Ramblings: Rielly Busts Out, Kopitar Hurt (Nov 12)

by steve laidlaw on November 12, 2016

Rielly busts out, Kopitar and Duchene hurt, and more.


Huge night for Morgan Rielly with four points. He also scored his first goal of the season. It’s amazing what some power play time can do for you. Rielly skated over three minutes with the man advantage for the first time all season. He has averaged only 45 seconds of PP time per game thus far. Scoring hasn’t really been an issue for the Leafs and they have some other intriguing options on the blue line but I don’t understand why they keep pretending like Rielly isn’t their top offensive defenseman.

Rielly is good enough (and this team is high scoring enough) that he can sniff 40 points without PP time. If he can start seeing significant PP time, his upside soars. Hard to see how they deny him the minutes after this performance, but I’d have argued he’d proven enough before last night.


Steve Mason is fantasy arsenic right now. I’m a believer but my goodness, he is unusable.

Travis Yost looked at what is going on with the Flyers’ goaltending but couldn’t come up with much beyond that they simply are not playing well:

It’s the goaltending that’s disintegrated. Philadelphia goaltenders have stopped just 88.4 per cent of shots this year at 5-on-5, which puts them dead last in the league. Goaltending in prior seasons has been a position of strength (see above) and has saved them real, meaningful goals, but the opposite is true in 2016-17.

I can only imagine that number has fallen further after last night, although the Leafs did do most of their damage on special teams.

The saving grace for Mason owners is that Michal Neuvirth has been bad as well. That’s little consolation and I wouldn’t doubt that many of you have flushed him from your fantasy teams. I’ll remain on the bandwagon, for lack of better options on waivers but I’m not using him until he starts to perform better. Perhaps next week I’ll start looking for optimal spot-starting options and make a move.

In other Flyer news, here were their lines last night:





It appears things have normalized after Brayden Schenn spent some time centering the third line earlier in the week.

Michael Raffl was a healthy scratch but he’s not fantasy relevant at this point.

More evidence that Travis Konecny is a gem:


Tough game for the Kings who kept the Senators quiet for much of the game but eventually things fell apart and they lost 2-1 on a goal with seven seconds left.

Jeff Zatkoff was playing well in his return but had to pull himself from the game after two periods while up 1-0. Peter Budaj did not hold up in relief. No update on Zatkoff but you can safely assume Budaj is getting the next start.

More importantly, the Kings also lost Anze Kopitar to injury in the third period. This is when things really went awry. The Senators piled 15 shots on Budaj in the third period, controlling the play much of the way. If you thought losing Quick would test the Kings, let’s see how they do without Kopitar.

Right now, all we know is that Kopitar will travel with the team, which I suppose is a good sign.

If Kopitar does miss time, I’m not sure there is an in-house replacement to get excited about on the Kings. Maybe Nic Dowd steps into a larger role? I’d be looking elsewhere, for instance Nazem Kadri and Alexander Wennberg continue to be undervalued options on the waiver wire in many leagues.


I was reminded yesterday of the success that JG Pageau, Zack Smith and Mark Stone had together last season:

Sure enough, that line scored both goals for the Senators with Stone and Smith each scoring goals, while Pageau added a pair of assists. Erik Karlsson, of course, had a hand in both goals as well.

Craig Anderson, meanwhile, continues to be a revelation in goal.


Hopefully all is well, although you have to assume that it is not.

The Devils didn’t have Cammalleri but they did have Andy Greene who scored the game winner on a penalty shot in overtime. If that’s not a unicorn of a moment, I don’t know what is. Cherish this.

Taylor Hall got an assist and probably should have had a few more points, as he was ruining the Sabres’ defensemen with his speed and elusiveness.

First career goal for Yohann Auvitu, the French defenseman whom the Devils signed this offseason. He is a solid puckmover, and has settled into a decent spot as the #2 offensive defenseman behind Damon Severson. He’s not really fantasy relevant unless your pool is deep enough that 30-point defensemen have value. But perhaps if there is an injury he can have a moment.


Ryan O’Reilly returned after a night off earlier in the week. Notched an assist too but then this happened:

O’Reilly is questionable for the game tonight. Without him, I wouldn’t utilize any Sabres. In fact, it was the knowledge that he was returning last night that had me swap in Kyle Okposo over Mike Hoffman.


More goals for Antoine Roussel and Lauri Korpikoski who are taking advantage of time alongside Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn respectively. All the injuries have left Lindy Ruff with no choice but to spread the offense around. So far, so good with back-to-back wins on the road in Alberta.

Patrick Sharp may return on Sunday, which would likely knock one of the aforementioned goal scorers down in the lineup. Certainly, Roussel would see his time on the top PP unit come to an end. It was fun while it lasted!

Kari Lehtonen looked sharp last night holding off the Oilers. I know better than to buy his stock but considering my Mason situation, I may have no other choice. Back-to-back wins for Lehtonen.


Matt Duchene left the game in the third period and did not return. No updates on him at the time of writing.

A two-goal night for Rene Bourque including the overtime winner, which was really scored by Nikolaj Ehlers on his own net. Still, Bourque is fitting into a depth role. He has three goals in the past two games and is skating almost 14 minutes a night with secondary PP time. This is far more than I expected from Bourque at this stage. At the end of the day, he isn’t fantasy relevant.

Mikko Rantanen scored his first career NHL goal. Rantanen is worth monitoring. They are giving him 17 minutes a night with top PP usage and ice time alongside Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon.

Carl Soderberg is seeing zero PP time right now but perhaps Duchene’s injury will open up an opportunity for him.


An equipment issue pulled Corey Crawford from the game briefly so Scott Darling came on for one save but Crawford finished up. No concern here.

Artem Anisimov was unable to play. He is day-to-day but the team is hopeful he can play on Sunday.


Athanasiou will miss 1-2 weeks. Meanwhile, Mantha will get a shot on the second line with Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar. Decent opportunity here.


Seth Griffith, Jakub Nakladal and Shane Harper have been placed on waivers. Interesting that neither Griffith, nor Nakladal were able to catch on but they both were claimed by teams loaded with young talent at their respective positions. I could see both being claimed, however there is very little room on anyone’s roster.

Griffith, in particular, has scored at near a point-per-game level in the AHL. The Canucks and Flames (among others) sure could stand to take a swing here.

I would have figured that Nakladal would get a shake in Carolina with Justin Faulk on the shelf, but I suppose Ryan Murphy’s return nixed that.


Dmitri Filipovic looks at how the Rangers have become the NHL’s top scoring team:

With that said, it’s interesting New York comes out looking much better in expected goals than you’d think they would based on their raw shot differential. One potential explanation for this is that their counterattacking, fast-paced style of play lends itself to juicing those numbers simply by producing a higher number of chances than normal. For the time being, only this year’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2010-11 incarnation of the Rangers have been able to produce chances more efficiently than this year's Rangers.

The Rangers’ ability to roll four lines is awesome for their team production but perhaps not so much for fantasy owners. While Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider started out hot, they have slowed as the trio of Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes and JT Miller has picked up steam. This team could seemingly pump out 10 or 11 guys with 45 points on the year but not have a single one hit 65 points. Lots of depth available to fill out your roster but perhaps no tentpoles.

For what it’s worth, I still think Kreider takes a damn good run at 60 points this season. I think we’d all settle for 55 points as a solid breakout.


Interesting look at Loui Eriksson’s struggles thus far:

It looks like, so far, Eriksson is just struggling to finish on chances, which while frustrating, is a much better situation than not getting chances in the first place. We know from his career history that he is a high quality finisher, and we know from their careers that the Sedins have huge positive impacts on their linemate’s scoring ability, so this is a situation where I would preach patience.

In most league’s you cannot afford to show this sort of patience if you are likely dropping early matchups. I’m not averse to scooping up Eriksson later on if, as indicated above, he turns things around. I just cannot advise sticking it out with him right now.


Terrible news as Bryan Bickell has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Josh Harding maintained a career for a few years following his diagnosis but never really got back on track. Hoping all the best for Bickell.

McGinn is an intriguing option in multi-category leagues.


A fun look back at how Eric Lindros was traded to Philadelphia.


Now for some Q+A:

With blocks a factor, I’d rather have Giordano. Good time to make a buy low pitch on Giordano, actually, which I imagine is what your opponent is trying to do here.


Considering Drouin’s injury remains up in the air, and Rakell just gained LW eligibility (on Yahoo) I would say yes. Decent chance this roster spot is a revolving door anyhow so take the option that is actually playing, and playing well!


I think you are aiming too high with that point total. You should be ecstatic if he gets back to 50 points. Probably more like 40-45.


If you can excuse Ehlers’ own goal in overtime last night I’d go with him.

Long term outlook for these two is similarly excellent. I could see both clearing 70 points under the right circumstances. You’re probably rebuilding, which is why you want a long term projection but I don’t have patience for that shit. I want production now and right now, Ehlers is far better positioned. He is skating alongside an emerging elite centerman in Mark Scheifele and a genuine sniper in Patrik Laine whose peers are Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. Domi doesn’t have anything resembling that kind of help just yet.


I suppose it depends on what kind of risks you are willing to take. Monahan is well established as a 60-point guy and has upside for more. We’ve seen Johnson reach 70-point upside but may never do so again due to injuries, role and usage. I’d probably go for the safe option in Monahan but wouldn’t begrudge you for rolling the dice.


A lot. Scheifele can take a run at 80 points this season. Given his cold start, Monahan is unlikely to get more than 60.


Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw