September 23 2015

by Dobber on September 23, 2015

Rambling about the Oilers; reflecting on last night's preseason games – and more…

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 I mentioned on Monday that the Klefbom signing indicated that the organization is going all in on the team they put together this year. Keep the core together for at least a few years. It should result in a Cup. What do you think – I'll say one Cup in three years, two Cups in seven? I think I'm going all in with the Oilers too.

I say I'm "going all in" and that means that I'll take some gambles this year, banking on some Oilers to do better than we expect. Not the idiotic gambles like 'Hall and McDavid will step up', come on. Those are softball gambles. No, I mean the serious gambles. Like Cam Talbot. It's a gamble and a big one. You might think it's safe, but what are the consequences of being wrong? Huge. He's a goalie, likely a No.2 on most fantasy teams. But I'll be grabbing him and rolling the dice, even though there is some risk that he falters and Ben Scrivens (who makes more money) swoops in. Or Anders Nilsson.

I'd also roll the dice on Benoit Pouliot. If healthy, I think he's in a position to get 55 points and surprise us all. I have him for 43 points in the Fantasy Guide, but in just 69 games. And he's listed as one of my sleepers. Sure, I like the Obvious Oiler 4 for big seasons, as well as Nail Yakupov. But so does everyone else, and they'll be scooped up early. Other than Hall and McDavid, perhaps too early. But Pouliot will fall to a good spot at the draft and I'm interested.

I'm also interested in Justin Schultz. Poolies are scared of him because of last season. I have him for 43 points and a sleeper for 53. As for Teddy Purcell, I'll pass. That was one bad season last year and it makes me feel like he is not a part of Edmonton's plans at all.

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Did you see that the DobberHockey Pool is ready? It's free, so there is no reason why you wouldn't want to join. Not only do you get a shot at beating me, but when you fall too far behind me – this year we have three trading windows (four trades each) so you can catch back up. Oh, and did I mention the prizes? Yeah, $500 from Draft Kings, THREE (!) custom jerseys from Cool Hockey, an autographed stick signed by Bernie Nicholls courtesy of All-Sports Market app, and packages from myself and Fantasy Hockey Geek. Put in your team now before you forget. You can always fix it later.

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Goalie Post is now ready. And that email service we provided last year? Well it's free now! In case you haven't heard, just login and sign up for which emails you want to get. It will save your league, getting that notification at 10 to seven that suddenly Jimmy Howard gets the start instead of Petr Mrazek who you had active.

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When I watch or review preseason games and game stats, I'm not overly interested in the big numbers. Yes, I like to see the prospects on the bubble put points on the board – because it's better than if they didn't do that. But these are, especially early on, like AHL games between rusty players. If a veteran gets three points, I don't really pay attention. I like to see the prospects produce, and I like to see line combinations click or fail. David Pastrnak scoring two goals doesn't mean a lot, because it was against a Washington team without their first line. But Pastrnak clicking with David Krejci and Matt Beleskey interests me. You can go over to this tool here and check out the line combos during the PRESEASON! Bookmark it and remember to keep checking on how your guys are doing.

Another thing I look at are relative stats. It's nice that Shayne Gostisbehere had two goals, seven shots and saw 3:31 of PP time last night. But when I see Travis Sanheim had zero points, was minus-1 with one shot and 1:24 of PP time, then Ghost's stats impress me a lot more. It hints to me that the coach and/or the organization see him as being closer to a job as PP QB (as we probably figured anyway). So how a player does in exhibition – that information on its own doesn't say much. But a comparable player in a comparable situation can give you a base for analysis.

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Scott Gomez had nearly 19 minutes of ice time and four minutes of PP time, but was pointless and minus-2. So the Blues are giving him a long look…and he's not really forcing the matter.

Meanwhile, the kids Ty Rattie, Dmitrij Jaskin and Danny Kristo combined for 14 shots. In fact, Jaskin had six shots and six hits. Two years from now he's gonna make a great power forward.

