Ramblings: Neal, Frolik and Silfverberg net hat-tricks, Subban to miss two more (Mar. 15)

by steve laidlaw on March 15, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Neal, Frolik and Silfverberg net hat-tricks, Subban to miss two more (Mar. 15)

Ramblings: Neal, Frolik and Silfverberg net hat-tricks, Subban to miss two more games and more.

What a wild way to kick off what is the first week of the head-to-head playoffs in most fantasy leagues. We got some crazy performances from some widely unowned players.

We’ll start in Calgary, where Michael Frolik was a man possessed scoring a hat-trick with two shorthanded goals before adding an empty-netter for good measure. If you score shorthanded goals (or shorthanded points) Frolik was clearly the guy to snag off the waiver wire for this week.

By the way, you shouldn’t be using shorthanded goals or shorthanded points in a head-to-head format because they occur too infrequently to be anything but random. I say this as someone who has shorthanded points as a category in some leagues. I hate it. It’s random and stupid. Almost as bad as game winning goals. Almost. But I digress.

Frolik has never really emerged as a great fantasy asset after being drafted in the top 10 back in 2006 but he has turned into a real pro. A good second or third line winger who can kill penalties and chip in a decent amount of offense. He’s actually a bit of a favourite of mine in really deep formats because of his sizeable shot totals (about 2.5 SOG per game) and modest offense. The one problem is that Frolik has gotten next to no power-play time with the Flames after being a second unit guy in Winnipeg. That’s the difference in 5-10 points, which isn’t great for someone who is already on the borderline.

Also scoring for Calgary was Sean Monahan with a pair of goals. He was also generous enough to dish off to Frolik for the empty-netter when either one of them could have completed the hat-trick.

Dougie Hamilton had three assists to push him to eight points in his last eight games. For next season, are you just scratching off the first two months of Hamilton’s Calgary tenure and projecting him based on the remainder of the season? That’s my plan.

Hamilton was buried, lost and left for dead like Leo DiCaprio in The Revenant those first two months scoring five points in 24 games. Since then, Hamilton has 29 in 45, which is a 53-point pace. So I will be drafting Hamilton for 50 points next season. He will be a second pairing guy for Calgary behind TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano but should be locked into a spot on the top power-play unit. No more messing about with this Dennis Wideman character.

Brodie and Sam Bennett both missed action with upper-body injuries. The Flames were hopeful to have Brodie back last night, while figuring that Bennett would miss more time but both wound up missing. I expect to see Brodie on Wednesday but probably not Bennett.

By the way, interesting piece from Sports Illustrated suggesting that the Flames rushed Bennett’s development:

The risks involved with keeping Bennett on the roster through thick and thin may be coming back to haunt them. The move to left wing seems to have stunted his development. Young scorers like Bennett often rely on consistency and routine to help speed their development at the NHL level and Hartley’s decision to move him to different positions hasn’t helped much. With just 14 games left on the Flames' schedule, he likely won’t be rushed back to action but heading into next season, the team would be wise to help him find his comfort zone again and keep him there.

I don’t really see this as a lost season for Bennett. He was too good for junior and played meaningful minutes for the Flames skating 15:12 per game with 1:58 coming on the second power-play unit. It’s not like he languished near the end of the bench or suffered frequent scratchings. He also scored around a point every other game. He didn’t set the league ablaze but he also didn’t look out of place. I would call this a successful rookie season full of promise for more in the future.

Last Flames thought. Frolik is owned in just 3% of Yahoo! leagues but he’s not the guy I am pushing for a waiver pickup. Instead, I am looking at Joe Colborne who also scored for Calgary last night. That gives him three goals and four points in the last five games. He only skates on the third line but has seen top unit PP time since the trade deadline. I also love the Flames’ schedule with games on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday this week, which is why I made the Colborne pickup in advance of Monday’s action in multiple leagues. Colborne is even less owned than Frolik at just 2% owned in the Yahoo! database.

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With the Flames putting on a show, Jake Allen got torched for four goals on 17 shots giving us our first glimpse of Anders Nilsson in a Blues uniform. Nilsson did not fair much better ceding two goals on 14 shots and taking the loss. Can’t imagine the Blues plan on letting us see Nilsson in action ever again though Allen’s play will ultimately have a say in that. Also, Brian Elliott’s injury progress will be a factor. No update in that regard beyond last week’s news that he has been skating with the team.

The Blues damn near tied the game in third. After going down 5-2 in the second they scored two goals and had a power-play with under five minutes to go on which Jaden Schwartz rang one off the post. Not long after, Frolik scored his second shortie and that was curtains.

Paul Stastny had a pair of goals to extend his hot streak. Points in four straight, with seven in that span. I don’t trust him to keep it up but it has been a nice bonus for the folks who stuck with the centerman all season. Still 22% owned in the Yahoo! database if you are interested in making a move. The Blues have just two games remaining this week and just 11 overall so I am advocating against a pickup. There are tastier options out there, especially for someone locked into center only.

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The Kings smashed the Blackhawks 5-0 last night. I’m not sure they got production out of anyone they didn’t trade for in the last 12 months.

Kris Versteeg, skating with Milan Lucic and Anze Kopitar scored his first points as a King with a goal and an assist. That ended a 10-game scoreless drought so I wouldn’t jump at this first sign of life.

Both Lucic and Vincent Lecavalier scored goals and Luke Schenn of all people had two assists as part of a wicked nice for him in rotisserie settings. He was also plus-three with two SOG, six blocked shots and eight hits. This is the Schenn people dreamed about for years It’s a fleeting dream, however.

Jonathan Quick’s 32-save shutout was a record setter. I saw this tweeted out by maybe 100 different individuals/organizations, must be important:

And I’m not necessarily trying to poo-poo this accomplishment, it was just funny to see everyone and their dog throwing it out there. Quick, by the way, will almost certainly carry this record to some insurmountable heights.

