Ramblings: Landeskog Out 4-6 Weeks, Panther Power (March 9)

by Ian Gooding on March 9, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Landeskog Out 4-6 Weeks, Panther Power (March 9)


Some ill-timed news for fantasy owners of Gabriel Landeskog. The Colorado captain is expected to be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury. This timeline effectively ends Landeskog’s regular season and makes him droppable in non-keeper formats that do not use separate IR slots, which will only be useful in the event that he returns significantly earlier than expected.
 


Geek of the Week lite for you here: Landeskog is currently the fifth-ranked player in Yahoo in leagues that count the categories below. This should give you an idea of the company that he’s been keeping in multicategory formats.
 

 

Rank

G

A

+/-

PPP

SOG

HIT

BLK

Nikita Kucherov

1

31

77

14

43

200

35

27

Alex Ovechkin

2

46

31

9

24

267

176

37

Nathan MacKinnon

3

34

50

16

31

294

43

25

Brent Burns

4

13

60

15

25

248

65

90

Gabriel Landeskog

5

33

36

15

25

230

114

59

Mark Giordano

6

14

48

31

21

182

48

131


In just 68 games, Landeskog has already set career highs in goals, points, and power-play points. His shot total is the highest since his rookie season (270 SOG), while his 114 hits ranks him second on the Avalanche. Of course, playing on arguably the league’s best line with two of the league’s top ten scorers in Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon doesn’t hurt. Regardless, it’s been a career season for Landeskog, even if it has been cut short.

Alexander Kerfoot seems like a possibility to be bumped up to the top line, which would be a huge boost to his fantasy value. Kerfoot has just one goal over his past six games, so his value could use a jumpstart anyway.

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After Mike Babcock said that Frederik Andersen would be held to 56 appearances, he clarified that he miscalculated that number and that Andersen would actually be held to 60 games (Chris Johnston). The 56-appearance projection would basically have Andersen split starts with Garret Sparks for the rest of the season, but an extra four starts means that Andersen will receive close to one more start per week than that. That’s an arrangement that Andersen owners should be able to live with.

As an Andersen owner, I figured that he could be looking at a workload reduction anyway, since the Leafs have been on a collision course with the Bruins all season anyway to face each other in the first round. What’s an extra home playoff game if the team is worn out by the playoffs.

Also for the Leafs: Nazem Kadri is expected to return to the lineup after missing the past eight games with a concussion. Kadri replaced Andreas Johnsson on the first-unit power play. Johnsson had scored five points in the first four games of Kadri’s absence, but he has gone cold with no points over his last four games. TSN SportsCentre mentioned this in passing before they spent about two minutes discussing how much Auston Matthews has been struggling lately. Matthews has two points in his last five games. Oh pul-eeze, Toronto.

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My fantasy playoffs start next week in my two head-to-head leagues. So in case you are in the same boat, I thought it would be useful (hopefully my opponents aren’t reading this) to share the number of games each team plays next week.

Teams with 4 games: Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto

Teams with 3 games: Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Nashville, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

Teams with 2 games: Los Angeles, Vegas

The Kings are especially a team to avoid next week, since both their games are on busy nights (Thursday and Saturday). At least the Golden Knights play on lighter nights Friday and Sunday, which matters when you are trying to maximize the output of your roster in a given week. The lottery-bound Kings possess the league’s second-worst offense (2.34 GF/GP) anyway, and I’ve been thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t draft Jonathan Quick, so this just gives you one more reason to avoid the Kings.

For more on the schedule over the upcoming days, check out the latest Looking Ahead.

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When Cam discussed “stacking mates” in yesterday’s Ramblings, it felt like he was talking directly to me! You see, I own three Florida Panthers on one of my teams: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Mike Hoffman. (On this same roster, I also owned three Ottawa Senators until Matt Duchene and Mark Stone were traded.)

Yes, I can attest to the fact that this can be a risky strategy, particularly in head-to-head, where the number of games played and the team’s overall output can have a significant impact on the week’s results. It kind of happened to me by accident after Duchene was traded last season and Hoffman was traded during the offseason. Yet I won my league last season, and I’m in contention again this season. So if you decide to stack your roster, at least pick the team’s best players, which will at least minimize the risk. Otherwise, the mutual fund strategy of diversification works best for your fantasy portfolio.

If you own multiple Panthers players and this is a critical week for you, then stacking has paid back in spades for you. Barkov picked up not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE assists on Friday, while Huberdeau added a goal and three assists. In fact, the Barkov-Huberdeau-Evgenii Dadonov line was a combined plus-14, with Dadonov chipping in three helpers of his own.

Over consecutive nights, Barkov and Huberdeau have been scorching hot, accruing seven points each. Huby has now hit 70 points for the first time in his career, while Barkov is just three points shy of his 78-point career high set last season. Start these Panthers with confidence as their team attempts a last-ditch playoff push.

Also, Barkov has been pitching in both goals and assists over the past month.  
 


Back-to-back games didn’t work out so well for Devan Dubnyk, though. The Wild goaltender was pulled after the first period after allowing three goals on seven shots. You would have thought the more difficult start in the state of Florida would have been against the Lightning, but he pitched a 25-save shutout against them the night before. Sometimes you just have to throw your projections out the window, but I’m also often wary of a goalie starting two consecutive nights.

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Braden Holtby had his own 25-save shutout on Friday, this one against the struggling Devils. Two mediocre regular seasons have bookended a Stanley Cup run for Holtby, but at least he has won five consecutive decisions, posting a 1.58 GAA and .935 SV% over that span.

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When the Jets’ offense fires on all cylinders, it is rivalled by few. Winnipeg torched the usually goaltending-reliable Hurricanes for eight goals, all of which were allowed by the usually-dependable Curtis McElhinney. Only three Jets failed to get on the scoresheet in this game, the names being Sami Niku, Brandon Tanev, and… Mark Scheifele? Wow, that’s a missed opportunity if you’re a Scheifele owner. He’s now been held without a point in back-to-back games, but I don’t think you’re complaining about his production otherwise.

Nikolaj Ehlers was the scoring star for the Jets, scoring a goal and adding two assists to go with a plus-3. It’s been an up-and-down season for Ehlers, who has 32 points in 47 games in spite of a slow start and an injury that cost him a month and a half of the season.

By the way, McElhinney’s goals-against average jumped from 2.31 to 2.52 in this game. The Jets are usually a tough matchup, yet I still don’t think I would have benched Curtis Mac in this game.

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So how about Troy Terry and Max Jones? With a goal and two assists on Friday, Terry has now scored three points in each of back-to-back games. Jones scored his first career NHL goal in the final minute of the game (not an empty netter, though). The Ducks have their line combinations spread out all over the place, and their scoring sits at the bottom of the league. Normally that’s a scenario in which it’s difficult to recommend anyone, but maybe there’s still some juice to squeeze. At least Terry, who scored 41 points in 41 AHL games, is showing flashes of the player that he can become.

Carey Price’s eight goals allowed is a tough pill to swallow. Hopefully you didn’t start both McElhinney and Price; otherwise, your goaltending ratios for the week will be destroyed.

Not that this is any shocker, but the Habs’ loss clinches a playoff spot for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Get your playoff brackets ready.

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Great hit, or suspension worthy? Delivered by Darren Archibald in an AHL game.
 


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For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.