It’s only fitting that on the night Daniel and Henrik Sedin played their final game at home in Vancouver, Roberto Luongo played the 1000th game of his career. Those three players are largely responsible for the most prosperous time of this franchise since the early 90s, and those three players are among the best at their respective positions this century.
Perhaps some day they’ll all meet again in their introduction into the Hall of Fame.
In a fitting tribute, Daniel Sedin scored Vancouver’s first goal assisted by his brother and Alex Edler and then Daniel would score the overtime winner to lift the team 4-3 over Arizona. It could only have finished in that fashion.
And Brendan Leipsic scored one heck of a goal:
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 6, 2018
In completely unrelated Canucks news, the 50/50 at the game (which included unclaimed prizes from earlier in the season) wasn’t far off from an annual NHL base salary before the game even started:
Over $525,000 now, and warmup hasn't started yet. https://t.co/kge4pBe1d3
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) April 6, 2018
At time of writing (after midnight Atlantic time), it was over $810 000.
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By virtue of a 2-1 over the Leafs, New Jersey sealed their first postseason appearance since 2012. While he wasn’t incredibly busy on this night, Keith Kinkaid did stop 31 of 32 shots he faced, including a couple very nice saves, particularly in the second period. Taylor Hall will rightfully get a lot of the praise for New Jersey breaking their playoff drought, but Kinkaid had a .929 save percentage over 21 games spanning the last seven weeks, which included the most wins in the league. The Devils are likely still hoping Cory Schneider can find his game next season, but Kinkaid effectively saved their year this season. It’s a great story.
Garnering a point in an overtime loss was all Columbus needed to lock their playoff spot for the second season in a row. It looks like they’ll be facing Pittsburgh in the first round but it will come down to the final game of the season for seeding between them, New Jersey, and the Flyers.
By the way, Phil Kessel had two absolute snipes in that overtime win for Pittsburgh. This was the overtime goal:
good lord, Phil Kessel. pic.twitter.com/9hFj9B4NmW
— Goalie Blinnterference (@NHLBlinn) April 6, 2018
He also had an assist to get to the 90-point plateau for the first time in his career. He’s also up to 41 (!) power-play points this campaign.
Both the Flyers and Panthers won their games which means Florida is still technically alive in the playoff race. The Flyers could end up third in the division or miss the playoffs completely. A little bit of pressure!
In a nice little twist, Frank Vatrano scored one of Florida’s goals to lift them over the Bruins on Thursday night. That makes four goals in 14 games playing third/fourth line minutes since being traded. All the kid does is score.
Aleksander Barkov did leave the game in the third and did not return. There was no update given after the game by the coach, so his status for the balance of the season is uncertain.
With Nashville’s win and Boston’s loss, the Preds locked up the President’s Trophy for the best record in the league.
Craig Smith had two goals in Nashville’s win over Washington and that sets a single-season high for him with 25. After a poor 2016-17 season that saw him demoted down the lineup, he, Kyle Turris, and Kevin Fiala have been a wonderful second scoring line for Nashville. Sometimes it’s easy to forget Smith had at least 21 goals in every season from 2013-2016.
Evgeny Kuznetsov had two goals in the losing effort and that put him over 80 points for the first time in his career. He also cracked 20 minutes in ice time for the third time in four games. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of that once the postseason starts.
With three assists on Thursday night, Connor McDavid has nine three-point games since the All-Star break and it was his 31st multi-point night of the campaign, breaking his career mark set, uh, last year, of 30 multi-point games.
Dustin Brown managed a hat trick in their game against Minnesota and then added the overtime winner for a 5-4 Los Angeles win. He now sits at 28 goals on the year, tying the second-highest mark of his career. It's been an incredible resurgence and part of the reason the Kings have been able to find their way back to the playoffs.
Everyone dressed for the Jets in their 2-1 win. There may be some minor, nagging injuries kicking around but as long as nothing catastrophic happens in the team’s final game, it’ll be all systems go for the playoffs throughout the roster. I would expect some players to be rested in the team’s final game now that they are locked into the #2 seed in the Central.
Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal among five shots, along with two blocks and a hit, in Detroit’s loss to Montreal. I’m not as big a believer in him fantasy-wise as some other people are, but if they’re committed to using him in a top-six role as opposed to guys like Justin Abdelkader or Darren Helm – we’ll see what the roster looks like in September – he should carry multi-category value.
With a goal in the Flyers win, Ivan Provorov has reached the 40-point mark on the year. He did so while garnering just five power-play points. Anyone who reads my Ramblings knows how much I think of this kid. Just an outstanding fantasy season from the 21-year old, especially for those in leagues counting hits and blocked shots. His overall value showed through in this game as in addition to the goal, he had two more shots, a plus-1 rating, two blocks, and three hits. He needs one hit in the team’s final game to reach 150 on the year and one more shot to reach 200.
Mark Stone has been shutdown for the rest of the season by Ottawa. He’s not ready to play at the moment and clearly there’s no need to rush him.
