Ramblings: What to do About Landeskog, Gallagher Hurt (Jan 5)

by steve laidlaw on January 5, 2017
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: What to do About Landeskog, Gallagher Hurt (Jan 5)

What to do about Landeskog, Gallagher hurt, Elliott warming up and more.

Oh my goodness the Avalanche are terrible. They are “someone is gonna get fired” terrible. As I always say, things have to go unsustainably bad for someone to get fired, which means there is likely going to be a rebound at some point. They won’t play this poorly the rest of the way. Will someone need to hang for that rebound to come? Not necessarily but right now they are playing listlessly so you’d understand if they made a panic trade or fired someone.

When I say rebound, I don’t mean playoffs. Just that they won’t be getting blown out on a nightly basis. Not getting blown out would mean their top players producing a little more.

The Avalanche have five players worth owning: Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Barrie. Anyone else should be nowhere near your team. Rantanen is a questionable choice in one-year leagues and Landeskog is trending that way as well.

Of course, with Landeskog, the captain of this listless team, you could totally see him being the one to hang. Nothing would help his fantasy stock more than a trade. My advice is to hang on and see if you can't capitalize on the hype if he gets dealt. Hell, maybe you can even take advantage of the mere rumours of a trade.


Patrick Sharp decided to get into a fight last night. Not a great decision for a player dealing with concussion issues. You guys know that I am not a fan of fighting in hockey but this is just stupidity.

Tyler Seguin showed off the correct approach to fighting when antagonized by Bobby Farnham:

Obviously, every situation is different but if I’m Sharp, coming off a brain injury, I’m not inviting situations where others have free reign to wallop me in the skull.

Sharp skated on the top line with Seguin and Jason Spezza but the absence of Jamie Benn (day-to-day) calls this into question. Don’t count on Sharp being on the top line permanently. Moreover, even without Benn, Sharp was still on the second power play unit. Instead, Cody Eakin got that top PP billing.

Sharp notched an assist in the game but I am not treating him as someone to be had in fantasy leagues. Don’t like the reckless play or the current deployment.


Brendan Gallagher was lost to another hand injury after taking a Shea Weber shot to the same hand he hurt last season. Yes, it looked as bad as it sounds:

Okay, so here’s what it actually looked like:

This might be sweet relief for Gallagher owners who have been suffering through his interminable cold streak. He has just one point in his last 11 games. While I love that he also put up 39 SOG in those 11 games, his ice time and line usage have fluctuated too much for my liking. Might be best to simply move to a better option.

Gallagher’s loss will certainly affect the Canadiens, as will the loss of Paul Byron, who was also hurt last night. Gallagher is a great possession player who tilts the ice for Montreal. The injuries are mounting high.

Great call by Dobber yesterday recommending Nathan Beaulieu. He’s been skating on the top PP unit in Andrei Markov’s spot for six games now. He finally popped last night scoring a goal and two assists. Two of those points came on the PP. He also has 18 SOG in those six games. He’s not a great option if you want someone from now until April but he can help you in the next couple of weeks.

Check out the mitts on Alexander Radulov:


More injury woes for the Panthers as Seth Griffith is now out with a concussion. Griffith isn’t a hugely important player but these guys are already rocking replacement-level talent in their lineup. Now their organization will be stretched even further.

Vincent Trocheck was called upon for over 24 minutes of action, leading the team. Not often you see that. He was held scoreless but the point remains that the opportunities are now there for him.

Gregg McKegg scored the lone goal for Florida in 15:22 of action. He skated mostly on the second line and second PP unit but you could see him get a bump in usage. The Panthers are desperate for scoring.


Rare start for Connor Hellebuyck in a back-to-back situation, especially after giving up four goals on Tuesday night but the Jets are off until Saturday so this is a prime spot in the schedule for such a move.

The Jets are finally healthy and looking to make moves towards a playoff spot. I think they dug themselves too deep of a hole but I wouldn’t be shocked if they put the pedal to the metal and clawed out a playoff spot.

There are a number of teams in that borderline playoff range who will be making a desperate push down the stretch and at least a couple of them are going to go on a crazy run of wins. The goalies off those teams will be the ones you want to own come head-to-head playoffs. I would be eyeing up goaltenders on Tampa Bay, Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia in the East.

Out West it’s a little bit harder because outside of Minnesota, no teams are running away with things, and even the Wild aren’t leading their division (mostly due to games played.) Unless things spread out a little more, there will be a lot of Western teams playing desperate hockey. Winnipeg being one of them.

Hellebuyck has been horribly inconsistent posting a quality start in just 50% of his outings. I’m a huge fan but he doesn’t seem able to string more than a couple of good games together. This team seems incapable of it. I’d bet against them being one of the hot stretch-run teams but I can’t rule it out either.


Just when you though Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner had run out of magic, they go out and each score a pair.

Hayes’ goals were his first since December 8, a run of 12 straight donuts. He has seven points in the last five games. Refuses to go away entirely.

Grabner has been much more quiet with four goals and seven points in 15 games since the start of December but with his speed he can always score in a flash. His 19.8% shooting should still keep tumbling and prevent him from getting to a 30-goal season but 25 seems inevitable at this point.


Brian Elliott has started five of the last seven games and won all of them. Sure, all five of these have come against the likes of Vancouver, Colorado and Arizona but these are the opponents he needed to help rebuild his confidence. Next up, a home-and-home with the Canucks on Friday/Saturday.

I continue to be amazed by how strong the Flames second line of Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik and Matthew Tkachuk are playing. This is an elite, ice tilting second unit. Backlund is scorching hot with goals in five straight and nine points in this run.

Meanwhile, Tkachuk has seven points in his last six games and is making me jealous as an Oiler fan. I know there is a ton of development yet to take place but I would much rather have Tkachuk in the lineup than Jesse Puljujarvi right now.


It does not appear a Martin Hanzal trade is imminent:

Chayka said keeping Hanzal is still an option for the Coyotes but acknowledged a "transaction could be made," even though he isn't actively engaged in trade discussions currently.

"To date, I wouldn't say I've received a serious offer," he said.

Rumours earlier in the season had the Coyotes asking for a young NHL player in return for Hanzal so you can understand why no one has made a “serious offer”. What team is looking to subtract a young player from their roster (one likely with team control beyond this season) for a pending UFA? Teams are going to wait it out until the prices become more palatable.

All this said, NHL teams should be pushing to make their additions sooner than later because it takes time to incorporate new players into a lineup, especially if they’ll be expected to play special teams.

Maybe I’m just biased because Hanzal has been miserable this season and is unlikely to improve without a trade.

I haven’t heard any trade buzz surrounding Michael Stone, either. I am a bit perplexed as he seems to be the odd man out and headed towards unrestricted free agency.


Bo Horvat, on fire!

First shutout of the season for Ryan Miller. We can’t go ape shit over it because it came against the Coyotes but he has won four in a row, all of which were quality starts.


No Ryan Getzlaf last night but it doesn’t sound like he’ll miss much time.

The third line picked up the slack scoring both Duck goals, including this gem:


Both Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith were lost to injury leaving the etroit ed Wings short two D.

Neither of those guys are impact players but the difference between them and replacement-level is palpable enough that this could get bad quickly. On the other hand, Petr Mrazek put in his first quality start since December 1 so I suppose progress is being made.

Things are going so sour for the Wings that they tried using Steve Ott on the top PP unit. This is like using bottomless bucket to try and bail out your sinking ship. Ott did make an impact, taking a goaltender interference penalty to nullify a Wing power play with 11 minutes to go in a one-goal hockey game.  


The Hurricanes claimed Ty Rattie on waivers. Their previous waiver claims this season (Klas Dahlbeck and Jakub Nakladal) have not really worked out but that’s hardly the point. Even if you only hit on five percent of your waiver claims, that is still a five percent better chance at another NHL player than you had before. The point is to keep firing darts, which not enough teams do.

As fate would have it, the Hurricanes will face the Blues tonight, which led to this great line from Kevin Shattenkirk:




Some good news on the injury front:

Check our weekly IR update for more injury news.


My latest for Puck Daddy looks at the top scorers in the 2016 calendar year.


Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.


  • number54

    “Both Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith were lost to injury leaving the etroit ed Wings short two D.” Did you really just…?!

    Also, I have a million questions about the WJC, but I’ll save that for the prospect ramblings. Suffice it to say, I think everything is right in the State of Hockey.

  • 99rules66isafatbum

    Does anyone know when Tyler Myers is supposed to return? Finally skated yesterday.

  • Weber is a human weapon! Go Canada go!!!

  • Striker

    I appreciate Calgary wishes to help restore Elliott’s confidence but I love the irony that in those 7 games, 5 of which Elliott has played Johnson drew the only to tough starts, SJ & Anh, losing both. False success for Elliott. I hope it works but it doesn’t seem fair to me to Johnson. This coming after Johnson went 6-2 in the 8 straight starts prior to put Calgary in the position they find themselves. Those last 2 starts both losses to Columbus & TB.

    As a player I wouldn’t be happy with Gulitzen’s choices. Johnson deserves & has earned the right to play. He’s 1 of the main reasons Calgary is even holding down a Wildcard spot. Elliott couldn’t stop a beach ball. I struggle with the pedigree, golden boy, vested interest & favoritism played in the NHL. If I were a Calgary player it would make me raise my eye brow how Gulitzen is choosing to allot goalie starts & PP time.

    • Stu Campaigne

      So, you’re suggesting that who you consider to be the better goalie starts against the weaker teams? They have to work Elliott back in to the rotation because neither is a true workhorse goaltender. If Johnson gets hurt, and Elliott is not back in the saddle with some confidence, the season is lost.

      • Striker

        I’m suggesting they deploy some sort of system. Rotate games, you play till you lose, etc. I get having to help Elliott find his game, I just don’t think him getting 5 of the last 7 starts against the leagues worst teams & Johnson getting the start against 2 of the best is fair.

      • Stu Campaigne

        Fair to your fantasy team? Or fair to the Flames’ chances to win as many games as possible?

      • Striker

        It doesn’t effect my fantasy teams 1 way or the other. I have neither Johnson or Elliott.

        It’s a real life issue for me. Johnson has played very well. Elliott has been bad & I get Calgary is trying to protect their investment. The Golden boy rule as Dobber likes to say but Elliott hasn’t earned the right to play ahead of Johnson this much & giving him all the easy starts isn’t fooling me, Calgary players or other teams in the NHL.

        I’m happy Elliott has played well against the leagues worst teams & I hope it works getting him back on track. Give him a tough start & lets see. Most teams have a system. Their back up plays when they play back to back or they have a set schedule getting a night off for their #1 at certain points on the schedule. Often against the lesser teams not the strongest.

  • Striker

    Having some issues with your choice of words & descriptions this AM. Winnipeg is 1 point out of the last wildcard spot in the west. Granted LA has 3 games in hand, 3 points behind Calgary who has a game in hand. I accept that with the NHL’s point system the gap is far greater than it appears; false parity due to the ridiculous points system the NHL chooses to use where some games are worth 2 points & some games 3. As Gretzky said describing NJ, oh those many years ago, Mickey Mouse & for me bush league, a total joke but I digress. How can being 1 point behind LA or 3 points behind Calgary be described as “dug themselves to deep a hole”? Colorado has dug themselves to deep a hole.

    If I were making a bet today based on Winnipeg making the plays off based on today’s standings, games played; injuries, etc. I might give you 7/5 odds.

  • JF Bessette

    Good Steve Ott joke.

  • Striker

    Winnipeg isn’t yet healthy. They may have all the forwards back that they anticipated having when the year started but have been missing & are still missing their #2 Dman Myers. How well do most teams play missing their #2 Dman. Take Lindholm off Anaheim, Seabrooke off Chicago, I think you get the picture. Although Dano wasn’t in Winnipeg’s plan out of the gate primarily as he didn’t need to clear waivers but I assume Winnipeg would like him playing now after his showing playing when all those players were injured. He’s out now to for 8 weeks.

  • Chris Liggio

    Trocheck has been playing defender minutes all season.

  • Chunky’s Choice

    Wings must be missing one D and one Right winger 😉

  • Doozer

    Thoughts on Schneider rest of season after two big back to back wins? Does he return to his usual ways?

    • Striker

      I’m not sure beating Boston & Carolina, 2 non playoff teams with injuries, Backes, Belesky & Liles for Bos & Lindholm & Faulk for Carolina counts as 2 big back to back wins. They were wins though & that’s positive coming out of a brutal 9 game stretch against the leagues best teams.

      What you see with Schenider so far this season is what your going to get. NJ is 1 of the worst teams in the NHL on paper, has 1 of the 3 worst defenses. Schneider & the system can only cover for some of these issues. I don’t like Schneider or NJ’s chances. I had them finishing 14th in the East when the season started, they sit 13th today & I see no reason to alter my placing.

      This team has zero depth so if injuries hit & they just lost Moore to a concussion & Greene’s injury to his eye is indeterminate at the moment things could go bad quickly.

      They do have a fairly favorable schedule for January & February by level of competition so if they are going to get back in the playoff race, they sit 6 points back with a game in hand on Philadelphia they probably need to play at or close to 700 to make up that groud on the last wild card spot. Do you think NJ can go on a sustained winning streak? They have the 3rd worst goal differential in the NHL at -23, only 3 off their entire season last year.

      If you have a better option than Schneider I suggest you find it as NJ will be lucky to play 500 over the remainder of the season. I to me an OTL is a loss not a tie, which is how most people seem to want to read the standings, so I mean 500 accounting for such. NJ sits 16-16-7. Which for me means they are 7 games under 500.

      • ANA is 40 GP, 20-12-8, 48pts
        CGY is 40 GP, 21-17-2, 44pts
        So ANA is playing 500, and CGY 525. Which one is the better team? The one who clearly had a chance to win in 8 of their 20 losses, not the one with only 2 on 19. Even if CGY has a better win %. That’s why I think the OTL points is not that bad. I you regularly are in OT, even if you lose, you are a better team than the one who can’t even get there. But I want to say I’m not a huge fan of it either, just trying to see it in a positive way.