Ramblings: Panthers; Ennis; Hot/Cold Player Turnarounds and more (Oct 31)

by Dobber on October 31, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Panthers; Ennis; Hot/Cold Player Turnarounds and more (Oct 31)

Rambling about the Florida Panthers surprises; Tyler Ennis; Hot/Cold players and more …

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Look at Florida’s scoring list and you’ll be surprised by everything you see. Jonathan Marchessault is surprise as the leading scorer (11 points in nine games), even though I told you the following back on October 10 as well as in the October 8 update the Guide:

But after a four-point game last night, Colton Sceviour is second on the team with seven points in nine games. He’s played 14 minutes per game. Can he keep it up? Well no. He does have some offensive talent and with proper ice time, sure he could get over 40 points. But when Nick Bjugstad returns and Jonathan Huberdeau returns, Sceviour’s numbers will hit a wall. What Marchessault is doing, however, has exceeded even my lofty expectations. If he’s anywhere near a point per game in January when Huberdeau returns, he’ll have carved himself a permanent spot in the top six. I said he would slow, and of course he will – but he won’t drop off the map. Not at the rate he’s opening eyes.

Next surprise – same amount of games (nine), yet Aleksander Barkov has just five points. Vincent Trocheck too. And Jaromir Jagr has just four. Was Huberdeau so much of a driver of that line? And the top scoring defenseman is Mike Matheson, but he was a healthy scratch? One point for Aaron Ekblad? James Reimer within .003 of Roberto Luongo in terms of SV%?

Amazing how much of an impact their juggling of defensemen and the loss of two key forwards to injury in the offseason has changed literally everything with this team in the realm of fantasy hockey. The defensemen will settle in eventually (Keith Yandle, Mark Pysyk, Jason Demers, Matheson – each pretty much brand new to the system and each other). We've already seen Yandle and how slow he was adapting to the different Rangers' system. 

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Sceviour scored one ES, one PP and one SH goal. Per Elias Sports, he's the second player for the Panthers to ever do this (Nathan Horton, 2009).

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I’m pretty disappointed in Tyler Ennis so far, as I had considered him a rebound possibility. He’s just not clicking at all with his linemates. Here were the line combos Sunday:

#1           20.4%    MOULSON,MATT – OKPOSO,KYLE – O'REILLY,RYAN

#2           18.7%    ENNIS,TYLER – GIRGENSONS,ZEMGUS – REINHART,SAM

#3           17.4%    FOLIGNO,MARCUS – GIONTA,BRIAN – LARSSON,JOHAN

Meanwhile, Kyle Okposo is seriously clicking with Ryan O’Reilly. I wonder if Ennis would make a better fit on that line than Matt Moulson. Right now, Moulson is “bouncing back” (if you can call it that). But for him, even a 35-point season is “bouncing back”. How long is Coach Dan Bylsma going to put up with his mediocrity? Whenever his patience with Moulson runs out, Ennis is the logical promotion. And on that line, Ennis could come on. I’m kicking tires on him in my league, but offering very little – take it or leave it. If they bite, I’ll be fine sitting on Ennis for a few weeks just to see.

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By the way, I get a lot of my topics to write about using the cool Hot/Cold tool. You can use our automated one here and just set the drop box to ‘hot’ or ‘cold’. Or you can use one that allows you to customize based on the number of games you want to look at here.

‘Cold’ players who I guarantee will turn things around, and probably soon:

John Carlson (pointless in five games)

Ryan Johansen (pointless in five games) – Nashville has had a tough schedule so far and when things soften up, he’ll be first in line to pile up the points. Not that it’s an excuse, but it helps.

Barkov (pointless in four)

John Klingberg (one point in four games)

Keith Yandle (two points in five games)

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‘Cold’ players worthy of taking a shot on because you can get them cheap:

Sean Couturier (pointless in four)

Elias Lindholm (one point in seven games)

Cam Atkinson (one point in four games)

Robby Fabbri (one point in six games)

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Marian Hossa had two points Sunday and he has seven points in eight games. That’s the hot start you’ve been waiting for, Hossa keeper-league owners. Shop him now. Not only is the points-per-game not going to be sustained, but he’s a ticking time bomb in terms of injury.

