Ramblings: Sobotka, Strome, Stralman and… Sterling? (Sept 21)

by Dobber on September 20, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Sobotka, Strome, Stralman and… Sterling? (Sept 21)

Rambling about Nichushkin, Sobotka, Strome, Stralman…Brett Sterling? And more …

***

Last Fantasy Guide update was Tuesday. I also updated the Draft List. Updates are starting to come fast and furious. I think you can safely download every two days now and it will have an update or three. Soon, updates will be pretty much daily.

*

The biggest news of Tuesday is something that was the confirmation of the Valeri Nichushkin signing. In the KHL. He’s there for two years and if he has too much fun there, then who knows? Maybe he’ll eventually Radulov his way back over here in a decade or so. I think he’ll be back for 2018-19. I feel sorry for the owners who sat on a potential star player right from when he was drafted. Patiently sat through his missing most of a season with a hip injury, and sat through last year’s growing/adjustment pains. And now…nothing.

When I went over the lineup – sans Nichushkin – I saw the pieces on the board re-shuffle. Patrick Eaves becomes a distant, albeit injury-prone, sleeper again. I bumped him up about 10 points (still shy of getting to 30 though). Brett Ritchie also gets into more games and has a better shot at making some sort of impact. With Nichushkin in the lineup, I think that sometimes it meant that Eaves or Ritchie were out of the lineup. And that puts Jiri Hudler on the top line by default. But with Eaves and/or Ritchie in the lineup, one of them may occasionally moonlight on that top line. Which pushes Hudler down to the Spezza line. Very minimal impact here, but worth noting the domino effect.

*

The other KHL news of the day was that of Vladimir Sobotka. This one was also rumored for a few days. But his KHL club Omsk says that he is still under contract with them for this year. Whether that gets resolved (doubtful), I zeroed him out of my projections. It also slides Patrik Berglund back to center and on the third line, so I bumped him up to close to a 30-point player now. It also frees up a bit of time on the second PP unit, so I added a few points to Jori Lehtera. Domino effect.

*

Ryan Strome has signed a two-year deal worth $5 million. He had been holding out for money based on potential. Islanders were holding out for money based on performance. I think the Isles won. I didn’t think this contract would be a problem. And the only one that’s even a minor worry for me, of the remaining RFA’s, is Dmitry Orlov.

*

The professional tryout contracts are really rolling in now. The notables:

Jiri Tlusty will give it a try in Colorado. The door opened a little with the Mikko Rantanen injury. If Tlusty gets in there it will be at the expense of Rocco Grimaldi. And if it continues to work out, then Rantanen’s NHL return will be delayed. Colorado already has two forwards trying out, the Bourques – both Rene and Gabriel.

David Booth, Yann Danis and Sean Bergenheim signed a PTO with Anaheim. Last year Booth played in the KHL and Bergenheim played in the Swiss League. Of all the teams they could sign a PTO with, this is their best bet. Because competition for the last four forward spots include Mason Raymond, Nick Ritchie, Chris Wagner and Jared Boll – not exactly roster locks themselves (with all due respect to promising prospect Ritchie). That being said, I doubt either one makes it but if I had to pick one it would be the 32-year-old Bergenheim.

Eric Gryba has signed a PTO with the Oilers. The 28-year-old played 53 games with the Oilers (75 PIM). He’s a right-handed shot and we’re all aware of how desperate the Oilers are to add those. I think he has a shot at to become the No.7 guy.

Brett Sterling. I’ll let that name sink in with you for a moment. Okay, ready? Brett Sterling has signed a PTO with the St. Louis Blues. So what has former Dobber Darling Sterling done with himself these last four years? Well, after a year in the AHL and a year in the SHL, Sterling has dominated the Austrian League, finishing in the Top 12 in scoring the last two years. Sterling wants to return to North America and the Blues signed him so that their farm team, the Chicago Wolves, gets injected with some big-time offense. He’s easily a point-per-game at the AHL level and the Wolves had no such luxury last season. This will boost the AHL numbers of prospect defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, who will share the power play with him – watch for it.

*

Former Philly and Buffalo prospect Jason Akeson has signed to play next year in the KHL.

*

Anton Stralman has been impressive this tournament. He’s 30 years old and he’s still improving! Take that, people who think a player peaks in their mid-20s.

*

Aaron Ekblad left Team North America and will not play in the remainder of the tournament. They are not saying that it is a concussion, though some sources call it a mild concussion, but the party line is that it’s a sore neck. These little ‘brush off’ explanations always worry me. Remember Crosby’s sore neck? That one took weeks to escalate into finally being called a concussion. Anyway. Not to alarm you.

*

Evander Kane, who was cleared of criminal accusations of assault on a woman but was recently sued in civil court, is counter-suing the woman. Puck Daddy has a pretty good breakdown of the situation here.

*

Artemi Panarin and the Blackhawks are talking contract extension already. If that gets done, our confidence in his fantasy outlook would certainly soar. Our drawbacks with him are:

1. He has only been around for one year

2. What if he was taken off the Kane line?

3. He has a long history with the KHL.

An extension like the one they’re talking about would take away the latter, and certainly increases the likelihood of No.2 happening long into the future.

*

Michel Therrien wants to start out with these line combos in his top six:

Max PaciorettyAlex GalchenyukBrendan Gallagher

Andrew ShawTomas PlekanecAlexander Radulov

I think Radulov drags his two linemates upwards when it comes to potential production. But line combos are like socks – they pretty much change every day.

*

*

Question for my American readers. Who do you blame the most for this?

a) John Tortorella

b) Patrick Kane

c) Jonathan Quick

d) USA hockey program

Where does the anger lie? Who/what let you down the most?