Ramblings: Ovechkin, Sharks, and more (Jan 10)

by Ian Gooding on January 10, 2016

Ovechkin nears 500, Sharks bite Leafs, more Jackets trade fallout, plus more…

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Alex Ovechkin is now one goal away from reaching 500, scoring goals 498 and 499 in the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime win over the Rangers on Saturday. You won’t have to wait very long for him to potentially score goal number 500, as the Capitals face Ottawa today (Sunday).

I find it hard to believe that Ovie is only 200 games away from reaching 1,000. After all, it didn’t seem so long ago that I made the sneaky Yahoo waiver-wire claim for Ovechkin in his rookie season, then telling anyone who would listen that Ovechkin would win the Calder Trophy over Sidney Crosby. The rest is history.

Dobber mentioned the points race between Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov as being this year’s version of the Steven Stamkos/Tyler Johnson battle. The two are now tied with 37 points, with Ovechkin technically ahead of Kuznetsov. This will be interesting to watch.

Speaking of the Capitals, Braden Holtby has not recorded a regulation loss since November 10. That’s 21 games and counting.

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In the afternoon’s other game, Steve Mason posted a relatively easy shutout, stopping all 20 shots he faced. Mason’s numbers (2.72 GAA, .913 SV%) are still not where I’d like them to be. With Jake Allen possibly on the shelf next week, I will need to turn to Mason to be my other starting goalie in my keeper cap league alongside Connor Hellebuyck. I shouldn’t turn to Frederik Andersen, since he doesn’t start often enough right now. And I definitely can’t turn to Mike Smith. So Mason it will have to be. That’s why you need goaltending depth in your leagues.

Also with the Flyers, here’s some good news on Shayne Gostisbehere. His injury is not serious, and Flyers’ coach Dave Hakstol “did not rule him out” playing on Wednesday against Boston (Philly.com).

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Leaf fans probably wish that Saturday’s game in San Jose had started at 10 p.m. ET, just so they wouldn’t be awake to watch what turned out to be a 7-0 bloodbath.

When I picked my Draft Kings players today, Tomas Hertl was staring me in the face. But for some reason and to my peril, I ignored him. Hertl led the charge for the Sharks, scoring two goals and adding an assist with a +4. Getting moved from the third line to the top line alongside Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton turned out to be the difference.

Here are the line combinations the Sharks used in this game. I’d be willing to bet that Peter DeBoer won’t be changing these around for a while. Logan Couture owners won’t like the arrangement, since he hasn’t recorded a point in three games and is now down on the third line.

20.38%

EV

HERTL,TOMASPAVELSKI,JOETHORNTON,JOE

19.25%

EV

MARLEAU,PATRICKNIETO,MATTHEWWARD,JOEL

7.92%

EV

COUTURE,LOGANDONSKOI,JOONASWINGELS,TOMMY

7.17%

EV

BROWN,MIKEKARLSSON,MELKERTIERNEY,CHRIS

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The Penguins scored three goals in a win against the struggling Canadiens on Saturday. Yet of those goals, only one appeared to matter to fantasy owners. Goals by Eric Fehr and Brian Rust turned out to be the difference for the Penguins. But hey, Patric Hornqvist scored a power-play goal, picking up the loose change from nice passes from Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin.

Sidney Crosby was held without a point – his second consecutive game. But we’re not as worried about him now as we were earlier in the season. Over his last 10 games, Crosby has 12 points (6g-6a).

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Game two of the Seth Jones era in Columbus resulted in the Blue Jackets being swept in a home-and-home with the Hurricanes. But it wasn’t through lack of trying, as the Jackets rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, only to lose in overtime.

Those worried about Jack Johnson and David Savard losing icetime with the Jones acquisition: Johnson and Savard both logged 25 minutes of icetime in this game, while the Jones/Ryan Murray tandem were on the ice for 23 minutes. Johnson and Savard even had slightly more power-play time than Jones and Murray.

By the way, below are the Blue Jackets’ lines of note for this game. Remember, they are now without both Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno, who took a check to his head in Friday’s game.

25.31%

EV

HARTNELL,SCOTTSAAD,BRANDONWENNBERG,ALEXANDER

12.86%

EV

ATKINSON,CAMDUBINSKY,BRANDONJENNER,BOONE

The big winner of the trade as far as the Jackets’ forward lines go seems to be Alexander Wennberg. Dobber mentioned in his trade recap that Wennberg’s projections should now rise as a result. With a goal on Saturday, Wennberg has points in three of his last four games, and is owned in just 2 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’s worth keeping an eye on.

From the same game: What if I told you that Jordan Staal has a goal and an assist in each of his last three games with a +5 over that span? Sure, the opposition was the Canucks and the Blue Jackets, but they’re NHL numbers just the same.  

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On the other side of the week’s biggest trade, the Predators couldn’t do what the trade was supposed to help them do, which is score. Ryan Johansen and his new mates could not solve Dobber favorite Louis Domingue, who stopped all 26 shots he faced in a 4-0 win. Domingue now has wins in four of his last five games, and he might be putting the Coyotes out of the Auston Matthews race. Dobber, you traded him away too early!!! (I’m kidding, of course.) But I’ll have more on the player that Dobber received for Domingue later in this piece.

Also for the Coyotes, Tobias Rieder scored two goals and added an assist on seven shots on goal. Rieder’s 113 shots on goal is second on the team to Oliver Ekman-Larsson (it seems kind of strange for a defenseman to lead his team in shots on goal). Rieder is quietly having an effective season with 26 points in 41 games. At the midway point of the season, it’s easy to do the math and determine that Rieder is on pace for 50 points. Yet he has only 4 percent ownership in Yahoo leagues. If there’s actually a player that receives less love in Yahoo leagues than Boedker, it might be Rieder.

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The hottest Canucks’ skater is currently Bo Horvat. After going 27 games without a goal, Horvat now has four goals and an assist over his last three games. I had Horvat as a breakout candidate for 40 points this season, which won’t happen. Once Brandon Sutter returns, Horvat will be bumped back to the third line. But this will be an interesting positional battle over the next season or two as Horvat establishes himself as an important two-way player and possible future captain for the Canucks.

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On to the trade rumors being discussed on Hockey Night in Canada tonight…

The Jonathan Drouin-to-St. Louis rumor seems to be really picking up steam. It’s currently being discussed on the Forum, including the possibility of Robby Fabbri heading to Tampa Bay.

It puzzles me as to why the Blues would trade Kevin Shattenkirk, but his name continues to pop up in trade rumors. But I’m assuming there might be salary cap reasons ($4.25 million through to 2016-17), and that the Blues may have been offering him for Ryan Johansen.

Interesting point brought up by Damien Cox regarding Keith Yandle: The Coyotes still pay 50 percent of Yandle’s salary this season. If the Rangers were to re-sign Yandle (which it doesn’t sound like they will be able to), he would be due for a huge raise, probably much higher than what the Rangers could afford. So there’s a good chance that Yandle is dealt before the deadline. That seems counterintuitive for a team that has designs on a playoff run, but a team could consider Yandle as a rental.

By the way, Yandle was the player Dobber acquired in his Domingue deal. With just 22 points in 41 games, Yandle as a Ranger doesn’t seem to be as effective as Yandle as a Coyote. But Yandle still makes sense as a buy-low candidate.

Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.