Ramblings: Which Scorers Have Been Most Important to Their Teams? (Feb 1)

by steve laidlaw on January 31, 2018
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Which Scorers Have Been Most Important to Their Teams? (Feb 1)

 

I’ve spent a good chunk of time slagging the Islanders’ goalies in this space, but let’s take some time to talk about how porous the defense has been as well. Over the past 18 games, the Islanders haven’t allowed fewer than 32 SOG in a single game and have allowed over 35 SOG 15 of 18 contests. It’s superb fun for fans of scoring, but what a horror show for these goalies. There’s a reason why the betting line for Islanders games has stayed up around 6.5 goals scored, while the rest of the league has regressed to 5.5 goals. Continue to look for Islander opponents to stream into your lineup or for daily fantasy plays.

Andrew Ladd made his return to the Islander lineup after missing three weeks with injury. He did not return to his usual spot alongside Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle, instead skating on the third line. Anthony Beauvillier is safe on the second line, for now, but that line also went a combined minus-nine, so tinkering could be ahead. We’re also talking three games without a goal for Beauvillier, which perhaps means his sugar rush has ended.

Nick Leddy update: the defenseman has one point in his last 11 games and five in his last 24. He is also minus-25 in those 24 games combined. YIKES! By no means am I putting this on Leddy. I think he’s more solution than problem, but reading the tea leaves he needs to be off fantasy rosters yesterday.

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The Leafs got serious contributions from a bunch of youngsters including rookie defensemen Travis Dermott and Justin Holl who each scored their first career NHL goals.

Dermott sure seems like he has a future in this league, and looks like he should stick around, even once the Leafs get healthy again. Not sure how much room there is for him to be fantasy relevant though. The Leafs have a hard enough time getting Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner going at the same time, let alone having a third option in there.

Speaking of Gardiner, he is now up to 10 points on a six-game scoring streak, all with Rielly out of the lineup.

Frederik Andersen pulling off some obscene goaltending:

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Big streak-ending night for the Capitals who saw Andre Burakovsky and TJ Oshie end goalless droughts of 10 games and 13 games respectively.

Obviously, Oshie was going to end his drought at some point. We’re talking too talented a player skating too many minutes, with too many good players. That said, his scoreless drought has been part of a regression that has seen him fall back towards his usual 20-goal output from the highs of last season’s 33.

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Travis Konecny’s hot streak continues while up on the top line. The winger has goals in five straight games and has 13 points in the last 14 games. Get in on this while you still can!

The Flyers mixed things up in the middle-six as well pushing Jakub Voracek to LW to play alongside Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds. That really consolidates the offense into two lines, but it’s what they may have to do. No one seems to be scoring unless attached to Couturier or Voracek. Patrick had a two-point night including this sweet goal:

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A pleasant surprise as the Predators announced that Mike Fisher will be coming out of retirement:

On Wednesday morning at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Fisher took to the ice in what is the first step toward the former Predators centerman rejoining the club he captained to within two wins of a Stanley Cup last spring – with hopes of getting just a little bit further this time around.

Indeed, Fisher intends to begin skating and working out on his own before joining the entire team for practices. The ultimate goal is to sign a contract before the Feb. 26 trade deadline and return to game action and pursue the one thing every hockey player dreams of.

This outlines a lot for us. The biggest being that Fisher isn’t yet in game shape. You have to think he didn’t completely let himself go, but at the same time this isn’t like showing up for training camp after a summer of working out. How long does it take to get a 37-year-old back into game shape? Probably a couple of weeks. I would compare his situation to that of a player coming off long-term injury. He’s going to need a couple of weeks to get his legs back. We have a drop-dead date of February 26, which is just under four weeks away. That should be plenty of time.

Depending on your league you may or may not want to rush out and sign Fisher. In keeper leagues where you can stash him in a minors slot until he officially signs there’s impetus to sign him now. Of course, he isn’t even in the database on a lot of sites so there’s a hiccup here.

In one-year leagues I don’t believe you can afford to grab him and wait a month for him to arrive. You also need to be in a particular sort of multi-category league where his production is at it’s highest value. He has a ton of value in leagues with faceoff wins, hits, blocked shots and PIM. Each one of those categories you remove gets you closer to him being a 40-point waiver guy.

Where does Fisher fit in now that the Predators have added both Kyle Turris and Nick Bonino at the center position. Last year, he was their 2C, skating as the net-front guy on the top power play unit. I could see him reprising the net-front role because of his faceoff prowess and because Craig Smith is replaceable, though Smith has done well with six goals and nine points with the man-advantage.

I could also see Fisher bumping Bonino to the wing, or perhaps they operate in a dual-center gig only taking draws on their strong side. Lots of teams employ this sort of strategy, most notably the Sharks. But it has to be mentioned that Fisher isn’t going to crack the top-six without an injury. Turris and Ryan Johansen are entrenched. He could see some time with skill guys when Peter Laviolette goes to the blender, but those will always be short-lived. I don’t suspect that Fisher will be used in quite the offensive role he has been in the past.

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Official word out of Colorado is that Nathan MacKinnon will miss tonight’s game against Edmonton, but is day-to-day. Word on the street is that MacKinnon’s injury is not serious, so perhaps a sigh of relief here.

How important is MacKinnon to the Avalanche? He literally leads the league in primary points either scoring or getting the primary assist on 51 goals. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog are good enough to maintain relevance without MacKinnon, but there is no escaping a downturn after the loss of the leading MVP candidate. And this after the Avalanche were already likely to regress now that their 10-game winning streak is in the rear-view.

