Ramblings: Subban and Byfuglien hurt, Landeskog Suspended (Mar. 11)

by steve laidlaw on March 11, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Subban and Byfuglien hurt, Landeskog Suspended (Mar. 11)

Ramblings: Subban and Byfuglien hurt, Landeskog Suspended and more.

We begin in Montreal where PK Subban had to be stretchered off the ice following this collision with Alexei Emelin:

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Subban has never missed a game due to injury in his career so hopefully we won’t have to see his first. The good news is that you see he had mobility in all of his limbs. He also gave the thumbs up as he was being carried off. Both good signs.

The latest from the hospital is that he was taken there for precautionary measures. Sounds promising:

There is no replacing PK Subban in your fantasy lineup. He is fifth in defenseman scoring and tied for 35th in overall scoring with 50 points. He has been the one Canadien impervious to misery thus far this season. Even as he has struggled with just six goals, Subban has managed enough assists to maintain his standing as a superstar producer. I don’t really want to have to engage in the process of finding a replacement so let’s count on a speedy return for Subban, even as the Canadiens have little to play for.

They did manage a victory against the Sabres thanks to another big performance from Alex Galchenyuk who scored a pair of goals for the third straight game. What a binge! Galchenyuk now has 12 goals and 16 points in 17 games since the All-Star break. He is making Tomas Plekanec expendable, though you could argue Plekanec has done that to himself.

Really, what Galchenyuk is doing is setting himself up for first crack at the #1 center spot next season. He’ll be a highly sought-after breakout candidate next season assuming there aren’t sweeping changes in Montreal. The spot between Max Pacioretty and (the currently injured) Brendan Gallagher is a great spot – one that Plekanec really should have taken more advantage of during the season.

Plekanec will almost certainly be undervalued next season. Hell, he was undervalued this season, even coming off of a 60-point season. I look at Plekanec’s shooting percentage of 7.7% this season, when he normally shoots above 10% and I see value. He always gets a lot of shots (though he has slipped after last season’s career high of 248), doesn’t miss much time with injury and isn’t a liability in plus/minus. Even as a #2 center I would expect 20 goals and 50 points with around 200 SOG. Wicked mid-round value in deep multi-category formats. Guys like Plekanec are why you don’t reach for centermen at the top of your draft. He will turn 34 next season, but think of that as just another reason why people will write Plekanec off rather than a reason for you to do so. He’s almost certainly waiver fodder in most leagues this season, however.

Sven Andrighetto had an assist filling in for Gallagher on the top line. So long as Galchenyuk is scorching, Andrighetto carries some value but not a ton. He just hasn’t produced with enough consistency.

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I speculatively added Zach Bogosian in one of my leagues for this week given the Sabres’ favourable schedule and also his recent run of spotty scoring and big shooting. He has landed me two assists and 12 SOG in three games this week. If you’re in a deep multi-category format and you need a filler, you could do worse than Bogo.

That being said, I am probably bailing on Bogosian. He has one game left this week, coming on Saturday when I don’t have an opening. I’ll probably opt for a Duck with a Friday/Sunday schedule. The Sabres don’t play until Wednesday next week and have just three games that week and two the following week so maybe don’t follow the Bogo tip at this point. I did give it out in my weekly Fantasy Five segment on Sirius XM NHL radio on Sunday so you can’t say there was no warning. Of course, I also gave out Calvin Pickard as a pick and that didn’t go so hot. Win some. Lose some.

Given the Sabres’ diminishing schedule over the next couple of weeks there really isn’t much value to be mined any more.

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Another irreplaceable defenseman went down last night as Dustin Byfuglien left in the third period against Detroit and did not return.

The Jets have been mucking about with their power play combinations given all the injuries they have faced. Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Byfuglien have been top unit mainstays with Mathieu Perreault, Drew Stafford and, most recently, Tobias Enstrom seeing time as a second defenseman.

Enstrom really hasn’t been all that fantasy relevant however so don’t look to him as a replacement if Byfuglien misses time. Instead, I like Tyler Myers as your direct replacement. He even scored a goal last night, though it was before the Byfuglien injury. Myers has often been the one to step up in Byfuglien’s absence. Looking at the breakdown of power-play time from last night’s game, however, it was Jacob Trouba who led the Jets’ defense in PP time. No easy answer here as there is no real way of replacing Byfuglien’s production.

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Justin Abdelkader had a two-point night for Detroit. He has had a decent run since the All-Star break with 12 points in 18 games, even as the Red Wings have slumped of late. 12 in 18 isn’t going to get your heart racing but it is a reminder that Abdelkader can be an effective contributor. The Red Wings have a nice upcoming schedule with four games in the next seven days, including a pair this weekend. Not a terrible idea to take a flyer on Abdelkader.

Props to Petr Mrazek for halting his slide with a win and a quality start, hitting the 0.917 save percentage line on the button.

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Noah Hanifin with two assists in his homecoming to Boston. Nice story and a talented young player but this is not a fantasy relevant situation for most of you.

I have been steering folks away from the Hurricanes ever since the exodus of Eric Staal, Kris Versteeg and John-Michael Liles at the trade deadline. These guys weren’t really fantasy contributors themselves but they were legit professionals, helping to drive possession for a Hurricanes team that has relied on winning the possession battle to not be completely dominated by teams.

Hanifin may have had two points last night but that gives him six in 17 games since the All-Star break. That just won’t cut it for fantasy owners. He has seen a boost in opportunity with the mystery injury to Justin Faulk as well as the Liles trade but it hasn’t really made a difference.

