Ramblings: Quick Injury Goes From Bad to Worse (Oct. 15)

by steve laidlaw on October 14, 2016

Quick out for months, Couturier's breakout potential, Backlund a depth option, and more.

Oh good gravy the Jonathan Quick injury news keeps getting worse and worse.

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A trade must be coming soon but I cannot envision the team that’s positioned to trade them a goalie. A few weeks ago, I wonder if the Lightning would have shipped out Ben Bishop to clear enough cap space to sign Nikita Kucherov to a long term deal, instead of a bridge deal. That’s moot now. It’s tough to see the Lightning making a move now that their roster is set. The Quick situation is an example of why having two capable starters is good insurance.

So who has the kind of goaltending depth to make a deal?

Winnipeg? Would the Kings have any interest in Michael Hutchinson or Ondrej Pavelec? I imagine Pavelec would go for cheap.

The Ducks surely wouldn’t send Jonathan Bernier to a division rival would they? Also, they gave up a pick in order to acquire Bernier so why would they move him so quickly?

Perhaps the Senators are interested in moving Andrew Hammond with Matt O’Connor waiting in the wings.

It just seems too early in the season for a team to write things off and move a goaltender. Mike Condon likely comes available once Matt Murray gets back for the Penguins but that’s still a few weeks away.

I could see Ryan Miller coming available once the Canucks appear out of it this season but that could take until Christmas.

Before we write off the Kings entirely, remember that the Wild a few years ago hung around just long enough that once they acquired Devan Dubnyk they were ready to pop and make a run at a playoff spot. Perhaps the Kings have enough to cobble together such a second half once Quick returns, or after acquiring a new starter. The Wild got by with the unimpressive tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom before Dubnyk came available.

However, watching Jeff Zatkoff get roasted by the Flyers I am not certain that any goalie they acquire becomes a must-own commodity.

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Great start for PK Subban in Nashville:

The fans ate it up, as well they should.

One bit of concern: Subban skated “only” 23:04, down over three minutes from his average if time in Montreal. Most of that lost ice time was on the power play as Subban skated only 1:56 with the man advantage, down from the 4:37 he saw in Montreal. This is a big deal and it’s something I feared would happen.

On the other hand, there are some big winners of a stacked #1 PP in Nashville, namely Ryan Johansen who had three PP assists. The other members of that top unit: Mike Fisher (a goal and an assist), James Neal, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg. I don’t love Fisher here but he has some value as a net-front guy, I suppose. The rest of that unit is drool worthy.

Also drool worthy, the Predators’ top line:

16.38%  EV           FIALA,KEVIN – FORSBERG,FILIP – JOHANSEN,RYAN

They barely used Forsberg and Johansen together last season so while they were experimenting with this during the pre-season, I wasn’t certain they would link up and it was enough to steer me away from pursuing a Forsberg-Johansen tandem in all my pools. Seems like a mistake on my part.

Really good spot for Kevin Fiala. He should only have value in keepers, daily fantasy and deep one-year leagues.

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Two games in, the Blackhawks lines have already been thrown into the blender:

12.07%  EV           PANARIN,ARTEMI – PANIK,RICHARD – TOEWS,JONATHAN

11.64%  EV           ANISIMOV,ARTEM – KANE,PATRICK – MOTTE,TYLER

7.33%    EV           HOSSA,MARIAN – PANARIN,ARTEMI – TOEWS,JONATHAN

7.33%    EV           ANISIMOV,ARTEM – KANE,PATRICK – PANARIN,ARTEMI

4.31%    EV           ANISIMOV,ARTEM – KANE,PATRICK – SCHMALTZ,NICK

4.31%    EV           HINOSTROZA,VINNIE – SCHMALTZ,NICK – TOOTOO,JORDIN

I fear that this will be a theme all season.

No points for Kane so far, but don’t panic. The Blackhawks’ schedule will even out and he’ll score soon enough.

Tough luck for Blackhawks rookie Ryan Hartman:

An already thin group will be stretched even further.

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Brian Elliott has seen enough of Connor McDavid:

McDavid is off to a great start and the linemates appear to be clicking as well as both Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle added a pair of points. Also with two points; Leon Draisaitl who has found a home as the net-front guy on the Oilers’ top PP unit.

I’m not convinced that any of the Oilers’ lines outside of the top group is any good so we might see Draisaitl be very streaky but skating on that top unit should make him productive enough to have relevance.

Kris Russell has points in both games with the Oilers but he is well behind Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom on the depth chart for that all important PP time. In fact, Russell didn’t see a second of time on the PP last night. Don’t count on him being particularly relevant if your league doesn’t track blocked shots.

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It was a home game for Calgary so naturally Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan found some points.

I am more interested in what Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund are putting together as depth scorers. The two have clicked for points in each of the first two games, which continues the chemistry that they flashed last season. Backlund scored 32 points in 45 games over the second half of last season, a 58-point pace. I doubt 58 is in play for Backlund but perhaps 50 is attainable.

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Amazingly enough, Sean Couturier has yet to score 40 points in an NHL season. If not for injuries, he probably gets there last season. He scored 39 in 63 games, a 51-point pace.

Couturier has a pair of goals as I finish writing this. The second line of Couturier, Travis Konecny (two assist in his NHL debut) and Jakub Voracek has looked really good. Offensive talent all over that line. If Konecny wants to stick on this line, he’ll need to keep producing. Great start.

Everyone wants to know what to do with Ivan Provorov (who got his first NHL assist). He has paired with Mark Streit on an intriguing pairing. Talented as he is, I maintain Provorov won’t be fantasy relevant unless Shayne Gostisbehere gets hurt.

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The prognosis is in for Evander Kane. He cracked three ribs and will be out for weeks.

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Bryan Little is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

I’m not sure if that is a positive or a negative. It seems these days teams “hoping” for an injury to heal without surgery just wind up losing the player for longer.

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One shouldn’t overreact but after last season’s rigmarole do you trust anything the Canadiens have to say?

Al Montoya makes an intriguing option for a spot start, although with today’s stacked slate you may not have room in your lineup.

As always, check Goaliepost daily for the latest goalie start information.

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How about some good news?

Rakell will likely center the second line with Corey Perry on his wing but this is a team with a lot of options. Remember, Rakell was used quite frequently as the left winger alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Perry. My big question is whether or not Rakell will skate with those two on the top PP unit. Right now it’s Jakob Silfverberg in that spot. One of Rakell or Silfverberg has a shot at a 60-point season if he clicks.

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Have you signed up for Dobbernomics yet? It’s the free fantasy hockey game where the players are like stocks in that their value changes daily based on performance. Your job is to buy low and sell high to build the best squad possible. Did we mention that it’s free?

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I made an appearance on the Roto Hockey Show earlier this week, making some bold predictions before the season kicked off. Check it out! We ended up breaking it up into a two-parter so I’m hoping to finish up the second half this weekend for release next week. This show is definitely worth your time. I tune in every week, even when I am not on the show.

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Thanks for reading. Follow me @SteveLaidlaw.