Ramblings: Rantanen Returns With Four Points, Player of Decade Has Hat Trick (Dec 1)

by Ian Gooding on December 1, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Rantanen Returns With Four Points, Player of Decade Has Hat Trick (Dec 1)


After missing the past 16 games with a lower-body injury, Mikko Rantanen returned with a bang to the Avalanche lineup. Rantanen scored a goal and added three assists in the Avs’ 7-3 win over Chicago. Rantanen was back in his usual spot with Nathan MacKinnon, who was just fine without Rantanen or Gabriel Landeskog. With Rantanen now back and Landeskog a possible return on their eastern road trip next week, Colorado will be one dangerous team to contend with going forward.  

Joonas Donskoi might be the biggest benefactor of the Rantanen/Landeskog injuries. Donskoi scored two goals and added two assists of his own on Saturday, which gives him 14 points (6g-8a) in his past 11 games. You might get some more big production from Donskoi next week from the top line, but a Landeskog injury could push him back to a more secondary role. However, his most frequent linemates during the first quarter of the season were Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky, who have both already reached 20 points. So there might still be something there with Donskoi once everyone is healthy. It’s also possible that Jared Bednar breaks up the usual top line to keep Donskoi there, which would be amazing for his owners.  

MacKinnon scored a goal and added two assists of his own, which gives him seven points over his last two games and over two points per game (24 points in 11 games) since November 7. Could he turn it up yet another level with the Avs getting healthy again? Is that even possible?

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I suppose when Alex Ovechkin faces a team at the bottom of the standings, you start him. If you had the foresight to do so, Ovie rewarded you with a hat trick and an assist in the 5-2 win over the Wings. Not one, but two of the goals were scored in an empty net. Is that a legitimate hat trick, folks? Yesterday I mentioned how I thought the third goal of many hat tricks seems to be an empty netter, so I’m thinking that maybe a true hat trick is all three goals scored on a goalie.

Oh yeah, we had this discussion about the fantasy hockey player of the decade. The runaway winner seemed to be Ovie.
 


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Saturday was Geoff Ward’s first official game as interim head coach (that sounds kind of like an oxymoron). Elias Lindholm scored a pair of third-period goals to lead the Flames to a 3-1 win over Ottawa. Those who follow the Flames closely might find a point to differ on, but I didn’t see Ward do anything differently from Bill Peters in terms of line deployment. For more on the fantasy implications of the coaching change in Calgary, see our Fantasy Take.

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Zach Werenski left Saturday’s game in the first period with upper-body injury. The Blue Jackets did not provide an update after the game. If it is his shoulder, he could be out for some time.
 


Thomas Greiss also took himself out of the game late in the first period. According to Barry Trotz, Greiss simply wasn’t feeling well. Semyon Varlamov stopped all 30 shots he faced, yet he doesn’t earn a win or a shutout. You don’t have to explain to me why Greiss gets the win, yet it seems silly that the goalie that did most of the work doesn’t earn a win.

If you were like me, you had Anders Lee stapled to your bench because he hadn’t scored a point in eight games or a goal in 11 games. That means you would have missed out on his goal on Saturday, as well as his plus-2, four shots, and four hits. If you own Lee, expect modest improvement, but 30+ goals seems to be out of reach, especially on the defensive system of the Islanders.

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According to Pierre LeBrun, the Devils are starting to listen to teams about Taylor Hall.
 


One thought: If the Devils don’t trade Hall at the deadline, or they do trade him but only for a modest return, and Adam Larsson stays with the Oilers for the rest of his career, does that make the Hall/Larsson trade seem a little more palatable from an Edmonton standpoint?

Alexandar Georgiev stopped all 33 shots he faced to earn the shutout for the Rangers. It was a shutout he had to earn, as the Devils were given eight power-play chances in this game. The anemic New Jersey power play already entered this game in the bottom third of the league. Maybe they should have declined the penalties, as the Rangers scored two shorthanded goals.

Nikita Gusev led all Devils forwards with over nine minutes of power-play time, although Saturday’s result won’t help his cause. Lately he has been receiving more power-play time, so now might be the chance to grab him if you want to buy super low. He’s owned in just 8 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment.

And yes, we have to look at the power-play time for New Jersey defensemen one more time, since eight power plays draws a significant sample size.

Sami Vatanen – 7:36

Will Butcher – 5:31

Damon Severson – 4:49

P.K. Subban – 3:02

Yes, the guy at the bottom of the list is the most concerning. The team results suggest that maybe it’s time to give P.K. a chance on the first-unit power play. But he sure isn’t stating a strong case based on his overall production. It’s now a meager five points in 25 games for Subban, and he hasn’t even registered a point in 13 games or even a single shot in two games. At this point I think you might have to cut him in a shallower league (currently 80 percent owned), while he should ideally be parked on your bench in a deeper league. Advanced metrics suggest a buy low, but if even the shots have dried up then an immediate turnaround doesn’t seem imminent.

As a comparable to Subban, Shayne Gostisbehere has seven points in 24 games, and his ownership is down to 26 percent. Ghost, by the way, was held without a point in 15 minutes of icetime on Saturday, although he received the same power-play time as Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen on Saturday.

Tomas Tatar broke his six-game goalless slide with a pair of goals on Saturday. That wasn’t enough for the Habs, who are now winless in seven games.

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Because they badly need goaltending depth, the Red Wings acquired goaltending prospect Eric Comrie from the Coyotes for prospect defenseman Vili Saarijarvi. Jimmy Howard suffered a groin injury in a disastrous 6-0 loss to the Leafs, and will be out for an undisclosed period. The chances that Comrie starts a significant number of games while providing positive fantasy value while playing for the 31st-place team in the standings is quite remote. Yet this is a trade worth mentioning anyway if you need to stay on top of goaltending situations around the league.

View Comrie’s Dobber Prospects profile here.

View Saarijarvi’s Dobber Prospects profile here.

On Saturday the Wings started Jonathan Bernier, with Calvin Pickard backing him up. Since Pickard is now 27, I guess we can call him a former goaltending prospect. Comrie is 24, so can we still call him a prospect? 

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Seattle GM Ron Francis made a statement on Saturday regarding Michal Jordan’s recent tweet about Bill Peters.
 


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Tanner Pearson dominated the Oilers on Saturday, scoring two goals and adding two assists in the Canucks’ 5-2 win. Over his last nine games, Pearson has 11 points (5g-6a), and he’s being counted on by the Canucks to provide scoring beyond their top line, which they have had issues with this season. Pearson’s linemate Bo Horvat recorded three assists, which gives him eight points over his last six games.

Alex Edler left Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. The Canucks are back at it with another one against the Oilers on Sunday night, and it sounds like Edler won’t be available to log major minutes and fill your peripheral fantasy categories.
 


After all the fuss over James Neal in October, he finished November with four points (3g-1a) in 14 games. Hopefully you sold high when you had the chance.

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Logan Couture scored twice to give the Sharks a 4-2 win over Arizona. Couture has been scoring at a point-and-a-half-per-game pace recently with 18 points (7g-11a) in his past 12 games. Not surprisingly, the Sharks have been much better in November than they were in October.

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Finally, hands up if you started Chris Driedger. The Florida backup stopped all 27 shots he faced in 3-0 shutout win. Formerly of the Ottawa Senators, Driedger was starting his first game of the season after being called up from the AHL earlier this week. Sam Montembeault had been sent to the AHL, likely to give him some playing time. Driedger may earn another start next weekend with the Panthers playing back-to-backs then.

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For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.