Ramblings: Midseason observations, goalie strategies, Bertuzzi, Oleksiak and more … (Jan 15)

by Dobber on January 15, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Midseason observations, goalie strategies, Bertuzzi, Oleksiak and more … (Jan 15)


I’m back! And by that I mean I’m not just pinch-hitting today. After an eight-month hiatus I’m back doing semi-regular work again, with the plan being to do this every two weeks and then see if I can up it to weekly by March and then go from there. Thanks for your support throughout this process. As for me, I’m feeling about as well as can be expected four-and-a-half months after a stem cell transplant. Not perfect, but doing well. In fact, if they were to rank all the transplant recipients in my age group after four-and-a-half months, I would definitely be in the upper tier of that list.

Enough of that. Let’s get down to business!


Don't forget to set your lineups today – games start EARLY!

San Jose plays five games this week (Monday-Sunday). I already swapped out Derek Ryan for waiver-guy Chris Tierney in one league.


While I was working on the Midseason Guide (released it Friday for download – details here), I was astounded by the amount of players on pace for more than 90 or 100 points. As of Friday, the following players fit the bill:

NIKITA KUCHEROV                                                            114

NATHAN MACKINNON                                                    104

CLAUDE GIROUX                                                                103

JAKUB VORACEK                                                                100

JOHN TAVARES                                                                   97

BLAKE WHEELER                                                                  97

JOSH BAILEY                                                                         96

JOHNNY GAUDREAU                                                        95

STEVEN STAMKOS                                                             95

BRAD MARCHAND                                                             93

CONNOR MCDAVID                                                          89

I left McDavid in there because, well, McDavid. I’d lay down good money that he’ll get 90 for sure unless he gets hurt. So when was the last time 11 players had 90 points? Or four players hit 100? Or anyone reached 114?
2006-07 was the last time 11 players hit 90 points (and 14 players actually did it).
2009-10 was the last time four players reached 100 points.
2006-07 was the last time a player hit 114 (Crosby had 120, Thornton had 114).
Those first two years after the lockout were truly crazy for offense. I don’t think that’s where we are this year. But who do I knock down a peg? Voracek and Giroux seem like easy ones to miss 100. Bailey seems like an easy one to remove from 90, and perhaps Wheeler too. In the end I went with nine players hitting 90 and just Kucherov making it to 100.

When looking at the top scorers and my projections, I realize after the fact that I tweaked downward most of them. The exceptions are Gaudreau (steady), McDavid (upward), Kane (steady), Crosby (upward), Kopitar (steady), Eichel (upward), Kuznetsov (steady), Monahan (steady), Backstrom (upward) and Panarin (upward). That’s out of my projected Top 35 – 25 of them slip downwards.


I was asked about a goalie’s 3YP (or lack thereof in the MSG). I don’t do those. Goalies are indeed hard to project, and they can go from crap value to top value within weeks other than the top six or seven regulars. So best advice I have on that is to put your faith in the contract. Sometimes it doesn't work – Ilya Bryzgalov the main example. But usually it does. Because coaches will play the hell out of the bigger money guy and the guy signed long term. Even if he sucks. That's why Aaron Dell can't take over for Martin Jones. And why Cam Ward won't take down Scott Darling. And why Cam Talbot and later Antti Raanta couldn't take down Henrik Lundqvist. And why Anders Nilsson didn't take out Talbot that first year when Nilsson’s record was way better by early January. I don’t do a 3YP for goalies and in fact when doing goalie rankings I look at just current year and next year (other than prospects, in which case I look at skill level, how highly the organization regards them, and how many years out they are/potential openings). Smartest thing you can do is play the contract.

While I’m on the subject, the two backup goalies with the best chance of becoming a starter next year are David Rittich and Aaron Dell. And wouldn’t you know it? Both have expiring contracts…


Jordan Oesterle again is a top two guy with Duncan Keith in terms of ice time Sunday, and had the most PP time on Chicago. Again. However, he has gone three games without a point and is minus-4 in that span. So I’m not sure how much patience Coach Q has for him, but if he does this for a couple more games then the opportunity is lost for making a lasting fantasy impact. He looked so good there for a while, and I’m not counting him out yet because of that ice time. But unproven guys with no contract (there’s that word again) and no investment in him from the franchise (i.e. wasn’t drafted) have a short leash.