It’ll be an interesting offseason for the Senators. If the rumours are to be believed, Erik Karlsson will be with a new franchise for 2018-19. If Eugene Melnyk is truly committed to cutting as much salary as possible, will he give Stone the hefty raise he deserves? Or will he, too, find himself with a new team? Just spitballing here, but he’d look great on the top line for the Flames alongside Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. I’m just saying.
Not that it’s anything concrete but Dallas Stars beat writer Mike Heika seems to think Valeri Nichushkin will be returning to the team next year:
My guess is yes. I think they want him back and I think he wants to come back. https://t.co/OxZ28hUo6g
— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 5, 2018
Things didn’t go so well the first time around though injuries surely played a factor there. If he can fulfill his potential, this is a bona fide top-line scoring winger that could be coming back to Dallas. If it’s just more of the same from before he left for the KHL, well, at least he should bolster the fourth line.
Yesterday in my Ramblings I discussed some players that I missed on this year. On the flipside, I thought it’d be worth going over some players that I hit on.
Heading into 2017-18, Gallagher had averaged 22 goals every 82 games over the previous three seasons. He had done this while apparently playing injured at times – remember his hand problems – and those three seasons saw him shoot at an 8.6 percent clip.
This is why betting on guys who put up huge shot volumes is usually a good bet to make. If you look at the five-on-five shot leaders from 2016-17 there are some misses for 2017-18 like Brett Ritchie, Tanner Pearson, Boone Jenner, and Patrick Sharp. There are established guys who under-performed like Jeff Skinner and Max Pacioretty. For the most part, however, there are mostly hits. There are obvious guys like Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Ovechkin, but also guys like Craig Smith, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Toffoli, among others. Betting on shot volume means even in a poor shooting season like Skinner had, you’ll still get a fair amount of goals, and the shots will boost the roto value. That’s what made Gallagher such a good value in September.
Dadonov was going far, far too late in drafts this year. His ADP across the Big Three was well outside the top-200 forwards and even at his peak he was still going around the 15th or 16th round in 12-team leagues. Keep in mind, the Panthers had lost Jaromir Jagr, Reilly Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault in the offseason. They lost two, maybe three, top-six wingers and signed a highly skilled import for $4-million a season. He was going to get the chance to play with either Aleksander Barkov or Vincent Trocheck and was all but assured top power-play minutes.
I suppose it would depend on your league settings because there isn’t much in the way of real-time stats or penalty minutes, but a guy that pushes for 30 goals and has already cracked 60 points is tough to complain about at his price. Sometimes, the opportunity a player is going to get is blatantly obvious by the construction of the roster. Dadonov getting the opportunity he got was blatantly obvious.
The same was said for Vadim Shipachyov so we’ll say we’re batting .500 here.
This was an either/or thing. The argument was necessarily that Barkov would straight outperform Draisaitl, but that I’d rather draft Barkov in the seventh or eighth round than Draisaitl in the second. All Barkov needed to do was stay healthy.
And he did.
The big known on Draisaitl this year, and it’s mostly not his fault, is the Oilers power play has been absolutely abysmal. The power-play gap between he and Barkov, though, isn’t massive. It’s not as if Barkov is riding the Florida PP like, say, Phil Kessel with Pittsburgh. Barkov has just 17 PPPs this year. Yes, Draisaitl has only nine, but if they were evened up, they’d still be at a virtually identical production level, in which case the value edge goes to Barkov for getting him much later in drafts.
This isn’t so much a cautionary tale for someone like Draisaitl as it is a teachable moment for drafting someone like Barkov. You don’t want to load up a roster on draft day with guys carrying injury histories, but take a shot on a couple players who are undervalued because of their injury history. All it takes is one 80-game season to carry you to a fantasy title. That’s well worth the risk.
Remember when Vegas was keeping Theodore off the NHL roster because they had so many defencemen they didn’t want to lose, like, Luca Sbisa or something to waivers? That’s basically what killed his fantasy value for the season on the whole.
When you look at his production since actually being called to the roster, though, it’s hard to complain with what he did. His 82-game paces this year work out to eight goals, 31 assists, 20 penalty minutes, 190 shots, 13 power-play points, 96 blocks, and 40 hits. He was being drafted consistently outside the top-60 defencemen. In other words, he was routinely being drafted as a bench option in 12-team leagues.
What worries me is they’re not really using Theodore as their go-to blue liner. Colin Miller had a big season, Brad Hunt keeps getting power-play time, and other guys get more five-on-five ice time. That doesn’t bode well for his true upside of being the heavily-used top PP quarterback playing 24 minutes a night. Maybe he doesn’t get there for a couple seasons yet. All that said, Theodore is still very talented and that showed through this year even in a middle-pair role. Betting on talent is usually a good bet to make.
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- Looking Ahead: March 22 - April 3
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- The Journey: Fastest Rising Prospect Defensemen - March 2019
- Saturday's NHL Picks: March 23, 2019
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