My THN column for today is on Alexander Radulov and his future.
The Calder race just got very interesting as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has regained the rookie scoring lead with two points Sunday. His 49 tops Gabriel Landeskog’s 48. But the latter is at plus-19. The Nuge went plus-2 Sunday to pull himself to even on the season. So who do you got? Classic case of complete player vs. explosive star. I think I’m in the minority here, but I’m thinking RNH. His points were achieved in 20 fewer games. Edmonton still has a game in hand, so it’s looking like RNH will come in somewhere around 55 points and Landeskog will have around 52.
Stamkos was walking away with the Rocket Richard Trophy, but his recent slump combined with Evgeni Malkin’s surge was making it interesting, pulling within five at 45 goals. Stammer getting a pair on Saturday and Geno getting shutdown pretty much put the kibosh on that race. Which leaves the Calder as the only close one in my eyes – Norris, Ross, Richard, Vezina, Hart are pretty much decided.
Mark Letestu has 14 points in his last 25 outings, which is about what was expected of him when he first came over. However, that didn’t come to pass. But he should be close to a 40-point guy next year..
Edmonton rearguard Jeff Petry has 12 points in his last 25 games. If Ryan Whitney can stay healthy, Petry should be able to carry on that production next season. And you’d think that the Oilers would take a big step forward offensively, too, which can’t hurt.
From the department of “Wow, was I wrong” – Jack Johnson has nine points in 13 games and is plus-3 with the Blue Jackets. And that includes Sunday’s dog of a game (pointless and minus-3).
Devan Dubnyk is 13-6-2 in his last 21 games. He’s a restricted free agent this summer whereas Nikolai Khabibulin has one more season on his contract. I don’t care how well Khabibulin has played for this team early on, he’s not their future. And if they want to move forward they need to set themselves in net. That means acquiring Corey Schneider in the offseason, buying out Khabibulin, and having Dubnyk as the backup. What would Schneider cost? Quite a bit, I have no doubt. What do the Canucks think of Magnus Paajarvi? Would they like the idea of MPS and the Sedins on a line? The Oilers aren’t using him and they have enough high-end young guys for the future. Just rambling…
Matt Cullen may be out for the season with a broken finger.
The feeling by this Anaheim beatwriter is that Teemu Selanne will be back to play for the Ducks in 2012-13.
In his last 125 minutes, Braden Holtby has allowed just one goal – he’s 1-0-1 with a shutout. Coming out party next year, if the Caps don’t sign a goaltender this summer. With $20 million in cap space next season and Mike Green and Alex Semin to sign or replace, it’s still quite possible that they do indeed sign a netminder. Holtby owners pray that won’t be the case.
Alexander Ovechkin crosses the 60-point threshold. There’s a sentence that should have been in my January 10th ramblings.
How much better will the Wild be two years from now with Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Johan Larsson? Because right now they’re terrible, but those are three of the best prospects out there.
Evgeni Malkin has 82 points in his last 55 games, which puts him at about a 123-point pace. Remember, he started off “slowly” (if a point per game can be called that) due to missing so much time with the knee injury.
Remember 25 games in when Erik Karlsson had just one goal? So 18 goals in 50 games since then.
I think Patric Hornqvist looks great with Alexander Radulov. I don’t think David Legwand looks good at all. In fact, I’m willing to bet that Craig Smith gets that job next year – if Rads re-signs (which I doubt, for next season that is so the point is moot I guess). Smith is worn down, and a different player these last 25 games. But next year he’ll find his form again. He has the talent, skill and sense to keep up with Rads.
To hear Litter Box Cats describe it, Wojtek Wolski is getting a raw deal in Florida. I agree with them, but haven’t seen near the Panthers games that they have. They say that he was great for the first 10 games or so, but when Versteeg was back not only did the coach stick Versteeg back on the big line, but he rolled back Wolski’s ice time and stuck him on the third line. Meanwhile, that first line that was so dominant the first 30 games, has been terrible for the last 40. Terrible. And Wolski is useless as a checker. Anyway, no idea how this will play out in terms of Wolski’s future fantasy value. But whenever you’re uncertain, always bet on/assume the negative. It’s easier and safer. So Wolski will have little to no value next season. There, I took the easy way out.
Matt Moulson is six goals away from 40. PA Parenteau is 11 assists shy of 60. Seven games to go to reach levels nobody saw coming.
Kris Letang’s cheek smacked hard into the helmet of Zubrus and was pretty shaken up but would later return. Every time something like that happens with either he or Crosby, what’s the first thing you think of? How long will those thoughts last?
Alex Steen was activated from Injured Reserve Sunday. He missed 39 games with a concussion. He played over 14 minutes in his return, but saw zero PP time.
Benoit Pouliot has 11 points in his last nine games. His career high is 30, he should top that as he is at 29 right now. He’ll take another step next year, with the added ice time that he’s earned, but we may never see the potential that we thought he had when he was a fourth overall pick.
He’s doing this with a red hot Brian Rolston. The two are clicking very well, and Rolston has 11 points in his last six games.
I love how Jeff Angus’ fearless forecasts turned out. The Blues defensemen one was great.
Keith Yandle is pointless in six and minus-3 in that span.
The Keith Aucoin experiment seems to be over. For a minute there, I thought Dale Hunter was buying into what was going on with the Islanders (Parenteau, Moulson) and giving a gifted AHL a real shot. But he’s off the scoring line and averaging eight or nine minutes a game the last three. I don’t get it – in his last 81 NHL games he has 33 points and is plus-6. And I’m sure you’ll agree that it was done with third-line minutes.
Marty Turco may have squeaked out the 3-2 win, but an Anaheim goal was called back that should have counted. The ref mistakenly figured that there was goalie interference. Not so. Anyway, something behind the stats for you.
Dallas signed prospect Reilly Smith and rather than put him in the minors, they added him to the NHL roster. He’s ranked 126 on my Fantasy Prospects List and has scoring line upside. He’ll move into the Top 75 in all likelihood with this news. One to watch, though if I know my Teddy Purcells – and I surely do – Smith will be several years away from good numbers.
Tuomo Ruutu is in the doghouse, seeing minimal minutes these days and playing on the fourth line.
Martin Erat missed the Preds game with a UBI. Andrei Kostitsyn took his place on the top line and just like that – the brothers played on a line together. His goal came, however, when the team was in the middle of a line change.
Alexander Radulov – a point in each of his three games so far. But he’s creating so much more, and the opposition has had to really focus on him, which is freeing up the rest of the team. This team is deep, with 12 forwards who can score. Give them a bit more rope and they’ll burn you. Radulov is getting them that rope.
Brad Marchand’s pretty funny in his commercial:
Crosby takes Zidlicky to school. Twice. The same way, same game: