The last two days I have, on Puck Daddy, given you my thoughts on playoff dark horses. The Eastern Conference is here.

 

Dobber's Interactive Playoff Draft List is now ready for immediate pickup. Buy it here. This document will be updated and re-released on Sunday after those matches are set. As things stand now, I think Nashville has a pretty easy lay-up against the Kings and will finally get to the second round, so that makes my personal picks (included) quite interesting but they would change if Nashville draws another opponent. If you have an older version of Excel and have problems opening this, I will start a thread in the forum and would like to hear your feedback. If you have Excel 2007, some of you may have an "options" window at the top. Click it and enable the macros.

 

Listen to Justin Goldman at FAN960 at 5:45pm Mountain Time here.


There have been several interesting college UFA signings. Miami (Ohio) lost star forward Carter Camper to the Bruins. Camper had 19 goals and 57 points this past season as a Redhawk. His teammate Andy Miele was recently signed by the Coyotes as well.

 

The 2011 Prospects Report will have a ton of in depth information on all of the college signings. Look for the Report to be out as the 2011 Entry Draft approaches.

 

We will be running our annual DobberHockey Playoff Pool contest - details coming soon. Like last year, there will be sweet prizes headed to the winner and runners up.

 

Check out Hockey Draft Buddy - a smart phone application that makes organizing/sorting/removing players from your draft lists very easy.

 

Ottawa has extended GM Bryan Murray for three years. No, this is not an April Fools Day joke.

 

Florida is shutting down Stephen Weiss for the remainder of the season.

 

Three days of games left... playoff hockey is almost upon us.

 

The AHL standings - amazing where the Baby Pens are, considering all of the call-ups that Pittsburgh has made throughout the season. Fixed the link - had the wrong one posted earlier.

 

Die By The Blade takes a look at the top 10 secondary scorers around the league.

 

The year of the hat trick continues (and continues). Ryan Kesler scored three times last night for the Canucks, the third goal being his 40th of the season.

 

The second goal he scored was his first even strength goal in 26 games.

 

Roberto Luongo with a parting gift for his poolie owners – a 29 save shutout. Cory Schneider is starting on Saturday in Calgary to give him eligibility for the Jennings Trophy.

 

Christian Ehrhoff was the only Vancouver defenseman to play over 70 games this year. Vigneault or Bylsma should be the clear favourites for the Jack Adams.

 

Last game of the year – what category or which player are you trying to fill or pick up to be the deciding factor? Things got so desperate for me last year that I picked up Steve Eminger in hopes of a few shots on goal (of course, he didn’t deliver).

 

Dallas is still in the hunt in the West… they won their third straight game last night.

 

The Avalanche are 4-25-2 in their last 31 games – just embarrassing.

 

Jamie Benn has nine points in his last 10 games. He’ll finish at or close to 55 points (in only 65 games). Depending on what happens with Richards/Ribeiro, I could see 75 from him next season.

 

Matt Duchene hasn’t taken a huge step forward this season, but he still has improved 10 points from his rookie campaign. No sophomore slump, even with a team that crumbled during the second half of the season.

 

Bobby Butler is an interesting study right now – he is getting a ton of ice time (and capitalizing) because the Sens have nothing left to play for. It is easier to play games that don’t matter – less pressure, less stress, less expectations from fans and media.

 

Still, Butler is producing on a regular basis against NHL competition. It looks like he has earned himself a look at a top six spot for 2011-12. Butler had three points last night and now has 20 in 35 games this season (and six in his last three).

 

Another season, another PPG pace (or close to) for Jason Spezza. He has missed over 20 games, but will finish just a shade below a PPG. One year when the stars all align (again), Spezza will get his 85-90 points in 75-80 games.

 

My take on the Raffi Torres suspension – the NHL had to be consistent after throwing the book at Matt Cooke… But two playoff games essentially equates to four regular season games (unofficially). The hit was a head shot, but Eberle was reaching for the puck and it was a hockey play.

 

Colin Campbell’s inconsistent wheel of justice continues.

 

James Wisniewski recorded his 50th and 51st points of the season last night. One of the most underappreciated fantasy players in the league.

 

Alex Edler looked pretty good last night considering it was his first game back after missing 31 with a back injury.

 

NHL playoff hockey is almost upon us… I think I will speak for all hockey fans when I say how awesome the first round is – four games of hockey on TV every night!

 

Another great NHL commercial:

 

Manny Malhotra made an appearance at the President’s Trophy presentation last night – notice neither he nor Henrik touch it:


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Comments (18)add comment

Sanstanya said:

sanstanya
Playoff draft list Hey Dobber - this is awesome and appreciated but at 1st glance I saw 1 glaring inconsistency (that I couldn't rationalize anyway - maybe you can).

The tree shows TB vs PIT in rd one; using the Dobber's List tab you have TB in the final 4 (and bonus 5 games to PIT), and looking at Sid's projection it is 11 games played. I can't see how he can play 11 (or PIT gets 5 bonus games) if TB knocks them off in rd 1.

Cheers though - wicked tool. I am a sucker for a well made spread sheet and am already trying to figure out how it could take standings into effect to make each round's match-ups accurate.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Separating player from puck. Hockey play. Head shot? Yes. Which is why Torres was suspended. Not a cheap hit, but the NHL has produced such a gray area around the issue, it forces people to debate each and every hit. A fluid game makes it hard to establish a set structure, though.

To a degree I understand the suspension, I just hope the NHL maintains consistency going forward.

Homer has nothing to do with it. I watch the Canucks and I live in Vancouver, but my biases are left at the door when I bring my analysis to the readers here.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

slufoot said:

slufoot
Torres hit It is not a hockey play to hit a player reaching for the puck if you have to skate right past the loose puck to make the hit (Especially if said player has not yet played the puck). The primary goal in hockey is puck possesion, not body contact. Quit being a homer.
April 08, 2011
Votes: -1

Jeff Angus said:

angus
... Hodgson isn't even close to Duchene any more. His development has hit a major snag. Aside from a strong November, Hodgson had 16 points in almost 40 AHL (not NHL) games.

The uphill battle for Hodgson to get back on track is HUGE. As of now, I think he projects as a 50-60 point second line center. Duchene is MILES ahead.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Man not Puck said:

Man_not_Puck
Hodgson>Duchene I can't wait until Cody starts playing a regular shift in the NHL. Matt is almost 2 seasons ahead in terms of NHL play, but he was the second best player when he played with Cody in Brampton.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Uzair Siddiq said:

Sportfreunde
Duchene>Stastny Duchene has actually taken a big step forward. Last year, most would've said that either Stewart or Stastny were the Avs best forwards. This year, Duchene is by far the most dangerous (even if Stewart had stuck around).

The mid-season slump had to do with the teams performance since January and he was also slow to recover from a wrist injury.

As for the Eberle hit, like someone said earlier, it's not a hockey play anymore and Eberle I think was reaching for the puck because that's where you would expect Torres to go who was closer to the puck rather than nailing Eberle.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

studley49 said:

studley49
Butler I'm loving this guy. Buddy's got a huge amount of skill and, as you mentioned, is meshing well as a sniper on Spezza's wing.

If you haven't seen the beaut of a goal he scored last night to give the Sens the lead in the third period, check out this link: http://video.nhl.com/videocent...011,2,1202

Dirty pass, dirtier wrist shot.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Benn I'm going to agree w/horrorfan. 60-65pts is more reasonable.
Benn has clicked this year w/Morrow & Ribeiro. They've also had a little benefit of being Line #2, where teams might focus their top defensive pair on the Neal-Richards-Eriksson line #1. Well, Neal is gone & Richards will probably be gone too. Do the Stars really leave Eriksson off the top line? Or do they shuffle lines? Who is the odd man out?

If Benn-Ribeiro-Morrow are Line #1 for a full year, yes, I agree, 70-75pts is reasonable... but it's a bit of a risk assuming that Benn is on line #1. He is such a complete player that I would not be surprised to see DAL count on him to provide offense and balance on line #2.

The departure of Richards will create PP time for Benn. And the addition of Goligoski will also help PP for Benn. However, its my lack of faith in DAL keeping Benn on line #1 that hedges my predicted points for him closer to 60-65pts.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

ultrawhiteness said:

ultrawhiteness
duchene anyone see the play he made on his 2nd assist last night? unreal.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... I'm trying to use Jeff Carter to get Benn and a couple of high draft picks. If all goes well, Benn will do what Carter does next year. So I"m completely on board with Angus on this one.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Karbinkopy said:

Karbinkopy
Benn Horrorfan, I feel Angus's projection of Benn is quite accurate. As you say, you don't watch him, so you probably don't know that Benn played the first third of the season as the third line centre playing with the likes of Tom Wandell and Brandon Segal. Yeah, he got some second string PP time, but his ice time was nothing like it is now. Considering he had never played centre at the professional level and that this was supposed to be his sophomore slump year he did impress me. You take away one of Richards or Ribeiro and he plays a full 82 games, Benn can most definitely can hit the 75 point plateau.

Also Richard will hit the 75 point mark this year. He has 74 already and Eriksson would have hit it as well if he wasn't one of the playing wounded since about the middle of March. He's only just now looking good again and he has 69 points. He'll probably end up with 73 considering Dallas's last 2 games are Colorado and Minnesota.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Lenethen said:

DarthVain
Raffi Torres I agree and disagree. Eberle is somewhat at fault here. This happened to me 3 years go, I got caught reaching, and another player took my head off. It resulted in a bad concussion, the first in like 15 years since minor hockey. Anyway, no I shouldn't have been reaching, but also, the other guy shouldn't have been looking to take my head off. I remember watching hockey and (hate to say it) Don Cherry had a clip exactly on the dangers of reaching for the puck.

Insofar as the suspension is concerned, I agree with it, and it is consistent, as it was a hit to the head. I also know personally that this type of hit can result in a concussion, which is the whole point of the new rules, so also consistent.

The only thing the league has to worry about is an unintentional repercussion of these changes might me more players reaching for pucks and other dangerous plays, believing they are safe... but accidents will still happen, and despite suspensions they won't totally disappear...

Anyway its about respect, when you hit someone you should be trying to knock them off the puck, not intentionally try and hurt or injure someone.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
Benn I don't watch him play but I feel that 75 points is far too high for next year, especially since that is pretty good company you are putting him in. As well, no Stars player has hit that this year, and only one (Richards) would have if he played the full season. He's still young and prone to slumps and I feel his value will be over-inflated going into next year points-wise, but multi cat he'll be solid. I'll put a conservative estimate at 60-65 points.
April 08, 2011
Votes: -1

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
Duchene Carcillo - slumps are to be expected with young players. So, I don't think you can take out the slump and say he was a PPG player (not sure if you suggesting this though). It is impressive to have a better season than last considering Colorado's second half struggles, and I would expect a similar growth next year. I'm not sure about PPG as only a select few make that in a season, but 70-75 is realistic and then PPG for his fourth year breakout.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
H2H final pickup Since you asked, my final pickup in my H2H final was Abdelkader. The peripheral categories (PIM, FOW, HIT) should be close and figured he could help be the difference. He's also getting good second line time at centre now so perhaps he could chip in a point or two as well. I would never have thought he could help me win a championship.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Carcillo said:

Carcillo
Duchene Actually Duchene went through a mini-sophmore slump in the middle of the season. He went a stretch of 22 games where he only got 3 goals and 4 assists. He was also -18 during those games.

Without that slump Duchene has been PPG player all season.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan said:

letnry
RE: Torres It was a hockey play until the NHL decided they wanted to take that kind of play out of its game. It is starting to become apparent that what used to be a hockey play, is not always deemed allowable now, and therefore shouldn't be used in defense of a headshot.
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan said:

letnry
... "Two days of games left." I'm pretty sure you mean three, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Its not the weekend yet, unfortunately!
April 08, 2011
Votes: +0
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