Quick notes - Hagman has cleared waivers, the Pens have sent down Ryan Craig, and the Coyotes have called Kyle Turris back up. Obviously Turris was sent down just to get in some game time.

 

Nicklas Backstrom may (or may not) miss time due to a fractured finger. Details are here. But this puts the onus on the team to pick up a center (ahem Weiss).

 

About Chris Kunitz - yes, he's a 65-point player on Crosby's line. I understand that he's never hit his top season in Anaheim (60 points). But his production is still up 15% playing with Crosby. Why do I say this? Check out his production after the trade deadline in 2009 - down the stretch and in the playoffs. In 2009-10, he was hurt. He missed games and he played hurt. If you measure his value based on that season, you would be wrong. Now look at this season, minus the slow start of ALL Pittsbrugh players in the first 14 games up until the point where Crosby went down. He's a 65-point player on Sid's line and just because he failed you last year (injury) does not make this statement wrong.

 

By the way - Mr. Kunitz is "possible" to return Wednesday

 

Ottawa sent Pascal Leclaire to Binghamton on a conditioning stint.

 

Mike Green has been out with a concussion and the Caps are saying he is fine and they are being overly cautious. With three days off afterward, they decided to give him Monday off as well.

 

Something to consider for one year from today - James Neal is signed for 2011-12. If he goes out and tallied 75 points next season (or, say, 55 points in 58 games in mid-February), do you see the writing on the wall? His expected contract extension will require something in excess of $4 million per season. Perhaps more, especially if he scores at an even better clip than that. I wonder if, in the summer of 2012, we will indeed see Evgeni Malkin traded. Thoughts? Just more of my "musing".

 

Johan Hedberg will get another start tonight. He'll face Jamie Langenbrunner and Dallas.

 

Another interesting match - Colorado vs. St. Louis in a battle of "the deal".

 

Nashville is 4-6-1 without Ryan Suter, but he is "possible" for a return Thursday.

 

Ray Emery is 1-1-0, 2.54 and 0.928 in the AHL. Is that enough time? The Ducks are hurting...

 

Give Joe Colborne three goals in two games for the Marlies.

 

I wish there was a way to make every reader understand what I write. I know the majority of you do, but there are some who also get carried away. The amount of emails I received either applauding or denying my statement about James Neal and breaching the subject of 100 points... it worries me. James Neal is not going to get 100 points. I would bet $1000 on it right now. Would I bet $100,000? No. That is where my definition of "upside" comes in. Neal's Upside was 80 points, and his "likely three-year peak" (that's my projection of his three best seasons of his NHL career - averaged) I had as 71 points. The move from Dallas to Pittsburgh, to me, pushes his upside to 95 and his 3YP to 78 or 79. That's a huge jump in the fantasy world. I mused about 100 points, but that's all it was - musing. I sometimes muse about living in a dome on Mars, does that mean I'm going there? So I mused - if Joe Thornton can make Jonathan Cheechoo a 93-point player, than why can't Crosby do the same to Neal? After all, prior to the Thornton trade, I had Cheechoo's upside at 70. With Neal at 80...aren't his odds even better?

 

Before you tell me about how little Kunitz is doing with Crosby, let me say this - Kunitz is a 55-point player and Crosby makes him a 65-point player. Injuries got in the way of us seeing that. But call the bump 15%. If Neal was going to get 65 points in 2011-12 in Dallas, and I think that's ballpark, give him the same bump in Pittsburgh. So 75 points, if everyone is healthy. But do not go after him in your league thinking he is one of the five players per year who gets 100 points. Because I was just...musing!

 

One side benefit of this deal for Pittsburgh - they get an extra forward in the deal. So now they can send Tim Wallace back down. One less AHLer for the short term!

 

I really like Goligoski's short term potential in Dallas. The entire PP is his oyster, nobody in the way. He's a 55-point player, and soon. It's just a shame that he can't be the next Mike Green, like I figured could happen in Pittsburgh.

 

Matt Moulson has 10 points in his last six games, and seven goals in that span. He has a shot at 35 goals this year and wouldn't that be somethin'

 

St. Louis is very entertaining to watch now. I'm not sure if that's more Stewart or more Shattenkirk. But the game yesterday seemed pretty wide open and they could have won it.

 

Michael Frolik is endearing himself to his new team. Zero points and minus-3 in six games. I wonder if this is a ploy (here's my Dobber-for-GM imagination running away from me again) - but a player this talented and in his third year (a contract year), what if you stuck him on the third/fourth line with zilch for power-play time? Then you sign him for two years at a rock-bottom price and he enters that magical fourth season. Budget restraints force you to clear out another player or two, you stick the low-paid Frolik on the top line and "voila", you have yourself a highly productive cheap forward. No?

 

Ben Bishop got the hook yesterday, allowing four goals on 18 shots. Not good, he may be hard-pressed to find his next start.

 

Al Montoya is still on fire - nobody gave him a chance last season and half of this one. The Isles could do worse than roll with he and Poulin next season.

 

Sorry - still behind on the Goalie rankings. Will post today

 

Good tilt - Bradley vs. Craig:

 

 

Bailey - sweet goal:

 

 


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Comments (22)add comment

Chewd said:

Chewd
Neal This won't be a debate next season when Crosby and Malkin are playing on the 1st line and Staal and Neal on the 2nd.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Chris Read said:

Killer67
Backstrom Tape it up and get some points b*tch!!!
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Mabus said:

mabus
... Ryan - you make a good point about the third wheel in any dynamic scoring team. It happens reasonably often where the top 2 players are 100+ point guys and the third wheel manages to be a point per game guy. Washington did it last year with Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin. Ottawa did it a few years ago with Spezza, Heatley and Alfredsson. Pittsburgh had a year where Jagr hit 120 and Straka and Kovalev were both at 95.

Two top players is common. Three is uncommon. Four seems impossible with the current NHL rules. One common trait about the other examples is that the third wheel is a great offensive player on their own. That's not the case here. Come to think of it, you probably have a stronger case for calling Staal the third wheel than you do calling Neal one.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Neal

It's an interesting debate about Neal's upside. I think it was mentioned before, but I think a lot of fantasy players fall into the trap of being "Crosby's line mate = point certainty", so far in history it hasn't been the case.

2006-07: After Malkin and Crosby, Recchi was the next highest scorer at 68 points.
2007-08: After Malkin and Crosby, Sykora was the next highest scorer at 63 points.
2008-09: After Malkin and Crosby, Staal was the next highest scorer at 48 points.
2009-10: After Malkin and Crosby, Staal was once again the next highest scorer at 49 points.
2010-11: After Malkin and Crosby, Kunitz was the next highest scorer at 56 points (pro-rated to 82 games)

So I mean looking at those numbers I think it'd hard to argue that Neal is a point-per-game or 75+ point player... I'd enter next season thinking 65 and letting others take the gamble on him, if they think he's a 80 point threat...

I don't doubt that Neal has more offensive upside than most of the players listed above, but the problem of point scarcity comes to my mind. The Pens aren't a "run and gun" offensive juggernaut like the Caps "was", where they were averaging on the happy side of 3.75+ goals for a game. They have on average just picked up 3.05 goals for per game in the last 5 years. So I mean with how much Crosby and Malkin then possibly Letang touch the puck, you would think that, it leaves very little room for a "third offensive wheel" to put up dazzling fantasy numbers in Pittsburgh. It's much like the scenario in Vancouver, the Sedins are in on so many of the points, that it leaves very little for the support players like Burrows, Samuelsson, and in a way Kesler...

Much like the "Crosby and Malkin will both be part of the NHL elite at the same time", that to has been debunked.

You think that having 2 superstar players should guarantee both having 100 point seasons, the problem is they're playing the same position, and it's only 1 outta 5 seasons that both have hit the 100 point mark in the same season. It's generally 1 does better than the other, and the both of them taking it in turns. It makes you really wonder whether it can be the norm that both of them tally 100 point seasons...
February 22, 2011
Votes: -1

David said:

Leumas
... You guys are all morons!

One trade has the entire fantasy world turned upside down. The guy hasn't even played a game yet. We don't even know if Neal will line up with Crosby for an entire season.

What is the point of arguing over this BS???

Chemistry is tough to predict. Coaches decisions are tough too. Give it some time before you start criticizing Dobber to harshly.

February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Mabus said:

mabus
... Dobber - keep up the good work. Just also know that if you weren't running the site, you'd probably be busting the balls of the guy that was running it through the forums. You are just the lucky guy with the target on his back.

Now onto my ball busting comments. Out of all of Pittsburgh's recent deadline deals (Hossa, Kunitz, Ponikarovsky, Leopold and Guerin), isn't Guerin the only one that produced at a higher level in Pittsburgh than he did with his previous squad - and that wasn't a lot of production? Every year we hear the same thing from you - guy x is now on Pittsburgh, so look for a jump in his production. I'm always hoping for a bump as well, but have seen more evidence to contradict it than there has been to support it.

In favour of a production increase is increased opportunity on the powerplay. The two and a half minutes per game should increase - for this year anyway. Next year I imagine that Crosby, Malkin and Staal will see first line time over Neal, but who knows. 5 on 5, I could see his icetime increasing slightly from the current 17.5 minutes per game. I don't think playing with Crosby is a significant step up from playing with Eriksson and Richards though where he's currently playing the vast majority of his shifts.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Trevor - it's not preaching. It's a misunderstanding and I'm doing my best to clarify. Why? Well, put yourself in a disagreement with 5000 other people when there really is no disagreement at all. When, in actuality, you fully agree with those 5000 other people. Would you not feel the need to try and point that out? I do.

Kunitz has played 159 games with Pittsburgh. I ruled out about 70 games because of injury. It is easy to rule them out because they can be readily explained. The other 89 games point to a 65-point player and I'm justified, not selective, in pointing it out to you. I don't want you to undervalue your player because you include shoulder problems or Crosby absences in your evaluation. I'm just trying to help.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... I don't see the comparisons between Kunitz and Neal. Neal is a much more talented player offensively.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

fraser young said:

frazmo12
PP Time Isn't Neal on the 2nd PP unit in Dallas (Richards,Robiaro,Morrow and Eriksson making up the 1st unit) In Pitt would Neal be on the 1st unit with Crosby???
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Trevor Mark said:

Kidney Crosby
Re: Kunitz vs. Neal
Dobber,

Your logic makes sense with the point jump for Neal, but you have to admit that Kunitz hasn't amounted to that same increase you can probably expect with Neal. For starters, you are being unbelievably selective with your sample size to prove your point. Regardless of injury, or dry-spell (for the record, Crosby still produced 17 pts in those 14 games), you can't just remove statistics solely for the benefit of your argument.

Let the Kunitz preaching go!
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Karlos - it certainly doesn't help!
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Veritas - this is what I mean about readers not understanding me. What you just said in your expectation is equal to what I think and what I tried to say. 60 points w Richards, 70 w Crosby this year. NEXT YEAR he would have 65-69 w Richards, 75-79 w Crosby. Same as what you said. How does this get mis-translated and I get called going "overboard"? Frustrating.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Karlos El Taco Piquante said:

Fighting_Emu
Sterling What does the Neal signing do for Sterlings chances of hanging on to a spot post injury and for the rest of this season? Is he nixed yet again??? Poor bastard...
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Veritas0Aequitas said:

Veritas0Aequitas
Neal w/ Crosby... almost the same as Neal w/ Richards Yeah read above.

If Richards is putting up 95 points and Crosby will say... put up 120 points... what's the difference for James Neal if they see similar action with both players? The answer is maybe 15 points on the high end. Those are good odds too. So if James Neal can only put up 55-65 points with Brad Richards, he will only put up 65-75 points with Crosby.

I love your insight Dobber but sometimes you can go a little too overboard. We'll see who's right after a full year of a healthy Crosby and Neal line.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Pengwin7 - that's my 3YP statistic. I said 78 or 79 points. Place your bets!
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
As a numbers guy... ...when you use a line like "would I bet $100,000" I realize where you are going. The "it could happen and I don't want to lose my life savings". But for the value of us "Numbers Guys" - how about just the straight up "over/under" Vegas number.

That's all I want.

Pengwin7 says this number is 81.5pts.
Place your bets.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +1

STONE. said:

STONE.
... Turris is an RFA this summer as well -- can we expect a larger role next year when he gets re-upped by Phoenix? Maybe this is the REAL reason behind the magical fourth year - guys are finally given time because their second contracts have been negotiated!

HA! I'm not sure I can buy it completely, but as a conspiracy theory it does make some sense.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Born a Ramblin' Man "Lord I was born a ramblin' man. Trying to make a livin' and doing the best I can. When it's time for leavin' I hope you understand, that I was born a ramblin' man...."
- Allman Bros


I got your back Dobbs, keep up the great work!

Ross
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Chris Lavell said:

ChrisLav
Frolik The Frolik idea is nice in theory, but would a team intentionally minimize a player's ice time to get a better contract out of him while risking missing the playoffs? I honestly really doubt it. Would a team do this, and suffer the embarrassment of missing the playoffs as the defending Stanley Cup Champions? No way.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Kunitz - this year's pace, minus the first 14 games. Plus after the trade deadline in 2009 through the end of the season and that postseason.
I don't count last season because he played hurt and WAS hurt. This is what I'm going by. Had Crosby not been hurt, I am confident that Kunitz would have reached 65.
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Bomm Bastic said:

Bomm Bastic
Life on Mars & Pietrangelo "I sometimes muse about living in a dome on Mars..."

You too?!?

Ya think Pietrangelo is enjoying the 800lb EJ-gorilla off his back? 6pts last 3 games....
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0

Fantasy Guru said:

Mr. Guru
... The problem with Kunitz.....

You mentioned him as a 55 point player, but 65 as Crosby's winger.

In his two full years with Pittsburgh, pro rated, he has never been close to a 65 point pace....He has had better a season in Anaheim then with Sid.

Where did you pull that number from?
February 22, 2011
Votes: +0
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