Ramblings: Olofsson’s Potential, Kessel, Heiskanen, Kakko, & What’s Wrong With Dumba? (Dec. 11)

by Cam Robinson on December 10, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Olofsson’s Potential, Kessel, Heiskanen, Kakko, & What’s Wrong With Dumba? (Dec. 11)

 

The Habs took down the Penguins in an early affair on Tuesday. Shea Weber dropped two more points (1+1) in the victory. That’s his 10th goal on the season through 31 contests. He’s on track for his fourth career 20-goal season, and there’s nothing in the underlying metrics that suggest he’ll slow down.

 

While he’s doing well on the man-advantage, its the even-strength production that is noteworthy. His 19 EVP trail only John Carlson’s ridiculous 30. If Weber can stay healthy, he’s a strong bet for 20+35. 

 

Tomas Tatar added a goal and an assist in this one to keep his quality season rolling. That’s 27 points in 31 games for the 29-year-old. He’s been very effective in under 17 minutes a night and with sustainable-appearing metrics. 

 

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Sidenote – you know who else is feasting at even-strength? Miro Heiskanen. The 20-year-old sits third in that category with 17 – tied with Erik Karlsson and Dougie Hamilton.

 

Speaking of Dallas, the Stars blanked the Devils 2-0 to give interim coach, Rick Bowness his first W behind the Dallas bench as he replaces the surprisingly-dismissed, Jim Montgomery (Read more on the dismissal from Mike Clifford here) 

 

The top PP unit featured, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Heiskanen. The two units split time in this game, but if Heiskanen is pulling more and more PPTOI from John Klingberg, then the sky is the limit. 

 

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Phil Kessel is due for some luck. He hasn't been great in AZ, but his personal and 5v5 shooting metrics are nearly half of what they should be. It takes a beat for players to get rolling on a new team. I like the prospect of him moving the needle towards a 60-plus point pace in the back half. Kessel popped one on Tuesday night too. 

 

Time to buy (very) low on the 32-year-old.

 

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Year-to-date leaders

 

Points

Connor McDavid – 110

Leon Draisaitl – 109

Brad Marchand – 105

Patrick Kane – 96

Nikita Kucherov – 94

Aleksander Barkov – 93

Nathan MacKinnon  – 87

Jonathan Huberdeau – 84

Steven Stamkos – 81

Artemi Panarin – 80

 

Goals

Leon Draisaitl – 48

Alex Ovechkin – 43

Brad Marchand – 42

David Pastrnak – 40

Jake Guentzel – 40

Connor McDavid – 39

Patrick Kane – 36

Nathan MacKinnon – 36

Auston Matthews – 36

Steven Stamkos – 33

 

Assists

Connor McDavid – 71

Brad Marchand – 63

Aleksander Barkov – 63

Nikita Kucherov – 62

Leon Draisaitl – 61

Patrick Kane – 60

John Carlson – 57

Teuvo Teravainen – 56

Jonathan Huberdeau – 53

Nathan MacKinnon – 51

 

Shots on Goal

Alex Ovechkin – 340

Nathan MacKinnon 328

Tyler Seguin – 292

Patrick Kane – 291

Auston Matthews – 288

Brendan Gallagher – 276

Jeff Skinner – 261

Jack Eichel – 250

Brady Tkachuk – 248

Brent Burns – 245

 

Game-winning Goals

Jonathan Toews – 10

Kyle Connor – 10

Steven Stamkos – 9

Tyler Seguin – 9

Brad Marchand – 8

David Pastrnak – 8

Joe Pavelski – 8

Zach Parise – 8

Jonathan Marchessault – 8

Elias Pettersson – 7

 

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Someone I’m less excited about buying low on is Mark Giordano. I know, I know, he was all-world last season. His 74 points were well deserving of the Norris Trophy. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, this is a 36-year-old who has a 48-point average over every 82 games the last three seasons WITH that 78 point-pace from last year. 

 

 

It appears far more likely that he’s a 40-point contributor than the near-point-per-game player he was in 2018-19. Furthermore, the metrics last year stand out on the high-end, while everything this year matches with his seasons as a greybeard. 

 

No points for Gio in the Flames 5-2 victory over the Coyotes. 

 

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Kaapo Kakko was skating on the top line and top power-play unit with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad on Tuesday. Just hook it into my veins. 

 

If you can convince his owner that he's not actually that good, please do so now. Kakko will have an Andrei Svechnikov-like season in 2020-21. Get ahead of the bumrush, people. 

 

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We had a reader request more chatter on Victor Olofsson. So here are a few thoughts.

 

  • His shot is elite. We’re talking arguably top-20 in the league. 

  • He’s a rookie, but a veteran of professional hockey – torching the SHL and AHL in succession. 

  • Can he live next to Jack Eichel longterm? Because it sure seems like the team wants it to be a thing. Olofsson has spent 86% of his even-strength ice next to Eichel

    • If he can, that’s a duo who could each top 40 goals in a hurry. 

  • I’m buying Olofsson as a player capable of 60-65 points this season with the potential for 70-75 in years 2-4. 

 

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The Sabres roughed up the Blues 5-2 on Tuesday and Eichel and Olofsson led the way with two points each. I’m all-aboard the Eichel-train.

 

 

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What’s up with Matt Dumba? This is a player who cusped 50 points in 2017-18 as a 23-year-old. He backed that up with a 56 point pace in an injury-shortened 2018-19 campaign. At age 25, he’s in the meaty portion of his statistical prime and should be witnessing incremental improvements. Instead, the former seventh overall selection has nine points in 30 games – a 25-point pace. 

 

It’s easy to think, “Well, the Wild kind of suck these days.” And you wouldn’t be completely wrong in that assessment, but it’s not as if the team’s offence has fallen off of a cliff. Through 30 games last season, Minnesota had scored 95 goals. Through 30 games this year (coming into Tuesday’s contest) the Wild has 90 tallies. 

 

Dumba has been given identical deployment as last season, but his metrics are way down. Historically, the defender has been a high-conversion finisher – living around the eight percent mark and peaking at 12.9 percent last season. This year, he’s converting at just 4.3 percent. Defenders will often hang around three or four percent, but we shouldn’t expect Dumba to suddenly regress to that level at this stage of his career. 

 

At even-strength, his metrics seem more comparable to his three-year rolling average. So we can deduce that it’s on the man-advantage where things are falling short. This lines up with the numbers. Through 33 games a year ago, Dumba had 12 PPPs. Through 30 games this season, he has three. 

 

The Wild were the 14th ranked power play last season, converting on 20.3 percent of their opportunities. So far in 2019-20, they rank 13th overall with a 19.2 percent clip. So again we ask, what’s up? 

 

The answer is muddy. The Wild are rolling four defenders out for virtually the same power-play deployment. Dumba, Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, and Brad Hunt are all averaging at least 2:27 per night. On a per-minute basis, all have been more effective than Dumba. His IPP is down to 31 – which indicates he’s getting unlucky by not landing on the scoresheet when he’s on the ice for a goal-for. His having zero secondary helpers this year explains some of that poor luck. However, those are the most challenging type of points to attempt to recreate year over year. 

 

At the end of the day, the Wild are not a team that will fill the net. But the underlying data suggests Dumba would be a worthy buy-low candidate. Someone capable of playing at a 50-point pace down the back half. 

 

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