Teuvo Teravainen erupted for a hat-trick performance, all part of a four-point night that vaulted him from a 50-point pace, to a 67-point pace. I think he’s more of the former than the latter. More concerningly, all of Teravainen’s scores have come in random outbursts. He has scored in just six of Carolina’s 16 games but has four multi-point efforts already.
I hate pouring cold water all over a good night but only one of Teravainen’s three goals came from the home-plate area. And sure, the perimeter scores were both screened but still they looked like the scores you can’t rely on getting nightly.
Teravainen completes the alleyoop, Klingberg with a tip. pic.twitter.com/xOh3iwCteb— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) November 14, 2017
The Hurricanes do a great job of controlling the shot counter, but scoring is still an issue. Perhaps now is where they get a nice flurry of offense with their next five games coming against bottom-10 defensive teams. It could especially help Teravainen that his linemate Sebastian Aho finally has the monkey off his back:
Klingberg turnover + Lindell blown tire = Aho scores his first of the season: pic.twitter.com/cmWQGxjkZO— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) November 14, 2017
Since I know folks are enamoured with Jaccob Slavin we should take note that he received second unit PP time last night instead of Noah Hanifin. Sure, that second unit is the one with Jeff Skinner, but it also sees less ice time. More importantly, the Hurricanes PP is trash, so we aren’t at the point where we should be running out to grab Slavin.
Some chinks in the armour for Ben Bishop as he has now allowed three goals or more in seven of the past nine games. He did have that 14-save cakewalk of a shutout on Saturday, but he has otherwise slowed down after a hot start. I wasn’t a fan coming into the season, so this certainly confirms my bias. As with most goalies, however, we’ll need more of a sample size to make concrete decisions.
The Stars’ power play remains the league’s most efficient clicking on 31.4% of their chances. With the talent they have assembled, you can understand why:
The league's best PP puts in more work, as Seguin follows his own shot and feeds Radulov: pic.twitter.com/gx4caEoqXO— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) November 14, 2017
This remains a top-heavy roster, however, and Jason Spezza remains on the bottom end of it. Spezza, still owned in 50% of leagues has seen his usage fall off a cliff. He is skating only 13:08 per game with less than two minutes of PP time. He is off the top PP unit and given the success of that group you cannot argue with the decision.
Sure, Spezza’s percentages suggest he is due for some good fortune. His on-ice shooting percentage at 5-on-5 is particularly egregious at just 3.3%. However, he simply is not being used enough to be a relevant option in fantasy leagues.
Check out the relief on Sam Bennett’s face after scoring his first goal of the season:
Bennett's celebratory choice of words: what we're all thinking pic.twitter.com/tJQtD6smoC— Mike Pfeil (@mikeFAIL) November 14, 2017
I also discussed Micheal Ferland in those ramblings. He stretched his goal-scoring streak to four games. I added him in every single league this week. Very favourable off-night schedule for the Flames over the next couple of weeks.
One factor working against the Flames is that they are about to head on a six-game Eastern road trip after playing the last seven on home ice.
Johnny Gaudreau, a notorious home-ice performer put together a seven-game scoring streak with a dozen points over that home stand. He’s up to 24 points on the year, tied for third in the league. Perhaps I was a year early on my Gaudreau for Art Ross bet. Of course, I have to have some skepticism given how stark his career home/road splits are:
I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if Gaudreau fell off over the next couple of weeks. Then again, it is his fourth year. Stick tap to Cam Robinson for pointing that one out to me. It was also mentioned on the Flames’ broadcast that the legendary Jaromir Jagr thinks Gaudreau could lead the league in scoring if he wanted to. Forget my opinion, go with Jagr on this one. He’s a contender.
That was real pretty Flames pic.twitter.com/facqwViGON— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) November 14, 2017
Mike Smith was forced from last night’s game, however there was little information on his status at the time of publishing. Eddie Lack took over and got the win. He could be worth taking for a spin in fantasy since any goalie can get hot, but I would bet against him. In the event of a long-term injury, I am more interested in Flames’ goalie prospect Jon Gillies who has flashed some decent numbers since turning pro, including a 0.918 save percentage through eight AHL games this season.
Bobby Ryan is set to return for the Senators this week. It sounds like he’ll be skating with Matt Duchene and Mike Hoffman. Could be one hell of a productive line. However, the Sens’ week doesn’t get started until Thursday so a bit of a waiting game here.
This could help to explain Alexander Wennberg’s early struggles:
Certainly sounds like Wennberg will not be with #CBJ in Montreal. Tortorella said he’s been fighting some sort of injury etc.— Brian Hedger (@JacketsInsider) November 13, 2017
Whatever the case, I’m out on Wennberg. It’s nice that he can be shuffled to the IR+ if your league has that but doing so assumes that you’ll want to get him back in your lineup when he does get healthy. I can’t make that leap.
Wennberg is a low-shot volume player, heavily reliant on assists. When he’s not racking up assists, he’s mostly useless. Wennberg doesn’t have the telltale low on-ice shooting percentage indicative a player due to rebound, however he should find some more assists in the future as his IPP (percentage of goals with him on the ice that he gets a point on) is down to 42.9% after a couple of seasons up in the 65% range. However, assist-heavy players are extremely vulnerable to IPP swings since they are rarely finishing the plays. Remember when Evgeny Kuznetsov drowned owners through the first half of last season? That was IPP and power play time related. Kuznetsov’s IPP did bounce back but his PP time did not.
Wennberg is no Kuznetsov, and the Columbus PP is no Washington PP. I’ve beaten this to death, but it bears repeating, at mid-season last year the Columbus PP fell off a cliff, dropping from among the elite to near last by season’s end. They are dead last this season clicking on less than 10% of their chances. Wennberg has been a big part of their PP but that’s like being the main ingredient of a shit sandwich. Also, his PP minutes are trending in the wrong direction.
Now, assuming Wennberg can get his IPP back to his career averages, you’re looking at roughly a 53-point player. That also assumes that Wennberg can nudge his way back onto that destitute PP. If he can’t, the projection for Wennberg goes lower.
The bottom line; Wennberg is mired in a slump, barely shoots (on pace for a career high 132 SOG), and is now battling injury. The upside for him at this point is somewhere around 50-55 points. I am sure they exist, but there aren’t too many leagues where it’s worth it to ride it out for that type of player at the center position. Clearly there aren’t that many as Wennberg’s Yahoo ownership has dropped to 44%.
Here’s a few options below 40% owned on Yahoo that I’d consider over Wennberg at the center position:
Nico Hischier – 38%
Mathew Barzal – 32%
Mikko Koivu – 20%
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – 25%
David Krejci – 20%
You might be wondering why Krejci made my list, here’s why:
David Krejci says he will travel with the team and his goal is to play at some point on the trip. #NHLBruins— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 13, 2017
That’s good news for Boston because the Brad Marchand injury situation will not go away:
Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork both “got nicked up” in Toronto loss, and aren’t going on plane to Cali w/team, per Bruce Cassidy. Ruh-roh, Raggy— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) November 13, 2017
They’ve got a four-game road trip ahead, with the three California games followed by a visit to New Jersey. That carries them until a home game against the Penguins on Friday, November 24.
We did see Marchand join the team in Toronto this past week, a similar situation cannot be ruled out, but I am essentially writing him off for the next two weeks. It could be best in the long run that he gets an extended bit of rest.
Bjork stood to be one of the benefactors of Marchand’s absence. That’s out the door now, obviously. Jake DeBrusk becomes that much more interesting, as he has been the one to grab Marchand’s power play time in the past but honestly, there are probably better options on your waiver wire. Not to mention, the Bruins play only four games over the next 10 days. That is not an ideal volume of games for what would amount to a short-term pickup.
Krejci, however, brings enough upside to the table to be worth grabbing if we get word that he’s going to play on Wednesday night. If he can’t go Wednesday, I would hold off on him as well.
A few things to plug:
My weekly Fantasy Hockey Stock Market piece for Sportsnet.
My weekly segment on Hockey Unfiltered, which you can listen to at your leisure.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.
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