Ramblings: Staal rolling, JT Miller sparks Zuke/Brass (Feb 19)

by Dobber on February 19, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Staal rolling, JT Miller sparks Zuke/Brass (Feb 19)

Rambling about Jordan Staal, JT Miller, Chris Kunitz, smaller goalie pads, Thomas Greiss and more…

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It seems as though Jake Allen has been sidelined forever, but it’s only been 16 games. In fact, he’s still played more games (31) than Brian Elliott (29). He is St. Louis’ goalie if the future and he had a death grip on the No.1 job as 2015 came to a close. His knee injury didn’t just hurt that status. It murdered it. And now:

Allen: 18-10-3, 2.17, 0.924

Elliott: 16-7-6, 1.99, 0.934

And Elliott’s numbers have actually been better than that over the last 16 games (11-3-3, 1.62, 0.948). So what will happen when Allen is back possibly in a few days? Well, he’ll get a start, which will give Elliott a rest. After all, Elliott has started 16 games in a row. But I think Ken Hitchcock rides him. He knows that a goalie controversy heading into the playoffs is a quick way to lose. So do everything possible to remove the controversy. So with 22 games left you make sure Elliott plays 15 of them. Even 17 of them. Get him into the postseason with a big, thick padlock around that No.1 job. That sucks for Allen (and Allen owners), but to play this any other way would invite disaster.

Unless of course Elliott gets traded. But that’s another article for another day…

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Fortunately Vladimir Tarasenko was okay after getting hammered by Kyle Clifford:

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Unfortunately, Kings’ star forward Anze Kopitar wasn’t so lucky. He left the game with an injury and I couldn’t dig up the footage of how it happened. I only saw the third period and OT of the game, so I missed it. It was apparently a lower-body injury.

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The Islanders need to win. They’re not running away with a playoff spot the way they should be right now. And Thomas Greiss is providing them wins while Jaroslav Halak has been touch-and-go. The team wants Halak to be the guy. After all, he’s getting the big pay check. He also has the experience. But if the backup goalie is 16-6-3 with a 2.19 GAA and 0.930 SV%, you have to start turning to him. For now, I think this is an “every other game” scenario. As soon as Halak gets a couple of good starts in a row they’ll ride him right into the playoffs. But if he doesn’t and it’s down to the last eight or nine games, Greiss will steal the job. For this season.

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Alex Ovechkin’s last nine points have been goals. His last assist was January 19, which was 10 games ago.

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Will Anton Stralman get suspended for this hit on Bryan Little?

Paul Maurice sure thought so, and he took a bench minor for arguing a little too much…and then was tossed from the game.

Little had to leave the game.

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Ten goals but just 11 assists in that 6-5 Tampa Bay shootout win, so poolies who got excited seeing that score were in for a bit of a letdown unless they owned Andrew Ladd, Mark Scheifele, Alex Killorn or Ryan Callahan (the only players who got two points).

For Andrei Vasilevskiy that’s four out of his last five starts in which he allowed at least four goals. He’s been coming in cold as the Lightning have been riding Ben Bishop. But still – that’s not really making a case for his pushing for the top job anytime soon.

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A sneak preview of our new “Who’s hot/Who’s not” section. So far we just have “hot”. We also need to add links, filters, etc. But…it’s capturing what I want it to capture. Great work by Eric Daoust on that.

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As fantasy owner invested rather heavily in Penguins my eyes lit up as the score continued to climb. But it was pretty anti-climatic since I don’t own Phil Kessel (two goals). Kessel has 13 points in his last 14 games.

Chris Kunitz, who also had two points, has 25 in his last 31 games after just three in the prior 23.

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It was the second game in a row in which Petr Mrazek gave up five goals, and he got the hook last night. But his job is safe as Jimmy Howard hasn’t done any better (13 goals allowed in his last three starts).

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I think a big reason why the Rangers are scoring goals again is the emergence of J.T. Miller. His three assists last night give him 13 points in his last 13 games. He’s getting the ice time, the linemates and the PP time. His presence on the Mats ZuccarelloDerick Brassard line has sparked them back onto that hot streak they were on in the early part of the season. Here were last night’s NYR line combos:

 

#1           21.8%    FAST,JESPER – KREIDER,CHRIS – STEPAN,DEREK

#2           18.8%    BRASSARD,DERICK – MILLER,J.T. – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

#3           18.3%    GLASS,TANNER – MOORE,DOMINIC – PAILLE,DANIEL

#4           17.3%    HAYES,KEVIN – LINDBERG,OSCAR – STALBERG,VIKTOR

 

I added quick links to the main menu to find the latest line combos by team.

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Derek Stepan continues to roll, too. He has seven points in his last five games.

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Nazem Kadri is pointless and minus-8 in his last five contests.

Promising young prospect Viktor Loov was called up for his first career NHL game last night. He picked up an assist in just eight minutes of ice time. He didn’t see any PP time. You can read up on him via our fantasy prospect profile/outlook here.

A player who I like but who never gets a chance and probably never will get a chance – is getting a chance. Yes, Mark Arcobello is getting ice time on a weak NHL team that is just playing out the string. A bunch of meaningless games. So sure, why not. Throw him out there and load him up with PP time. Arcobello has four points in his last three games. In his last four games he’s seen more than half of the available power-play time. If you’re desperate for short-term points up front, I think he’s a pretty good grab. Like I said, the games are meaningless so he’ll get his ice time. He has 19 shots on goal over the last four games, too.

If you’re league counts hits, grab another fringe NHLer who won’t ever get another chance yet is actually getting a chance due to the meaninglessness of games. Colin Greening. He has 18 hits in his last three games.

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Still rolling – Jordan Staal has 19 points in his last 18 games. Eric Staal has six points during that stretch. Eric has me worried as his points-per-game average year over year looks like this:

2013-14 0.77

2014-15 0.70

2015-16 0.52

But Jordan is moving in the opposite direction. His average looks like this:

2013-14 0.49

2014-15 0.52

2015-16 0.59

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Sami Vatanen is on a roll. He has points in four straight and seven points in his last eight games. But maybe it’s just Anaheim’s blue line as Cam Fowler has been hot too (six points in four games).

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After two games off, Pekka Rinne went out there and posted a 29-save shutout. He needed it. His confidence was shot. Perhaps this is the start of a turnaround. He’ll never be a top goalie again, but he can still be above-average. Either way, the Preds will sink or swim with him. This year.

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The DobberHockey pool, hosted by Office Pools, has the third and final trade window open. Finally, six months into the season, I was able to clean up my major mistakes and trade out injuries. There are still about six or seven moves I would make, but I’m tapped. I’m embarrassed to say that I sit around 1080th in a league that has 1200 after they removed the 1000 teams that signed up but didn’t fill out the roster. I’m almost at the bottom! Very ashamed. Semin, Price, McDavid, Schultz, Kunitz, on and on and on with the bad picks. And the fact that even after eight trades I couldn’t move up more than 50 spots just shows how pretty much everyone is paying attention and making moves too!

I’ll take a moment to plug one of the sponsors – Cool Hockey. Go there when you want a jersey. Great quality and competitive pricing. I’ve worked with them for a decade and they’ve been great supporters.

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Corey Hirsch hit a home run with this video. A home run. Worth watching, take a moment –

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Our Puck Daddy article from Thursday was written by Ian Gooding and can be found here. It includes waiver-wire recommendations.

And if those WW recommendations aren’t enough, Laidlaw had some more in this week’s Sportsnet article.

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Trade Deadline Day is just 10 days away and for the 11th year in a row I will have you covered for fantasy analysis. Steve Laidlaw is helping out this year as are Ian Gooding and Mario Prata. As some of you may already know, Prata is a co-Founder of The Forecaster Magazine from way back when. He came aboard Dobber Sports back in September. You may have noticed increased activity with the Facebook page (and now Google+) and he has a whole bunch of other initiatives on the go. But I digress – Deadline Day. Come by often to get the full impact! We’re also looking into getting a live chat started up again.