Ramblings: Stone, Roussel, Burns (Feb 19)

by Ian Gooding on February 19, 2017

Stone's five-point game, Roussel's hat trick, Burns with a pair, plus more…

If you picked Mark Stone for your daily league on Saturday, congratulations on your winnings. Stone recorded four helpers before scoring an empty-net goal for a five-point night. Stone also provided a bit of everything, which included a plus-4 rating, five shots on goal, and a power-play assist. If he’s about to go on one of his second-half runs like he has over the last two seasons, then a point per game the rest of the way might not be out of the question. If that’s the case, Stone should be a lock for his third consecutive 60-point season and may even reach his first-ever 70-point season.

Stone wasn’t the only Sen to score multiple points. Kyle Turris recorded three assists. And Derick Brassard also recorded three points (two goals and an assist). If you were like me, you were probably wondering why you had benched Brassard. Yet his first season with the Sens has been underwhelming to say the least. Fantasy owners can’t afford to have a center fail to record a point in five games, as Brassard had earlier this month.

Even with the three-point outburst, Brassard is on pace for a 45-point season, his worst in three seasons. Even worse, Brassard has only five power-play points all season. Five. So when his point totals are more assist-heavy and his peripheral stats aren’t great, it’s little wonder that his ownership in Yahoo has dipped all the way to 29 percent. This from a player who was almost universally drafted to begin with.

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Antoine Roussel excels in one particular peripheral category. So if your league isn’t shallow and it counts PIM, then it goes without saying that he should be owned, mainly because he won’t kill your point total either. Then he records a hat trick on Saturday and you’re ecstatic that you held onto him all that time. What was his secret in this game? Playing on a line with Tyler Seguin, who assisted on all three of his goals.  

Because the Stars won, and Seguin and Jamie Benn were on different lines, expect the Stars’ top two forwards to be on different lines again next week. That should help spread out the scoring instead of it being concentrated on one line. To me, that makes players such as Roussel, Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, or Patrick Eaves less risky to own. If they are not the chosen one for the Seguin/Benn line, then the quality of their linemates drops dramatically.

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We had to wait a few days for Claude Julien’s coaching debut in (return to) Montreal. So here are the line combinations for Saturday afternoon’s game, a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg:

21.31%  EV           BYRON,PAUL – GALLAGHER,BRENDAN – PLEKANEC,TOMAS

16.84%  EV           GALCHENYUK,ALEX – PACIORETTY,MAX – RADULOV,ALEXANDER

15.12%  EV           DANAULT,PHILLIP – LEHKONEN,ARTTURI – SHAW,ANDREW

12.03%  EV           FLYNN,BRIAN – MCCARRON,MICHAEL – MITCHELL,TORREY

The main storyline as far as the lines go was Alex Galchenyuk back centering the top line. Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty each recorded an assist on Andrei Markov’s goal. Galchenyuk has struggled in February with just three points and a minus-5 in eight games.

Galchenyuk isn’t the only Hab that could stand to benefit from a coaching change. Carey Price’s recent struggles have been well-documented (3.20 GAA and .899 SV% since January 7), so another game sans W isn’t what his fantasy owners were hoping for in his only start of the week. But it appeared that Price used the league-mandated layoff as a mental health break, stopping 30 of 32 shots. Any step in the right direction is a positive.

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With two more goals on Saturday, Brent Burns now has 27 goals. That ties him for sixth among all players. That also puts him on pace for 37 goals. He’s also on pace for 88 points and over 300 shots on goal (again). Sharks’ fans are campaigning him to be the NHL MVP. I’m campaigning him to be the fantasy hockey MVP. He’s a defenseman, folks. That’s why. He’s the third-leading scorer in the NHL, behind only Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby. He also frees up an additional forward slot for you.

From one end of the fantasy ownership scale to the other, Melker Karlsson scored a goal and added two assists on Saturday. The Melkman had just one point in his previous nine games, so he was basically a lottery pick for you if you happened to scroll to the bottom of the list and add him to your daily league lineup. Even against the Coyotes.

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Braden Holtby’s winning streak? Over at 14 games. In other words, that’s his first loss of any kind in the year 2017. He has a 2.00 GAA and .923 SV% over that span.

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My scoring from my bench on one of my fantasy teams was superb on Saturday. I mentioned Brassard earlier. There was also Jason Zucker, who I moved very recently after a six-game stretch without a point. So as expected, he scored two goals and added an assist on Saturday. You can’t blame Zucker for lack of trying to turn things around, as he’s taken four shots in each of his last four games.

Speaking of the Wild, Mikael Granlund scored another goal and added another assist with a plus-3. (Those Wild plus-minuses are pretty darn impressive, by the way.) The latest Dobber author to weigh in on Granlund’s real fantasy value and future projections is Scott Maran, who runs Granlund through the Geek of the Week machine. You won’t want to miss that.

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I forgot to mention this yesterday, but here’s my waiver-wire picks for Sportsnet this week. One of those picks was Richard Panik, who scored again on Saturday. That gives him five goals and five assists over his last ten games. I’ll just reiterate that as long as he’s on the Blackhawks’ first-unit power play with the usual names, you should consider adding him.

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So how’s your day going, Brian Elliott? This reminds me of the Nicklas Lidstrom goal on Dan Cloutier during the 2002 playoffs. Watch the arc on this puck.

Elliott’s counterpart Ryan Miller was also snakebitten, missing out on a shutout by just six seconds, although he recovered a win in overtime.

That late-game goal was scored by Mark Giordano, who recently snapped a ten-game stretch without a single point and now has goals in back-to-back games. With all the defensemen projected to surpass the 50-point barrier of fantasy stardom (Burns already, Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, Kevin Shattenkirk, Duncan Keith, and more), Giordano’s 23 points in 58 games is massively disappointing considering where fantasy owners drafted him. The recent push might set up Giordano owners to salvage something the rest of the way.

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With an assist on Saturday, Jaromir Jagr is now riding a five-game point streak with a plus-7 over that span. That of course coincides with the return of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov to the lineup. To update last night’s Ramblings, Huberdeau has points in five of his six games, which totals eight points and a plus-6 in six games. The Panthers are 4-0-0 on their current road trip and are charging up the standings. That’s great for the 45-year-old’s overall value.

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Finally, below are confirmed starting goalies for Sunday from Goalie Post. When deciding which goalie starts, be sure to check whether a goalie or his opponent are on a back-to-back. Or worse yet, coming off a bye week.
 


Petr Mrazek (@ PIT): Despite a solid outing on Saturday (34 saves in a 3-2 win over Washington), Mrazek faces another tough test on Sunday in Pittsburgh. This might not be as bad a matchup as you’d think, though. Mrazek played back-to-backs on February 3 and 4, winning both games and earning a 42-save shutout against Nashville in the second game. Still, it is the Penguins.

Mike Condon (vs. WPG): Both the Jets and the Senators played on Saturday, so no team has a real advantage in terms of a back-to-back. Craig Anderson played on Saturday, so at least Condon will be well-rested. He may have an advantage over his goaltending counterpart if the Jets again turn to Connor Hellebuyck, who has started five games in a row. Condon last started on Thursday, posting a 21-save shutout against the Devils. He’s worth a spot start for this one.

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Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.