Colton Parayko, who I have in the Guide as a midseason call-up, had two assists and four shots in the other half of the split-squad game between the Blues and Blue Jackets. I have Parayko down for 10 points in 40 games, but a sleeper to make the team and get 30 points.

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The Columbus trial runs for the Johansen line combo begin. Last night:

Nick FolignoRyan Johansen – Sonny Milano

To be fair, Brandon Saad was likely going there in place of Foligno, but he sat out after taking a puck to the mouth the day prior. I still think Saad and Cam Atkinson end up there.

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How's this for irony? The Penguins tried out their powerhouse power play on one killer unit – Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang – and they didn't convert. But when Daniel Sprong was out on the power play with Malkin/Dupuis/Gonchar/Maatta they get two PPG. Sprong is at least three years away, I just found it unexpected that the big guns were shut down with the man advantage.

Of course, during regulation they went nutty with Sid – Phil – Chris Kunitz on a line together and combining for seven points. Kris Letang had four points and was plus-5.

Sergei Plotnikov did indeed play with Malkin during ES and did not see much for PP time. Both of these items were expected.

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Malkin threads the needle to Letang…

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Sergei Gonchar, by the way, did score a goal but was minus-3 – a team low. While he gets PP time as the Pens evaluate what is still in the tank…a youngster like Adam Clendening hardly gets a sniff. Hopefully we get to see him log decent PP time later in the preseason.

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The Penguins played a Staal-less Hurricanes team, so there's that.

But Noah Hanifin was in the lineup and he logged top SH time and was second on the team in overall ice time behind Justin Faulk. He'll make this team and he'll be a key part of it right off the hop. No easing in for this guy.

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So many games last night I won't even try to touch them all. I'd rather go a little more in-depth with what pops into my head as I run through the stats and insider stories. Another big story for me is the battle in Chicago. Some key roster spots are open and here were the line combos:

Marko DanoJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Teuvo TeravainenArtem AnisimovPatrick Kane

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Kane accuser's lawyer is holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon. So there may be more news on that front coming up.

 

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Jimmy Howard allowed three goals on 21 shots. Granted, there was nobody in front of him. No Zetts. No Dats. No Gus. No Tartar. No Abdelkader. No Kronwall. No Green. Just the minor league team. But still, if he gives up three goals on 21 shots every game while Petr Mrazek shuts the door time and again, you can probably get an image of how that will end up when the puck drops October 7. No cause for alarm today obviously, and worth forgetting if he plays the next game and stops them all (or Mrazek has a meltdown).

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Another big line combo I'm watching is with Anaheim – and they didn't play last night. You know who I mean, as well as the candidates to play on the other wing. None of them played Tuesday.

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Here are my Top 30 centermen to own in keeper leagues – over at Sportsnet.

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Cuts of note:

Joe Hicketts, Detroit

Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Philadelphia

Jordan Subban, Vancouver

Both were expected, but just names among the many that popped out. Surprised they went so soon, especially Subban.

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Colorado signed Erik Johnson to a seven-year extension worth $6 million per season. He probably would have made more as a free agent next summer, but given his track record with injuries this was a nice, safe move. In the Guide I have this projection: (66-12-24-36, 42 PIM – with 119 hits and 123 BLKS).

Mikko Rantanen played just 11 minutes last night, but still scored the goal. The ice time concerns me though, as that's generally not the amount given to a player that they are considering keeping. Many of us poolies had him penciled in as a dark horse to make the team.

Rantanen's scouting report here.

The latest DobberProspects Ramblings can be found here.

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Here is an interesting article on Ron Hextall working with advanced stats to shape his club, mainly centering around his trading Grossmann away.

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If you caught one yet, either live or via highlights – what do you think of 3-on-3 OT so far? Pierre is impressed:

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I didn't know this, but apparently the NHL has given each team three preseason games in which they can go to a 3-on-3 overtime regardless of the score. I like it.

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I often state that Winnipeg's best goalie is their No.3 Connor Hellebuyck. Here is a little taste: