Ramblings: On Arvidsson, Lucic, Horvat, Guentzel and more.
The Midseason Guide was released last weekend, what are you waiting for? Besides the second-half projections, this beauty will also have players on the trade block (and what it means), prospects ready to make the jump for a dozen games down the stretch, the lowdown on undrafted or unsigned free agents (both in college and in Europe) and much more. Last year’s Midseason Guide had Troy Stecher, Drake Caggiula, Nick Lappin, Brandon Tanev, Alexander Radulov and Anton Rodin, to give you a small sample. Imagine getting a heads up on players like that in January instead of finding out about them in April or even July? Order it here
Oh hey there, Alex Galchenyuk, welcome back to the Canadiens’ power play! Three power-play points for Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov last night. I don’t know that the Canadiens missed Galchenyuk’s presence as they went 12/57 (21%) with the man-advantage while he was out but his return is welcome all the same.
It is worth mentioning that Galchenyuk was dropped down at even strength:
Bottom line, as long as Galchenyuk is getting top unit PP time, I’m a happy camper.
Also note the favourable deployment for Danault. He’s been modestly relevant in this spot.
The latest ridiculousness from Viktor Arvidsson:
Arvidsson takes on 3 Oilers, wins and then bangs in the goal. He's such a gem I'm not even mad. pic.twitter.com/J9jvs75f8y— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) January 21, 2017
My goodness he is good. Arvidsson is the next Brad Marchand, he has all the makings. He can only be so fantasy relevant without top PP minutes and he only gets 1:37 per game but the story is the same for Marchand. Arvidsson is on pace for 20 goals and 51 points despite this deployment and I don’t think it’s his ceiling. I am so infatuated with his play that I’m not even going to mention how terrible that was played by the Oilers’ top pairing of Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson.
PK Subban made his return to the lineup earlier than I had expected. Sounds like he’ll be able to play in the All-Star game. Can’t imagine the Predators like the idea of him playing there but in the interests of selling merchandise it’s a good business decision.
Subban skated 22:31 and was tops among Predator defensemen with 5:20 on the power play. There’s a window for Subban to produce big numbers while Roman Josi is out because he’s been playing second fiddle most of the season.
Oh my goodness, Milan Lucic:
That hit sparked a retaliatory penalty from Austin Watson and the Oilers scored on the subsequent power play. The goal scorer: Lucic. This was the precise scenario that got Pete Chiarelli to order a Brinks truck sent to Lucic’s house. Of course, these moments have not been frequent enough. That was Lucic’s first goal in 12 games.
The issue isn’t really with this season, however. It’s how his contract ages, and I don’t suspect it will be pretty. Consider that Lucic is already leaning hugely on PP scoring to keep afloat. Half of his 28 points have come with the man-advantage tying a career high of 14 PPP.
The silver lining might be that Lucic’s deal may prevent them from handing the same deal to Patrick Maroon when he hits unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018. That summer has some massive deals looming with Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse and Matt Benning all hitting restricted free agency. They’ll need $16-20M to keep all three of those guys around.
Enjoy the Maroon-McDavid combo for the next year and a half. It seems to be sticking. But at some point I don’t think they’ll be able to afford to keep him around.
Matt Beleskey was back in the lineup for the Bruins. Check out their lines:
Backes at $6M on the third line, Beleskey at nearly $4M on the fourth line, who do the Bruins think they are, the Islanders? I kid, I kid.
This could be a really dangerous lineup. Being able to play those guys in depth roles could be a huge advantage, assuming you have enough fire power on the top couple of lines, which they undoubtedly do. Of course, it’s not great for the fantasy value of Backes or Beleskey.
Artem Anisimov has just 16 points in his last 31 games. He’s back to producing at the level we’d expect but his early flourish is disguising it.
Henrik Sedin just hit 1,000 career points. He’s riding a four-game scoring streak. Perhaps a good time to sell while the nostalgia is flowing.
Bo Horvat has just one point in his last five games. He’s not so good that I’m willing to ride out the cold streaks, especially since he has only center eligibility. Time to start shopping the waiver wire for my next muse.
Jake Guentzel fits the bill. He only had one point in Pittsburgh’s latest scoring outburst but he continues to see time with Evgeni Malkin. He also has a point in all three games since his latest call up and seven points in eight games overall. If you haven’t heard this spiel before, Guentzel is an elite AHL scorer now showing flashes at the NHL level. Worth getting excited about.
I’m not sure there’s enough room for Guentzel to stick for the rest of the season. Matt Cullen is out for a couple more weeks and Scott Wilson may now be hurt. That could buy some breathing room but it’ll take injuries to keep him Guentzel around, even if he is productive.
I’ve got alarm bells going off in my head about Cam Ward. The Hurricanes have surged into playoff contention but Ward’s conceded three goals or more in five of his last six starts. They played Columbus and Pittsburgh in half of those games, including a 7-1 drubbing from the Penguins last night but that’s part of the problem. The Hurricanes are in a tough division and will continue to face these guys. The next two games for Carolina are at Columbus and at Washington.
Don’t be shocked if it’s Michael Leighton in goal for the Hurricanes tonight. Ward could use a reprieve after starting 21 straight games.
If you’ve got Ward, take solace that the Hurricanes are one of the league’s most diligent defensive teams. He remains what he has always been, a substandard goalie performing adequately. We are just seeing some more chinks in the armor.
