Rambling about pulled goalies, Strome, Klingberg, Gagner, Hayes, Brown, Nurse vs. Lucic and more …
These mark my last Ramblings of 2015. Steve brings in the New Year on DobberHockey on Thursday. So have a Happy New Year and of course a safe one. If you get drunk – please, please, please make sure you don’t make or accept any trade offers in your fantasy league. Friends don’t let friends drink and trade.
So I turn off the Sens game after two periods to spend time with the wife. It looked like my goalie Craig Anderson would get the loss, but he was playing well and it was looking like it might be one of those 40-save losses that didn’t really hurt too badly. I’m sure you can imagine my anger when I sat down after the game to check the summary. Three cheesy goals in the last four minutes including one in the last second thanks to what looks like …just simple goonary? Argh!
Multi-cat Matt Beleskey owners enjoyed themselves at least. His line: two goals, plus-1, 10 PIM, five SOG, four Hits.
Another fantasy stud from that game I’m guessing was in a few lineups but not too many – Chris Neil. He had two points, 14 PIM, a shot and a hit.
There was a Jimmy Hayes sighting last night too. His hat trick came following a four-game pointless slump. Though he has a respectable 18 points, he has points in just 10 games. Four multi-point games, six one-point games, and 24 zero-point games. Remember for that for next year’s draft if you’re in weekly or daily leagues, folks. You pretty much have to either have him always in the lineup and hope for the best…or you’re never going to guess right in terms of when to activate him.
It was the first Boston game post-Krejci injury, and I was right about Ryan Spooner but wrong (so far) about Patrice Bergeron. They had two points each, but I speculated that Bergeron is in for a decline. If Spooner can mostly replace the offense though, as he did there, then I’d guess the hit on Bergeron won’t be so bad.
Jonathan Bernier: 2 periods, 6 goals allowed on 14 shots – gets the hook.
James Reimer: 1 period, 0 goals allowed on 6 shots.
Bernier just can’t stop hammering nails into his career coffin, can he?
Ryan Strome’s ice time has been declining game after game, from 19 to 16 to 13 minutes last night. But he’s been picking up assists in each of those games. The lines last night:
#1 26.9% BAILEY,JOSH – LEE,ANDERS – TAVARES,JOHN
#2 18.1% CIZIKAS,CASEY – CLUTTERBUCK,CAL – MARTIN,MATT
#3 16.8% KULEMIN,NIKOLAY – NIELSEN,FRANS – OKPOSO,KYLE
#4 16.4% GRABOVSKI,MIKHAIL – NELSON,BROCK – STROME,RYAN
Prior to last night’s two points, John Tavares had just three points in 10 games. He is definitely in a buy-low situation right now as his last four seasons have had a points-per-game average that has hovered between 0.98 and 1.12. This year he’s at 0.79 so far. He’s going to get over 80 points this year if he plays 79 games – take it to the bank.
Another game of pulled goalies is the Edmonton – Los Angeles one. When last we left off, the Kings discovered this new chemistry between Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli. Who knew that if you put a star setup man on a line with a star sniper, pucks would go in the net? Amazing. So yeah, after Monday night when Toffoli scored three times and Kopitar had four assists, the Oilers ran into them. This time Toffoli just got the one goal (assisted by Kopitar). But the rest of the squad stepped up. Trevor Lewis actually picked up three points and now has five in his last four games.
The Kings chased Cam Talbot, who gave up three goals on 14 shots. He gave up the goals in just 96 seconds, actually…
Anders Nilsson was a little better (two on 19 – but one was on the power play). So there goes some of that momentum that Talbot was starting to build. He took his ninth loss of the season. Last year he also had nine losses, but it was against 21 wins! So that about says it all with regards to Talbot’s season so far.
Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl have been shut down of late, managing just a point each in their last three games. They did combine for 10 shots last night. In fact, the Oilers fired 44 shots at Jonathan Quick in the 5-2 loss.
How bad was it for the Oilers? Well, they allowed Dustin Brown to have a three-point game. That’s very generous of them because the last time he was able to do that was December 4, 2014 which is about 94 games ago. And it was just his second three-point game since 2011-12 (i.e. back when he was good).
Rick Roos has an excellent article on Sportsnet about four “buy low” players and four “sell high” players, as well as some strategy with regards to that. Check it out here.
Another pulled goalie (we’re up to three now) – Kari Lehtonen. Pulled after one period (three goals on 14 shots). The Stars were getting shelled though.
Ales Hemsky left the game with a lower-body injury. Looks like the foot, possibly broken. Mike Heika reported that he’ll be “out a little while”. This probably makes the Stars (and your fantasy team) better, if anything…
Although there are two healthy scratches in the mix here, but it’s interesting to note that defenseman Kevin Connauton has points in four straight games. He was given secondary PP time. John Tortorella can be hard on his guys, but if he forces young players to earn their ice time and it gets through to them, sometimes he can save careers.
Then again…saving Connauton is hardly a trade-off for ruining Ryan Johansen, so I guess there’s another side to that…
With the assist last night, John Klingberg still has just three points in his last 10 games and is a plus-2 in that span. He’s been held pointless in 10 of his last 14 games. I do think this is a blip, I think he has close to the same upside as Erik Karlsson and if healthy is still going to flirt with 70 points.
Next up on the “pulled goalie” list last night – Anders Lindback makes it four. He faced just five shots in the entire first period yet somehow managed to give up three goals. Back in comes Louis Domingue who also gives up three goals…but does it on 22 shots. Never claimed Domingue was great, but I do keep harping about his ideal situation. His SV% won’t be the greatest, it will be average and he’ll get some W’s. I liked him in the summer because he was behind two goalies – both Band-Aid Boys and one of them is so bad he shouldn’t be in the league. So that’s the scenario that any No.3 goalie wants to be in!
Hat Trick for Shane Doan – sets a franchise record for goals:
Michael Stone has points in three straight. This could be the year he gets close to 40 points. He’s certainly getting the ice time. His current pace is 34.
Anthony Duclair was benched for stretches last night and saw under 10 minutes of ice time. He hasn’t seen his minutes that low since Game 2. He’s pointless in four games. He’ll have his hot and cold streaks just like most rookies.
Fellow rookie Max Domi has just three points in 10 games, so things have really crumbled to a halt for the dynamic duo.
Jonathan Toews is having a terrible year offensively, but his six shots last night tied a season high and his 10 shots over the last two games mark his best two game shot total of any point this season. Just a positive sign that perhaps he’s coming out of it?
The Flyers placed Sam Gagner on waivers yesterday. At noon today we will find out if he’s on a new team. Huge importance for him, obviously. He’s running out of chances and going to the AHL would pretty much kill what’s left of his career. I took a poll on Twitter here. After 305 votes, 44% of you said he’ll get picked up by a new team. 56% said “demoted to AHL”.
I just finished two features in the upcoming Midseason Guide, so ground has officially been broken. I’ll be putting in analysis from various writers over the next week before I dig deep into the stats and finalize second-half projections. This is released Friday, January 8. The features I just finished – 1) delving into the fantasy playoff schedule and 2) a look at a couple of dozen players in Europe to watch for this summer. Pre-order it here!
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