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MacKinnon’s primary points got me wondering who has directly led to the highest percentage of his teams’ goals. Your league leaders in ratio of primary points/team goals:

 

 

Team

GP

G

A1

P1

Team G

P1%

Jack Eichel

BUF

50

20

19

39

115

0.339

Nathan MacKinnon

COL

49

24

27

51

159

0.321

Johnny Gaudreau

CGY

50

15

27

42

137

0.307

Phil Kessel

PIT

52

21

24

45

154

0.292

Sean Couturier

PHI

49

26

15

41

141

0.291

Alex Ovechkin

WSH

49

30

12

42

147

0.286

Jonathan Huberdeau

FLA

48

17

21

38

134

0.284

Mark Stone

OTT

44

18

17

35

124

0.282

Jakub Voracek

PHI

49

9

30

39

141

0.277

Blake Wheeler

WPG

51

14

31

45

165

0.273

Anze Kopitar

L.A

50

19

19

38

140

0.271

Connor McDavid

EDM

49

15

21

36

133

0.271

Brad Marchand

BOS

38

21

20

41

154

0.266

John Tavares

NYI

51

26

19

45

170

0.265

Nikita Kucherov

T.B

50

27

19

46

174

0.264

Taylor Hall

N.J

44

18

20

38

144

0.264

Patrick Kane

CHI

50

20

19

39

148

0.264

Evgeni Malkin

PIT

48

26

14

40

154

0.260

Brayden Schenn

STL

52

21

17

38

148

0.257

Alexander Radulov

DAL

51

20

19

39

152

0.257

Sidney Crosby

PIT

52

17

22

39

154

0.253

Brock Boeser

VAN

47

24

9

33

131

0.252

Tyler Seguin

DAL

51

23

15

38

152

0.250

Claude Giroux

PHI

49

14

21

35

141

0.248

Sean Monahan

CGY

49

22

12

34

137

0.248

Artemi Panarin

CBJ

50

13

18

31

127

0.244

Vladimir Tarasenko

STL

52

21

15

36

148

0.243

Eric Staal

MIN

50

20

14

34

144

0.236

Jonathan Marchessault

VGK

46

18

21

39

166

0.235

Leon Draisaitl

EDM

45

12

19

31

133

0.233

Vincent Trocheck

FLA

48

18

13

31

134

0.231

Steven Stamkos

T.B

50

18

22

40

174

0.230

Patrice Bergeron

BOS

43

20

15

35

154

0.227

Logan Couture

S.J

45

21

11

32

142

0.225

Thomas Vanek

VAN

50

14

15

29

131

0.221

Teuvo Teravainen

CAR

50

13

17

30

136

0.221

Sebastian Aho

CAR

46

17

13

30

136

0.221

Anders Lee

NYI

51

27

10

37

170

0.218

Aleksander Barkov

FLA

47

15

14

29

134

0.216

David Pastrnak

BOS

48

20

13

33

154

0.214

Rickard Rakell

ANA

46

18

12

30

141

0.213

Filip Forsberg

NSH

37

15

15

30

142

0.211

William Karlsson

VGK

49

27

8

35

166

0.211

Jason Zucker

MIN

50

20

10

30

144

0.208

Dustin Brown

L.A

50

15

14

29

140

0.207

Josh Bailey

NYI

47

12

23

35

170

0.206

Evgeny Kuznetsov

WSH

49

13

17

30

147

0.204

Mikko Rantanen

COL

49

17

15

32

159

0.201

Brayden Point

T.B

50

20

15

35

174

0.201

Mathew Barzal

NYI

51

16

18

34

170

0.200

Patrik Laine

WPG

51

23

10

33

165

0.200

 

Some takeaways from this list:

There are some outliers, but generally these are the tentpoles who you can rely on to be relevant regardless of circumstances. I’ll look to put together an up-to-date version of this once the season is over, so folks can consider it going into next year’s drafts.

This also represents an excellent snapshot of the players who have mattered most. If MacKinnon is out long-term, we should start looking at the MVP candidacy of Gaudreau.

Never question how good poor Jack Eichel is.

Huberdeau and Stone have quietly climbed to star level after being very good for the past few years.

We probably don’t talk enough about how vital the Radulov acquisition was for Dallas, especially with Jamie Benn taking a step backwards.

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Some goodies from Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts:

12. The question about Kasperi Kapanen: Is this a legitimate shot to stick with the Toronto Maple Leafs, or is it a showcase?

I suspect that it’s the former. I’ve not been a huge fan of Kapanen’s fantasy prospects, but after putting up roughly a point-per-game pace at the AHL level over the past couple of seasons he is winning me over. It’s also abundantly clear the importance of speed/skating in today’s league, those are qualities he certainly brings.

Is there room for Kapanen to be fantasy relevant behind Mitch Marner and William Nylander though? Probably not in the short term.

13. The right side of the St. Louis defence is loaded, which could mean a new home for AHL all-star Jordan Schmaltz. Taken 25th in the 2012 draft, the 24-year-old is all but blocked from a significant role with the Blues. Don’t take this as they dislike him, but I do think he could be an interesting piece in a deadline deal.

As much as he could be trade bait, Schmaltz also offers serious value as a black ace for the playoff run. He is getting a little long in the tooth as a prospect, but has scored at above a 0.5-points-per-game pace since turning pro, and has a couple of cups of coffee in the NHL under his belt. Since no team can have enough defensive depth, Schmaltz would be valued in any trade discussion. I suspect he could even potentially pop into a fantasy relevant role with the right team.

Read more about Schmaltz here.

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Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.