Ramblings: Prospect Strategy, Ovy, Hoff, the Twins (Mar.23)

by Dobber on March 22, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Prospect Strategy, Ovy, Hoff, the Twins (Mar.23)

Rambling about bubble teams, my new prospect strategy, Ovechkin, Hoffman, the twins and more

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Update – here is some information on the 10th annual DobberHockey invitational pool (history, results, how to join, etc)

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I don’t remember having the playoff teams already mostly settled so early in the season. I know this, quite intimately, because every year for the last decade I have put together the Playoff Draft List. And I always get annoyed that it’s often midnight on the final day of the season before the last team gets eliminated. But here we are with more than two weeks left and in the West there are just nine teams left. Only Minnesota and Colorado are battling. The other teams are safe.

In the East, the bubble teams are having a battle of ‘let’s see who can suck the most’.

8. Philadelphia, OTL Tuesday night – “Well, I guess I’ll take it. For now.”

9. Detroit, 4-6-0 in last 10 – “I don’t want it, you have it”

10. New Jersey, 5-5-0 in last 10 – “Hey, don’t look at me. I’m gunning for Matthews. See – I’ll even sit Cammalleri for the final games.”

11. Carolina, lost Tuesday, 3-3-4 in last 10 – “Why did you add me to this list? I was looking at Matthews in October!”

I was waiting on the results of Tuesday’s games before getting started on the Playoff List because I wanted to see if the Hurricanes would win and the Red Wings would lose. If that happened then I’d keep Carolina around. But stick a fork in them, they’re done. Nine games to gain seven points while leapfrogging three teams – uh-uh. To me it’s between Philly and Detroit for the last spot, with the Isles and Bruins not exactly safe (but probably safe enough, in my books). Now I am comfortable enough to go with 18 teams on the Playoff List. I have a feeling the final two teams won’t be removed until the last two days of the season.

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Evander Kane has 14 points in his last 18 games and nine in his last 10. Is that too late for you? Yes. Yes, I’m sure it is. Looks like he’ll salvage a 40-point season after all. The bulk of his fourth quarter points have come while on the ice with Jack Eichel, which is troubling. I don’t like players relying on other players for their points, especially when future line combinations for that team are in such flux. I’m still going to hold to my ‘sell or avoid’ advice when it comes to Kane.

Mark Pysyk has seven points in his last 22 games. That’s not great, but it’s interesting because he had just one point in his first 25. His PP time has also risen from ‘negligible’ to ‘second unit’.

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I’m starting to look at prospects who are approaching 23 and 24 in a negative light, if they have to make the team due to waiver rules. It used to be a positive. To me, at least. A promising prospect ‘has’ to make the team or they’ll lose him to waivers. Target him, right? I’m not on board with that theory anymore. This year I was burned by one of them – Jordan Weal. But I’m sure some of you were burned by Stanislav Galiev or Brandon Gormley. Or in recent years by Kevin Connauton or Stefan Elliott. So my wheelhouse for prospects is starting to narrow down to age 20 or 21…maybe 22. Obviously, elite players who are 18 or 19 are in. I’m talking about the regular prospects. Just thought I’d share my epiphany.

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It took 56 career NHL games but Shayne Gostisbehere has finally gone four straight without a point. Just in case you were starting to doubt him, check out what he did in OT last night:

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Since his brother Luke was traded, Brayden Schenn has 32 points in 34 games. Coincidence? Or was that the problem? Brayden has 15 in his last 14.

So suddenly, the Flyers are in the Wild Card? I think that’s more shocking than Anaheim’s comeback. Who to thank? Steve Mason, last night. The guy faced 53 shots and stopped 51 of them. Last eight games for Mason: 5-1-2, 1.97, 0.931

Cam Atkinson has 32 points in his last 44 games, which is a 60-point pace. That’s what he’ll get, at minimum, if he plays 80 games next year. He has seven in his last seven.

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John Gibson has started three of the last four, but wasn’t great last night in allowing four goals on just 23 shots and taking the loss. He has just one win in his last five starts. Meanwhile, Frederik Andersen is 14-1-2 in his last 17 decisions. At this point, Coach Boudreau needs to ride Andersen into the playoffs. Does he want wins or not? Give Andersen a couple of weeks to get into a rhythm…

Two more goals for Jakob Silfverberg give him seven goals and 10 points in nine games. Please get this guy some power-play time…50 seconds per game average, 14.9% of Anaheim’s available PP time this year. At least give him a look on the second unit?

David Perron went back to Anaheim for an MRI on his shoulder. For something like that, I’d guess he’s out until the playoffs. Officially he’s “week to week”, but when the playoffs start I’m sure some magic spray will fix him up.

Hey, look where Brandon Pirri is…

#1 26.9% COGLIANO,ANDREW – KESLER,RYAN – SILFVERBERG,JAKOB

#2 18.1% GETZLAF,RYAN – PERRY,COREY – PIRRI,BRANDON

#3 15.3% MCGINN,JAMIE – RAKELL,RICKARD – SANTORELLI,MICHAEL

#4 11.6% GARBUTT,RYAN – HORCOFF,SHAWN – RITCHIE,NICK

…still pointless as a Duck though, four games in.

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In his last six games, Alex Galchenyuk is a minus-9. I think I cursed him when I touted his hot streak a couple of weeks ago.

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Alex Ovechkin seems to be ending this season with a whimper. Yes, he scored last night, but his last multi-point game was February 24 (so pretty much a full month). He has six points in his last 12 games. He has to get seven goals in 10 games to reach 50.

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So Mike Hoffman. What the hell, guy? Two points last night give him seven in five games. Before that he had 12 points in 32 games. That was a market correction after starting the year with 35 in 33. So I guess this is…correcting the market correction? *shrugs*

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In a key game, Jimmy Howard pulled through for his coach. Oops, I meant to say he was pulled by his coach. Three goals on 16 shots, effectively closing his small window of opportunity to get his job back. Not that Mrazek was much better, but the job is Mrazek’s to lose – it was up to Howard to earn it back.

The big guns for the Lightning woke up again and showed us the scary potential. They haven’t done that very much this year, but Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman, Johnson and Palat had two points each. All at the same time.  I wish I could intelligently speculate on what to expect from this team in the playoffs, but I’d just be throwing darts. Four goals while getting swept first round? Or three 20-point players en route to the Final?

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Vancouver hasn’t scored in three games! Come on Vancouver, let the Leafs get top odds at the lottery! You drafted the Sedins. Who have the Leafs drafted? Wendel Clark? Come on, bring a stud to Toronto – our sports fans (all sports) have suffered long enough. You can have Laine. Sorry, that’s partially a Leafs bias but also a hockey fan bias, seeing as I live in Toronto (suburbs) it would be nice to see a drafted superstar for once. A guy getting local media coverage right at the age of 18 and blossoming into a star before our very eyes.

Daniel Sedin – two points in his last seven games. He’ll fall short of 65 this year.

Henrik Sedin – two points in his last eight games. He’ll fall short of 60 this year.

On the bright side, I think the Canucks have their franchise goaltender. Man, Jacob Markstrom is looking really good right now. He stopped 47 of 48 last night and the only reason he’s playing every other game (instead of all the games) is so that the Canucks can better improve their odds of losing (because Ryan Miller is horrible). In his last five games Markstrom is 2-3-0, 2.41 and 0.929. He was a stud ‘blue-chip’ prospect who took a long time to marinate. But he’s finally paying dividends. In a lot of fantasy leagues he was dropped over the last two summers…and I wouldn’t have blamed them. Now 26, he’s finally got it going.

Another bright side – Anton Rodin. The late-bloomer put pen to paper with the Canucks yesterday. Rodin struggled in the AHL but has blossomed since returning to Sweden a couple of years ago. He leads the SHL in points-per-game this season. Read more on Rodin here.

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The Wild have won three in a row and Thomas Vanek has been scratched for three in a row. He’s making $6.5 million this year and set to make $7.5 next year. So that’s good value for the money right there. But at this point, the team is in a desperate playoff battle. I don’t think he gets back in until an injury happens or until they lose.

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Scott Darling got the hook last night and Michael Leighton played his first NHL game since 2013 and just his third NHL game since 2010 when he went 8-3 in the playoffs. I remember that playoff performance gave him a one-way contract and an NHL starting gig – and he proceeded to get injured. And that was the end of that. Leighton, 34, allowed just one goal on 17 shots. To me, that’s enough to earn a start for next game. But we’ll see.

Andrew Ladd has one point in six games and five in 11 since rejoining Chicago.

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The game that I actually watched last night was the Oilers-Coyotes riveting high-stakes contest. Actually, I didn’t get to the office until 10pm (sometimes happens with kids, I miss the early games) so I chose the McDavid game over the SJS-STL game.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left the game, off to the dark room, after taking this hit by Murphy:

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Alex Tanguay is showing a bit of revival playing with the kids. He has eight points in nine games with the team. This sudden success I’m guessing will lead him to re-sign there on the cheap and keep his career going. With 858 points, a 40-point season next year will get him past 900 (and possibly 300 goals, 600 assists). So some milestones at stake for the 36-year-old.

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Rick Roos’s Buy Low, Sell High article is insightful as always (Sportsnet).

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ICYMI, DobberProspects Ramblings (now coming at you four times per week) – the latest one, which is from Monday, can be found here.