We’ve also seen the offense dry up for Jordan Staal after he had a dominant run in January and February.

The one guy who has sustained productivity is Jeff Skinner. An assist last night extends his scoring streak to three games. He also has seven points in the last five games and 14 in 17 since the All-Star break. Skinner is available in 40% of Yahoo! formats.

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Check out this wicked look-off by David Pastrnak on his goal:

Future stud right there.

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Another goalie who righted the ship last night was Roberto Luongo who stopped 26 of 28 for a win against Ottawa.

The big star for Florida was Vincent Trochek who had a four-point night and just when I was thinking that he was starting to cool off. Not so. Trocheck is up to 18 points in 18 games since the All-Star break and is owned in just 40% of Yahoo! leagues. Decent waiver wire option right there.

I do have my skepticism about Trocheck given he is firmly on the second line and second power play in Florida. Only so many minutes to go around, even for someone proving to be a productive scorer. Last night might provide some optimism for those putting faith in Trocheck as his line saw over 16 minutes of action at even strength alone, while Aleksander Barkov and his linemates were down in the 12-minute range. It’s one night but it is an example of how the tide can turn.

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Travis Yost with an interesting piece debunking the notion that Mike Hoffman is a player who struggles to score in the second half when games get tighter. I’d love to see a piece analyzing the opposite: players who start slow but finish strong. I presume the result would be the same. Still, there are some players (Jarome Iginla for instance) who still see this trend pop up year after year. Every player is an individual with their own training regiments, mentality, resilience to injury, etc. Perhaps looking at population data is not the way to assess these trends.

Another scoreless night for Hoffman last night, by the way.

Craig Anderson got obliterated in his return to the lineup.

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I cannot believe it happened but indeed Keith Kinkaid shutout the Sharks last night stopping all 30 shots he faced. Meanwhile, the Devils got three goals on 16 shots. I am facing Chris Pudsey in the head-to-head playoffs this week and he started Kinkaid for his first start of the week. You cannot make this stuff up.

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Bunch of injury news out of Dallas:

Look for Alex Goligoski to continue to scoop John Klingberg’s #1 usage. Meanwhile, Patrick Eaves has returned from illness and will get some time with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

The Stars have called up Stephen Johns from the AHL to fill this void. Down two right-shooting defensemen is not a great spot for Dallas so Johns will definitely play. Read more on Johns here.

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Gabriel Landeskog was suspended three games for his cross-check on Simon Despres the other night. This is a huge blow for an Avalanche team in the midst of a playoff race. Not exactly a captain-like move from Landeskog.

With the Avalanche schedule, we won’t see Landeskog back in the lineup until Sunday, March 20 at Edmonton. That’s a long time to wait.

Landeskog hasn’t been overly productive of late with 11 points in 17 games since the All-Star break so this isn’t a huge loss but most leagues do not allow you mechanisms for replacing suspended players unless you drop them outright. Interesting dilemma for folks fighting for playoff position and or already in the head-to-head playoffs.

Those in rotisserie formats should have a games played limit for each position so there shouldn’t be much concern in replacing Landeskog’s games unless you are extremely behind in games played. Those in the head-to-head formats and even some points-only settings really need to consider a drop.

Obviously there is no dropping Landeskog in a keeper format and you probably won’t drop him in a multi-category league with hits and PIM both supported but in scoring-heavy formats, I think you make the move.

There are plenty of guys available on the waiver wire who could land you five or so games in the time between now and when Landeskog returns to the lineup. Exactly a dozen teams play five games in that stretch so you have plenty of options to sift through. It’s a bit of a bold move but I think there are a lot of settings where dumping Landeskog is the logical move.

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Darnell Nurse has also been suspended three games for his attack on Roman Polak the other night. Seems justified, Nurse definitely went over the top in his reaction. Nurse is really only relevant in deep multi-category settings right now so if anything, missing some time is a positive for keeper league owners who have a games played limit for minors eligibility. Every little bit can help.

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More injury news for the Canucks as Brandon Prust has been shutdown for the year. Not much fantasy relevance here although all these injuries are probably ensuring that youngsters like Jake Virtanen, Markus Granlund, Linden Vey and Sven Baertschi stick in the lineup.

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Pierre LeBrun and the rest of the ESPN gang debate whether or not the NHL has too many outdoor games:

So, what's with the worrying? My guess is that the whimpering comes mostly from people who won't attend any of the games. To me, the argument is moot until you've got a stadium half-full, and so far that hasn't come close to happening.

I have been pretty squarely set on the side that the NHL has too many outdoor games but the point above is salient. The demand is still high. I don’t think you should overdo it to the point where there isn’t high demand any longer but maybe they have a better feel for this than I do. I know I am amped up to check out the Oilers in Winnipeg next fall, although I am certainly more excited about the alumni game than the actual NHL contest.

It probably hasn’t been fair for me to comment on the outdoor experience having not been to one yet so the plan is for me to rectify that situation next season. I just know that the outdoor games absolutely do not translate to TV but the hockey has always been a sport that is way better in person so I assume the outdoor event has that going for it. I have heard anecdotally that the outdoor experience isn’t great but I guess I’ll have to see it for myself. Where do you stand on the issue?

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Max Domi discusses his daily routine in dealing with diabetes in this latest offering from The Players’ Tribune.

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Ian Gooding looks at some studs and duds, as well as some waiver wire options.

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Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of Dobber Hockey. Follow him @SteveLaidlaw.