Ramblings: McDavid, Marchand, Simmonds, Lindholm, Yandle, Granlund and much more (Mar.29)
Brad Marchand ended a three-game pointless drought – his only three-game pointless drought of the season – with an assist last night. Even if he is pointless the rest of the way, his 81-point season is still unbelievable. He has 13 PPPts more than his career high (of eight), so that’s a big part of it, sure. But his ES points are up tremendously. Most impressive? His SH% is 17.1% and his 5on5 SH% is 8.07 – both numbers are within range of his career numbers.
Craig Smith has seven points in five games, which is just over a third of his total points on the season. Not that Smith ever had huge relevance. But to have a sub-20-point season is pretty embarrassing. Every fantasy number that matters is on the decline for Smith and he’s only 27 years old. His streak of three consecutive 20-goal seasons is over, unless he can score 10 in his final nine games.
Ryan Ellis has 17 points in his last 21 games. He’s really coming into his own, offensively. He has 26 ES points while Roman Josi has 30. Ellis has 11 PPPts averaging 2:07 per game. Josi has 17 averaging 2:58. So who should be running the power play? Just speculating here, but I wonder if next year Josi gets the Alex Pietrangelo treatment. He’s so good in all areas of the game. Ellis is pretty good himself, but he’s smaller. Could he ever get the nod over Josi, while Josi is moved to a more defensive role?
Remember the ridiculous run that Filip Forsberg was on a few weeks ago? With all the three-point games? Well now he has two points in his last seven games and is stuck at 55 points on the season. To have a hot run like he did and still fall short of 60 points would be amazing.
Jordan Weal scored again. Give him five goals and seven points in his last 11 games, plus he got the shootout winner last night. Don’t forget – he’s a UFA in the summer and any team that signs him will likely need to give him a one-way deal. He could be next year’s Jonathan Marchessault. File his name away.
Wayne Simmonds kicked off the season blazing-hot with 29 points in 32 games. A career-year was in the cards. Nope. Apparently not. Not even a top-three season for him. Just 20 points in his last 44 games, and that slump has been going on long enough to have me concerned about next year. That being said, his fancy stats indicate a lot of bad luck/bad bounces. He’s seeing a career high for ice time, as well as %PP and offensive zone starts, so production should be up not down.
For the first time in over 25 years, the Red Wings have been officially eliminated from joining 15 other teams in the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are still clinging to hope with an unbelievable run (well – it’ll be unbelievable if they succeed). Carolina is 8-0-4 and remain four points behind Boston. Unlike Tampa and the Islanders, who have teams that should be in the playoff picture right now but aren’t, Carolina is pulling this out of their ass. Carolina? Led by Jordan Staal – that Carolina? I said “led by”, not “supplemented on the third line by”.
Elias Lindholm has 12 points in his last 12 games and keeps building on his career-high of 43 points. He’s playing like a guy who should lead this team in scoring next year. His fourth-year breakout started three months late, but it’s here baby!
Derek Ryan has points in five straight games. Kudos to coach Bill Peters for sticking by him and continuing to throw him out there even though he’s a late-blooming, unproven career minor-leaguer. Peters had faith, and it’s being rewarded. Ryan is a plus-7 in those five games and he’s also winning a ton of faceoffs. He’s won 348 of them this season for a 55.9% and he’s being leaned on for those more and more, which bodes well for future assists.
The Oilers clinched a playoff spot for the first time in 11 years and Connor McDavid all but sealed the NHL scoring title. Sidney Crosby has a game in hand, but it’s a seven-point deficit for him which is close to impossible to close in seven games. Congrats, Connor!
The Kings are all but eliminated. With Jeff Carter managing just two points in eight games when it matters most, it’s no surprise that the Kings are floundering. Five teams will fall short of 200 goals in 2016-17 – and Los Angeles will be one of them. Barring a couple of 7-2 victories.
Auston Matthews scored his 35th goal of the season which sets a new rookie record for a Maple Leaf, toppling Leafs’ legend Wendel Clark who had 34 as a freshman. It’s hard to believe that, with Matthews getting 62 points this year (and counting) and 43 at even strength – Zach Hyman has only managed 28 points. The two have been joined at the hip all season long.
I’ve been so impressed with rookie defenseman Brady Skjei, who picked up three assists last night. He has 38 points on the season, and six in his last six games.
That’s two straight games of allowing five goals for Henrik Lundqvist. His “clutch” play earned the Rangers a playoff berth last night, officially. The Rangers would love to avoid a goaltending controversy, but they’re not going to be able to.
Mikael Granlund has gone five consecutive games without a point and has just one in his last seven.
With four points last night, Alex Ovechkin has 11 in his last eight and he’s now positioned to top 70 points – something that was very much in doubt two weeks ago. Gearing up to playoff mode?
Artturi Lehkonen has quietly put up points in five of his last six games. I think next year he takes a small step forward (37 or 38 points) and then really makes his mark in Year 3. Just a hunch, mostly based on his prolific shot-versus-ice-time ratio.
Ryan Getzlaf, who has been white-hot of late, was a last-minute scratch last night with an LBI. Finally, a bit of luck for me in that league where I’m chasing first without Malkin. Last week I told you I was 13 points back. Today it’s up to 14. Not gaining! Need…Malkin…back…
Good news – both Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel were on the ice with Sidney Crosby yesterday. Could the line be back together? Guentzel still wasn’t taking contact. But these three are close! I’d love for them to stay healthy, as I truly think they could be a modern-day legendary line. I added the words “modern day” because these days any productive line that lasts beyond one season could almost be considered legendary.
On a side note – Sam Reinhart was late for a team meeting and as punishment he watched the game from the bench. He didn’t get a single shift. People who think Dan Bylsma should be fired for that, as well as for Buffalo’s poor record, are homers who lack patience. And after dealing with unbearable Leafs fans for the past decade, I’m somewhat of an expert in this. Bylsma is a great coach – not even Scotty Bowman could have coaxed a better record out of this bunch. It’s funny how rebuilds get forgotten – Pittsburgh, Chicago, Edmonton all took years and years to rebuild to the point where fans frothed at the mouth with impatience. A quick turnaround, such as Toronto’s (assuming you ignore their half-rebuild under Brian Burke) is very rare. Most rebuilds are five years plus. And the Sabres, under this build, are about three years in. Relax!
In non-fantasy, but NHL news, the emails that the NHL fought to keep sealed – were unsealed. These emails are involved in the concussion lawsuit and Rick Westhead in TSN breaks it down in his fascinating article. I won’t get into it here, but will merely point you to the piece. It’s here.
Johnny Gaudreau’s brother Matt, who is also small but has half the talent, was unable to land an NHL contract after finishing up at Boston College. But he did sign with the Islanders’ farm team Bridgeport.
The Blues signed their stud D prospect (yes, they have more of those) Jake Walman yesterday. Potentially, he could be the best of the bunch. But we won’t get to see until the fall as he will finish up this season in the AHL. You can read our scouting report and fantasy outlook on him here.
Other college signings:
Chicago signed Matt Iacopelli, ranked 360th on my fantasy prospects list. He had a great second season with Western Michigan (36 points, 40 games). Full profile/outlook here.
Edmonton signed free agent college star forward Joseph Gambardella (52 points in 41 games for UMass-Lowell). He won’t have the impact of Drake Caggiula, and may just be another Greg Carey. But worth keeping an eye on.
New Jersey signed Michael Kapla, a free agent college defenseman. He was Gambardella’s teammate at UMass-Lowell, and tallied 30 points in 41 games.
The Rangers signed free agent D Vince Pedrie, who had 30 points in 39 games for Penn State.
Canucks signed free agent forward Griffen Molino, who had 33 points in 40 games for Western Michigan and holds little hope of a future in fantasy. He played with Iacopelli (above) and likely leeched some of his points off him.
Available for pre-sale now is the 12th Interactive Playoff Draft List. I will release this in two Fridays (April 7) and then re-release it April 9 after the teams are finalized.
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