Speaking of selling high, Artem Anisimov. Yes, he’s definitely going to have a career year and I even projected as much in the Guide. But this torrid pace is beyond ridiculous. Even with his linemates. Those are the same linemates he had last year. He will slow down and it will be quite dramatic.

Nick Schmaltz had 2:28 of PP time Sunday, while Tyler Motte had just 18 seconds. So the see-saw continues to go up and down between these two. I’ll continue to stick with Motte as my fantasy favorite.

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What is it about Anze Kopitar and slow starts? If the last two years are any indication, look for the sluggishness to continue for another three weeks or so before he takes off at a point-per-game (or better) clip.

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Jake Gardiner is off to a great start with six points already. Why is that? His PP time isn’t up by much (20 seconds per game). He’s shooting at about the same pace. Answer: it’s the talent around him. His ES points have been with different partners (four points alongside four different guys). But he has two power-play points as the lone true defenseman on that unit. He’s on pace for 18 PP points against last year’s 12. Last year he had 31 points based on a 5on5 SH% of 5.99%. So with normal productive teammates around him, maybe that 31 should have been 36. Add in another six PP points and it gives him 42. That’s about where I’ll peg him for now.

Auston Matthews is pointless in three games and has now fallen behind William Nylander’s 11 points on the season. The difference? The power play. Matthews has seen more PP time (1:42 per game) and has four PPPts. Nylander has seen 1:32 per game and has seven PPPts. I have a feeling this race will go to the wire, unless Nylander gets hurt (I still suspect he’s fragile). I believe both will top 60 points.

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Brock Nelson is on fire with nine points in nine games to kick off the season. We saw that before. Last year he had 14 points in 20 games to start, and in 2014-15 he had 20 points in 22 games to start. I suspect that this season the reason for the hot start is the chemistry with Shane Prince – four of his points have been with Prince on his line, yet they’ve only played together maybe 20% of his shifts. The more recent shifts.

Prince has back-to-back two-point efforts and is worth a short-term waiver pickup. I really like him on the Nelson line, at least until the 20-game mark when Nelson generally cools.

Andrew Ladd is a player I have no faith in. Yes, he’ll bounce back. He gets paid far too much money to ever see his ice time cut to where it deserves. But his 60-point days are done and I wouldn’t be shocked if his 50-point days were done too. If you’ve read me for a long time you know that I’m one of the most patient writers/fantasy owners there is. I don’t give up on young guys with promise until long after everyone else has. Years after. I find that it usually pays off for me (Marchessault is a great example). And with older players I tend to think that one bad year doesn’t end things for them fantasy-wise. And Ladd is only 30. But it just smells like one of those “he’s only 30 yet he’s declining already” surprise players. No other reason other than a hunch, but that’s mine and I’m sharing it with you. I don’t see it. His one shot at a rebound was clicking with John Tavares, and that didn’t work. Ladd was moved to the Nelson line last night.

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Nikita Kucherov’s serious injury sure held him out for a long time, eh? Two days (or one game missed). What looked very serious actually wasn’t. I’m sure he’s playing through some pain though, but he’s one of those players (like teammate Tyler Johnson) who will play through anything. He picked up a PP assist on Sunday and, more promising, took three shots on goal.

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I would have bet $1000 against Michael Grabner ever getting an NHL hat trick again in his career. And given odds. I would have lost last night. Geez. He can thank Chris Kreider for that one. Kreider is back, probably, on Tuesday. Then he’ll go back to his 10 minutes of ice time per game.

