don’t get used to anything.


Matt Beleskey has just one points in the last 10 games. He is the streakiest of all the forwards.


With Robin Lehner hurt it was Chad Johnson in goal stopping 32 of 33 shots in a win over Ottawa. Perhaps Johnson makes a spot start for you at some point if you are on desperate times.

Ryan O’Reilly has two points in two games since returning from injury.

Zach Bogosian continues to produce. He is up to five goals and 11 points in his last 13 games. It’s a shame the Sabres have a pretty weak upcoming schedule, otherwise I’d be heavily recommending a waiver claim.


Bookmark this latest offering from Pierre LeBrun on some potential sleepers come playoff time.

"Chimera is definitely a guy that gets lost a bit among all the Capitals talent when coaches put the matchups up on the board,'' said an opposing Eastern Conference GM. "He is tough to defend for teams because generally you are playing your third pairing against him, and he has a difficult combination of top speed and size that is tough on fifth- and sixth-type [defensemen]. He has really become a versatile player under [head coach Barry] Trotz.'' Don't be surprised if there are two or three game winners coming off Chimera's stick in these playoffs.

I am definitely looking to grab Chimera in my playoff pool.


The ESPN guys discuss Sidney Crosby’s Hart and Selke trophy candidacy:

During Dan Bylsma's last season as the coach in Pittsburgh, we chatted one day after a morning skate and he made a case for Crosby winning the Selke. All the injuries the Pens dealt with that season meant Bylsma deployed Crosby a little differently, against much tougher competition. Crosby's offensive numbers didn't suffer, and Bylsma felt like he deserved more consideration for the Selke because he had success against the opponents' best players every night. This season, according to behindthenet.ca, there isn't a forward on the Penguins' roster facing tougher competition on a nightly basis than Crosby. And yet, here he is averaging more than a point per game and once again reaching the 30-goal plateau. It's amazing, and I think Crosby-for-Selke is a discussion worth having. As for the Hart, he's in the conversation.


Brief update on my discussion of the Penguins’ goaltending situation from yesterday’s ramblings. I forgot about Marc-Andre Fleury’s limited no-trade clause. The NHL does plan on honouring these in the upcoming expansion draft but to what degree a limited NTC offers Fleury protection in this situation remains up in the air. If Pittsburgh has to expose Matt Murray I would expect him to get taken by the new franchise so perhaps that means a trade is forthcoming. Whatever shakes out, there’s a very good chance Murray is a starter in the NHL by the 2017-18 season.


Not much fantasy relevance here but Chris VandeVelde has been suspended two games for his elbow to Jonathan Toews the other night.


Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been playing over in Switzerland the last couple of seasons but is now retiring due to concussion issues.


Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of Dobber Hockey. Follow him @SteveLaidlaw.