Great news regarding Craig Anderson:
Craig Anderson will return in late January or early February and will be back for good. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) January 20, 2017
This doesn’t mean that Mike Condon is immediately a write-off. Condon has performed tremendously for the Senators. Anderson will return but has some rust to shake off. The Sens have asked a lot of their goaltenders this season. We know that Anderson can deliver but his play has been combustible. We’re reaching the point in the season where politics matter less than wins. If Anderson cannot deliver upon his return, Condon will surely be given a chance to keep them in the playoff hunt.
I’m hoping that Anderson returns and plays well so we can avoid the handcuff situation. There’s nothing worse than a goalie handcuff for a mediocre team.
Big moves taking place in St. Louis:
Army says Allen will not travel to Winnipeg.— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) January 20, 2017
No word on if Allen will miss the entire road trip or just the game in Winnipeg. All three of their games before the All-Star game come on the road. This development let’s you Allen owners off the hook. Considering his poor road splits and the upcoming competition, there’s no way you should be looking to use him over the next week anyhow.
The Blues have called up Pheonix Copley, in a move I teased yesterday. Carter Hutton has never proven to be a great option so perhaps Copley gets a chance. It’s a long shot but he has performed well at the AHL level this season.
INJURY UPDATE: Jakob Silfverberg (upper-body) is day-to-day and will not travel with the team on the upcoming road trip.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) January 20, 2017
It’s only a two-game jaunt to Minnesota and Winnipeg before returning home to face Edmonton on Wednesday but next week is a shortened week due to the All-Star break so you’d be wise to leave Silfverberg out of your lineup for next week in favour of other options.
Now for the fantasy hockey Q+A:
@SteveLaidlaw Long-term thoughts on M.Marner? Worth keeping over potentially Kessel (final 6th spot)? Very intrigued about his potential.— Evan Starr (@EvanStarr) January 20, 2017
A word of caution about this. You should only be penciling in your keepers right now. A lot can change between now and when you make your choice. Trades, injuries, etc. can alter player valuation drastically. Don’t marry this choice.
You should also take time to focus on priorities. Your first priority should be winning this year. Your next priority should be winning next year.
That second priority is where who you chose to keep really comes into play. I get the vibe that you are thinking of who you want on your team in five years but that’s jumping the gun. When you chose your keepers each year, you should treat those picks like your first six picks in a one-year draft. Who would you take then? Remember, anyone you drop can always be taken again with your first actual draft pick. Then the next year you can reassess who you want to keep.
I really like Marner but I’m keeping Kessel because right now he looks like the better bet to help me next year. That may change in the MONTHS you have before making a firm decision though.
@SteveLaidlaw I can only keep 2 goalies in my keeper league. Who do I keep? Dubnyk, Talbot, Allen, Hellebuyck?— Shawn Silverman (@angrym00se) January 20, 2017
Like the previous question, you’ve got lots of time before locking this in so please, remain open to shifting your plans. Undeniably, Devan Dubnyk and Cam Talbot are the best fantasy assets right now but how will the 2017 off-season go for these teams? No players are affected more by off-season moves than goaltenders. Hell, this summer will feature an expansion draft. The Wild and Oilers might lose a key player. Do not marry these choices.
@SteveLaidlaw If Shattenkirk leaves, does Pietrangelo get back to the 45-50 point range next year? Is Rielly a good bet for 40+ next year?— Aneil Manhas (@aneilmanhas) January 20, 2017
No one necessarily has to leave for Alex Pietrangelo to get back to the 45-50 range. It could happen simply through some good fortune. He plays enough minutes and has enough talent to do it even as a secondary guy.
If your question is more about whether we can count on Pietrangelo getting there every year once Kevin Shattenkirk leaves then I would squash that notion. I am firmly in the camp that Colton Parayko is the heir apparent. He’s got a bigger shot and is more dynamic as a puck rusher. He has a little bit of Brent Burns going for him, although no one is really in that stratosphere.
Last season, during the 10 games that Shattenkirk missed it was Pietrangelo, not Parayko, who filled the top PP minutes but Shattenkirk’s absence came all of three games into Parayko’s pro career. He is much further along and ready to take the #1 spot.
As for Morgan Rielly, I thought he was a good bet for 40+ this year but Jake Gardiner is kicking his ass and winning the #1 gig. Rielly’s a magnificent player but it doesn’t seem to be translating to fantasy value.
@SteveLaidlaw why have I had Huberdeau on my IR all season— Licensed To Will (@willfriesen0368) January 20, 2017
Never give away an asset for free. That doesn’t mean you could never drop Huberdeau and be justified. If you found yourself struggling with injuries and not enough IR space then you could certainly drop him. In this case, it wouldn’t be giving him away for free, you’d be gaining roster flexibility. If you never faced such a decision then there’s no reason to drop him.
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.
- Ramblings: Cogliano/Shore Traded; Chabot Update; Dive on Will Butcher - January 15
- Ramblings: Arvidsson Tricks, Puljujarvi on the Block, Nyquist, Hertl, & The Kanes (Jan. 16)
- Top 50 Fantasy Prospect Defensemen - January 2019
- Ramblings: Aberg Traded; Troy Terry Called Up; Pettersson; Larkin; Konecny - January 17
- Lining Up: Ty Rattie, Dylan Larkin, Brandon Pirri, and More - January 15
- Eastern Edge: Ice Time Changes Leading to New Opportunities
- Injury Ward: Pettersson, Chabot, Schultz, Hall and Klefbom
- Cage Match: Leon Draisaitl vs Sean Monahan