Ramblings: Thoughts on Athanasiou, Bertuzzi, Granlund, Strome, the top “clutch” goalies and more (Mar 30)
Now available for pre-sale – the 13th annual Interactive Playoff Draft List. Pre-order it here. It will be Friday April 5. If you bought the Ultimate Fantasy Pack in the summer, this will be included in that purchase. It is not included in the Keeper Fantasy Pack.
Covering for Ian today, as he had a fantasy baseball draft Friday night (fantasy hockey purists are just shaking your heads and scoffing, aren’t you…)
Andreas Athanasiou scored his 30th goal. The assists haven’t really been there for this year because he is often placed on a line with the likes of Tommy Stonehands and Jimmy Lunchpail (his linemates last night were Luke Glendening and Taro Hirose). But in a couple of years when he hits his prime, the Red Wings should have the talent around him upgraded by that point. Next year I see another small step forward, perhaps hitting 60 (if anyone does on this team besides Larkin, it should be him), before his big jump in his sixth campaign.
With the shared shutout Friday, Jonathan Bernier has posted Quality Starts in four of his last six outings. But he left the game with an upper-body injury, requiring Jimmy Howard to come in for the third period and finish the game. Bernier has two years left on his contract with Detroit and has been in the 35- to 39-games range for four consecutive years now.
The early results for Detroit’s undrafted NCAA foray this year are in. So far 22-year-old Ryan Kuffner is pointless and minus-2 in six games. He had 96 points in his last 67 games with Princeton, as Max Veronneau’s (now with Ottawa) sidekick. Taro Hirose, also in his sixth game, saw his five-game assist streak come to an end. Hirose didn’t have a Veronneau to play with at Michigan State and to me has the higher upside. He’s been averaging about 15 minutes per game to Kuffner’s 10, so you know Coach Jeff Blashill sees it the same way.
Tyler Bertuzzi posted back-to-back three-point games, so in Dobbernomics I obviously climbed on the wrong horse with that decision. I wanted a good player for the back-to-back and went with Athanasiou, but it’s been Bertuzzi on fire. Three games ago he had 34 points in 66 games and reaching 40 was doubtful. Now he’s at 41 in 69. With Gustav Nyquist gone, Bertuzzi’s and Larkin’s linemate has been Anthony Mantha, and to me that’s an upgrade. Mantha has four points in those two games and seven in his last four. This line has the potential to be huge next year and if they are much will depend on secondary offense – and that makes my Athanasiou projection above very important.
Mackenzie Blackwood is 3-8-0, 2.90 and 0.901 over his last 11 games. He’s 22, is a high draft pick, and bounced back in this his third pro season after having it rough during his first two. I’m not yet ready to write him off as a potential starter for the long term, but this year is the most he has played as a pro (40 combined games).
Seriously troubled by how Mikael Granlund is producing with Nashville. Clearly he needs to be the man, because as a secondary option he doesn’t do much. So far. Twelve games into his Nashville career he has just four points, with zero in his last eight. He’s been playing with Kyle Turris and Craig Smith, who aren’t horrible linemates and Granlund is a driver not a passenger anyway. But Smith was replaced on the line with Colton Sissons and the line still came up short. Meanwhile, Smith had a two-point night on a different line. Just very odd because Granlund I thought had the highest upside among Nashville forwards, even over Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, who I have a healthy respect for. Granlund has one more year with Nashville before becoming a UFA. Will a contract year make a difference? I had Granlund in all three of my keeper leagues and was kicking myself for trading him away in one because a month later he went to Nashville.
Now I kinda wish I traded him in all three. (Dobber's note: I was reminded by a commenter below about his wife giving birth. I had forgotten. He was literally in the delivery room when he got the trade phone call! I'll give him a pass for this final month of the season, no question. And I feel less anxious about the slump now). I do think he’ll turn things around. He’s too good not to do so. But with the Preds his ceiling has definitely dropped.
I really like the player that the Penguins have turned Marcus Pettersson into and I wonder if the 22-year-old can get 35 points, 130 BLKS, 130 Hits next season? He had five Hits and five SOG Friday, and earlier in the week in the prior game he had two assists and was plus-2 with two PIM. His pace since joining the Pens, over 82 games, is 28 points, 113 BLKS and 124 Hits. I sincerely hope, when Kris Letang returns, that Pettersson isn’t the one in the press box because of his youth. I know the GM’s pride is on the line when it comes to Jack Johnson and Erik Gudbranson, but screw pride. I’d scratch Johnson.
So does Ryan Strome have upside after all? I mean, obviously not the elite upside we hoped for six years ago, but fantasy-worthy upside? Now that the Rangers have shed some top players Strome is seeing 18 minutes of ice time. This is ice time he was given during the first few years of his career and he didn’t do anything with it. Now he’s doing something. He has 18 points in his last 23 games and nine in his last 10. Food for thought. Friday he was on a line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Lias Andersson. His next goal would be his 18th which would set a career high.
Then again, maybe he’s just jealous over how well his brother is doing.
Good luck with your Alexandar Georgiev activation decisions. He’s been crap, awesome, crap, awesome the last four games. He was decent for the five games prior to that, but then allowed six goals on February 17. He could really help you during these fantasy playoffs, but he could also destroy you. Friday, fortunately, was a “help” day as he stopped 44 of 46 against the Blues.
Pavel Buchnevich is on a six-game points streak. His two on Friday gave him seven in that span.
After getting at least a point in 17 straight games that he played in, David Perron suffered a big slump of two games. Thankfully he ended the torture with a goal on Friday. I have to admit – I’m not a fan. When he was traded to Pittsburgh I overpaid to acquire him. Then I sat on him for two years of crap. Then I traded him for a draft pick, just to get anything for him. And that’s, of course, when he bangs off his two best seasons.
With two points Friday, Derek Ryan has 10 in his last nine games. With the Flames now icing a very effective second line (the 3M), I think this is freeing up Ryan – Andrew Mangiapane – Garnet Hathaway (the latter I actually added in Dobbernomics yesterday, a very cheap, productive guy in that game).
With four points Friday, Sean Monahan hit the 80-point mark for the first time in his career.
Greg Pateryn had the longest active goal drought in the NHL, per Elias Sports Bureau, at 130 games. He finally scored Friday and so now the honor shifts to…Victor Mete of Montreal (116).
Kevin Fiala’s ice time is up 2:40 per game with the Wild versus what he was getting with Nashville. And yet he has just seven points in 15 contests. We expected the jump in ice time, but had assumed it would come with a corresponding bump in production. That hasn’t happened, but as fantasy owners that the mindset we need to stick to – opportunity increases the odds of success. Just because it’s a ‘fail’ (so far) doesn’t mean we figured wrong. Next year is his fourth and I expect some magic.
Paul Stastny has 39 points in his last 43 games. He is still the Band-Aid Boy we know and love, but his productivity with Vegas is the best it’s been in nine years. He’s only going to play about 52 games this season, but next year it’s reasonable to assume he plays his usual 65. And at his current clip that’s still enough to get him to 60 points.
Frozen Tools update: The Report Generator has a bunch of new reports for Goaltenders. Take a look. Included are home/road splits, breakdowns by period, average shot distance faced, and ‘Clutch Report’, which shows you the best goalies by SV% in the combined 3rd period and OT. Here are the Top 5 for that report (min 20 games):
1. Jack Campbell 0.947
2. Anton Khudobin 0.935
3. Matt Murray 0.934
4. Thomas Greiss 0.931
5. Sergei Bobrovsky 0.930
The worst five? The five who crumble the most late in games this year?
1. Linus Ullmark 0.878
2. Roberto Luongo 0.881
3. Martin Jones 0.889
4. Henrik Lundqvist 0.889
5. Semyon Varlamov 0.890
See you Monday.
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