Two games after the trade, Anthony Duclair and Richard Panik each have one point and are plus-1. Duclair has 3 SOG while Panik has 2 SOG. I had noted to friends on Facebook that each would have a bit of a 10-game surge on their new teams and then you’d see both of them fade back into their inconsistent selves. Don’t overrate Duclair, I have not heard great things about him. And we already know all about Panik…

How set would you be had you traded Ryan Hartman after nine points in seven games (plus-4 and 13 hits)? Since then, give him 11 points, even plus/minus, 53 hits in 34 games.

Curious as to the logic behind giving Alex DeBrincat 11 minutes of ice time every game. After his surge earlier on, I’d be giving him Patrick Kane minutes game in and game out, and I wouldn’t deviate from that even if he was pointless in 10 games and a minus-5. Which he wasn’t. But that’s how much leash I’d give him. You have another potential Kane here, why rein him in? No power-play time Sunday. None.


Gustav Nyquist has 15 points in his last 18 games after a dreadful start. His deeper numbers point to this being sustainable and his goal total is back up to where it was when we considered him ‘good’. His last two seasons were horrible, with the exception of the second half of last year. If he’s a 25-goal scorer again then he can be trusted for 55 or even 60 points in the future. Let’s take another look at this in February.

Could Tyler Bertuzzi be the glue that’s patching this team together? Since being called back up, the team is just 5-4-0, which isn’t terrible. But the Red Wings seem to be…complete now. At least the forward lines. Bertuzzi has six points in his last eight games but that’s not my point. He’s not there to be a superstar. But he’s the player-type who can get the others working. His linemate Andreas Athanasiou has seven points in seven games, and the emergence of this second line has made the top line of Nyquist – Anthony ManthaHenrik Zetterberg more effective. Now if they can only solve their issues on defense…




Also, if you don’t already, follow me on Twitter.


Dougie Hamilton is on a five-game points streak after scoring a pair Sunday against the Hurricanes. He’s also on a streak of five games with a plus-2 rating. He’s still below expected pace, but five more games like this and he’d be right on said pace.

Matt Tkachuk has nine points in his last seven games.

Sebastian Aho left the game after taking this hit from Giordano. It was both knee-on-knee, as well as shoulder to chin although to me the latter looked like Aho’s fault. No update on Aho. Justin Williams and Mark Giordano combined for 37 penalty minutes here:


I won't get too far into the Flames, as Wickersham has them covered later today in the Wild West…


I don’t suppose anyone had Jamie Oleksiak active yesterday? Or owned? With two assists, 17 PIM, plus-2 and four SOG he had a pretty good fantasy game. In fact, since coming to the Penguins he’s been a hits machine (just one Sunday though) and has four points in 11 games. Thirty-nine hits! He never got this kind of ice time with Dallas, which means he didn’t have the chance to throw out some hits. He’s making up for lost time now and if your league counts hits and you haven’t picked up on this yet, get going. Sunday marked the first game in a Penguins’ uniform in which he failed to get at least two hits – and that was because he spent most of the game in the penalty box.

Sidney Crosby is now up to 11 points in his last four games, marching up the scoring race into a 13th place tie with Evgeni Malkin. You didn’t start to doubt him, did you?



Daniel Sedin missed Sunday’s contest with back spasms. He had a 300-game streak going, seventh in the NHL. So that’s two big iron man streaks that end.

Brock Boeser played 41 games last year, 49 the year prior and 57 before that. He’s now played 42 this season. So should we be worried that he only has two points in his last seven? Not yet. He’s going to slow in the second half, sure. That almost always happens with rookies coming out of college. But it’s too soon right now.


I’ll see you in a couple of weeks