Ramblings: My Top 10 Calder Picks so far; plus Simmonds, Mrazek, Klingberg & more (Nov 30)

by Dobber on November 30, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: My Top 10 Calder Picks so far; plus Simmonds, Mrazek, Klingberg & more (Nov 30)

Ramblings: My Top 10 Calder picks to date and how they’ll end up, plus more news from around the fantasy hockey world.


I’ve seen lots of chatter around the Internet, here at the quarter pole of the NHL season, with regards to the Calder Trophy – so far. There are plenty of worthy candidates. I’ll give you my list so far, followed by another list of how I think it will end up (not the same thing!). So far, based on performance to date, here is my list:

1. Zach Werenski

2. Patrik Laine

3. Mitch Marner

4. Matt Murray

5. Auston Matthews

6. William Nylander

7. Brady Skjei

8. Matt Tkachuk

9. Brandon Carlo

10. Brayden Point

I have Werenski here not just for the tremendous numbers and for how much he dominates play, but also because his team is so much worse without him. I know this isn’t an MVP discussion, but this is still an intangible that should matter. Without him, does Cam Atkinson have 20 points or even 15? Does Alexander Wennberg have 19? Amazing.

Laine, Matthews, Marner and Nylander have disappeared for stretches, but I haven’t really seen that from Werenski. Denis Malgin, Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov get an honorable mention.

Now here is how I think things will finish:

1. Auston Matthews

2. Matt Murray

3. Patrik Laine

This isn’t because Werenski fades. Far from it. He’s this year’s Gostisbehere and I think he tops 55 points, which is a bit of a slowdown but I don’t think anyone expects the ridiculous pace to continue. No, this is more because Murray gets 45 games under his belt and dominates them. This is because Matthews has put his one and only major slump of the season behind him and surges forward. This is because Laine is an elite player who will flirt with 45 goals. How can Werenski elbow his way in there?

I also think Christian Dvorak will make his mark and sneak into the Top 10 rookie votes at the expense of Point. Ivan Provorov is also a rookie to watch. Let the community know how you see things shaking out in the Calder race by commenting below.


I read somewhere several weeks ago about how the Carolina strategy was to give the kids the ice time they need to develop. Regardless of the challenge and regardless of how often they get exposed or burned, they’ll keep getting thrown out there. The three key ones, who are (at this point) the future of the Carolina forwards, are Teuvo Teravainen, Elias Lindholm and Sebastian Aho. The later saw 16:22 of ice time despite just one point in his last six games (minus-3) and six points in his last 17 games. Teravainen saw 17:52 but is pointless in five games and other than his four-point game on November 12 he has just six points in 21 games. Lindholm has just seven points on the season but saw 18:45 last night. I can’t say if they’ll turn things around enough to make themselves fantasy viable, though all three have the ability to do so. But I can say that they will continue to get top six ice time and accrue experience.

Here were the line combos last night, with Jordan Staal out (concussion):





Viktor Stalberg scored twice and has three goals in his last two games. Furthermore, he has 12 shots on goal in his last three games. He could be a sneaky pickup with the extra ice time kicking around right now, though at this point he’s not playing on a good line.


Brandon Pirri – still getting the PP ice time. Still not scoring with it. This Pirri update has been brought to you by – Missitall. Missitall: for those long, sleepless nights.

Chris Kreider has just four points in his last 12 games. Such a strong, impressive start and it’s gone to waste. By next week he could be back to his normal career pace and this isn’t a breakout year at all. I honestly didn’t see that coming, though I wonder if his two injuries have played a roll.


Josh Anderson has vaulted himself into the realm of multi-cat stud, especially if you had him activated last night and especially if your league counts hits. He had a goal, three points, plus-2, seven SOG and three hits – all with just 13:18 of ice time and no PP time. He’s playing on a line with Scott Hartnell and William Karlsson.


The Lightning have been riding a wave of hot play from Andrei Vasilevskiy. When they play him, a win seem to be assured. But not last night – he gave up five goals and that’s the first time this season that he’s given up more than three.


Zdeno Chara has missed four games now and Torey Krug has four points in that span, thanks to a two-point night. He generally sees around 21 minutes per game, but that’s up to 24 or 25 minutes since the injury, and his %PP (percentage of the team’s power play time) is generally around 55% but that’s now up to 70% or more. Back-to-back two-point games has effectively eliminated his “buy low” status. The time to grab him would have been the instant you saw Chara go down.


Wayne Simmonds is up to 22 points in 24 games now. Yes, it’s unsustainable. But I’ve (and many others) said such things about Nick Foligno two years ago and Scott Hartnell on a couple of occasions.

So to re-phrase: As far as statistical likelihood goes, Simmonds won’t continue this pace. But it’s still possible. Can he get 49 points in 58 games? That would give him 71 points and a huge year for him. His SH% is only slightly elevated (remove two goals and it’s about right) but his 5on5 SH% is right at the norm or even a tad low. The only difference this year versus other years is the fact that he’s seeing some PK time.


