Ryan Kesler's offensive slowdown is due to teams figuring out how to defend against him. Much like Canada did against Ovechkin during the Olympics, teams learned that Kesler likes to cut into the zone to the right and shoot against the grain. They are simply applying back pressure with a forward on that side and he no longer has that option.

 

Mason Raymond is also struggling (he's bad a pretty bad year overall), but Kesler hasn't had the same offensive opportunities he had earlier in the season. Kesler is also routinely logging 20-22 tough minutes each game.

 

My top 10 Keeper League Prospect Defensemen list is done - just putting the finishing touches on it. Seven from my previous list have graduated (more than 25 NHL games played), so there is a lot of fresh blood on this list. Any guesses?

 

Dobber - Prospect Rankings are up. A couple of times per year I'll do a pretty thorough audit, and this is one of those times. I really enjoyed it - spent a good 35 hours on the project over the last week. Love the result. You'll notice some big oversights corrected - players shooting far up (or down) the list. You want a nice, accurate evaluation of your prospects, this is it. Enjoy!

 

If healthy this season, Drew Stafford would be on pace for 68 points. Is it safe to put him anywhere near that number in 2011-12? Does Brad Boyes cut into his ice time at all?

 

Skill has never been in question with Stafford, but consistency and effort have.

 

Alex Steen is out for the remainder of the season with a high-ankle sprain.

 

Fantasy hockey MVP - Corey Perry? Two more goals last night. He's been all over the stat sheet all season long.

 

Lubo Visnovsky has eight points in his last four games. He'll crack 60 points and could hit 65-70 with a strong finish.

 

Cory Stillman has five points in six games since the trade.

 

Cory Schneider is starting for the Canucks tonight in San Jose.

 

I nabbed Blake Wheeler in the DobberHockey Expert's League. I have been stuck near the bottom all season (goaltending being the main issue - drafted Rask and this is a weekly league), but am hoping to charge up the standings and at the very least beat Dobber!

 

Ian Cole and Alex Piertrangelo both scored for the Blues. Along with Shattenkirk, a trio of very impressive young offensive defensemen.

 

Alex Steen left the game midway through with an injury. More to come.

 

Jake Voracek has five points in his last three games.

 

The Washington goaltending situation is getting dangerously close to becomming a trifecta of issues - Braden Holtby is for real. He isn't as quick as Neuvirth or as flashy as Varlamov, but he is big and positionally sound. He had a shut out last night (sure, it was the Oilers, but they do have some talented players).

 

Eric Fehr missed the past 22 games with a shoulder injury - his first game back (last night), he lights the lamp twice.

 

With Backstrom out, Marcus Johansson saw almost 19 minutes of ice time (he recorded an assist). Short-term opportunity exists depending on severity of Backstrom's injury.

 

Backstrom missed his first career NHL game last night.

 

We won’t find out the true winner of the Johnson/Stewart trade for a few years, but the Blues have to like what they received in return.

 

Shattenkirk is still developing but he continues to show flashes of offensive brilliance.

 

Dennis Wideman had an assist for the Caps - he also had three shots on goal and saw almost seven minutes of PP time.

 

Ovechkin has 14 points in his last 10 games. He has recorded at least one point in nine of those contests. Whatever he was dealing with earlier in the season (looked like an injury to be) is now a thing of the past.

 

Stewart is playing exactly like he did last year – mean, big, fast, skilled, and confident. His OT winner last night (his second of the game, to boot) was a thing of beauty. Evidence is posted at the bottom of the ramblings.

 

Calgary is maximizing their return on Anton Babchuk this season – he’s been an offensive revelation in limited ice time.

 

Jamie Benn scored a goal (you’ll read that statement a lot over the next 10+ years) and he played almost 25 minutes.

 

Another successful Vancouver Giant graduate – Tomas Vincour, scored his first career NHL goal. Big and skilled, but a bit of a project. He could be fantasy relevant in two or three years.

 

Brian Campbell missed the game with an injury and Dave Bolland left the game with an injury. The dreaded lower body and upper body injuries, respectively.

 

Jonathan Toews had three points and seven shots on goal. The best forward in the NHL over the past two or three months.

 

Brian Rafalski missed another game – he continues to be day-to-day with a lingering back issue. Frustrating as a fantasy owner – I’d prefer something definitive. This is the third straight game I have dressed him and wasted a lineup spot.

 

Jason Botchford of the Province with a great column on the Sedin twins (1 and 3 in league scoring). Sums up how they are viewed in Vancouver - greatness becomes expectation.

 

Right now, if I am picking 1st overall in the 2011 draft from a fantasy perspective – give me Nugent-Hopkins. Ryan Murphy isn’t far behind, though.

