Ramblings: Playoff Draft List is Up; Marchand to be Suspended? MacArthur Returns and more (Apr.05)
First: The free fantasy hockey game Dobbernomics is going to be full steam ahead for the playoffs. Sign up here to get notified when you can put your team in/start your playoff league. I’ll have a little competition going for DobberHockey too. Make sure you don’t miss it, but signing up here. Free!
Second: I worked my ass off on the 11th annual Playoff Draft List Tuesday and I got it done. I’ll of course update it Friday, Sunday and Monday… but in case you’re having your office draft early, you can pick it up here right now. Try different scenarios, or just use my list (included).
I also owe you some rankings. This one snuck up on me, it was one hell of a (birthday) weekend. A very good weekend though, I had a lot of fun with family and friends, and then spent Sunday in full-on ‘Dad’ mode.
Brad Marchand will be celebrating Boston’s clinching of a playoff spot by sitting in the press box. He’ll be suspended for this:
If Marchand gets two games or more, then his wonderful season comes to an end with 85 points in 80 games.
David Pastrnak with two last night has 37 points in his last 31 games.
How Drew Stafford can play with a hot hand like that and not chip in the odd point really speaks to how his skills have wound down despite the rather youngish age of 31. Some players reach their prime early and then fall fast. I can’t really put my finger on how to identify that early. Because if you just wrote everyone off as peaking at 25 or 26 then you’d miss out on Marchand, Cam Atkinson and (I honestly believe next year) Chris Kreider to name a few. Maybe the 40- to 45-point players who struggle with a few injuries tail off quickly? Whereas the relatively healthy players who flirt with 55 points in their mid-20s have another gear? Just spitballin’.
So I wrote off the Islanders for the playoffs, and of course the Lightning throw up a stinker while the Islanders keep rolling in front of Jaroslav Halak. So now the Isles and the Lightning are tied and I had already removed the Islanders from my Draft List. I’ll have to add them back in if the Leafs don’t clinch Thursday.
Still no Steven Stamkos. If he’s not in the lineup against Toronto, then he’s truly not close to a return. It’s do or die time, plus the Leafs are his hometown team.
Halak is 4-1-0 since his return from Siberia. The Isles banished him, bowing to the pressure of the fans. And in desperation they called him back up – something they had resisted doing, despite the fact that he was dominating that league with stellar numbers. He must feel pretty good now. His fantasy owners are feeling good too, because suddenly he has value again. Be it with the Islanders or with another team – he’ll be an NHL starter in 2017-18.
Jakub Voracek has six points in his last 14 games. His points-per-game average is now 0.75, which is the same as it was last year. That’s a year that was considered by him (and his fantasy owners) to be ‘the exception’ and not the rule. But, this year his PP ice time is up slightly, his offensive zone starts are up, and his IPP (percentage of points scored while he’s on the ice that he’s in on) is down by about 10%. It’s telling me that his 81-point season was the exception.
Jordan Weal was on a five-game points streak, and he’s fighting for a one-way contract next year. So it was a terrible time for him to miss a game due to the flu.
The Penguins will face the Blue Jackets in the first round in all likelihood, so Tuesday was a practice match of sorts. The Pens spanked the Jackets 4-1, who lost it to a bunch of depth guys before the regulars started chipping in. Carter Rowney, Scott Wilson, Tom Kuhnhackl each picked up points. And when everyone on this team is healthy, a couple of those guys will be scratched. Evgeni Malkin hopes to get into at least one of the final three games. He skated Tuesday, but nothing more.
Jake Guentzel picked up two points on the final two ‘insurance’ goals. In his last nine games played he has 12 points.
Clarke MacArthur was back in the lineup for Ottawa in a bit of a surprise. Actually, it was his season debut. He saw about 10 minutes of ice time and a bit of PP time, but was held pointless. Here were Ottawa’s most used line combos last night:
#1 23.3% BRASSARD,DERICK – BURROWS,ALEXANDRE – STALBERG,VIKTOR
#2 15.5% HOFFMAN,MIKE – STONE,MARK – TURRIS,KYLE
#3 10.2% DZINGEL,RYAN – STONE,MARK – TURRIS,KYLE
#4 6.8% HOFFMAN,MIKE – PAGEAU,JEAN-GABRIEL – PYATT,TOM
With two more points last night, Mathieu Perreault has 25 points in his last 21 games. He’ll set a career high this year, or at least match it (43 points – he has 42 right now). He’s 29 years old but I think he could be sneaky-good next year. If he can only stay healthy. Last four seasons: 65 (if he plays the last two), 71, 62 and 69. It’s pretty much guaranteed that he’ll miss 12 to 15 games – but man, if he can kick that injury bug I’d feel very comfortable in a bold outlook for next year. He fits in well with his talented teammates.
Jeff Skinner had 63 points as a rookie and hasn’t matched that number since. Thanks to a couple of serious concussions, he may have changed his game slightly and it’s cost him production. But with three points last night he’s up to 61 and has a shot at topping his career high from six years ago. He’s already set a career best for goals (35). I suspect it’s his confidence. With each passing game that he’s healthy and not fearing that next concussion, he’s settling back in as his old self. It’s hard to believe that he’s still only 24 years old (25 next month).
With another point last night and four in his last three games, Alexander Burmistrov has 13 points in 24 games for the Coyotes. He’s just 25, so there’s some potential for a 45-plus season next year. Playing with Max Domi could see that come to fruition easily, not to mention getting top PP time.
Mats Zuccarello has been red hot of late, but he won’t play Wednesday due to playoff-rest-itis. The Rangers can’t move up and they can’t move down in the standings so they’re going to be sitting their guys and resting them up. Zuccarello, Rick Nash and Jesper Fast get the first day off. I suspect the next one will see players like Derek Stepan, Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider suddenly have to nurse “undisclosed” injuries that magically heal after missing one game.
I’m not disappointed at all that the NHL won’t go to the Olympics, and I hope they hold their ground too. I’m a fantasy hockey fan first, and a hockey fan second – and I can’t stand the NHL shutting down for two weeks. The great hockey that is the Olympics “tides me over” until the NHL resumes. I love watching hockey…but I love watching hockey while tracking my fantasy teams’ production even more. Shutting down for the Olympics robs me of one of those items. Anyway, as a business owner I also understand the NHL not wanting to go either (and on the topic of business – DobberHockey’s traffic certainly takes a hit too). And thirdly – I think the Olympics should be for amateurs. Don’t rob them of that.
If the NHL isn’t a part of these Olympics, then it’s another step towards making the World Cup a ‘real’ event, which I feel is the direction the sport needs to go. It will probably take three or four World Cups to give us that “real” feeling, but to get to that point you need to start somewhere. You need to make it “the” international hockey event, not “one of” the international hockey events. You need to make it reliable in that it happens every four years without fail. Just my two cents because it contradicts pretty much every article I’ve seen across all media platforms.
Look for my free box pools to be set up within a day or two. You can follow the Fantasy Box Pools page for updates.
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