Ramblings: Vegas Gets Their Name, Pacioretty Slumping (Nov 23)

by steve laidlaw on November 23, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Vegas Gets Their Name, Pacioretty Slumping (Nov 23)

Vegas gets their name, Pacioretty slumping, Burns' new deal, and more.


The Las Vegas expansion team has officially been named the Vegas Golden Knights. Meh. Could be worse. The damned London Knights had to be the fly in the ointment and block them from just being the “Knights” but I think we can all agree to just call them the Knights anyway. We failed at this with the Blue Jackets but succeeded with the Red Wings. Commit to this, folks, the “Knights!” I am pumped. Check out their sweet new logo:

I can’t wait to see that on a hat or a sweater. The first version I saw looked even better, as it was without the touch of green. This looks like a hybrid between the London Knights and Los Angeles Kings. That’s not a complaint, it’s just what jumps out at me when I look at it.

In any case, remember, it’s the “Knights.” Don’t let anyone tell you differently.


TSN released their first mock expansion draft of the season. Some interesting names were selected like Jakob Silfverberg, Dmitry Orlov, Marc-Andre Fleury, Joonas Korpisalo, Ryan Pulock, Ryan Dzingel, Mathieu Perreault and Nikita Nesterov.

We’ve already heard that one way or another the Ducks are going to find a way to protect Silfverberg. I would be more interested in getting one of their young defensemen anyhow. Even if they can convince Kevin Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause and go into the draft they will still have to expose one of Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, or Josh Manson, and likely two if Bieksa doesn’t waive. Of course, they could protect all four of them and then have only room for protecting four forwards, which is how you wind up with Silfverberg available. I think the readiness of Shea Theodore makes exposing a defenseman more likely.

The implications here are huge because it means Theodore will likely have more opportunity next season. Jacob Larsson and Brandon Montour will also have better opportunities to make the Ducks. Finally, whoever heads over to Vegas will probably be operating in a #1 capacity.

Because he’s a lefty and because he has been so heavily rumoured in trades, I’d expect Fowler to be the odd man out. He also has only one year remaining before hitting unrestricted free agency, which doesn’t make him that attractive to a new club. He’ll only be 26 when he does hit free agency, which puts him in the sweet spot where he can ask for top dollar and top term. Is that what an expansion team wants to get into?

The only reason I don’t think Fowler would come available is that he is a Randy Carlyle favourite. It’s no secret that a big part of Fowler’s emergence this season is because Carlyle is giving him huge minutes. Credit Fowler for taking advantage, but the point is that the coach likes him and would likely want him around.

Would that mean Manson is available? Manson doesn’t have much fantasy value, unless you’re in a league with blocks and hits but he is a stout defender.

I could go on all day about the possibilities in the expansion draft. Perhaps I’ll dedicate a section in each of the next few ramblings to focusing on all the options available off each team. Of course, there will be trading and side deals and injuries and all sorts of other shenanigans that will derail our best laid plans but I suppose if it was cut and dried it wouldn’t be any fun.

I messed around with CapFriendly’s expansion draft tool yesterday. It was endless fun. If you’re bored at work and want to kill the rest of your day, click that link and follow the worm hole. Once they get their publisher operational I will post my entire selections. For now, I will indicate that the Ducks are definitely losing one Silfverberg, Fowler, Vatanen or Manson. I had them losing Manson, which is the least sexy choice of all but what I think is the most likely.


I think Steve Mason has his groove back. He has posted a quality start in four of his last five outings. This is a positive trend. He was always going to bounce back. I have been adamant about that. His numbers on the year are still miserable but the tides are turning. I suspect it will be a lot like Tuukka Rask last season, where his first two months crippled any chance he had at good looking full-season numbers but he was basically league-average after those first two months. With the club the Flyers have, average is all that he needs to be.

The Flyers go again tonight against the Lightning. I wonder if we finally get to see Anthony Stolarz. I’m betting against it, just because Mason is getting back in the groove. If he was still crapping the bed, we’d likely have already seen Stolarz. I’m not even convinced the youngster is ready anyhow. I just pointed him out as a potential option considering how things had been trending for Mason.

Because we can’t have nice things, Sean Couturier went down with a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game and his status will be updated later. It’s worth mentioning that Couturier really wasn’t breaking out the way we had hoped after scoring 39 points in 63 games last season. There were early signs that the Travis Konecny – Couturier – Jakub Voracek line would be golden but they got broken up with the constant line tinkering that happens these days.