Speaking of Nick Foligno – he’s the new Vinny Prospal. We’ve been looking for a replacement for Vinny for quite some time and we’ve found one. Extreme good year, extreme bad year, extreme good year. If he finishes this season the way it has started, and he then gets 40 or 50 points in 2017-18 we’ll know for sure!


Jack Eichel had two points in his season debut. Here were the Buffalo line combos:






This is just what the doctor ordered for Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart owners. Look for a nice little turnaround for them.

Robin Lehner left the game near the end of the first. He has a hip injury and for now is “day to day”.


Mike Hoffman started the season with seven points in 16 games. With four points last night he has nine in his last five games. Hopefully none of you panicked 16 games in. That hat trick was the first of his career. He played with Derick Brassard and Mark Stone – and I love the short-term outlook for that line.

Bobby Ryan left the game early. It was his right hand, aggravating an earlier injury and he won’t play next game – and maybe (likely?) longer. But once he left, the Sens put J-G Pageau in his spot on the Kyle Turris / Ryan Dzingel line. And that’s a combo I had been wanting to see (disclosure: I own Dzingel and Pageau in one of my leagues, so that’s why I want to see this line).



Yes, you can get full-year stats in Frozen Pool by using the custom stats in the Report Generator and setting the dates accordingly.


Anthony Mantha had 19 shots in four games heading into last night. He only earned one shot on goal, but he scored on it. Still wielding that hot stick while playing on the top line, though his ice time slipped to 12:30. The latter can be explained by the fact that the Wings were shorthanded a lot.

Frans Nielsen has quietly put together a three-game points streak, five points in that span. A steady 50- to 55-point player and it looks like the new team isn’t changing that.

Is Petr Mrazek turning it around? He’s a far better goalie than what we’ve seen. Last two games he’s stopped 56 of 59 shots and is 1-0-1. Couple that with Jimmy Howard’s slump and I consider this a ‘buy low’ window. Yes, there’s a risk, but I think Mrazek will pay off – at least to the extent that we saw from him last season.


John Klingberg was a healthy scratch again. Esa Lindell subbed in and scored. That gives Lindell three points in his last three games. I wish I had an answer for you about Klingberg. Could just be an off-year. I am confident in him as a productive star defenseman in terms of the next decade, so if this “off year” keeps up until April then I’d definitely be trying to acquire him next summer. For now, Lindell looks like a great short-term replacement.


Kyle Connor saw just four minutes of ice time last night. A trip to the AHL is pretty much imminent.

Here were the Winnipeg line combos with Bryan Little back in the lineup (and Marko Dano leaving the game due to injury):



#3           16.7%    COPP,ANDREW – LOWRY,ADAM – TANEV,BRANDON



I know I’ve fed you a lot of line combos today, but last night saw a lot of changes. I like to point out the line combos when a major player returns or there’s a coaching change. Coaching change? Why yes, I have line combos from the first game of a coaching change right here!






So the interim coach for the Panthers kept Jagr, Barkov and Marchessault where they were (and they got a point). And he seems to be pushing Seth Griffith. So if Griffith doesn’t pay off under the GM’s watchful eye then I assume he gets waived again.

You can check line combinations live during game action via the “line combinations” section in frozen pool and setting the drop box for “latest regular season game”. But what I do (a fast way) is just use a player profile, one of the players in the game. At the bottom of his profile are the line combos in-game.


One other thing of note in Tom Rowe’s first game as coach – the Panthers focused on shooting from the point. Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad, Mark Pysyk and Jason Demers combined for 18 shots on goal. All of the forwards combined for 19. Yandle and Ekblad owners could really benefit from that firing.


Nathan MacKinnon took seven shots on goal for the second straight game. Didn’t score in either contest. MacKinnon has just five goals on 77 shots this season – and he’s a heavy “buy”. Key numbers:

SH% is 6.5%. Generally it’s around 8.5%, so he’s two or three goals off the pace.

5on5 SH% is 5.59%. Generally it’s around 8.1%, so he’s about six points off the pace.

So call it three goals and three assists that he should have tacked onto his totals if the puck was going in at his average rate. Over the next 61 games he should (logically) meet that average rate. His pace is for 59 points, but if he gets 60 points in 61 games then that gives him 76. Give him time to shake this slump and adjust for error and I’m thinking somewhere in the middle – 67 points.


Oh my:


I’m running out of time and space here but I suppose I should address the one game I actually saw from start to finish – McDavid versus Matthews. Connor had two points including the beauty I’ll show below, while Matthews had one point. I compare the two to Crosby versus Tavares in terms of talent and upside, glean from that what you will.

Cam Talbot had an off night and was pulled after two periods (four goals on 14 shots).

Every Oilers defenseman saw power-play time except one: Adam Larsson. Sigh. I hate being wrong. I think that’s why you come here because either I’m right…or I work my ass off to get it right because I can’t stand being wrong. Being wrong is like losing, and I hate losing.

I thought Zach Hyman was dynamite on the Matthews line and he has three points in his last two games so perhaps there’s a bit of a surge coming.

The McDavid goal I alluded to: