Ramblings: Price Dominant, Letang and Murray Return (Nov. 3)

by steve laidlaw on November 3, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Price Dominant, Letang and Murray Return (Nov. 3)

Price’s excellence, Letang returns, Duck injuries and more.

So now that the Cubs have ended their championship drought are the Leafs now the most tortured franchise?

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The Canucks were all set to awaken from their offensive slumber and then ran into Carey Price who stopped all 42 shots he faced for a shutout. Price is the best goaltender in the game, without question. He is the gold standard. Hell, he’s probably the MVP. While there are a number of great skaters they are all helpless when a goalie decides to turn into a brick wall as Price did last night. No one does it better.

A pair of assists for Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. These two have played under 15 minutes in four of the last five games but have really clicked with Alexander Radulov. I’d love to see them skating more minutes but the team is winning and they are still producing. Tough to complain.

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Loui Eriksson is entering droppable territory. He did fire five shots at Price but there was no beating that man. The Canucks have a dense schedule coming up so I could see riding with him for the next few days but if he doesn’t get something going punt him to Jupiter. Our man Rick Roos featured Eriksson vs. Andrew Ladd in his latest Cage Match and he seemed to have a bit more time for Ladd. For my money these guys can both be dumped.

Eriksson remains owned in 66% of Yahoo! leagues. There are a lot of folks dying a slow death here.

Troy Stecher was sent to the AHL before last night’s game but I think he’s too good for the team to keep in the minors for long. Why he’s going down at all is intriguing, however. Seems like he is simply a victim of being waiver exempt and of the team not wanting to lose Nikita Tryamkin or Alex Biega.

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Tomas Tatar with an assist! YES! I have been pumping his tires the past while and it’s nice to see him come through. He was one of my top waiver wire pickups for this week and even put my money where my mouth is dropping Ondrej Palat to make the pickup.

Henrik Zetterberg scored his first goal off this pass from Tatar:

I’m still waiting for a goal outburst from Tatar, who has just one on the season. As long as he can keep up the shot volume – he has 31 SOG in 11 games – he’ll make a run at 30 goals. It’s a matter of when, not if he starts potting some.

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Last night saw the return of the Travis KonecnySean CouturierJakub Voracek line that was so good for Philadelphia in the first few games. No points for the first two, however Voracek scored the overtime winner on a tasty dish from the red hot Claude Giroux:

Giroux hasn’t been held off the scoreboard since opening night.

It’s worth pointing out that we also saw a bunch of Dale Weise skating on the top line with Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. That left Brayden Schenn buried on the third line. By the end of the game Schenn was back in business and even assisted on the tying goal late in regulation.

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Kris Letang made his return for the Penguins and provided instant gratification. He scored a goal, added an assist and had six SOG. I have him right behind Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns in my defensemen rankings. He can’t quite hit their level because of the constant injury concerns, but he is just as good as those two when he does suit up. I have no issues with Letang being in any of my lineups. The pain I suffer the odd week where he’s absent will be worth it if he’s healthy come head-to-head playoffs. There’s always a chance he happens to be absent come playoff time but the juice is worth the squeeze.

Also making his return from injury: Matt Murray. Murray stopped 32 of 33 against an injury depleted Duck squad. That’s a confidence-builder if there ever was one. I hope all the Marc-Andre Fleury owners out there used the Murray injury as an avenue to secure the tandem setup because it should be a good one. Fleury is still the #1 here, in case you have any concerns.

Lineup alert: Carl Hagelin was promoted to the top line midway through the game and notched an assist.

12.66%EVCROSBY,SIDNEY – HAGELIN,CARL – HORNQVIST,PATRIC

Hagelin isn’t going to see top PP time but this could still spark a productive run from the winger. He has been quiet so far.

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With those injuries the Ducks were forced to scramble their lines. It doesn’t appear we’ll be getting a hint as to Rickard Rakell’s long term placement in this lineup any time soon. Here’s what they went with:

23.73%EV COGLIANO,ANDREW – KESLER,RYAN – SILFVERBERG,JAKOB

22.88%EV PERRY,COREY – RAKELL,RICKARD – VERMETTE,ANTOINE

7.2%EV BOLL,JARED – GARBUTT,RYAN – WAGNER,CHRIS

4.66%EV CRAMAROSSA,JOSEPH – KASE,ONDREJ – WAGNER,CHRIS

4.66%PP KESLER,RYAN – PERRY,COREY – RAKELL,RICKARD

Solid opportunity for Rakell right now, although he did far better in a depth role the night before.

Cam Fowler continues to be a fantasy gem. He scored his third power-play goal of the season. Six of his eight points have come with the man advantage. I don’t love that dynamic but you have to be excited about the way he is being used on the power play. He is also at 25 SOG through 11 games. Even if the scoring starts to dry up that shot volume will carry him a long way. He is currently on pace for a career high 186 SOG, a massive leap from his previous standard in this category.

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Some good news here:

On the flip side, it also means that we won’t see these two in the two remaining games the Panthers have this week.

I am hoping that Jokinen’s return can spark Vincent Trocheck, who hasn’t been bad but also isn’t busting out the way I thought he might. The good news, Trocheck’s shot volume is still up with 26 SOG in 10 games. That sort of pace sees him finish with well over 200 SOG, which would be a big upgrade on last season’s 174. That sort of shot volume is a saving grace during some of the slower portions of the season, which is why I’m such an advocate for big shooters.

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Alex Pietrangelo did not skate at practice yesterday following a collision in Tuesday night’s game. It does sound like he will be able to play:

Keep an eye out for updates throughout the day.

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With David Pastrnak due back from suspension Danton Heinen has been sent to the AHL.

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Does that mean more time in the press box for Barzal?

The Hockey News looks at how this season is turning sour for the Islanders. Right now, there isn’t a single Islander I want on any of my fantasy teams other than John Tavares.

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No surprise here but Thomas Chabot has officially been sent back to junior.

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Patrick Marleau appears to have interest in continuing to play after this season. He’s essentially a DH now but his spot on the top PP unit keeps him relevant in leagues where 20+ goals have value.

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Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of DobberHockey. Follow him on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.