Ramblings: Reimer, Jokinen, Trouba, Vrbata and more (Feb. 21)

by Dobber on February 21, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Reimer, Jokinen, Trouba, Vrbata and more (Feb. 21)

Ramblings: Reimer, Jokinen, Trouba, Vrbata and more (Feb. 21)

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It was Family Day, a holiday in Ontario on Monday. And what I noticed was the huge uptick in trade talks. Three different leagues and four offers from four different owners. Anyway, I didn’t notice that before (or at least I don’t remember it), but perhaps this is a thing? Bored husbands at home studying their team and putting together offers. Because – what better way to kill time? It is now eight days before the NHL’s trade deadline, which coincides with most fantasy deadlines.

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Nikita Zadorov is out for the season thanks to an ankle injury. A broken ankle, to be precise, suffered in practice. He fell on top of Mikko Rantanen and his leg was trapped awkwardly. Erik Johnson is closing in on a return so the minutes are easily replaced. All this means is that Patrick Wiercioch and Mark Barberio get to stay in the lineup a while longer.

Colorado has given up nine goals in the last four games, but are 1-2-1 in that span. It’s the offense that isn’t working. Calvin Pickard has really come around of late, posting a 0.922 SV% over his last eight starts.

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I wonder if Pittsburgh would re-acquire Jussi Jokinen. Florida doesn’t need him now that they’re back to full health, whereas Pittsburgh’s possible undoing in the playoffs would be injuries – and we’ve seen how shallow they are up front. Scott Wilson, Carter Rowney and Josh Archibald are adequate…but the versatile and experienced Jokinen would be a better depth option. The 33-year-old has eight points in his last eight games, pushing his value back up. He’s signed through 2017-18 at $4 million, but GM Jim Rutherford indicated that he’d be fine with helping his team now and worry about next year’s cap hit after the playoffs. Jokinen has had some terrible puck luck this season, with a 5on5 SH% that’s significantly lower than any of his last seven seasons at 5.36%.

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Jacob Trouba has been suspended two games for his hit on Mark Stone Sunday. Trouba is having a career year that would easily be considered his fourth-year breakout had he not missed the first 15 games because of a contract dispute. Don’t forget – he was pointless in his first eight games because he was having his own ‘training camp’. So his 24 points have come in the last 39 contests, which is a 50-point pace. He had been pointless in his last four though, so we’ll see what impact missing two games will have on that. Here is the hit:

 

Stone did travel with the Senators on their four-game road trip.

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The San Jose Sharks have their bye week now so they sent down Kevin Labanc to get in some AHL action while the NHL squad relaxes. I love Labanc’s future with this team, especially with the aging core that is currently ahead of him. Big ‘buy’ recommend in keeper formats. He’ll be worth the wait and you won’t have to wait long. You can read more on him – our observations and recommendations – can be found here.

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The Panthers have won five straight and pulled themselves into a playoff spot. I think they can hang on, so the question is – can Boston and Ottawa do the same? Because the Islanders are in the hunt and I’m still not ready to count out the Lightning. I think Toronto falls short, ditto for Buffalo. I give Philly an outside shot. But to me it comes down to whether or not Tampa can string together a real good hot streak and if the Bruins and Sens can hang on.

James Reimer has been on fire and seems to have stolen the No.1 job from Roberto Luongo. Here are their numbers this season:

Reimer: 12-6-4, 2.41, 0.920

Luongo: 16-14-6, 2.69, 0.915

But since January 14 Reimer is 6-0-1 in eight games, with a 2.02 GAA and 0.929 SV%. He’s starting two games to Luongo’s one lately. If this keeps up he will indeed be the starter for the Panthers in the postseason and become a very strong fantasy asset next year with a bigger workload. Luongo turns 38 soon but still has five years left on his contract after this one (though three of those years are at a joke salary to drag the AAV down).

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Since Gerard Gallant was fired, Vincent Trocheck has 29 points in 33 games. He had 13 in 25 before that.

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Mike Smith left last night’s game because of concussion protocol, but apparently is fine (according to Dave Tippett).

The Ducks have scored just five goals over the last four games. They are comfortably in a playoff spot, so I guess they can lose all they want. But the lack of scoring is killing some fantasy teams (such as mine).

I keep expecting Radim Vrbata to slow down but it doesn’t seem to want to happen. I have zero trust in him and wouldn’t take him in a trade (unless he was practically a gift), but…with each passing game I seem to be wrong about him. The 35-year-old now has points in six straight and has hit the 40-point mark for the eighth time in his career.

Christian Dvorak’s goal last night gives him six goals and nine points in his last nine games. Since the start of the New Year his ice time has been up by a good two minutes per game. He’s anchoring what’s becoming a very effective second line playing with Shane Doan and Brendan Perlini. Doan skated in the 1,524th game of his NHL career to tie Brendan Shanahan for 15th on the all-time list

With Mike Stone gone I expected to see an uptick in Jakob Chychrun’s ice time last night but it didn’t budge, still sitting around 14:29. He did, however, get a sniff of the power play (second unit), which has been a rarity for him this year. Despite no PP time this year he’s been a 25-point player (12 points in 45 games with his goal last night). The Stone trade should see to it that he no longer gets scratched.

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Chicago prospect Alex DeBrincat became the first player in the last 40 years to score 50 goals in three consecutive OHL seasons. He has an outside shot at a Chicago roster spot next year, assuming they continue to filter in a rookie or two every year due to cap reasons.

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I just wrote about the success of former Leafs castoff Reimer. Here is another former Leafs netminder…who hasn’t been quite as successful. Poor Jonathan Bernier (three goals on first five shots faced):

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Tonight is Matthews vs. Laine Part II…