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Rare home loss for Corey Crawford who was looking for a good result after losing his last two on the road. Three-game losing streak for Crawford and the Blackhawks. No panic here, although it’s the fantasy playoffs and stud goalies are getting lit up so I could understand if you felt some.

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James Neal scored a hat-trick last night to put an end to what has been a quiet run for the Predators’ top line. Neal had scored just six points in his previous 13 games and it was even bleaker for Ryan Johansen and Calle Jarnkrok. Thankfully, Johansen managed an assist, while Jarnkrok got a pair. Still not enough to make up for what has been a month of misery but we’re getting there.

Also notable, the line of Filip Forsberg, Mike Ribeiro and Craig Smith was held off the board. This was one of the leagues hottest lines. Perhaps the script flips and Neal/Johansen/Jarnkrok gets going. It seems the Predators can only ever get one line going at a time so watch for this.

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The Oilers have three more home games this week coming on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Great schedule for this week. After that, they become un-ownable in most leagues as they will have just seven games over the remaining three weeks.

Here were their lines from last night:

22.43%

EV

EBERLE,JORDAN – MAROON,PATRICK – MCDAVID,CONNOR

15.97%

EV

DRAISAITL,LEON – HALL,TAYLOR – PAKARINEN,IIRO

15.59%

EV

KORPIKOSKI,LAURI – NUGENT-HOPKINS,RYAN – YAKUPOV,NAIL

15.21%

EV

HENDRICKS,MATT – KASSIAN,ZACK – LETESTU,MARK

 

No points in two contests for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and you can probably deduce why from the above combos.

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Rolling with a bleak tandem of Freddie Andersen and Craig Anderson for this week I made the move to snag Jacob Markstrom off the waiver wire for last night’s action. Not a great move. Andersen rolled over the Devils to balance it out a bit but Markstrom was still on the hook for five goals on 29 shots although I maintain that he didn’t play that poorly. Check this out from Markstrom:

He only stole a goal away from Marko Dano on the doorstep with his bare hand. What an animal! Doesn’t he realize this game is essentially meaningless? What if he loses a digit or gets his hand mangled like the butler in Scary Movie 2? Doesn’t really seem worth it in a game where he’s playing behind a skeleton squad while the Canucks ride out the string.

Anyhow, the Markstrom pickup was a failed adventure.

This probably won’t be of much relevance Luca Sbisa left last night’s game with an upper-body injury and did not return. I remember when he was an intriguing prospect. That was a long time ago.

Chris Tanev returned from injury registering an assist.

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Dustin Byfuglien sat out last night. Some places listed that it was due to injury, others due to illness. Not really sure. Paul Maurice did say that it wasn’t related to his injury over the weekend.

With Byfuglien out, Tyler Myers stepped up with a goal and an assist in 22 minutes of action. He’s the guy to look for if Byfuglien misses any more time.

Dano, undeterred by Markstrom’s barehanded banditry, scored two goals and added an assist skating on the Jets’ makeshift second line with Alexander Burmistrov and Mathieu Perreault.

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The last of our under-owned superstars of last night was Jakob Silfverberg who scored a hat-trick against the Devils, helping to eviscerate Keith Kinkaid for six goals on 24 shots. The Ducks were due, having lost three in a row and the Devils were due having won a pair in California already. The result was an explosion from Silfverberg who is somehow owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues. What a score for you folks!

Both Kevin Bieksa and Sami Vatanen missed action for the Ducks but remain day-to-day with the possibility of getting into the next game so the Ducks have held firm and avoided making the call for Shea Theodore.

Simon Despres saw over two minutes of PP time last night and notched an assist.

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Bad news for PK Subban owners, as the defenseman will miss at least two more games with his neck injury. That means a Saturday return at the earliest. Given the games the Canadiens have been playing regarding injury status of their players I’m calling this not promising. Feels like you are going to be without Subban for at least this week if not more, which stinks given the time of year.

Mark Barberio saw nearly 25 minutes, including a butt load of power-play time over the weekend with Subban out. He even notched an assist. Look for him to continue to be a key cog and if Alex Galchenyuk continues to produce maybe Barberio can as well. Four games for the Habs this week, starting tonight, though every team plays either three or four games.

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As for the latest on Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula:

My assumption is that neither will miss any time.

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Dalton Prout will have a hearing for the punch that has Kucherov on the shelf. You might be in a deep enough league where you have been enjoying the hits and PIM that Prout piles up. If so, a suspension at this point in the season would really stink.

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The Bruins have called up Frank Vatrano on an emergency basis. I wasn’t able to dig up who the injured Bruin is but I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough. Vatrano had an impact immediately upon arrival with the Bruins but they have gotten much deeper with David Pastrnak returning from injury and Lee Stempniak added at the deadline. Hard to see much of an immediate impact coming even though Vatrano has scorched the AHL for 31 goals in 31 games. He’s caught in that dreaded tweener spot where he’s too good for the AHL but not good enough to stick in the NHL.

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Good timing for Dobber to talk about Tom Kuhnhackl and some of the Penguins’ other depth guys in yesterday’s ramblings as the Penguins signed Kuhnhackl, Scott Wilson and Bryan Rust to contract extensions yesterday. All three received small two-year extensions. They have been important cogs for the Penguins but as Dobber alluded to, they aren’t great prospects. Every contender needs guys on these cheap contracts to fill out the roster however.

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Really enjoyed this Max Pacioretty quote about Brendan Gallagher:

That quote didn’t make Stubbs’ feature on Pacioretty and the Canadiens, trying to finish the season strong, which is a pretty good read.

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Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of Dobber Hockey. Follow him @SteveLaidlaw.