Ramblings: Victor Rask Tallies; David Pastrnak and Viktor Arvidsson Dazzle; Landeskog Hearing – November 27

by Michael Clifford on November 27, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Victor Rask Tallies; David Pastrnak and Viktor Arvidsson Dazzle; Landeskog Hearing – November 27

Three afternoon games (depending on where you’re located) including a tantalizing matchup to start the day between Nashville and Carolina.

Juuse Saros was in the cage for the Predators, making his fifth start of the year.

With Nashville down 1-0, Viktor Arvidsson did what Viktor Arvidsson does best: score goals, and often in spectacular fashion:

I know some people were expecting bigger things from Arvidsson this year, but improving on a 31-goal, 30-assist season is not easy to do. As of now, he’s on pace for 32 goals, 57 points, and is sitting at well over three shots per game. This is a top-end scorer playing on a top-end forward line. If he ever starts racking up PP points with regularity (he has four, including just one goal), he’ll have a very good year.

Mattias Ekholm also scored in this one, adding an assist, and that gives him 15 points in 23 games this year. That leaves him 20 points shy of his career-high of 35 in 2015-16.

It was another Nashville defenceman who stole the show in this one, though:

Victor Rask was the story in this game for the Hurricanes. He had a goal and an assist – his first goal in a month – and his first point since being a healthy scratch. This team needs him to be the player he was the last few years; from 2014-17, he was (a distant) second among Carolina forwards in goals per 60 minutes, and has shown the ability to pop 20. With goal-scoring up this year, and their goaltending not performing to expectation, this is a team that can ill-afford to have a 20-goal guy have an off-year. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

Justin Williams is another forward they need more goals from. He had a power-play goal in this one, but he’s on pace for just 15 tallies, and that would be the lowest mark for him in any season where he cracked the 50-game barrier since 2003-04. He’s shooting more at five-on-five (14.93 shot attempts per 60 minutes, and he was between 13.5 and 14.5 each of the previous three years), so that’s a good sign. Also, going into Sunday’s game, he had 55 individual unblocked shots at five-on-five, and just over one-third of them were between the circles and below the dots (from hockeyviz.com):

He has loads of assists (for him) already, so if the goals start coming around like they should, he could pop 20 the rest of the way and be very useful in fanasy. Exercise patience.

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Vancouver was in New York on Sunday afternoon, and the game was a weird one. It seemed like there were plenty of scoring opportunities, but there weren’t many shots (52 total, 32 by Vancouver). It was a sloppy game, is what I’m saying.

The big news here was that the Killer Bees line was broken up for the Canucks, with Alex Burmistrov was between Sven Baertschi and Brock Boeser while Bo Horvat was flanked by Thomas Vanek and Sam Gagner. Those lines didn’t stay together all game, and Horvat spent time with Baertschi and Boeser in the second half of the contest. That the lines weren’t consistent, though, is worrisome. Fantasy owners crave consistency, and this game lacked that.

Michael Grabner scored his 10th goal of the year in New York’s 4-3 shootout win. He’s now on pace to surpass last year’s total of 27, and could crack 30 by for the first time since 2010-11. I know his shooting percentage is high, but it was last year as well, and he shot 13.7 percent over his three best years as an Islander. There’s no doubting his skill-set, particularly his speed, make him special. Maybe it’s time to believe? It’s worth noting he’s peppering the net from in close:

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Well, for the second time in three days, we have a pretty slick David Pastrnak goal to show:

Everything I wrote about him in my Saturday Ramblings still holds up. Plus, the guy is super fun to watch.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include this snipe from Ryan Strome. Great control of his edges and his body on this:

That gives him four goals and 11 points on the year. He’s on a similar pace to last year’s numbers. It might be time to accept this is the player he is; a guy who can chip in some points in your bottom-six and second power-play unit. The likelihood of him becoming the top-six, top power-play guy some (present company included) expected him to be is becoming slimmer by the day. For reference, his primary points per 60 minutes at five-on-five since his 50-point season is in the same range as guys like Kris Versteeg, Ryan O’Reilly, and Valtteri Filppula. If he can do that, that’s fine. It just doesn’t give him much fantasy relevance.

Connor McDavid had a couple of assists in this one and is on pace for 103 points this year. Despite Edmonton’s struggles, he’s been just fine.

Tuukka Rask played his first game in 11 days and saved 32 of 35 shots in the loss.

Oscar Klefbom returned for the Oilers but played just 17:26. He did play the entire game, though, so perhaps they’re just easing him in.

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As mentioned in Ian Gooding’s Ramblings Sunday morning (Saturday night?), San Jose goalie Martin Jones suffered a lower-body injury at some point in the game. The team’s starting netminder was visited by training staff during the third period, but he finished the contest. The Mercury News reported that he was under evaluation and we should know more on Sunday. I didn’t see, and couldn’t find, any updates as of late Sunday night. I guess we’ll know Monday.

The Sharks only have one game (in Philly) until the weekend, when they have back-to-back down in Florida. It would make sense for them to give backup Aaron Dell the start against the Flyers, and then again on the weekend in one of the B2Bs.

Dell has been very good in his brief appearances in the NHL so far, posting a .920 save percentage in eight games and five starts this year, and a .928 in 22 starts and 28 games for his career. Road starts against teams like Philly and the Lightning may not be ideal, but a couple starts in a week from the backup of a playoff team doesn’t happen often throughout a season. You goalie-needy fantasy owners should grab him before news comes out. Be proactive.

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Former Sharks prospect Nikolay Goldobin was recalled by Vancouver on Sunday. He has 64 points in his last 67 AHL games, and 11 goals in 21 AHL games since being acquired by the Canucks last season in the Jannik Hansen trade.

He took warmup for the team in their matchup with the Rangers on Sunday but did not play.

Good news for dynasty owners! However, let’s keep expectations in check. As of Sunday afternoon, one Canucks player outside the Killer Bees top line was on pace for at least 50 points (Thomas Vanek). That top line has been great this year for production, not so much the rest of the lineup. All the same, him getting the call is at least a start to re-establishing his fantasy value.

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The power-play time gap is closing on the Penguins blue line. Through 12 games in November, Kris Letang is garnering about 36 seconds more of PP time than Justin Schultz. That is down considerably from a one minute and 40 second gap that existed in October. This could be a headache for fantasy owners of both players the remainder of the season. Increasingly, the coaching staff is viewing both defencemen as interchangeable on the power play, which means see-saw PP ice time.

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Speaking of power plays, this is a pertinent read on the Sabres power play from John Vogl of the Buffalo News. If there is a big shake-up coming, that’s bad news for a lot of fantasy owners. A lot of fantasy value from Sabres skaters was tied into the ones playing on a heavily-used top unit. If they split their talent into two equal units, like the Leafs do, it hurts the upside of guys like Rasmus Ristolainen and Jack Eichel. Stay tuned, sports fans.

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Bad news out of Florida:

Let’s hope by “longer” he means a few weeks rather than a few months. Dadonov had fallen on hard times production-wise lately with zero goals and two assists in his last seven games, but had 18 points on the year.

In a game last week against Anaheim, Nick Bjugstad had moved to the top line with Dadonov moving down to the second line when they were trying to spread the scoring around. Sunday in practice, though, it was Colton Sceviour on the top line. I can't imagine that lasts, but we'll see. Maybe Bjugstad joins the top PP unit but stays status quo at five-on-five. We'll see. 

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Gabriel Landeskog will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety:

This was the play:

Considering Radko Gudas two-hand lumberjacked a downed player across the back of the neck and only received a 10 game suspension, I can’t imagine much will come from this. We’ll just have to wait for DoPS to spin their Wheel of Judgment and see what comes of it. 

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The Avs made a roster move late Sunday night:

Jost was technically on a rehab assignment in the AHL, but should be a fixture of the lineup moving forward.