Ramblings: Thoughts on Heinen, Grzelcyk, Bemstrom, Kessel, Demko, Av linemates, Rangers’ youngsters, and more (Nov 13)

by Dobber on November 13, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Thoughts on Heinen, Grzelcyk, Bemstrom, Kessel, Demko, Av linemates, Rangers’ youngsters, and more (Nov 13)

Ramblings: Thoughts on Heinen, Grzelcyk, Bemstrom, Kessel, Demko, Av linemates, Rangers’ youngsters,  and more (Nov 13)

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I'm covering for Cam today, so some bonus Dobber this week

The Sidney Crosby injury is worrying me. I do own him in one of my three keepers. Several sources (or rather, I’m sure, one source and then 50 curating fantasy websites copied it) are reporting that Crosby is seeing a “core specialist”. His injury is speculated to be his groin. So whatever the issue is, it is in that vicinity and it could be serious.

Line combos for the Penguins against the Rangers, sans Crosby:

Freq

EV – FORWARDS

CF

CA

CF%

22.7%

ASTON-REESE,ZACH – BLUEGER,TEDDY – TANEV,BRANDON

8

8

50.0

21.8%

MALKIN,EVGENI – RUST,BRYAN – SIMON,DOMINIK

13

6

68.4

11.8%

GALCHENYUK,ALEX – GUENTZEL,JAKE – MCCANN,JARED

2

10

16.7

9.7%

BJUGSTAD,NICK – GUENTZEL,JAKE – KAHUN,DOMINIK

7

5

58.3

8.8%

BJUGSTAD,NICK – KAHUN,DOMINIK – LAFFERTY,SAM

5

2

71.4

 

(Yes, in the one-game and three-game line combo pages we now have CF and CA measures of effectiveness)

Ice time was distributed evenly – with the likes of Malkin and Guentzel seeing 18 minutes, and the likes of Blueger also seeing 18 minutes. You’d think the Guentzel line with Galchenyuk would be effective, but as you can see – it really wasn’t. McCann’s goal was scored on the power play.

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Some young Rangers are starting to get comfortable as we soon approach the quarter-pole of the campaign. Kaapo Kakko scored twice including the OT winner – and he has five points in his last five games, with four of them goals. Kakko had two points and was minus-12 in his first nine games…and then six points and plus-2 in his last seven games.

And Adam Fox is playing with swagger after what was actually a pretty fast learning curve. I thought he’d take at least a few months to get moving, perhaps even next season or the year after. But no, he’s in his comfort zone right now. He’s on a five-game points streak, scored and set up the OT winner. He’s getting the PP time even over Tony DeAngelo, who has been putting up points like nobody’s business, and Jacob Trouba, who has the Golden Boy contract and is a top two-way defenseman and has a better all-around game than any of them. I think Fox is looking like 42-43 points for this season or thereabouts, with DeAngelo topping 50 and Trouba getting into the mid- to high 40s.

Lias Andersson – 8:09 of ice time. We at DobberHockey are on a mission to get him sent down before he gets ruined. It’s a waste! He needs 18 minutes per game in the minors ASAP.

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Weird game between Florida and Boston. No score halfway through the game. Then Sergei Bobrovsky gives up four goals in eight minutes and the Bruins lead 4-0. Sam Montembeault comes out in the third period and stops everything as the Panthers score four times to tie it. Then Florida wins in a shootout and Monte gets the W.

Keith Yandle’s three points gives him 11 points in his last 11 games and nine in his last seven. So he’s back to last year’s self, much to the relief of Yandle owners who had watched him post just two points in seven games to start.

Jonathan Huberdeau has 101 points in his last 82 games. That should say it all about whether or not last year was the ‘real deal’.

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I noted in a recent Ramblings (two weeks ago maybe? Three?) that Danton Heinen needed Brett Ritchie out of the way in order to get going. For some reason, Ritchie was getting the ice time and the linemates that Heinen should have been getting. Perhaps Ritchie plays a style that Coach Bruce Cassidy likes but doesn’t translate effectively in an actual NHL game? Well, now Ritchie is getting scratched, Heinen’s ice time is up, and Heinen is playing with Charlie Coyle and David Krejci the last two or three games. Heinen has points in each of his last two games. He has played 180 career games, so he’s 20 away from hitting that 200 number that we relate to showing signs of a breakout.

With Torey Krug sidelined, Matt Grzelcyk was given all the PP time for Boston. He saw 3:37 while Charlie McAvoy saw 0:06. How surprising is that?

McAvoy has four points in 18 games on the season. He’s being used as a shutdown guy. The two were actually teammates at Boston University for a year, with McAvoy getting 25 points in 37 games as a rookie, while Grzelcyk tallied 23 points in 27 games. Offensively, Grzelcyk had a 38-point season at B.U. in his junior year while McAvoy had 26 points in his second year (his last year there). They’ve both played about the same amount of NHL games. It’s very interesting to see Cassidy favor Grzelcyk for the offensive roles. This window won’t stay open forever so Grzelcyk needs to establish himself soon and maintain that foothold.

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Columbus rookie Emil Bemstrom picked up an assist in their 3-2 loss. He has a point in each of his last three games, and he has 11 SOG in his last four. He’s still playing on the fourth line and getting secondary PP time, but he’s one to keep an eye on. He was the SHL top scorer last season.

It’s gotta be time for John Tortorella to put a pin in Alexander Wennberg, don’t you think? I know he’s still set to make $5.35 AAV each of the next three seasons after this one, but he can’t still be given all this ice time and PP time.

Here is a cool report on PP effectiveness. It says Bemstrom has been the best and Anderson the worst. With Jenner and Bjorkstrand also disappointing.

 

Name

PPP

PP SOG

%PP

PPTOI/G

TOI

PPTOI

PPP/60PPMIN

EMIL BEMSTROM

3

9

24.8

01:24

10:29

25:14

7.1

ALEXANDRE TEXIER

1

0

17.0

00:57

13:40

13:24

4.5

CAM ATKINSON

4

18

55.1

03:07

19:05

56:02

4.3

ALEXANDER WENNBERG

3

8

57.3

03:14

18:33

58:15

3.1

PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS

3

12

57.2

03:14

18:32

58:09

3.1

ZACH WERENSKI

2

9

54.4

03:04

23:45

55:16

2.2

GUSTAV NYQUIST

2

8

55.5

03:08

17:23

56:24

2.1

SETH JONES

2

10

56.7

03:12

25:10

57:38

2.1

NICK FOLIGNO

1

5

37.0

02:05

17:27

35:25

1.7

 OLIVER BJORKSTRAND

1

12

38.2

02:10

16:45

38:51

1.5

 JOSH ANDERSON

0

2

24.9

01:30

16:56

17:57

0.0

 

 

Elvis Merzlikins had a Quality Start Tuesday, stopping 30 of 32 shots for yet another OT loss. In four starts he has a loss and three OTLs. If you disregard that rocky first start that saw him get shelled, Merzlikins is 0-0-3, 2.45 GAA and 0.919 SV%.

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Phil Kessel is on the decline, I don’t think anyone would argue that. I think he’s seriously on the decline though. He is blessed with more natural talent than most NHLers. He’s racked up the points over the years purely on talent, with little (relatively speaking) effort. We all joke about the hot dogs, but the truth is he has never been in the same kind of shape that 90% of the league is in. And now, at the age of 32, he’s a step slower with reflexes just a tad behind what they were. So now that natural talent is fading him. His decline, I’ve often said, will be steep and quick. And unexpected. I think we’re there. Can he save it? Sure, with an absolutely kickass offseason next year. But is that Phil Kessel? We know the answer to that.

Anyway, the reason I bring up Phil, who is pointless in four games now, is because I feel that he was a big reason for Clayton Keller’s slow start. Keller is Arizona’s best forward and they just acquired a superstar forward. So of course they’re going to be put on a line together. And Coach Rick Tocchet stuck it out for a long, long time. Tocchet has finally moved on from that over the last four or five games, and one combo that I thought did really well was when Conor Garland was put there. But lines were shuffled again and it’s been Vinnie Hinostroza there (Derek Stepan has been the center throughout all the experiments). Hinostroza worked well and the line was easily Arizona’s best.

I know it’s too much to ask to see both Garland and Hinostroza play with Keller (Hinostroza can play center). I know it would be a Smurf Line if there ever was one, but with Hinostroza’s hustle, Garland’s clutch play (he scored the SO winner plus the tying goal), and Keller’s natural talent I think it would be fun to watch.

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Scary moment for Colorado when Pavel Francouz gets knocked out just 31 seconds into the game here:

So suddenly Adam Werner, who is just 22 and playing in North America for all of two months, is between the pipes for his NHL debut. He plays the entire game, stops 40 shots and gets his first win. He does not get a shutout! It’s a team shutout, due to those 31 seconds.

Cale Makar is still chugging along. He scored again and has 18 points in 18 games. Even Erik Karlsson needed a season and a half to turn into a superstar back when he first started. What Makar is doing is incredible.

Matt Calvert has the golden ticket right now, playing with Nathan MacKinnon and Joonas Donskoi. As long as Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog are out, Calvert should be owned in most roto formats. He has seven points in his last nine games including two on Tuesday. Donskoi had three points for the second time in his last three games.

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ATTENTION: There’s been a Mikael Granlund sighting. That’s right, after 12 games without a point, Granlund scored midway through the third period Tuesday. He’s still getting ice time due to a player of his skill level and he played with Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen. He’s obviously not going to blow us away with his numbers this year, but with 64 games left in the season I can still see him getting 45 or 50 points in that span. That would give him 47-54 at season’s end. In leagues where you set your lineup daily or weekly, I think he’s a cautious buy-low. He’s getting the zone starts, the ice time and the linemates, so he has the coach’s full backing.

Thatcher Demko picked up another win and he’s been playing so incredible. He’s 4-2-0 and he has an outstanding 0.938 SV%. All seven of his starts are QS. But how can you take it from a veteran in Jacob Markstrom who is 0.918 SV% (pretty good) and nine of 12 QS (75% is among the league’s best)? If Demko does this all season the Canucks may just let Markstrom walk off into free agency, because Markstrom is pumping his value higher with each game. That makes Demko a stud starter (Tier 1) as early as next season.

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Robby Fabbri continues to produce as a Red Wing. Three games in a row now with points. If he’s not grabbed already, he should be picked up. I think he’ll be good until he gets hurt (and I hope he doesn’t – his luck has been terrible though). Fabbri has tremendous chemistry with Andreas Athanasiou.

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With Ondrej Kase back in the lineup and Max Comtois struggling a little to put up points, the Ducks sent Comtois down and instead elected to put Nicolas Deslauriers back in the lineup. Kase posted two assists in the OT loss and he played with Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie.

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Well, I think this was kind of rude, but it was absolutely a ploy to get him to waive his NMC. The Kings, per Elliotte Friedman, informed Ilya Kovalchuk that he wouldn’t be playing Tuesday night and he probably wouldn’t be playing in the foreseeable future. But he is welcome to continue practicing with the team. What an easy way to make $12 million bucks (what Kovy is owed).

Matt Luff was called up and put in the lineup in his place. The Kings got the win, but I think at this point they’re trying out all their prospects who are on the cusp and deciding which ones are in their long-term plans. Last night’s lineup had Luff, Nikolai Prokhorkin, Carl Grundstrom and Blake Lizotte.

Speaking of LA’s youngsters, 24-year-old Sean Walker was paired up with Drew Doughty. He also saw secondary PP time. He ended up with two points on the night, and was plus-2 with three SOG and two BLKS. He also saw a career high 23:48 of ice time. If this pairing lasts, Walker obviously makes a solid pickup. For however long it lasts.

*

Joakim Nygard was back in the Oilers’ lineup and picked up his first NHL assist. He played on the fourth line though. The 26-year-old needs to stay healthy, and needs to play well enough to bump Alex Chiasson off the RNH line.

I would say bump James Neal off that line but Neal’s contract, pedigree, and hot start will keep him there for weeks if not months. But Neal, who was minus-3 for the second time in four games, has four points in his last 11 games. And he’s minus-11 in that span.

Ethan Bear led all Oilers defensemen in ice time with 25:02.

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Erik Karlsson had his first three-point game of the season for San Jose and was the game’s first star.

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Kasimir Kaskisuo was recalled by the Leafs to be their new backup. He has been dominating the AHL this year with a 6-1-1 record and a 0.928 SV%.

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See you next Monday.