Ramblings: Updates on Klefbom, White, Karlsson; Koskinen Extended; Hronek – January 22

by Michael Clifford on January 22, 2019
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Updates on Klefbom, White, Karlsson; Koskinen Extended; Hronek – January 22

 

The Carolina Hurricanes have started to lock up their core and the next addition to the list is Teuvo Teravainen. He signed a five-year deal with an average annual value of $5.4-million and it doesn’t appear to include movement/trade protections.

Teravainen has really flourished in Carolina to the tune of 145 points in 211 games, or a 56-point pace per 82 games. It helps playing alongside Sebastian Aho, but Turbo has really found his game with the Hurricanes.

Just as an aside to the contract, I do wonder where Teravainen fits in long term. It seems like the team will move forward with Teravainen, Nino Niederreiter, Andrei Svechnikov, and Micheal Ferland (I’m assuming they sign him) in their top-6. But this precludes re-signing Justin Williams after the season, or possibly bringing in another top winger in free agency this summer (there are a lot of them). And there are always the swirling ‘defenceman for a scoring winger’ rumours surrounding the ‘Canes every year.

I say all this because there’s good evidence that Teravainen is a better defensive forward than he is an offensive one. It’s not to say he’s devoid of offensive talent; I mentioned above he’s played as a 55-plus-point guy since getting to Carolina. But maybe he slides down to the third line once this team is really loaded, filling in the role currently occupied by Williams? A reliable two-way forward who they can use all over the lineup, including special teams. It’s to say that I’m not entirely convinced he’ll be the long-term winger for Aho.

But that’s a year or two down the road. In all, it’s a good contract for the team and gives Teravainen security, and the chance for another multi-year contract when this new one runs out.

Just a fun Teravainen fact: since the start of the 2016-17 season, he has the same assists/60 minutes at 5v4 as Patrick Kane.

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It appears Erik Karlsson will not return for the Sharks until after the All-Star Game, which would also include him not playing in the midseason classic itself. It makes sense from San Jose’s perspective; this is a true Cup contender and there is a pretty big gap between the Big Three in the Pacific and the rest of the division. They need him healthy in April, not January.

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If you haven’t picked up your copy of the 2019 Dobber Hockey Midseason Fantasy Guide from our Dobber Shop, there’s no time like the present! We only have a couple days of hockey before the break, and that’s the best time to digest all the information necessary to make a run for a league title this year, or set your keeper/dynasty teams up for the future.

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It looks like Oscar Klefbom will return for the Oilers after the All-Star break. This is huge for the Oilers if they truly want to make a run for the playoffs as he’s easily their best defenceman and the team has looked near-dead since his injury. Good news, fantasy owners!

Speaking of the Oilers, they have put both Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner on waivers. I’ll admit, I got sucked into Rattie’s performance alongside Connor McDavid at the end of last year and in the preseason. I didn’t end up drafting him anywhere, but I have used him a lot in DFS. It, uh, hasn’t gone well. Maybe these guys can catch on elsewhere.

Thus concludes the Jordan Eberle trade tree. Outcome: not great!

The last bit on the Oilers: they signed goaltender Mikko Koskinen for three more years with an AAV of $4.5-million. That seems like a pretty big gamble on a 30-year old goalie (31 next season) with 31 career NHL games. Not to mention the team needs to completely overhaul their winger depth from top to bottom, needs another top-4 defenceman, and already has $73-million committed to next season. This should be a team looking to spend as little as possible in goal to try and upgrade elsewhere and this… this is not it.

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The Blue Jackets have added Martin St. Louis as a special teams consultant. Presumably, this means he’s helping the team with their power play. As Aaron Portzline noted, the Columbus power play has been absolutely abysmal for two years, ranking last in the league since January of 2017. Special teams aren’t everything, but teams that score on fewer than 1 in 6 power play opportunities are going to struggle to win games, especially at a rate of a Cup contender.

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Calgary has some new lines, aside from leaving the top line together:

 

 

It’ll be interesting to see for just how long this configuration lasts. It seems like breaking up the second line, which has been one of the best in hockey for a few years now, isn’t a long-term move, more something to get some balance right now.

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On the topic of lines and news, Mike Babcock has broken up the duo of John Tavares and Mitch Marner:

 

 

The Leafs haven’t looked like themselves for a little while now, though it seems much of the issue is a shooting percentage drop on the power play and the injury to Frederik Andersen. Like the Flames, we’ll see how long this actually lasts. I’m skeptical it’ll be for very long.

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On the Ottawa front, Sens forward Colin White says he should be back in the Ottawa lineup after the All-Star Game. He had been playing very well on a line with Brady Tkachuk and Mark Stone. I’d like to see him get another chance there.

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Drew Doughty scored in Monday afternoon’s 4-3 win over St. Louis, his fifth goal of the season. It’s been a tough season for almost every Los Angeles Kings player, but Doughty is averaging over two hits a game for the first time in years and is on pace for 46 points. Other areas have sagged (plus/minus and shots, notably), but there’s still been enough here to maintain solid fantasy relevance. That feels like an amazing statement given Doughty’s fantasy performances in his career, but it’s more a testament to the team than to himself as a player.

Mackenzie MacEachern scored his first NHL goal in the loss. You can read his Dobber profile here.

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The Nashville Predators got scoring from the blue line in the form of Roman Josi’s eighth goal and Ryan Ellis’s fifth en route to a 4-1 win over Colorado. That makes 36 points for Josi, who is now on pace for 58 on the year. He’s doing that despite having just nine PPPs. It’d be fun to see what he could do in a season with heavy minutes on a top-tier PP unit.

Pekka Rinne stopped 35 of 36 shots in the victory for Nashville.

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Both Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch scored in Las Vegas’s 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Monday. Despite the team loss, the second line for Vegas shone once again. This trio has been truly elite in their time together. When Reilly Smith returns, it’s going to be a big decision for the coaching staff as to whether or not they put Pirri on the second or third line. With the way Stastny-Tuch-Pacioretty are rolling, and how good the top line normally is, I don’t know how either of those two trios get split.

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Florida received goals from each of Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, and Michael Matheson, and Frank Vatrano had a four-point night as the Panthers toppled the Sharks 6-2. Vatrano now has 21 goals and 34 points in 63 career games with the Panthers. He’s doing that while averaging about 14 minutes a night.

For Ekblad, it was his 10th goal of the season. That gives him double-digit goals in every season of his career so far, and 63 goals overall. The lack of assists are an ongoing concern but the goal scoring is about as consistent as it gets from the blue line.

Aleksander Barkov had three assists, snapping a four-game pointless streak. He’s also just shy of a point per game with 47 in 48.  

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I wanted to get some input from the Dobber community. I have a home keeper league (10-team, keep 8) where I made a somewhat-blockbuster trade recently. Let me give you the specifics of the league first:

  • Points league, categories for skaters are: goals, assists, PIMs, plus/minus, SOG, PP points.
  • The pool of players I’m considering for keepers for next year include: Vladimir Tarasenko, Mark Scheifele, Nathan MacKinnon, Leon Draisaitl, Alexander Radulov, Evgenii Dadonov, Viktor Arvidsson, Brent Burns, Kris Letang, John Gibson, and Thatcher Demko. Remember, it’s only a keep-8, so three players from that list would miss the cut.
  • We don’t divide forward positions, they’re all listed as ‘forward’ so positions are irrelevant.
  • There are four people at the top of the league standings clustered very close together, me being one of them, and then there’s a big gap to 5th place. I think I have an edge because of fewer games played than the other three teams. In that sense, yes I’m going for it this year.

Last week, I completed the following trade:

My reasoning was that with the uncertainty around Taylor Hall, I think Zibanejad will out-produce Hischier the rest of the season in our format. Also, I am in the running for a league title without Nylander having done anything basically all year. I wouldn’t be keeping Hischier and it’s doubtful I’d keep Nylander. I won’t keep Zibanejad but as I said I think he’s an upgrade for the next 30 games on Hischier. I will definitely be keeping Svechnikov. He’s a guy I peg to be an absolute superstar in this league in a couple years.

I look at it as an upgrade on one guy for this year, and the other is a lock as a keeper for many seasons to come. What do you guys think?

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Last week I took a bit of a dive on Will Butcher to see how he’s performing this season, so far in his career, and what it could mean for the future. In those Ramblings, I also discussed other young defencemen like Thomas Chabot and Henri Jokiharju. There is another young defenceman I want to discuss briefly and that’s Detroit blue liner Filip Hronek.

As I’ve stated before, I’m not a prospects writer. I leave that stuff to the good people over at Dobber Prospects. I mostly form my opinion based on their writing, the writing of some other people around the industry, and my own brief observations. All this is to say that going into the 2018-19 season, I knew who Hronek was but didn’t know much about him. I knew he had a good age-20 season in the AHL, I knew he might push for an end-of-roster spot on the Wings, and that’s about it.

He’s opened a lot of eyes, including both of mine, since.

Hronek has only played 22 games, so it should be said we’re not working with a lot of information. That said, here’s where he ranks in various categories among Red Wings rear guards:

  • Adjusted 5v5 shot share percentage: 1st
  • Adjusted 5v5 on-ice shots for: 1st
  • Individual 5v5 expected goals: T-1st
  • Penalties drawn per 60 minutes: 1st

That’s, uh, pretty good.

Other metrics aren’t as flattering (he’s about break-even in expected goal share) but for just 22 games on a lottery team, he’s standing out.

It might take a year or two once all those awful contracts on the Red Wings blue line start running out before guys like Hronek and Dennis Cholowski can really take over. With that said, I’ve been impressed with Hronek and look forward to what he can do in the future. He’s had a good start, now it’s about building off that and taking the next step.