Ramblings: Schultz, Derek Ryan, Hartman, Vasilevskiy, the Leafs and more
FRIDAY! The Midseason Guide will be released later in the afternoon, in time for your weekend midseason drafts or just for you to look things over and evaluate the second-half outlook. Besides the second-half projections, this beauty will also have players on the trade block (and what it means), prospects ready to make the jump for a dozen games down the stretch, the lowdown on undrafted or unsigned free agents (both in college and in Europe) and much more. Last year’s Midseason Guide, for example, had Troy Stecher, Drake Caggiula, Nick Lappin, Brandon Tanev, Alexander Radulov and Anton Rodin, to give you a small sample. Imagine getting a heads up on players like that in January instead of finding out about them in April or even July? Pre-order it here
SERVER ANNOUNCEMENT! This evening we are slated to move the rest of the sites over to the new server. For sure not before 8pm, possibly in that 9pm to 2am (EST) range. I will announce over Twitter and in the forum. The sites will be down for about three hours. Once up, some things will be broken. We’ve tried to fix that in advance, but it’s still bound to happen and we will fix them one by one over the next several days. Within a week or two, this site (and the others) will no longer take eight or 10 or even 20 seconds to load. Load times will be instant. Reports on Frozen Pool – instant. Player adding and research on Dobbernomics – instant. The current issues (listed here) should be fixed when the move is complete or shortly thereafter.
Thanks for your patience through this process. This will address the main weakness of this site – load speed and crashing. Over the years Frozen Pool has become very complex, with a ton of features tacked on bit by bit. My programmer is taking all that stuff and streamlining it, reducing a report that runs thousands of queries into something that runs a half dozen queries. Now imagine that over the course of hundreds of reports. Currently, if 100 of you each run 100 reports in the same minute it bogs the site down as it process nearly a half-million queries. Soon, 1000 of you could run 1000 reports and it would result in a tenth of as many queries (on a much faster server!). The difference will be clearly felt across all sites, and as you can guess I’m pretty excited about it.
With two goals Sunday, Sebastian Aho has 10 points in his last 13 games.
Derek Ryan has three points in three games since Ty Rattie joined the team. As I noted on Twitter last week, at the very least the Rattie acquisition could get Ryan going. By no means does Ryan have a roster spot locked up so he needs to produce to keep it. And now he’s producing again. I love watching these underdog late-bloomer stories unfold. The Hurricanes now have him playing with Jordan Staal and Brock McGinn, two players who are used in a checking capacity. The perfect duo to cover for Ryan’s defensive lapses. This could work.
Jaccob Slavin has 10 points in his last 18 games after starting the year with six in 23. I’m sure the GMs have caught this by now and have scooped him back up (after he was dropped in early November by an impatient owner).
The NHL introducing bye weeks for each NHL team is having a psychological impact on some fantasy owners. For example, in my one league, I am winning by a wide margin on a team that is centered around Crosby, Sheary and Letang. That lead shrunk by a good 10 points this week, so I figure the guy in second place figures he’s gaining ground. Closing the gap. He’s out there making offers trying to increase his points (points carry over in trades), whereas if the gap was the same then perhaps he gives up. Meanwhile, his Montreal, Detroit and Washington teams will get their bye weeks, as will my Anaheim and Rangers. But I have one key bye week out of the way.
The Penguins returned with authority, scoring six times. Conor Sheary’s two points give him a four-game points streak, and also of note – they used Justin Schultz on the PP just as much as Kris Letang. No more Patric Hornqvist – Schultz has stolen the job. The Pens went one for three so they’ll keep that unit together for now.
Schultz is on a five-game points streak and has 20 points in his last 17 games. He had five in 22 before that.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has lost four games in a row and what’s worse – he’s lost them badly, giving up 20 goals in that span. He’s doing his best Calvin Pickard impression, trying not to win the job that’s being handed to him on a silver platter.
Chicago rookie Ryan Hartman picked up his first career NHL hat trick – a natural one, with an empty netter at the end. He added five SOG and two hits. In his last 15 games he has 11 points, 35 SOG and 33 hits. Those are some pretty impressive numbers if you have those categories.
Mike Fisher has six points in his last six games and 24 on the season. He’s on pace for 52 points, which would be the first time he hit 50 since 2012. He’s 36 years old, but I guess we (I?) shouldn’t have written him off just yet…
Winnipeg announced yesterday that Patrik Laine does indeed have a concussion. In case you missed the devastating hit, here it is again:
Is Patrick Maroon getting it? We’ve seen him do this before, and we always think…”well, maybe…”. He’s 28 years old, but the big players always take just a couple of years longer than the average player to get going. He’s on pace for 45 points, which is easily a career high. He has nine points in his last nine games and five goals in his last three.
With three points last night, Mark Stone now has 25 in his last 24 games. So overall his numbers are disappointing (31 in 38), but he’s back to his old self.
The Sens announced that Craig Anderson will return in three to five weeks, which basically means between 10 days and three weeks…but then add in another 10 days or so to practice and get back into shape, timing, etc…
The Rangers are 15-6-0 on the road so far. They even beat the mighty Blue Jackets at home on Saturday.
Also on the weekend, Nicklas Backstrom became the first player from the 2006 draft to reach the 500-assist mark.
The Maple Leafs have a 50-50 shot at making the playoffs this season which would exceed expectations in every sense of the word. The problem with that is – next year they are going to disappoint just as much, when in fact it shouldn’t be that way. If the expectation was 85 points this year and 90 points next year and they get 93 points and then 90 points – is that disappointing? It sure will be, as we live through it. But taking a step back and looking at it from a high level – they will have met expectations for next year and exceeded them this year. I think that’s what we’re going to be faced with, and you’re going to see a lot of Leafs fans overly critical about it.
My reasoning: Toronto has had great luck this year with injuries. Not only are their key guys staying healthy, but players who needed to be injured were injured. Imagine if Joffrey Lupul was around to screw with this chemistry they’re enjoying? Anyway, all it takes is a Nylander or Marner (or, gulp, Andersen) injury and the team is going to dip a few points. Throw in sophomore jinxes (of which there are no shortage of candidates) and the Leafs are bound to decline just a little. And then Year 3 will be a huge one. But I’m cringing at the backlash this team is going to feel from disappointed Toronto fans next year when in fact they shouldn’t be disappointed. Bookmark this and remind me about it (when I’m right).
This week’s 20 Fantasy Thoughts
- Ramblings: Jets Soar; Islanders Make History; Barzal's Season - February 17
- Ramblings: Dion's Royal Debut (Feb 16)
- Ramblings: Kopitar's Consistency, Hamilton's Hattie (Feb 18)
- The Journey: Rising Prospects Forwards
- Trade Deadline TRACKER, Fantasy Hockey Style -- NHL 2018
- Patrick Maroon and the Oilers Offer Value in the Week Ahead
- Saturday NHL Game Picks - February 17
- Geek of the Week: Phil Kessel’s Monster Season