Ramblings: Marleau Nets a Rooster (Jan 24)

by steve laidlaw on January 24, 2017

Ramblings: Marleau scores four, Zack Smith's extension, and more.

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Patrick Marleau has been an utter disappointment these past couple of seasons but never more so than last night. Oh sure, he scored four goals in one period. But did we get a rooster celebration? No. What a buzzkill. I liked him better when he wasn’t scoring at all.

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The Capitals’ buzzsaw keeps on churning. Unfortunately, at this point there’s not much you can do to help yourself with this info. Either you jumped on some of their struggling guys while they were undervalued or you’re just watching the show. The one guy you might actually be able to grab in a league is Andre Burakovsky who had three assists to give him 10 points in the last six games.

The latest on John Carlson is that he will likely be out until after the All-Star break. That makes the scorching Matt Niskanen a continued person of interest in all formats. Niskanen is still available in 30% of Yahoo leagues so maybe you can squeeze him into your lineup. I was able to snag him last week, right before he got hot. Niskanen has eight points in the last five games.

You might also find Dmitry Orlov available in your league but he’s been hit or miss. Last night was a hit with two goals, much to the light of Alex Ovechkin:

So Ovy’s got a concussion, right?

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Elias Lindholm notched an assist on the lone Hurricane goal to give him 11 points in the last 10 games. Safe to take him off the milk carton.

As I discussed last week, Cam Ward is coming unglued. He has now allowed three goals or more in seven of his last eight starts. The Hurricanes are getting beat up by their divisional foes.

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The Rangers’ lines last night without Kevin Hayes:

#1           23.1%    GRABNER,MICHAEL – MILLER,J.T. – VESEY,JIMMY

#2           13%        BUCHNEVICH,PAVEL – NASH,RICK – ZIBANEJAD,MIKA

#3           12.6%    PUEMPEL,MATT – STEPAN,DEREK – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

#4           11.8%    KREIDER,CHRIS – STEPAN,DEREK – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

JT Miller moved over to center in place of Hayes, notching an assist. He’s got 13 points in his last 11 games. The absence of Hayes might hurt a little but right now he’s playing hot.

There has been some genuine panic over Henrik Lundqvist’s numbers this season. He has lost some starts to Antti Raanta as his play has slipped. But he can still flash the skills. He has three straight wins, all of which were quality starts. He stopped 36 of 38 against the Kings last night, an impressive display.

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The schedule in most leagues has this week combined with next week for head-to-head matchups due to the All-Star break. The Kings were one of two teams (along with the Capitals) to play seven games during this matchup schedule. My favourite waiver pickup: Tanner Pearson.

Pearson was held off the board for the fourth time in the last five games so my gamble might be a bust but he’ll have six more games to prove me right.

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On the flip side of the schedule situation, the Panthers and Canucks have only two games during this extended week. The Panthers already played one of those.

I’ve voided myself of all my Canucks – I only had Bo Horvat – and am dropping everyone off the Panthers not named Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Marchessault, Keith Yandle or Roberto Luongo. You could add Aaron Ekblad to the list but use your discretion. Every league is different. Most leagues are shallow enough to drop guys like Jaromir Jagr when they aren’t providing a large volume of games.

Trocheck would be gone from my rosters if not for his sizzling play. He has 10 goals and 17 points in his last 14 games.

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Some stingy scoring from the folks in Toronto kept Auston Matthews from recording a secondary assist last night. That allowed Mitch Marner to record a pair of assists and take the league lead in rookie scoring.

Nazem Kadri scored a pair and is up to 20 goals on the season, one shy of his career high. He is wielding such a hot stick, with 10 goals in the last 15 games. He seems like a lock for 30 goals at this point. Then again, Kadri probably should have had 30 goals last year with the shot volume he produced but just had no luck. Good to see this bounceback.

A pair of assists for Nikita Zaitsev last night but I think he misses Morgan Rielly more than he is benefitting from his absence.

 Martin Marincin was hurt at the end of this game following a slewfoot by Matthew Tkachuk. I’m a Tkachuk fan but this is crossing the line:

I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s not some supplementary discipline just because of how blatant it was.

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Johnny Gaudreau had to undergo the concussion protocol after a hit to the head from Leo Komarov. I’m not going to show the hit because I’m not interested in debating whether it was clean or not. Bottom line, Gaudreau got hit in the head so there’s a possible concussion. He returned quickly so there is seemingly no issue but I’d argue he returned too quickly for anyone to really know. Something to watch for.

I know he’s struggling but I’d still be hard after Gaudreau in fantasy leagues. He has only four points in his last 13 games and has seemingly handed the reins over to Mikael Backlund and Co. but that just opens the door for you to buy low. The Flames could potentially add a goal-scorer at the deadline, which would help Gaudreau tremendously given all the attention that he draws.

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Nikolaj Ehlers turns on the jets:

Ehlers is what everyone hoped Mikkel Boedker would be. He’s up to 17 goals on the season.

Those damned injuries are popping up for the Jets again:

They are already down Drew Stafford. Adam Lowry saw over five minutes of power play time in this one so perhaps he benefits here.

No surprise here but for the third straight game Ondrej Pavelec conceded three goals.

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Sami Vatanen was a healthy scratch for the Ducks. Nice problem to have, all these skilled defensemen Anaheim has. I’m not sure I totally support the decision to dress Kevin Bieksa and Korbinian Holzer over Vatanen but they got the two points.

Shea Theodore stepped into Vatanen’s spot and notched a PP assist. Doesn’t seem like Theodore’s going to have the chance for fantasy relevance without an injury or a trade but we’ll just have to keep him on the watch list.

John Gibson went down with an injury over the weekend and did not start Monday’s game but it doesn’t sound like the injury is that serious. Solid performance from Jonathan Bernier, which might embolden some caution out of Randy Carlyle.

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A bit of minor intrigue on the Coyotes:

Christian Fischer now has two goals in two games and has done so on his only two NHL shots. He’s not that interesting though considering his low usage rate.

More intriguing is Alex Burmistrov who has five assists in five games since joining Arizona. He’s averaging over 16 minutes per game and over two minutes of PP time per game. Burmistrov isn’t must-have material but he is interesting.

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Matt Duchene was out sick but that won't stop folks from wondering if he was held out for trade purposes.

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Zack Smith signed a four-year extension worth $3.25 M annually from the Senators. He was set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

I don’t really like the deal. He’ll be 29 when the deal kicks in. He has presumably maxed out who he is as a player. He’s not bad but has been buoyed by minutes with Mark Stone. Smith does offer some value as a PK guy but this is for a team that ranks 29th on the PK over the past two seasons so how good is he really? He’s also a secondary PP guy but has no PPP this season.

The Senators are hurting for forward depth so you can understand their desire to keep a useful body around but continuing to use Smith and putting bigger cap resources towards him might be locking the Senators into mediocrity.

It appears Clarke MacArthur’s concussions will prevent him from playing again, which will offer the Senators salary relief. In a sense, they’ve shuffled MacArthur’s cap spot over to Smith, which isn’t necessarily bad but the Senators are not a team that spends to the cap. I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to spend those newfound dollars, especially as the Senators have bigger fish to fry.

The summer of 2018 is going to be a big one with Cody Ceci and Mark Stone hitting restricted free agency, while Kyle Turris will hit unrestricted free agency. They now have about $40 M tied up in just eight guys heading into that summer, only two of whom will be under 30. These are some big commitments, which will make it more difficult to keep Ceci, Stone and Turris, the guys they should be trying to keep around.

Will that $3 M matter when it comes to keeping those guys? Maybe not. But locking yourself into what will likely be a depreciating asset is not the way to go. Smith has already defied the standard aging curve so maybe he’s the rare exception, like Chris Kunitz, who can have his best years after age 30. I’d bet against that.

Bottom line: if the Senators think they can get a few more 20-goal seasons out of Smith (he’s on pace for the second such season of his career) then this deal will be money well spent. I don’t think he’ll get there.

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