Ramblings: Oshie, Luongo Injured; Smith Shines, plus more...
I complete my trade with Steve by taking over the Tuesday Ramblings for him this week. The Monday schedule was a little lighter than what I’m used to with only four games, but there was some interesting news and film nonetheless.
Monday’s matchup between the Sharks and Capitals wasn’t one where many stood out boxscore-wise. Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 20th goal of the season and added an assist. The goal was the 578th of his career, passing Mark Recchi for 20th in league history in just over half the number of games that Recchi played. Following a rare season in which he had more assists (36) than goals (33), Ovie has tipped back to his goal-heavy ways (20 goals to just 8 assists).
This was an eventful game, though, as it will be known more for the dirty headshot that Joe Thornton delivered on T.J. Oshie during the second period, forcing the Capitals’ winger to leave the game. As expected, Oshie will be re-evaluated tomorrow for what I would think would be a concussion.
Joe Thornton should be suspended 40 games for this pic.twitter.com/ghomQGMcnL
— NHL Insider Dinger (@atf13atf) December 5, 2017
In the NHL, you’d have to kill or dismember someone to receive a 40-game suspension. Still, there’s the possibility of supplemental discipline for Thornton here, particularly since Thornton did not receive a penalty. Thornton was forced to answer the bell in the third period, taking one on that hard-to-miss beard from Tom Wilson.
Tom Wilson fights Joe Thornton pic.twitter.com/2m9K379Gwa
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) December 5, 2017
Believe it or not, those weren’t the only highlights worth showing in this game. Check out not one, but two potential goals getting waived off on the same sequence. The first goal to Brett Connolly eventually counted.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 5, 2017
With Oshie gone and the game getting chippy afterward, Connolly received 6:39 of power-play time with the big guns. Should Oshie miss games, don’t be surprised if Connolly’s fantasy value receives a major boost with this added responsibility. As it stands, Connolly has scored goals in back-to-back games, although his season total (6 points in 19 games) and icetime (10:25 per game) haven’t been anything to get excited about to this point.
The Panthers/Islanders matchup also saw a prominent player leave with an injury. Roberto Luongo was helped off the ice early in the second period after making this save.
Luongo injury: pic.twitter.com/RdroiMslfJ
— Cats On The Prowl (@Cats0ntheprowl) December 5, 2017
James Reimer took over in net, allowing three goals on 17 shots before eventually taking the loss in the shootout. Although we don’t know how serious the injury actually is, Luongo could be out for a while based on the way this looked. Reimer should receive considerably more starts over the near future, but his season 3.64 goals-against average and .894 save percentage combined with the Panthers’ team 3.35 goals against per game may make you think twice about adding him.
So it’s not a great state of affairs for Florida, who have lost three games in a row. But it wasn’t all bad for Panthers that may be on your fantasy team. Vincent Trocheck and Keith Yandle each recorded three points in this game. Even with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau having great seasons, Trocheck leads the Panthers in scoring with 27 points in 27 games.
Another shoutout to Nick Leddy, who with an assist is now second among defensemen in scoring with 22 points in 26 games. I mentioned him last week, but I’ll just say again that he’s been one of fantasy hockey’s greatest steals this season.
Since acquiring Kyle Turris in a three-team trade on Nov. 5, his line, along with Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith, has produced a combined total of 32 points (13g-19a) in 12 games, in which the #Preds are 9-2-1.
— Nashville Preds PR (@PredsPR) December 5, 2017
On Monday, this line combined for seven points in a 5-3 Nashville win over Boston. Craig Smith scored two goals himself in the first period and added an assist on Kevin Fiala’s goal in the second period. Smith now has 11 goals on the season, placing him second on the team. That’s probably not something you expected, considering that Smith scored just 12 all of last season. But Smith is a three-time 20-goal scorer and appears to be well on his way to a fourth 20-goal season. Oh, and he’s available in less than 20 percent of Yahoo leagues.
In case you’re wondering about Turris, he has 10 points (2g-8a) in 12 games since the trade to the Music City. In 11 games since the trade, Duchene has two points… total.
Ryan Johansen was absent for Monday’s game with an upper-body injury, so Peter Laviolette seemed to put his other lines in a blender:
21.69% EV ARVIDSSON,VIKTOR - BONINO,NICK - SISSONS,COLTON
15.81% EV ABERG,PONTUS - FORSBERG,FILIP - JARNKROK,CALLE
15.81% EV FIALA,KEVIN - SMITH,CRAIG - TURRIS,KYLE
9.56% EV GAUDREAU,FREDERICK - SALOMAKI,MIIKKA - WATSON,AUSTIN
Brian Elliott had a homecoming to remember in Calgary, stopping 43 of 45 shots to earn the struggling Flyers their first win in 11 games. During that dubious stretch, Elliott posted a 3.07 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. That could actually be worse when compared to some of the other numbers that we’ve seen from goalies this season.
Elliott is currently on pace to play just under 60 games this season. Elliott has not even played 50 games since the 2009-10 season, his second in the NHL. But you’d probably feel more positively about him if the Flyers were a better team.
With three assists in this game, Jakub Voracek is now tied for second with 26 assists. He didn’t miss a beat in spite of being recently moved off the top line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Here’s how the Flyers’ lines looked on Monday:
26.14% EV FILPPULA,VALTTERI - RAFFL,MICHAEL - VORACEK,JAKUB
20.75% EV COUTURIER,SEAN - GIROUX,CLAUDE - SIMMONDS,WAYNE
13.69% EV LAUGHTON,SCOTT - LEIER,TAYLOR - WEAL,JORDAN
13.28% EV KONECNY,TRAVIS - PATRICK,NOLAN - WEISE,DALE
In Voracek’s place was Wayne Simmonds, who scored a power-play goal on Monday. This appears to be an attempt to get Simmonds going, as he has scored just one other goal dating all the way back to October 21.
Remember when Matt Moulson was a must-own on the John Tavares line? Then he was traded to Buffalo in the Thomas Vanek deal and it all went downhill from there. On Monday, Moulson was placed on waivers after scoring no points in 14 games. All to make room for Scott Wilson, who was acquired from Detroit on Monday. Moulson is owed $5 million both this season and next, a contract that is an anchor for a Sabres’ team that is now residing in the NHL’s basement.
Finally, this news could pave the way for the NHL’s 32nd team. And if you’re hoping that it’s Quebec City, sorry. Gary Bettman probably has other plans.
It clears the way for a NEW Arena at Seattle Center by 2020, and potential #NHL franchise.
— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) December 5, 2017
If an NHL team does in fact come to Seattle, the Vancouver Canucks would finally have a true geographical rival. I don’t have actual numbers in front of me, but I believe the Canucks have the farthest distance to travel of any NHL team to the next-closest team.
Would hockey work in Seattle? Here are my thoughts included in a roundtable article published in 2014 at The Hockey Writers (back when I was writing more general hockey articles as well as fantasy hockey). Since that time, my thoughts haven’t changed much.
For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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