Ramblings: Zibanejad injury impact, Marchessault’s outlook, Erie Otter powerhouse, Elias Lindholm and more …
This one needs to be led off by Mika Zibanejad, who was not only on his way to a breakout year but he was damn well gonna have one. Six points in his last six games, clicking very well with Mats Zuccarello, and now this (not for the squeamish):
He has a broken fibula and is out for, they say, six to eight weeks. I think it will be closer to eight.
So Zuccarello and Jimmy Vesey need a new centerman. As tough as it is to see them break up JT Miller and Kevin Hayes, I think you’ll see it. Both can play center (albeit not the best at taking draws). Whoever draws in on that Zuke line doesn’t gain – because let’s face it both players were hot anyway. But he won’t lose out, either. Whereas whoever is left on the line with Michael Grabner and whichever winger subs in – that guy could suffer. I suspect Hayes gets first crack, while Miller slots over at center and if Pavel Buchnevich is healthy be next game then he’ll be the winger. So you’ll see this:
Kreider – Stepan – Nash
Vesey – Hayes – Zuccarello
Grabner – Miller – Buchnevich
Fast – Jooris – Pirri
Otherwise Lindberg gets in and maybe he takes center. (Update: Lindberg will get into the game Monday night at least, so Buchnevich will miss at least one more)
Even though Brady Skjei was pointless yesterday, he has nine in his last 11 games. His first six games he wasn’t on the power play. Two of those nine points have come on the power play. I had mused in the Prospects Report that he was a potential Ryan McDonagh in that he could surprise with his offense. But I figured that was four years away. I guess he found his inner McDonagh a lot sooner.
Keith Yandle has nine points in his last 13 games.
He didn’t get any points Sunday, but Jaromir Jagr is just 10 behind Mark Messier on the all-time points list with 1877. After Messier there’s only Gretzky.
Jonathan Marchessault has five points in his last 12 games after starting the year with 10 in seven. If that production isn’t helpful enough for your league settings I’d suggest keeping him on your bench. I don’t see a big jump back to his prior pace forthcoming other than the odd hot spurt that all skilled players get. But I do think he can hang in there at a point every two games. In the end, he’ll still flirt with 55 points thanks to that start. More than enough to put him on the map and build on in future years.
Yesterday’s collection of 20 Fantasy Thoughts are here.
The Red Wings are 2-8-1 in the last 11, with one of those wins needing a shootout. The offense has dried up. In fact, since their 5-3 win on October 21 they have not scored four times in a game. Poolies were panicking about goaltending here, since Jimmy Howard is having a great season so far whereas Petr Mrazek not so much (though he’s played much better lately). But it’s starting to look as though we should be panicking over the offense. And no, Thomas Vanek will not be the savior (will he?). Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg are leading the team but are on pace for just 52 points. I think this is the way of the world for Detroit players, as long as Blashill is at the helm. I think there is potential for more, but that’s not what this particular team and style is all about. And as for the goalies – this 50-50 split is how it’s going to be until March when they gear up for the playoff run and pick one.
By the way, Vanek returned last night after missing 11 games. He was minus-1 and pointless in 17:35 of action (1:55 PP). Line combos with Vanek back and prospect Anthony Mantha playing:
#1 27.9% ABDELKADER,JUSTIN – SHEAHAN,RILEY – TATAR,TOMAS
#2 24.2% MANTHA,ANTHONY – NYQUIST,GUSTAV – ZETTERBERG,HENRIK
#3 18.4% LARKIN,DYLAN – NIELSEN,FRANS – VANEK,THOMAS
#4 13.2% GLENDENING,LUKE – MILLER,ANDREW – OTT,STEVE
The fact that Mantha scored, and the Wings are desperate for offense, makes me very interested in that line combo. After all, he’s playing with Detroit’s top two scorers. Mantha has 10 points in 10 games for Grand Rapids (two in four for Detroit).
Arizona assigned Dylan Strome to the OHL. Like the Erie Otters needed him – the top two scorers in the OHL are Taylor Raddysh (48 points in 21 games – drafted by Tampa Bay) and Alex DeBrincat (41 points in 20 games – drafted by Chicago). Both players are on Erie. And now they get Strome. So that’s going to be pretty embarrassing for other teams when they lose 13-2 each time they face the Otters. Currently I think the Otters are the third best team in the OHL (debatable) and are tied for first in goals with London. And that was without Strome. Now, the OHL may need to consider some sort of mercy rule, no?
The last time a Habs goalie went the first 12 games without losing in regulation, the goalie’s name was Ken Dryden and the year was 1972. Before even I was born…
And Tuukka Rask has won 11 of his first 13 games and the last time a Boston goalie did that was in 1973 when both Gilles Gilbert and Ross Brooks did it.
With Steven Stamkos out, we’re seeing what the Lightning would be doing had they not signed him. As I’ve said before, he gave them too good a deal to turn down. But they would have been better off had he signed elsewhere. Because this team is real solid even without him. And now we’re seeing the likes of Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson step up.
With Andrei Vasilevskiy getting back-to-back shutouts, Ben Bishop owners are in for a tough stretch. Bishop was starting to win again, too. And gain some confidence back. But a win isn’t a shutout, so how do you take the net from Vasilevskiy? Bishop will get the next back, you just have to ride it out.
Jeff Carter’s three points last night included the 600th of his career. I keep thinking Carter has regressed into this 55-point player and then he keeps doing stuff like this.
The Senators waived the pimple. That’s right, Matt Puempel was placed on waivers Sunday. Zero points in 13 games will do that. But he’s still just 23 and he had 30 points in 34 AHL games last year. And it’s hard to get points when averaging 8:34 of ice time. But the good players find a way, and he didn’t. Normally I’d think a team will take a shot at him – such as those perennial scrap-heap pickers the Florida Panthers – but can the Panthers possibly do this one more time? Lots of decent young players have slipped through waivers as the salary cap has made it impossible for a lot of teams to take a shot.
Jakob Silfverberg has 10 points in his last eight games. He’s breaking out this year and that’s despite the fact that he’s playing with the same guys he always plays with – Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano. He’s seeing more power-play time this year. A lot more, actually. But he only has two power-play points. So his breakout is strictly due to better puck luck (but not too much) and hitting his prime (he just turned 26).
Elias Lindholm has been a huge disappointment so far, managing just five points in 17 games. But three of those points have come in the last four games so perhaps things are turning around for him. Teravainen was moved to his line Sunday:
#1 24.2% AHO,SEBASTIAN – SKINNER,JEFF – STAAL,JORDAN
#2 19.8% MCCLEMENT,JAY – NORDSTROM,JOAKIM – STALBERG,VIKTOR
#3 15.7% LINDHOLM,ELIAS – RASK,VICTOR – TERAVAINEN,TEUVO
#4 12.1% MCGINN,BROCK – RYAN,DEREK – STEMPNIAK,LEE
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