 

One prospect to keep an eye on next year – Boston’s Ryan Spooner. Undersized but crafty – he could find his way into the lineup for 2011-12. I may talk about Boston prospects a lot – they have a number of players who for some reason fly below the radar – Spooner, Jordan Caron, Max Sauve, Jared Knight, Matt Bartkowski, and so on.

 

This is a fantasy hockey site, but the Chara/Pacioretty story can’t be ignored. Pacioretty is “disgusted’ with the decision, and I don’t blame him.

 

A certain Finnish prospect was recently brought to my attention - Teemu Pulkkinen. He was picked in the 4th round by the Red Wings last year.  I’ll post what I received from a Finnish hockey friend of mine:

 

“This year as a rookie in SM-liiga he has 50 points (17+33) in 52 games and is a sure lock for the local Rookie of the Year Trophy (beating for example Joel Armia, who has been in some NHL mock drafts in top 10). And these points have come with fairly low 16:31 TOI playing in the third line. And his team is not even among the top teams in the league.


Even though he has more assists than goals this season, he is more a pure sniper type player than playmaker. He has a very sharp shot and fairly quick feet, but on the minus side he needs to improve his defensive game. My personal opinion is that he is readier for the NHL than Mikael Granlund because his playing style is already quite North American.


Check him out on youtube.”

 

As usual, Elliotte Friedman’s take on the Chara/Pacioretty hit is bang on.

 

Stephen Weiss with an epic shift last week:

 

Martin St. Louis… nasty:

 

Chris Stewart with a goal most players could only dream of doing – makes Clitsome look silly and then goes shelf on the back hand:


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Comments (22)add comment

Puckhead said:

Puckhead
Slappybeaver While I understand Chara's job as a D man, is to finish checks, and rub guys out along the wall, I think it was a needless hit to make. There is no doubt he gives the extra push off to Pacioretty and sends him into the stanchion. Why I say it was needless, is because the puck is already into the Bruins zone, at the time of the hit, so how you can question the interference part is a laughable. What is worse, is that Boychuk was already in his own zone, on his way to retrieving the puck, so while slowing Pacioretty down is understandable, the hit was unnecessary to say the least. There was no fear of Pacioretty getting to the puck ahead of Boychuk, so slowing him down a bit, would have been enough. All that said, I am very surprised that Chara had no suspension on the play. When you factor in the run ins they had over the past few games, it does lend to Chara trying to get some retribution, and while i am sure he didn't intend to hurt him that bad, you can't tell me that was a routine play...no chance!

Puck
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Martin Cloutier said:

Anze
... By the way I agree that Chara often shows some restraint, but you're guilty even if it's your first murder and you owned guns for years.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Martin Cloutier said:

Anze
... sleepybeaver

Chara clearly sees the turnbuckle and throws Pacioretty into it when he has the chance. He could have missed him, considering the speed, but he got him perfectly. He almost left him paralyzed for life. He was running after Pacioretty for the last 2 games, since the little push from Pac after his OT goal, and saw his chance on Tuesday night. NHL.com had Chara's comments about the "incident" on their website, I wonder if they will have Pacioretty's comments as reported by Bob McKenzie.

The league was afraid of lawsuits ( since the Moore-Bertuzzi story ), so they chickened out, calling it an unfortunate " hockey play ", not to give more credence to a possible lawsuit.

Go look at the elbow hit that got Kubina suspended today, and try to convince us that the Chara hit wasn't worse. I agree with the decision to suspend Kubina, but Chara should have got 10 games.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

TML said:

TML
Cole I'm pretty sure most people don't think of Ian Cole as too much of an offensive defenseman.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Aaron said:

Aaron27
... Kesler has certainly slowed down of late.

2 or 3 pts in his last 10 I think
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

mick said:

hawkdog
... thanks for the youtube link, in my opinion it clearly shows that CHara looks up and sees exactly where he pushes pax.
Its blatant??? he looks up and rams his head

watch chara's head he clearly looks up - he sees what is coming
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

slappybeaver said:

slappybeaver
Chara innocent part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlJ0Ca6SIj8
Check out this video it picks the play up a little earlier and you can see both players going for the puck at the blue, both players get there at the 2 second mark and by time you get to the 3 second mark the collision has occured, if you t...hink Chara planned this out you need to re-assess. Stop action does not tell the whole story, if Chara lets him go by he will be chewed out for letting Pacioretty get by.
I am not even sure that an "interference" call should have been made.
I am not 100% sure but it appears that Pacioretty touches the puck and sends it into the Boston end, by NHL rules he is checkable (source NHL Rules 2010-2011 Section 7 rule 56.1)
I Quote "The last player to touch the puck, other than the
goalkeeper, shall be considered the player in
possession. The player deemed in possession of the
puck may be checked legally, provided the check is
rendered immediately following his loss of
possession."
I would say this same play minus the stanchion probably occurs at least 10 times in any NHL game.
The question is "Does 1 second qualify as immediately".
No doubt this is a shitty situation but I don't think Chara is culpable.
He is the biggest player in the league and is very strong, I believe if his mind was into it there would have been players scattered over the ice in the last 13 years. Big guys usually hold back somewhat as they get penalized by the ref for things that the small players are allowed to get away with.