Kevin Hayes had three points on Sunday. His PP time is way up thanks to the Kreider injury, but he has no PPPts this season so that part hasn’t made an impact. What has, I suspect, is his improvement at the dot. The last two seasons his FO% has been around 36%. And that’s not exactly encouraging Coach Alain Vigneault to play him more. This year he’s won 51 of 102 faceoffs (50%, for those who are mathematically challenged). Continued success in that area will push Hayes over the 50-point mark for the first time in his career (he’s in his third year).

J.T. Miller, who played with Grabner and Hayes on Sunday, also chipped in three points and he has nine points in nine games.

Interesting tidbit – Antti Raanta has played in 33 career home games. His record is 21-4-4.

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Claude Giroux with two more points gives him 12 on the campaign and a share of the league lead (at the time). Making a statement, perhaps? He was the healthy scratch for Team Canada, maybe he’s playing pissed off. Frankly, I had written him off as an 80-point player going forward. Giroux is on a nine-game points streak, tops in the league. Other streaks – Victor Rask is on an eight-game streak, while Ryan McDonagh and Artem Anisimov are on seven gamers.

Travis Konecny has seven points on the season but he had four of those points in the first three games (i.e. just three points in seven games since). He’s key to the Flyers’ secondary scoring and if that’s dried up they’re in trouble.

Flyers goaltending…

Steve Mason: 2-4-1, 3.46, 0.878

Michal Neuvirth: 2-1-0, 3.84, 0.861

So what’s better as a No.3 goalie on your team, a weak starter or a great backup? Well, if it’s a Top 3 or 4 backup, then I’d go with the backup. Otherwise I’ll take the weak starter. Because Mason can have his hot streaks and if we’re talking about your No.3 then you’re pretty much riding the other two anyway.

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When does a fantasy owner like to see a 1-0 game? Well, when it’s their goalie versus their goalie of course! I got that last night – Craig Anderson versus Cam Talbot. Granted, it was 2-0, but that included an empty netter. Thanks guys!

Anderson played in the game because of the Andrew Hammond injury. He cut his personal leave short and played one of his best games in a long time (37 saves). It’s hard not to be happy for him, even if you’re not a fan of the Sens.

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One thing of note in the Edmonton game was of course what I’ve been keeping an eye on and that’s which defensemen are used on the power play. Coach Todd McLellan is still going with Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera. The two have combined for a single power-play point this season despite a combined 45 minutes of PP time. Adam Larsson has had three minutes of PP time this season and last night was just the 30 seconds. However, in the final power play when Larsson was used at the tail end, he got off a shot on goal that resulted in a rebound. And just after the PP ended he took a hustle pass back to the point off the boards, and had to hustle it cross ice to Kris Russell because he was under pressure. The pass was perfect and Russell got off a nice shot. The more times we see plays like that, and the longer Klefbom does zilch on the PP, the closer we get to seeing Larsson get a shot.

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The weekly Sportsnet column featuring the best of the DobberHockey Ramblings over the past week – 20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts

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It’s never too late to join the fun at Dobbernomics – we’ve now implemented the five weekly transactions feature of the game. And this is a good thing, because you guys were kicking my ass with the unlimited transactions. Many had been streaming their lineups daily, whereas my joy of the game had always been to check in two or three times per week and adjust my roster under the limitations of five trades. I’d maximize the schedule (using this handy tool over at Goalie Post) to my advantage and play the hot player. But this is useless against people who were swapping out their lineup every day. Now the five-trade rule is in effect. Transactions can roll over every week, making it advantageous for you to use only four of your trades and then keep saving one per week. Then, in March, make a serious run for the top with all your extra transactions. Dobbernomics is now set up the way it was meant to from the start – six weeks too late, alas, but still great to have it rolling. Now we can focus on adding new features (for research, navigation, etc.). The playoffs and 2017-18 will be a hell of a lot of fun. But you can still join, start your own league and invite 10 friends. A great way to get going if you’re already out of your current leagues thanks to injuries and slow starts.

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Anderson's emotional shutout: