Ramblings: Palmieri Breakout, Bobrovsky Hurt Again, Krejci Returns (Jan. 22)

by steve laidlaw on January 22, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Palmieri Breakout, Bobrovsky Hurt Again, Krejci Returns (Jan. 22)

Ramblings: Palmieri breaking out, Bobrovsky hurt yet again, Krejci returns and more.

I hope you didn’t have Craig Anderson in net last night because if you did you got walloped on. Four goals on seven shots before he got yanked just 14 minutes in. The Devils added one more in the first on Andrew Hammond before settling in. Three straight for Ottawa made things mildly interesting but that ultimately enabled Adam Henrique to score an empty-netter.

Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri skating on the second line and second power-play unit did most of the damage for New Jersey. Joseph Blandisi rounded out that line as they combined for four goals and nine points, including a pair of power-play markers. The second unit did so well that the Devils didn’t even get to use their top unit with Mike Cammalleri on it.

Palmieri is the story here as he has stayed healthy and continues to produce. He is up to 20 goals and 35 points, with a legitimate shot at a 30-goal/60-point season. That would be something. I’d like Palmieri more if he was skating with Cammalleri more frequently or if I trusted him to stay healthy. Still, 20 goals and 35 points, those are both career highs. This is a legitimate breakout so it will be interesting to see how far he pushes it.

One more strike against Palmieri is his high shooting percentage. Palmieri has always shot a high percentage but at 17.1% he is shooting well above career average. At his current rate of shots on goal, if Palmieri were to finish with his career shooting percentage he’d only score four more goals the rest of the season. Thankfully, that’s not how regression typically works. Instead, if we assume Palmieri shoots at his career rate of 12.3% the rest of the way he will score 9.6 more goals. So a 30-goal season is indeed looking pretty good. Do you think he gets there?

By the way, Blandisi is probably not someone worth considering in one-year leagues but you’d be foolish to ignore him in a keeper. Blandisi scored 112 points in the OHL last season, albeit as a 20-year-old. He also has 21 points in 24 games at the AHL level. If your league is deep enough he could become relevant. Also, Blandisi has piled up the PIM at the lower levels so if you play in multi-category leagues he because more intriguing.

The Devils won’t normally have performances like last night, however. They rank 28th in offense with just 2.27 goals per game and are dead last in shots per game with 24.3, a full three shots lower on average than the 29th ranked team. For perspective, the Panthers, 29th in shots per game, are as close to the Capitals in ninth as the Devils are to them. So unless we are looking at Palmieri, Cammalleri or maybe Henrique this team won’t have much relevance in your average fantasy league.

That’s why we could talk about David Schlemko registering a pair of assists as the lone defenseman on the Devils’ second power-play unit but it’s not going to mean much for the average fantasy owner. They probably won’t get a single defenseman to 30 points this season, a ludicrous accomplishment in a league that has become all about puck-moving defensemen.

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The Devils were able to pounce on a Senators team missing Kyle Turris, a truly frightening proposition considering this was the first game he has missed as a Senator. He was a game-time decision so it doesn’t seem there is anything serious here but we heard a similar story regarding John Carlson and it feels like he has been out for a month now. We should definitely consider the possibility that Turris misses the next couple of games leading into the All-Star break.

Cody Ceci stepped up with over three minutes of power-play time and recorded a power-play assist, while later adding a goal. He could be intriguing if Turris misses extended time.

The Senators did have the services of Mike Hoffman who scored his 21st goal of the season. I’d heard murmurs that he had been experiencing concussion symptoms after his collision with the post last time out. Hopefully no protocol was skirted to get him in there.

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Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: Sergei Bobrovsky leaves game with lower-body injury. Those groins sure can be troublesome. You can’t say we didn’t warn you because multiple writers on the site have discussed the possibility of this nagging.

At this point, the Blue Jackets need to shut him down, wait until he is 100% and then wait a couple of weeks longer. I figured maybe that’s what they were doing here with how long Bob had been out this past time. Doesn’t it seem like in a solid organization where everyone is on the same page that this doesn’t happen? That the trainers/doctors get to do what they are paid to do and that’s ensure the player gets back out there when he is genuinely ready, not when he says he is ready? Because you can’t put this in the players’ hands. They are always going to think that they can play.

To that end, I could see Bob rushing back again down the stretch. He wants to get back and prove himself, regain that confidence, maybe take a run at the World Championships back home in Russia.

I haven’t lost complete faith in Bob yet. He has proven himself time and time again to be the king of the late-season charge. At this point, you could get Bob off a disgruntled owner for a song.

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That second line in Calgary is looking mighty intriguing. Sam Bennett scored another two goals last night with Mikael Backlund assisting on both. Eight and six points respectively in the past five games. Rounding things out Michael Frolik scored a goal of his own.

No Jiri Hudler, you ask? No Jiri Hudler. Check out the lines from last night:

22.75%

EV

BACKLUND,MIKAEL – BENNETT,SAM – FROLIK,MICHAEL

10.43%

EV

GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – JONES,DAVID – MONAHAN,SEAN

9.48%

EV

GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – HUDLER,JIRI – MONAHAN,SEAN

9%

EV

FERLAND,MICHEAL – GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – MONAHAN,SEAN

8.06%

EV

BOLLIG,BRANDON – JONES,DAVID – STAJAN,MATTHEW

6.16%

EV

COLBORNE,JOE – GRANLUND,MARKUS – HUDLER,JIRI

 

Hudler saw just 10:56 of action skating a bunch on the third line while also taking some shifts on the top line after Micheal Ferland went down with an upper-body injury.

The word on Ferland is that he will be re-evaluated today.

Hudler is entirely too droppable in most leagues if you haven’t done so already.

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No Sean Couturier last night for their big matchup against the in-state rival Penguins. He has a nagging lower-body injury.

Sam Gagner was recalled from the AHL and skated 15:42 centering the second line in Couturier’s stead. No points but four SOG.

It was a vintage Flyer performance with the team getting hosed at even strength but finding enough offense on the power play to hang in the game. Two power-play points apiece for Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn and Shayne Gostisbehere. Wayne Simmonds added one of his own. Yep, that’s the Flyers’ top power-play unit.

I was hoping the Flyers would give Jordan Weal some run in Couturier’s absence. The youngster has yet to get into the lineup for the Flyers, which begs the question of why they bothered to acquire him.

Steve Mason stopped 41 of 45 shots but it wasn’t enough.

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Two goals for Phil Kessel last night. He is on pace for 25 goals. Hands up if you think he gets to 30. I don’t but I am curious to see who still has faith. Kessel can certainly fill it up in a hurry but on a team where Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin should have the puck most all the time, there isn’t much room for Kessel to do his thing and if he can’t shoot a one-timer that’s a poor stylistic fit, something most of us overlooked when he was added to this team.

I do think Kessel has a shot at getting to 60 points. That’ll come from being on the ice while Crosby, Malkin and Kris Letang start to pour it on in the second half. It’ll take some strong play, some good fortune and good health for the names listed above but I wouldn’t rule it out.

Admit it, you are intrigued by Carl Hagelin who has two points in three games since joining the Penguins. He also has 12 SOG in those three games, while skating with Malkin. I will remind that Malkin did make Blake Comeau fantasy relevant for a good stretch once upon a time. Could be a similar fit here. The upside would be the same, Comeau scored at a 45-point rate with Malkin. Tough to see Hagelin going any higher.

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David Krejci made his return to the Bruins’ lineup last night. Frank Vatrano was sent down to the AHL to make room. Check out the Bruins’ lines:

25.18%

EV

BERGERON,PATRICE – CONNOLLY,BRETT – MARCHAND,BRAD

19.34%

EV

FERRARO,LANDON – RINALDO,ZAC – TALBOT,MAX

16.79%

EV

ERIKSSON,LOUI – KREJCI,DAVID – PASTRNAK,DAVID

13.87%

EV

BELESKEY,MATT – HAYES,JIMMY – SPOONER,RYAN

7.66%

EV

BELESKEY,MATT – ERIKSSON,LOUI – KREJCI,DAVID

 

Krejci resumed his spot centering the second line with Loui Eriksson and Matt Beleskey, which pushed Ryan Spooner down to the third line as expected.

No worries for Spooner who stayed hot notching an assist on a goal from Jimmy Hayes. A lot of potential on that third line with Hayes, Spooner and David Pastrnak.

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The Canucks continue to defy all logic. No Henrik Sedin? No problem, apparently. Check out this lineup and tell me how this team is winning beyond sheer effort and will?

25.18%

EV

BURROWS,ALEXANDRE – ETEM,EMERSON – VEY,LINDEN

21.53%

EV

BAERTSCHI,SVEN – HORVAT,BO – VRBATA,RADIM

19.71%

EV

HANSEN,JANNIK – MCCANN,JARED – SEDIN,DANIEL

15.33%

EV

DORSETT,DEREK – VIRTANEN,JAKE – ZALEWSKI,MICHAEL

 

This is like a house of misfit toys.

Jared McCann might be in for some productivity if Daniel Sedin is determined to continue scoring even without is brother.

It was Linden Vey who struck gold recording a pair of assists, however. He has four points in his last four games as his minutes continue to pile up as he gets more comfortable returning from injury.

Bo Horvat, meanwhile, is up to 11 points in his last nine games, while centering the second line with Sven Baertschi and Radim Vrbata.

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Big win for Pekka Rinne and his owners as he stopped 26 of 27 shots to end a five-game losing skid. Odds are he has played so poorly that his owners didn’t even start him on the road in Winnipeg. He has been erratic enough that I won’t suggest that this is where he turns things around. I want to see four straight quality starts first. I believe he can do it but Rinne has yet to pull off that feat yet this season. He has had two runs of three straight quality starts but let’s see a fourth to know he has the mojo back.

So far, so good for Ryan Johansen in Nashville. Another two points pushes him to nine in just seven games for the Predators. It’s nice to see James Neal is starting to get in on the scoring as well with two goals and five points in four games after being held silent for the first three games of the Johansen era.

I am in the camp that believes Johansen’s presence helps rather than hinders Mike Ribeiro even if it pushes Ribeiro to the second line. I like this for Ribeiro because he is still skating with Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith at even strength and then he jumps to the top power-play unit with Johansen and Neal. Ribeiro has four points in seven games with Johansen in the lineup but I feel like he could score as many as 30 points in their final 35 games if everything clicks.

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The Minnesota Wild finally struck for their first power-play goal of 2016 against the Kings of all teams. As if there was any doubt, it was Zach Parise who scored the marker for Minnesota. It wound up being the game-winner as well as the Wild shutout the Kings.

Darcy Kuemper played well stopping all 32 shots that he faced. If Kuemper could get it together he could give Devan Dubnyk a run for his money. Dubnyk has the big contract now so it’ll be a greater challenge but he hasn’t been unimpeachable this season. It’s tough to buy Kuemper as a legit threat after how he flamed out last season, however.

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I don’t know if this will hold up but Marc-Edouard Vlasic is playing so well that he is starting to steal power-play time from Logan Couture. Couture was pushed to the second unit last night, with Vlasic on the top unit. No points for either one of them. I wouldn’t act on anything just yet but this bears monitoring.

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It sounds like pending UFA Milan Lucic would like to stay with the Kings beyond this season:

It's been Kopitar for a while now as his center, which was the original plan when the Kings traded for Lucic, as the belief in the front office was that he would open up space for Kopitar to do his thing.

"He is really good with Kopitar," said one NHL head coach who requested anonymity. "Kopitar is playing pretty freakin' good. He's a great player but I really think Lucic helps him a lot. He is such a physical monster, he's so hard to contain. His presence is important."

It is worth pointing out that while Lucic has been skating with Anze Kopitar lately he had most of his success alongside Jeff Carter. The common denominator in all of this might be whether or not Tyler Toffoli is skating on the opposite wing. In so many ways, Toffoli is the guy who makes the offense happen for the Kings.

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In a press conference yesterday Canadiens’ GM Mark Bergevin noted that Carey Price is progressing slower than expected and that he will be out at least another three weeks, if not a whole month.

It was always interesting that they opted not to go for surgery because you so rarely see that approach anymore. Whether it proves to be the right choice or not will be debated heavily, especially given the tailspin Montreal has been in for months now.

 

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Minor deal yesterday with the Blackhawks sending Ryan Garbutt to the Ducks in exchange for Jiri Sekac.

Garbutt was an intriguing member of what was one of the NHL’s most potent fourth lines in Dallas a couple of seasons ago but then he got paid maybe a little too much (even at just $1.8 million per season), which makes him a cap casualty for the Blackhawks. He never really fit in with Chicago anyhow. Even when given opportunity to skate with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on the top line, Garbutt still failed to produce.

That makes both players brought back in the Patrick Sharp deal who have since been moved out of Chicago. Obviously they had to do the deal for cap reasons and they aren’t exactly suffering for having done it but can you imagine if they returned players who actually fit?

Sekac is probably the more fantasy relevant player here. In two years since arriving in the NHL he is already onto his third team, which certainly raises questions about his fit. He was the only Duck forward to skate fewer than 10 minutes on Wednesday night and has frequently been a healthy scratch. The Blackhawks don’t really have the depth to be scratching Sekac but there is no room for him in the top six so do not expect fireworks.

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Another minor move was the Rangers signing Daniel Paille to a two-way contract yesterday. Not much fantasy relevance here either unless Paille makes the squad and has an impact on their penalty kill. As noted in this Rangers blog post, the Rangers have given up goals on 31.9% of penalty kills since waiving Jarret Stoll. It has basically been an assault on Henrik Lundqvist over the past couple of months.

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As promised, here’s the episode of the In This League Fantasy Hockey Podcast I appeared on earlier this week. We chatted about players we hit and missed on in our pre-season rankings. Had a really good time and their podcasts are always entertaining so subscribe to their pod if you like what you hear.

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Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw. For more help in your fantasy league, pick up the Dobberhockey Mid-Season guide full with over 600 player projections for the second half of the season.