My thoughts on McDavid vs. Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Patrik Laine, Calvin Pickard and much more …
The head-to-head battle showed Sid’s team winning the game, but McDavid picking up more points. McDavid had three assists while Sid had zilch (though he did get an assist on the second goal, but lost credit for it). The Oilers, as we’ve seen before, had the lead and lost it. That’s where experience and growth as a team will make a difference in 2017-18 and beyond. And that’s why this year they’ll only be ‘battling’ for a playoff spot rather than walking away with one.
Conor Sheary has been a stud – seven points in six games…and he’s almost never playing with Sidney Crosby, with whom he’d enjoyed so much success in the playoffs. At the end of the game, when the Penguins needed a goal and bench started to get shortened, Sheary was put on the Crosby line and that was when he scored. I’m very optimistic about Sheary’s season ahead because he’s playing his way onto that big line. He’s not there yet, but he’ll get there.
I’ve had a couple of pretty vocal readers ask about Nathan MacKinnon and how terrible he’s doing. The reality is, I don’t believe you can call things “terrible”. He’s had a four-game pointless drought, which happens all the time even to the best. He scored last night, just his second goal of the season, and there are a lot more to come. If you check his player profile (click his name) you’ll see that his advanced stats light up as green as it gets – that indicates a pretty big market correction upwards is forthcoming (i.e. “buy low”). This is the time of year where a four-game pointless drought will stick out like a sore thumb, so get fooled by it. If he delayed this drought until January, you wouldn’t have even noticed that he went from 36 points in 38 games to 36 points in 42 games. You notice this one because he went from six points in eight games to six in 12.
The Colorado net situation is still muddy. Calvin Pickard had a chance to really make a statement and steal some starts from Semyon Varlamov but he allowed four goals on 25 shots. Not terrible, but not even close to “making a statement”. Varlamov’s job is safe for now.
In his first NHL game Anthony DeAngelo scored his first career NHL goal. He played 20:35 and 3:29 of that was on the power play. He had been playing well in the AHL so far with seven points in eight games for Tucson. He’s in the lineup at the expense of Kevin Connauton (healthy scratch). Michael Stone has a UBI but is back skating and could play Thursday but if he’s not – DeAngelo will get another shot.
A couple of goalies got lit up like Christmas trees last night, including Frederik Andersen who had been going on such a nice run. The offensively-hopeless Kings scored seven goals (four on Andersen before he was pulled). You know you’ve had a tough game when the Kings score seven times and Petr Budaj shuts you out.
Seven goals and the only player to get three points is…Derek Forbort? Forbort had two points in 26 career games and zero points so far this season, and he tallied three assists! I’m sure he helped a lot of DFS teams (or not).
The Jets scored eight times on Dallas – four each on Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen. Unlike with the Kings, this time a couple of players really scored big for their fantasy squads. Patrik Laine scored his second career hat trick – plus as assist, was plus-3, had two PIM, four SOG and two hits. Two hat tricks already!
Patrik Laine is 4th in modern era (since 1943-44) to post multiple hat tricks in 1st 14 career games (B. Federko, B. Nichols, B. Gaudreau). pic.twitter.com/briMjeNAuu— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 9, 2016
In 14 games Laine has 11 goals and 15 points. He played with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers and since being matched up with those two he has been much more productive at even strength. Laine had always been playing with Scheifele, but it wasn’t until they moved Blake Wheeler off the line and put in Ehlers did things really start rolling.
What this means is that Ehlers and Scheifele are in for big years. Chemistry like this will lead to the trio playing together through thick and thin. If they ever get broken up, they’ll be put back together soon. What we’ve seen over the last three games or so is more than enough to convince anyone that these three kids – three studs – are a match made in heaven. Scheifele also had four points (and has nine in the last three games).
Ehlers had two points and has seven in three games. I sure hope some of you managed to ‘buy low’ after he had just four points in 11 games to start. Because he’s going to top 65 points this year if healthy. All three of these guys will slow down – but only because the pace they are on is absurd (105?). But all three will top 65 points and in the future things will only get better.
There is some concern over how this effects Wheeler. Don’t worry about Wheeler. Even playing with weaker linemates he’ll still get his points. His upside is what he did last year (79 points) and his downside is about 65 points, which is what he was reliably doing year after year before 2015-16. So he’ll get in between there again. One of the most reliable players in the league. Don’t worry about who he plays with – I could be on one wing and Laidlaw could be at center and Wheeler will be just fine.
Kevin Lebanc was recalled by the Sharks and played in his first career NHL game. He saw 13:23 and no PP time, but as you can see below he had some pretty sweet linemates. Here were the Sharks line combos last night:
#1 28.9% PAVELSKI,JOE – THORNTON,JOE – WARD,JOEL
#2 25.3% BOEDKER,MIKKEL – HERTL,TOMAS – MARLEAU,PATRICK
#3 20.1% COUTURE,LOGAN – DONSKOI,JOONAS – LABANC,KEVIN
#4 12.9% KARLSSON,MELKER – TIERNEY,CHRIS – WINGELS,TOMMY
Jonathan Marchessault has as many goals (seven) in 13 games with Florida as he did in 45 games with Tampa Bay last year. And he actually scored his seventh against Tampa Bay.
Artturi Lehkonen is out for a week with a UBI, but if it wasn’t decided before it certainly is now – Alexander Radulov is now on the Alex Galchenyuk line. So Lehkonen will have to hope for another good linemate when he returns.
Radulov tallied two more points last night (Galchenyuk too). For Rads, he has 10 points in his last nine contests.
For some reason, Paul Byron is on the other wing on that big line. I was pretty high on Byron several years ago but he has since proved himself to be more of a depth player. However, he’s having a very good year and now has three points in two games thanks to his linemates.
Very interesting to see Ryan Ellis paired with PK Subban on the top Nashville power play while Roman Josi is on the second unit with Mattias Ekholm. Four real solid puck-moving defensemen, but if Ellis is getting more PP time and that kind of pairing (i.e. with a stud like Subban). If you look at Ellis’ game log (click his name), you’ll see that last night was just the second time that he saw more than 51% of the team’s available PP time. Ellis could be in for a bit of a run.
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The Rangers moved Dylan McIlrath to Florida for Steve Kampfer and a conditional seventh rounder (i.e. if McIlrath plays 30 games then the Rangers get the pick). The Rangers get a player with NHL experience who they can actually keep in the minors and use if needed. They knew they were wasting McIlrath. With the Panthers, McIlrath slots in as the No.7. That means he’ll actually get into the odd game. Not that he has any fantasy upside at all…
Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts are here. Of interest – his note about Loui Eriksson not playing with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. He says that the Sedins like to play down low, and Willie Desjardins doesn’t want Eriksson there because he does the same thing. So, as it is with today’s NHL, the coach won’t sacrifice defensive responsibility to take a crack at more offense. You can bet the house that the coach will take that option every time (even if us fantasy owners would rather they did not).
Another great point made by Friedman – Vancouver has a 15 percent tax on house sales for foreign buyers. So if a player buys a $2 million home there then he’s actually paying $2.3 million. To translate – a $2 million home in Vancouver is like a $1 million home in your typical Ontario city, or a $500,000-$800,000 home in your typical American city (depending on the state – and I’m just roughing it based on my experience looking around different cities and comparing prices on similar sized homes). Imagine living in Ohio and selling your home for $600,000 and then paying $2.3 million for the same home? Even factoring exchange at $1.34, it’s still $1.72 or close to triple.
The Vincent Trocheck shootout goal that Friedman refers to in Point 28 is this one:
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