Ramblings: Parise’s projection, Galchenyuk’s impact, Anderson’s workload, Hoffman’s revenge, Ehlers’ linemates and more (Nov 12)
Although he was pointless on Sunday (and over his last three games, for that matter), Vince Dunn leads Blues’ defensemen in PPPts with four. Colton Parayko is next with two. Dunn also leads the Blues’ defensemen in PPTOI with 3:30 per game over Alex Pietrangelo (3:07). Parayko still only seeing 56 seconds of PP ice time per game, and given his shot and his great production despite limited time, I’m at a loss as to why that is.
Jordan Schmaltz saw less than eight minutes of action Sunday and yet still managed to be a minus-2 in a game his team won 3-2. Definitely not how you stay out of the press box. Schmaltz just turned 25 last month so this is his make-or-break year, and so far it looks broke.
Robert Thomas was also a minus-2, so this is just a thought – how about not have the Schmaltz pairing out on the ice when your rookie forwards are out there?
Thomas has always been a pass-first guy, but eight shots on goal in 10 games is a little ridiculous. That being said, five of those shots have come in the last two games so he seems to be gaining confidence.
Zach Parise scored again and now has 16 points in 17 games. Are the Wild getting another resurgent veteran? Parise missed 40 games last year, 13 the year prior, and 12, eight and 15 in the years before that. It would seem that missing a dozen games is in the bag. But if he is actually playing with a clean bill of health, perhaps the 70 games this year will be productive ones? His 11.9 5on5 S% indicates that he’s a little high (call it four points too many). At a 12 in 17 rate over another 53 games, that gives him 16+37=53 points in 70 games. That is his exact stat breakdown from 2015-16, which is why I like it. Mark it!
The Coyotes are 6-2-1 since Alex Galchenyuk entered the lineup on October 23. In those nine games, Michael Grabner (pointless last two games) leads the team with eight points, followed by Galchenyuk and two defensemen: Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Goligoski with seven points each. Derek Stepan and Clayton Keller have six each.
From the Department of Blowing It: Jordan Oesterle saw nearly eight minutes of PP time the last two games, and 13 minutes over his last six games, but is pointless. Furthermore he is minus-7 in that span.
Washington is 7-6-3 so far during Tom Wilson’s suspension. The team lacks depth and I think his return will make a bigger impact than you would expect. In his absence not one winger has even remotely established himself in that first-line spot. Wilson is back on Wednesday, November 21.
Mike McKenna imploded. After being staked to a 1-0 lead he gave up five goals in 15 minutes during the second period. It was his second start this year and in the other start he gave up six. But Filip Gustavsson is having a rough start in the AHL, posting a .872 SV% in seven games. Not that a backup goalie is going to save the season, but the Sens at least need an experienced and decent one and there are plenty available out there.
Maxime Lajoie picked up a secondary assist in the game against the Panthers, but that just makes it two points in his last 11 games after starting with seven in six.
Mike Hoffman’s two assists against the Sens (his former team – so you knew he would be up for it) extends his points streak to 12 games. He has 14 points in that span. Evgenii Dadonov has 16 points in his last 13 games and is on an 11-game points streak. Keith Yandle has 15 in 13 and has points in 12 of 14 games this season.
The Panthers are a six-player team right now. Six players are on pace for 70 points or more – three I note above, plus Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck. After that the best pace is 47 (Nick Bjugstad). Those six players each average at least 50.5% of the available PP time (Hoffman at 50.5%, Huberdeau at 53.8%, the rest above 60%). The rest of the players on the team are below 34%. Until an injury strikes, if you don’t own one of those six players, it is absolutely pointless to have a Panther in your lineup unless the Bjugstad 47-point pace is helpful to you. Because this dynamic will not change.
I wish I had an answer for you with regards to Cory Schneider. I do think he will turn it around, and I believe that of all the struggling starters (Cam Talbot, Mike Smith, Matt Murray, Jake…well, maybe not Jake Allen). But the issue is timing. When will this turnaround happen? I think Schneider, due to all the time missed, will be last. So…January? The others I’d keep on the bench until December, and I think you’ll see signs of life from them. These guys get paid to be the starter and the organization doesn’t want to be embarrassed. So, as you saw last year with Scott Darling, the paid starting goalie will keep getting starts and getting every chance he can to play his way out of the funk. We’ve seen Smith and Talbot in these kinds of funks in the past and they did play their way out of it.
The Nik Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler line has seriously awakened, and these guys have the potential to be another Rantanen – MacKinnon – Landeskog or Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak in terms of dominating the score sheet. Ehlers had been buried on the second and at times even the third line over the last couple of years, but now he’s been blessed with elite linemates and these guys are taking off. Ehlers had four points in 13 games to start the season, so if you were patient with him it’s starting to pay off and will continue paying off. He’s still not getting the chunk of PP time he needs to put him over the top, but I think that will come as this line starts to really make a mark on the league.
Kyle Connor, now off that line, still has a couple of points over the last four games. One of them was via the power play and he is still very much a part of the top PP unit. But playing at even strength with Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault – each of whom have lost a step over the last two years due to the constant nagging injuries – is going to hurt Connor’s overall total in the end.
Connor Hellebuyck has had three very strong games over his last four starts. His SV% is up to 0.912, and it has been 0.916 over his last eight games.
Speaking of hot goalies, Jaroslav Halak has posted back-to-back mighty efforts for the Bruins, stopping 77 of 79 shots on Saturday and Sunday. The guy thrives on action. Historically he does very well with a heavy workload, which he is getting while Tuukka Rask is on personal leave. However, also historically Halak gets injured a few games into the heavy workload. You could almost set your watch to it. So enjoy the next two or three games, but be forewarned. St. Louis, Long Island – you saw it happen time and again, just when you think he seizes the starting goalie job he goes down for two weeks.
Reilly Smith has just two points in his last 10 games. I’ve often said that he makes a splash in his first year with his new team and then tends to tail off in years two and three – but this is ridiculous. The tailspin is generally not quite so drastic. Just seven points on the season so far (17 games) but I think he’ll turn things around at least a little. I projected 57 points in the Fantasy Guide, and I would adjust that to something closer to 50. He had 60 in 67 games last year.
Maxime Comtois was sent to the AHL on a conditioning stint and he scored in his game with the San Diego Gulls. When he is back I would love to see him play with Jakob Silfverberg again, rather than have Ryan Kesler on that line. Sure Kesler and Silfverberg have enjoyed a lot of historical success together, but when Comtois played with Silfverberg, the latter was off to a career-best start and I’d like to see them pick back up on that.
Aside from that fact that a demotion will serve Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi well, I also think it will serve all the Edmonton prospects well. For the first time in ages, they are actually icing a pretty awesome farm team. Ethan Bear had been out since October 13 with an injury and is back as a few days ago, Caleb Jones is having a great start to his season, while Cameron Hebig (undrafted free agent signee) has 12 points in 11 games as a rookie. Other rookie-pros Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody are both up over a point per game. Now the team adds Puljujarvi and Yamamoto, giving them two solid lines and an elite AHL PP unit. I think that bodes well for everyone’s confidence when it comes to putting pucks in the net, and I think that will translate to the NHL a little better too.
Last game the Oilers took Ty Rattie off the big line and kept Drake Caggiula there. It’s as if Todd MacLellan is rotating them until one of them finds big success. I wrote the preceding note Sunday afternoon, so I will add to this blurb Sunday night during the game to comment on whether my theory holds. Verdict: Yes, Rattie was put on the big line, but the Oilers were buried by the Avs early. It’s hard to evaluate the effectiveness of the line when it’s playing most of the game in the defensive zone. In the third period, Caggiula was put there.
See you next Monday.
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- Injury Ward: Crosby, Dahlin, Makar, Werenski, Grubauer, & Kadri
- Ramblings: Kadri returns; Dahlin and Werenski updates; elite players; Laine's season - December 12