For as well as the Bruins have been playing, it’s easy to forget that they still have a bevy of players out of the lineup. We have some good news for Boston fans as the injured players look to be returning soon. At the least, it looks like Jake DeBrusk will be back Saturday afternoon against the Panthers. Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy are not expected back on Saturday but they are not far behind. If you’re in a head-to-head league that plays through to the end of the year, reinforcements are on the way.
The Eeli Tolvanen Watch has ended as he’s signed a contract, practiced with the team, and looks to feature in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Lightning. I imagine he’ll be eased in (though in practice he did take a couple rushes with the top line) so there won’t be much fantasy value for the rest of this season. There will, however, be some good scouting opportunities for next season.
Stephen Johns is out with a concussion for the Stars. They say it’ll be at least four or five days but there are only seven left in the season after today. I can’t imagine they bring him back from a concussion for one or two days. If you need an emergency pickup from the team, Esa Lindell played over 24 minutes after Johns was injured in their last game.
The return to New York of the players that had been traded to Tampa Bay was looking like it would be the biggest moment of the night. Alas, we had this:
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 30, 2018
Yes, that’s Pavel Buchnevich and Steven Stamkos fighting. You read those names right. It followed Buchnevich taking a big hit and then taking a run at Nikita Kucherov himself (and it was kind of dirty). Anyway, though Stamkos was held with a point in a game his team won 7-3, he got you 19 penalty minutes. If you’re in a multi-cat league, can you really be angry? The people who should be angry are Nikita Kucherov owners, who also was held without a point but didn’t contribute much else.
Brayden Point had a pair of goals and that gives him 30 on the year. He’s looking every bit the number-1 centre teams covet.
Filip Chytil scored his first (of what should be many) NHL goals. Mikhail Sergachev had an assist and is now one point shy of 40 on the year. Not bad for a teenager playing under 16 minutes a night!
TJ Oshie played most of the game in their loss to Carolina but he didn’t finish it and he apparently suffered a lower-body injury. All the coach would say after the game was that they were being very cautious and he’ll be re-evaluated on Saturday.
Two assists for Jaccob Slavin pushed him over the 30-point mark for the second consecutive season. He had three blocked shots to push him over 150 for the year for the second season in a row as well. Slavin doesn’t hit very much but all in all, not a bad multi-category season for him at all.
John Carlson assisted on Washington’s lone goal, his 50th helper of the year, the first time he’s hit that mark. It was also his 65th point of the campaign. Yeah, he’s going to get a very large contract this offseason.
The big boys came to play for the Leafs in their 5-4 win over the Islanders, at least offensively. All of Nazem Kadri, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist while James van Riemsdyk also scored. The two-point performance from Marner gives him 69 points on the year. He also needs one more power-play assist to reach 20 such helpers.
John Tavares scored a power-play goal which was his 34th goal of the year, a three-year high. He also cracked 80 points for the first time in three seasons. This is the bounce back year we were all hoping for last season.
Brock Nelson also scored and he’s one shy of 20 on the year. Were he to get there, he’d be one of 25 forwards (so far) to crack 20 goals in each of the previous four seasons. As he’s been pushed down the lineup his assist totals have suffered but he’s been every bit the goal scorer he’s always been.
Two assists in this game leaves Jake Gardiner two points shy of 50 on the campaign. For as high as some people have been on him for his career, I don’t think anyone saw a 50-point season on the horizon.
Semyon Varlamov was injured in Colorado’s win over the Blackhawks. He was crashed into by Tomas Jurco on the play and replaced by Jonathan Bernier. Jurco seemed to lose his balance driving the net from the slot and slammed into Varlamov’s left leg. Now, it was late in the game and the score was out of hand so maybe they were being cautious, but he did seem to be in a good amount of pain. When we have updates we will pass them along.
Sven Andrighetto scored for the first time since December! He finished with two goals, five shots, and over 17 minutes in ice time. He was a big part of the depth scoring earlier in the season and would go a long way in lengthening the scoring if he can return to that player for the Avs. His eight goals are a career-high, by the way.
Mikko Rantanen has a goal and an assist and has the quietest 82 points in the league. Tyson Barrie had a goal and two assists, and that gives him a career-high 55 points in just 64 games. As I’ve mentioned before in these pages, he’s one of the most elite offensive defencemen in the league that no one talks about unless it’s rumours about being traded to a Canadian team.
Rickard Rakell scored his 32nd of the year, one off his pace last year, and it was the overtime winner for Anaheim.
Drew Doughty scored the lone goal for the Kings, his 10th of the season. It’s three straight campaigns with at least 10 goals for the blue liner, and 7 of his 10 NHL seasons. Two of the seasons he failed to reach 10 markers were his rookie year and the lockout year. He’s now one point shy of his career-high of 59.
William Karlsson had a monster fantasy night as he’s known to have (this year anyway). He had a goal (short-handed), two assists (one on the OT winner), was plus-2, had four total shots on net, one blocked shot, and three hits. Line mate Marchessault had two goals, one of which was the overtime clincher.
At the risk of sounding redundant, can I say how impressive it’s been to watch Ryan Donato since he debuted with the Bruins? I know it’s a common trope in the media and among fans, but he genuinely looks like a middle-six winger that has been playing in the NHL for three or four years. Should the injury to Rick Nash prove even more serious and he misses playoff time, Donato is a very nice insurance policy. I’m also very optimistic for his fantasy value next year. Without Nash in the lineup – which he won’t be for 2018-19 – Donato has been earning those top power-play minutes. Second line with David Krejci and top PP unit with Bergeron and co.? Yes please.
With the news earlier this week that Kevin Shattenkirk would miss the rest of the season, it got me wondering: how do we value the Rangers defencemen next year?
Neal Pionk has been the point producer since be recalled with 14 points in 23 games (heading into Friday night). The bad news is that half his points have been second assists. The good news is that they have come on the power play, where he’s supplanted Brady Skjei and been given priority over John Gilmour. A healthy Shattenkirk would mean secondary PP minutes for Pionk but at least he’d have those. At the least, he’ll get first crack at the second unit in 2018-19.
Pionk not shooting is a bit of a concern as he’s shot considerably less than many other Rangers d-men. While shooting isn’t an absolute necessity for fantasy value – Keith Yandle and Jake Gardiner have shown that – it does help fill some roto categories and it’s hard to score an acceptable amount for a d-man landing fewer than two shots per game playing.
Gilmour, on the other hand, has no problem shooting the puck. He’s played just under 340 minutes at five-on-five but in that limited sample he’s taken over 16 shots per 60 minutes, one of five defencemen to do so along with Brent Burns, Yohann Auvitu, Dougie Hamilton, and Johnny Boychuk. His ice time has been taking a hit of late though, failing to crack 15 minutes in three straight games of late.
It would appear the Rangers coaching staff is higher on Pionk than Gilmour given their deployment, but the Rangers staff may not even be around next year. Nevertheless, Gilmour’s upside without power play time might be something akin to Boychuk; 5-8 goals and 25-30 points. Pionk would be a bit more on the production side with some PP points mixed in. Because of how he’s being used, I would guess Pionk would be the guy to own after Shattenkirk next season, but a lot can change between now and October. Just wanted to get some initial thoughts out.
Speaking of production among defencemen, I’m not sure how many people realize this but over the last three seasons, Josh Manson leads the Ducks blue line in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five (0.85) and it’s not particularly close with Cam Fowler at 0.62. Over those three seasons, league-wide, he’s tied with the likes of Shea Weber, Morgan Rielly, and Matt Niskanen. That’s pretty good company.
It’s been a fantastic season this year with 32 points and none on the power play. All those five-on-five points have him third in the league on a per-minute basis behind only Erik Karlsson and Torey Krug. He doesn’t seem to have favour with the coaches, though, at least offensively given his non-existent PP usage and the fact that even though they lost Shea Theodore in the offseason, traded Sami Vatanen, and have been fighting injuries all season, he’s still earning just about 20 minutes a game (including a lot of short-handed minutes).
With no PP time, and without additional five-on-five minutes, this season will be the high-water mark for Manson. Don’t chase these points next year in drafts.
Over the summer, one thing I wrote about a couple times was the dilemma of choosing William Nylander or Mitch Marner for this season. It appears as though Marner will be the right decision. For whatever reason, even when he’s in the lineup, the Auston Matthews–William Nylander PP unit can’t get it together but the Marner unit can.
So I ask Dobber heads: if you had to pick one player for a dynasty league at the end of the season, would it be Marner or Nylander? Sound off in the comments.
I kind of wonder what Vladimir Tarasenko’s ADP will be next year. Barring a big point binge over the balance of the season, it’ll be the first time since 2013-14 that he’ll fail to crack 70 points. He needs four more goals to crack 35 or he’ll fail to do so since that same season. He was typically a late first round pick this year but will he be next year?
You have the staples of Crosby, Ovechkin, McDavid, and Kucherov. Brad Marchand, Evgeni Malkin, Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Patrick Kane, and Steven Stamkos probably all find themselves in the top-10. Then you have defencemen like Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson, and goalies like John Gibson and Connor Hellebuyck. Throw in wild cards like the Big Two from Dallas, Mark Scheifele, Jack Eichel, Victor Hedman, Pekka Rinne, and Sergei Bobrovsky, and we could easily see Tarasenko fall outside the top-12 and maybe in the 15-20 range.
I’m just thinking out loud for now but Tarasenko is probably going to be a value next season. He’s shooting 8.45 percent on the power play (by far a career-low, having never been below 15 percent before), 10.75 percent at five-on-five (the second-lowest of his career among 82-game seasons), and has a four-year low in total assists per minute. All this is to say that despite having an established career, there may be some bad luck going on for him and his line mates. We’ll dive deeper over the summer, but I feel confident, in March, planting my flag for Tarasenko as a must-draft in the second round come September.
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