March 10, 2011
Votes: +1

slappybeaver said:

slappybeaver
Chara innocent First comment.
It is amazing how many people think he timed the hit so as to drive
Pacioretty into the stanchion and that Chara is a professional and knows the location of these stanchions.
Well, there are only 4 arenas out of 30 in the NHL that have stanc...hions in that place. Chara has played in the NHL for 13 years, also the same number of years the Bell Centre has been open. Boston plays in Montreal 3 times a year (probably same for Senators) so in regular league play he has played there 39 times out of (82 x 13) 1066 games which is .0365 % of the games he has played.
Whereas Pacioretty has played at the Bell Centre probably 50% of his 123 NHL games plus all the practices.
Who is more likely to know that the stanchion was there? Pacioretty attempted to squeeze by Chara but was not successful.
I feel sorry for Pacioretty but he was an equal participant in the accident...Chara is not a goon.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +1

kevin said:

ktox
St. Louis Is that the same St. Louis who criticized Omark for his showy shootout effort in December.

Can't be, because if it was it would make him a massive hypocrite.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +2

Eric Daoust said:

ericdaoust
Prospect rankings Thanks Dobber for the full audit, my prospect draft was last Saturday. smilies/wink.gif

In all seriousness, thanks for the work and keeping it up to date monthly. I have another two prospect drafts coming soon so still lots of good to come.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Thieving Giraffe said:

Thieving Giraffe
And then there's the mob... Police are getting involved in Chara-Pacioretty. http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/ne...ty-6202221

There should have been a suspension, but shame on fans who flooded emergency lines with their complaints. Is it worth someone else not being able to get medical attention? http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hocke...olice.html
March 10, 2011
Votes: +1

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Great Ramblings Oh some days I love the ramblings, today was one of those days. Great summary of player Angus!

Three quick items on the big-ticket topics:

1. There were some real good points made yesterday about the Chara hit. Mainly, that Chara has a lot of experience and knows exactly where the "turnbuckle" exists. It's not a location in the rink where a hit that big needs to be placed. He should be suspeneded.

2. St.Louis' goal was beautiful. Oh man! I love me some MSL. The spin move faked Crawford completely out. The Omark move faked nobody out. It was unnecessary. Not good, not bad... just... unnecessary. Big difference between MSL & Omark.

3. Stewart's goal. I. LOVE. BACKHANDS. Man, if I could go back in time and change one thing about my hockey game, I'd wish that somebody would have shown me how to properly execute a backhand. That goal was incredible - so smooth.
March 10, 2011
Votes: -1

mick said:

hawkdog
chara hit For all of you who agree that the league screwed up and are happy Air Canada is taking a stance on the incident - go to AC's facebook site and show your support.
Bettman has to go!
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

mick said:

hawkdog
... great article on the Sedins.

Nice to see that the NHL is taking heat from a lot of sources over the Chara non call.
I think that when major sponsors start to complain and pull their funds, the NHL will have to take note and realize how stupid they are.
This was a preventable injury and they better do something to prevent it happening again.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Pokerface said:

Pokerface
Pulkkinen/Armia One thing to note about Pulkinen beating Armia for ROY is that Teemu is a year and a half older.....
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Darcy S said:

swamp_mule
Vincour Edmonton Oil Kings - 147 GP
Vancouver Giants - 39 GP (including playoffs)

Give credit where credit is due smilies/wink.gif
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

brad phillips said:

bradp36
st. louis tongue in cheek. when omark scored his first shootout goal against tampa with the spin-o-rama, st. louis called it disrespectful. and then he does that. plus he always used to do that stupid half-backwards skating move. that was a sweet goal last night thought. the point is st. louis is a hypocrite.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +1

Frank said:

NoUseForAName
St.Louis re: brad phillips

I don't understand how scoring an awesome goal can be disrespectful... he did nothing else than scoring a goal, which is the main objective in a shootout... smilies/wink.gif
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

brad phillips said:

bradp36
St. Louis What St. Louis did was disrespectful.
March 10, 2011
Votes: +1

Ryan said:

letnry
Nugent-Hopkins Would you still take him 1st overall if the Oilers select him?
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... I had a blurb on him on Saturday - I unfortunately don't have 30 eyes and can't watch every game. Sometimes stuff slips through the cracks!
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Oilers rock 99 said:

Oilers rock 99
No love for lubo? Vishnovsky 8 points in last 4 games 2 game winners tons of ice 16 shots yet no love from dobber not even a peep
March 10, 2011
Votes: +0
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