Ultimately, there is probably too much talent in Philly for Couturier to be a dominant fantasy performer. With the right bounces 50-55 points could happen but we’d have to see something drastic like a Claude Giroux injury for anything more to happen. Excuse me while I go bang on the kitchen table for an hour…


And we’re back! So is Nick Bjugstad. Check out the Panthers’ lines with Bjugstad in the lineup:





Bjugstad was limited to just 11:18 with almost no power play time. For now, he has seen his spot on the second PP unit filled by Colton Sceviour. We’ll see how long that lasts. I am still waiting for the Panthers to put together a unit with Barkov, Trocheck, Marchessault, Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle or perhaps go four forwards and replace Ekblad with Jagr or Jokinen.

Their power play stinks. The whole balancing of two units idea is a joke. If you’ve got two #1 units you don’t have any #1 units. The best teams stack one unit and they ride it heavily. I know the Panthers are diving heavy into the analytics and are looking to have four scoring lines to roll over and keep pressure on the opposition. You can achieve that even better with one lethal power play unit that makes teams pay when they cheat.


Yesterday was a day of the week with at least four letters in it so of course the Canadiens had new lines:





This strikes me as an attempt to try and get Pacioretty going. It didn’t work, though he did fire five SOG. It should be noted that Pacioretty’s shot volume is way down. After back-to-back 300-SOG seasons he is on pace for 221.

I’ve seen some discussion on the Twitter about the team trying to reduce his long-distance shooting, in an effort to get him taking higher percentage shots. That’s all good in theory but Pacioretty has been an 11.0% shooter for his career. That’s damned good for someone with his ability to shoot for volume. I wouldn’t be asking him to knock off the distance shots the same way I would Evander Kane who is only an 8.6% career shooter.

Over 250-300 SOG, which is the volume these guys are capable of, Pacioretty’s shooting gives you an extra six to eight goals over Kane or other average shooters. Aren’t teams trying to get that extra 2-3% edge? I wouldn’t be curbing Pacioretty’s shooting. He has that rare ability to beat goalies from distance, which is something to marvel at. Ken Hitchcock had a great quote about Vladimir Tarasenko’s shooting that has always stuck with me:

"[Mark] Recchi used to shoot like that. Wouldn't give it away, kept the blade square," Hitchcock said. "Glenn Anderson did it. He had that ability too. But when you're face-to-face … how many players in the League can score from distance? Not very many. Seguin, he can. Not many people have players that can score from outside of 15 feet ... [Steven] Stamkos (can). Glenn Anderson could get a little bit of 1-on-1 space and all of the sudden, boom! Here comes the shot. You don't know if it's heavy or if it's quick or what it is."

Scoring from outside the “home plate” area is a game changer. It just is. We shouldn’t be stomping on that skill.

I will mention that it is concerning to see Pacioretty with only one power-play goal through 20 games. He has averaged 8.3 PPGs over the past three seasons. Now that the focal point of the Canadiens’ power play has become Shea Weber’s clapper from the point, there is less need for Pacioretty’s sniping skills. What the Canadiens need more is puck retrievers and distributors. Pacioretty is capable but it’s not his forte. Guys like Galchenyuk, Radulov and Markov bring more passing skills to the table, which sets them up to be rewarded with a focal point like Weber.

Of course, Pacioretty is one hot streak away from pacing for 65 points. Indeed, while his goals are down his assists have picked up. I have some concerns. This feels like a potential 25-goal/50-point hiccup season. Pacioretty, at his current shooting pace, will finish with 24 goals, if he also shoots his career average. Monitor his shot rate going forward.


Nathan Beaulieu was taken to hospital last night but is apparently fine.


Last night was Derick Brassard’s first multi-point game since opening night. It’s been a long month and a half waiting for that. The Senators have put together some hot stretch runs the past couple of seasons so you can’t rule anything out but normally a slow start like this would pretty much rule Brassard out of another 60-point season.

Another slow-starter: Mike Hoffman. He got on the board with a three-point night that was sorely needed. This ends a five-game scoreless drought. It also marks his return to the lineup after a couple of games off due to injury. Hoffman is a serious buy-low candidate. Unlike Pacioretty, Hoffman’s shot rate is up as he is on pace for 268 SOG. If he can shoot his career average at that shot rate, he’ll take a run at his first 30-goal season.

This is, of course, is where you ask if I would take Hoffman over Pacioretty. The answer is no but we are heading in a direction where that no longer becomes a ridiculous question. Talk to me after another 20 games and we’ll see if these two are still heading in opposite directions in terms of shot volume.


Cam Ward now has nine quality starts in his past 11 games. It’s a thing guys. I don’t know how but this is a thing. Here’s a spin: can’t we all enjoy the Cam Ward renaissance tour? This guy was once one of the top goalies in the league. He ripped my heart out back in ’06 with his Conn Smythe performance. Amazingly, he’s only 32 years old. Isn’t he too young to be completely washed up?


Sounds like it is all good for Mitch Marner:


Josh Bailey continues to show flashes skating alongside John Tavares. If he was more consistent, I would give Bailey a crack on my fantasy roster. As it stands, he is just too inconsistent and has been for years. He is already 27 years old. We have seen guys put together leaps later in their careers but usually it takes some moving around and landing on a team willing to give you a top-line shot. Think Chris Kunitz in Pittsburgh. Bailey has gotten plenty of shots with John Tavares. It seems to be sticking this time but the end result is probably going to be 50 points. Perhaps that’s valuable in your league. I’ll find a sexier option.


Fat new contract for Brent Burns:

This puppy won’t kick in until he’s 32 years old. Heavy risk to take for San Jose, but there’s no evidence that Wookies age like we do so perhaps this is a good bet.

I do wonder when the Sharks collapse like a house of cards. Joe Thornton can’t remain an elite playmaker forever can he? Or is he going to age like Jaromir Jagr? If that’s the case, he’s going to be able to elevate everyone on this club and that means perhaps extending the prime of Burns even once his physical skills start to tail off.


As always, some gems in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 30 Thoughts:

19. One netminder who switched equipment last summer? Cam Ward. Ward went to Bauer pads and found them to be lighter than his previous ones. For an aggressive, active goalie, it’s a subtle but important change. He’s got a new glove, too, and, apparently an adjusted off-ice routine.

Is this the reason for his renaissance?


Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.


  • DK

    Why is Khokhlachev not available for Vegas? Time to dump him from keeper leagues?

    • steve laidlaw

      If you have room keep stashing him but there are likely similar options still playing in NA.

    • Dobber

      I don’t see him anywhere on Cap Friendly, but I still think he’d be available to pick…must be a glitch?

  • Really looking forward to the expansion draft, it will be quite interesting! Will also be interesting to see teams scramble to make trades to avoid losing decent players for nothing.

    Huge contract for Burns but he’s worth it. I think he “only” gets $10M in the last two years so maybe he will retire if his Wookie powers are gone then. Wishing I took Burns over Gaudreau this season in my hockey pool, that was the hardest draft decision I had to make.

  • Justin

    “but there’s no evidence that Wookies age like we do so perhaps this is a good bet.”
    LOL great line.

  • larrylintz

    Hoffman WAS a great buy-low candidate. That ended last night. It only resumes if he has another slump.

  • ChrisP

    MAF has a NMC. Hows he getting drafted by Vegas?

    • steve laidlaw

      I think everyone assumes that the Penguins will find a way to have Fleury waive his NMC.

  • Michelle

    So how much do you guys not care for Ducks games? lol

    Without a full schedule they still don’t get any mention. With tweets coming out with Rakell playing on the top line you’d think there’d be something…

    • Patrick

      Was this article not up pretty much as that game ended? Print media (which is essentially what this is, whether or not it’s online) tends to have a lag, since it takes time to write, proof-read, and publish. I’m sure that game will be part of tomorrow’s ramblings, what with the 14 round nailbiter of a shootout. I would say that having to wait until the following day isn’t a huge deal considering the frequency and quality of the content we get from the writers here.

      • Michelle

        Oh they edit them later? I never knew, I’m always staying up late to read these before my transaction deadline in case there’s some juicy info I need to know.

        Thanks for letting me know, gives me a reason to come here more often.

      • stugots


      • Michelle


      • Dobber

        14 rounds? Geez
        I watched the game. Watched overtime. Then went to bed before the shootout started. If my fantasy team can’t get points – not interested. 😉

    • steve laidlaw

      We specifically hate the Ducks, which is why we didn’t discuss them at all. Not even once.

      • Michelle

        Made sure to even say “Ducks games” to avoid a reply like this :/

      • steve laidlaw

        Passive aggressive questions get passive aggressive responses.

      • Michelle

        This is the second time I’ve commented on one your pieces about the absence of Ducks, the first didn’t even get a reply.

        Sure the first part of my comment is a bit joking but statistically they’ve been left out more than your template would recommend.

        Also the second part of my comment is pure facts, so instead of being passive aggressive maybe actually leave a partially intellectual comment or take some notes on how Dobber replies to people. I’m assuming you get paid for this? Take some more pride in your work and how you deal with criticism.

      • steve laidlaw

        It’s not like we are entirely ignoring the Ducks. They did still get love in this article. Not everything has to be a “game recap”.

        I take all criticisms seriously, for instance, we recently had critiques that the Ramblings were becoming too much of a “games recap” so we have to balance that as well. Ultimately, we’ll never please everyone. That’s just the nature of it.

        Bottom line, if you can be snarky with questions, I can be snarky with responses. I’m fair game for that.

      • Michelle

        See this is this kind of answer you should have the first time around, was that so hard?

        Save that amount of snark for the trolls or at least balance it with some actual information like Dobber did in his comments. It’s not hard.

        It’s not like there’s nothing to talk about with the team, heck you’ve even mentioned Rackell in your Yahoo post, just odd to leave him out after he scores for another game.

      • steve laidlaw

        As so often happens in online interaction, you are misinterpreting intent. You see your initial question as joking but don’t see the response in the same tone. This could be fun, but it’s all up to how you want to interpret this stuff.

        As for the Yahoo post, indeed I did talk about Rakell there. I don’t want to be too redundant with my work so I try and avoid overlap.

      • Michelle

        Even you read the first part of my comment in a mean way I still provide more in my comment than that, can’t say the same for how you decided to reply to me

        A little overlap seems fine instead of how the Ramblings have treated the Ducks lately…

      • steve laidlaw

        I can assure you that we still are not on the same page here.

      • Michelle

        Yeah there really seems to be something off.

        I’ll just stick to reading Dobber’s reply on this whole thing. I’m much better off.

    • Dobber

      I had a long, drawn out argument on Monday about the Ducks’ Silfverberg based on what I wrote that day (go to Monday’s ramblings and see the comments). All teams need not be mentioned all days

      • Michelle

        > All teams need not be mentioned all days

        I totally get that since some days have nearly every team playing, just seems weird for the slower days.

        Looking back at the ramblings after Ducks games there’s barely any coverage of their game on today’s, the 18th, the 16th, the 13th or the one on the 10th.

        So after 7 Ducks games there’s been 2 mentions in the Ramblings? Is that normal?

        Thanks for the response btw!

      • Dobber

        No problem! I think an ideal template is that if a team is mentioned 4 times for every 7 games they play, plus maybe once or twice every couple of weeks when they don’t play, depending on the news. So Ducks seem to be light.
        This isn’t intentional though. Myself, I often miss the first half of early games and then settle in for the second half of the early games and watch the entire late game (I do a lot of work in that 10pm to 2am slot). I know Steve is a night owl too. And Ian is in BC, so I don’t think it’s lack of seeing them. I’ll watch for that, though

      • Michelle

        Really appreciate this response, I didn’t think it was on purpose but just felt like they’d been forgotten about. With the duo of Getzlaf and Perry, the over performing Kesler, the appearance of Rakell and the subpar performance of Gibson I just feel there’s a decent amount on info that fantasy owners can use! I’m not even a Ducks fan lol I just own a couple on my team.

        Thanks for not explaining the general template too and not just being passive aggressive like Steve was. Love this site and your articles! Thanks!

      • Paul Switzer


        I don’t know how new you are to this forum but certain teams get more coverage than others. The Leafs get a lot of discussion and I would say rightfully so because of their position as being an up and coming team and the fact that a couple writers are Leaf fans. I find the Leaf coverage interesting now but a couple years ago it was brutal since they had little fantasy relevance compared to other teams. LOL- There was a guy on a here a while back that used to write half of his ramblings on the lowly Canucks. Just roll with it. Personally, I want the writers to focus on the most interesting story lines. I don’t care if teams are reported on equally.

      • Michelle

        Rackell is a more interesting player to take a look at than Josh Bailey lol.

        If teams suck I get them not getting a fair representation but the Ducks have a fair amount of players to be talking about.

      • Paul Switzer

        You’re probably right but a homer complaining that her team is not getting covered enough is a bad look. This is free fantasy hockey insight. Take it for what it is.

      • Michelle

        You should maybe read all my comments before replying to me, I even replied to Dobber literally right below this saying I’m not a Ducks fan, I just have Ducks on my fantasy team. So get out of here with your homer assumptions. Even Dobber himself said the exclusion of the Ducks was unusual.

        It’s a free site and a great one at that, there’s nothing wrong with me giving criticism or letting them know if they’ve missed something.

      • Paul Switzer

        I actually did look at your other comments and saw that you made a similar comment about the Ducks in the past.

      • Michelle

        And you’d think that comment would have told them that something unusual was up.

      • Paul Switzer

        I find this comical. Do you think that every team has to have equal representation in the Ramblings? I think these guys do a great job and I enjoy reading them every day. As a Blackhawk fan, there have been times over the years where I thought something wasn’t being covered enough but the thought of writing and complaining never entered my mind. And counting the number of posts about a team? LOL- if you are not a fan of the Ducks then the amount of attention you are giving them is very odd.

      • Michelle

        Do you know how to read other comments? Just asking since my conversation with Dobber below pretty much cover everything you’re bringing up right now. I’m not a Ducks fan, they’re just fantasy relevant and have been passed over more than the usual Rambling’s template amount.

        This isn’t hard to understand, Dobber himself understood everything on the first try.

      • Paul Switzer

        Dobber talked about Gibson today!!

      • Michelle

        Yeah I know, I can read.