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Speed and skill, or grit and size? How should the Canucks build their lines for the postseason? My quick thoughts here.

 

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Montreal has returned Nathan Beaulieu to the AHL, likely to make way for Raphael Diaz on the back end.

 

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Per TSN's Scott Cullen - don't look now, but Mike Green has seven goals and 11 points in his last 10 games. Is Green back from the isle of fantasy irrelevance?

 

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Patrick Sharp may play tonight - let's hope he does, for those of us with him on our fantasy squads. Chicago has missed him, and I bet he would be suiting up if this were the postseason. No harm in being extra careful.

 

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The Rangers have recalled Chris Kreider after the injury to Brian Boyle. They could really use some energy right now, and Kreider could be the guy to provide it, just like he did last spring after turning pro.

 

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The Oilers signed former Yale captain and Frozen Four MVP Andrew Miller to a two-year rookie contract. Miller is a prototypical undersized skilled college forward - these signings are great - asides from taking up a contract (each NHL team can have up to 50 contracts at any time), there is absolutely zero downside/risk to them.

 

Miller's teammate, rangy winger Antoine Laganiere, inked a deal with the Ducks - Laganiere could play in the NHL right now according to many scouts. Limited upside power winger with great size, good wheels, and decent hands.

 

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With both Malkin and Crosby out, Pascal Dupuis slid over to center in between Morrow and Kunitz. Morrow, in particular, had a phenomenal game. The biggest difference for him when he has played well in recent years - his "jump." He gets to loose pucks, forces turnovers, and that allows him to generate and finish offensive opportunities.

 

It was a vintage multi-cat night for Morrow - two goals, an assist, three SOG, and seven PIM.

 

Kris Letang, showing why he is one of the most valuable d-men in the league, had two helpers and controlled the game for most of the 29 minutes he was on the ice.

 

Beau Bennett had a helper and continues to look comfortable down the stretch - can't see him getting left off the playoff roster.

 

Rolled the dice starting Budaj in my H2H postseason last night - and it bit me in the butt. Budaj let in three goals on nine shots before getting the pull. Our league counts saves and games started, and I was hoping for something like two or three goals on 25 shots (well, hoping for better, but expecting that).

 

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Mark Pysyk stood out to me last night - the rookie looked like anything but one against the Big Bad B's. He is a good skater and moves the puck really well - he will be a fantasy factor next season for Buffalo.

 

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand combined for 10 shots on goal (no points, but both players were positive factors for Boston).

 

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Well said Roberto:



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Today’s team for a sleeper and a deep sleeper - the Calgary Flames.


Flames

 

Sleeper for 2013-14: Max Reinhart

 

What Reinhart lacks in size, strength, and speed, he makes up for in hockey IQ. He isn’t small, but he does need to get bigger and stronger this summer (he’s still pushed off the puck rather easily at this level). He’s a really smart player and could hold down a third or fourth line spot while getting acclimatized to the NHL game. With skilled linemates, he could be a 40-50-point guy one day.


Deep sleeper (longer term): John Gaudreau


The pint-sized forward will return to Boston College for at least one more year. Gaudreau is extremely talented and a lot of fun to watch. He plays with a ton of confidence and isn’t afraid to try “practice” dekes and moves in game situations. His lack of height/size is a concern, but guys his size have had long and successful NHL careers before. He’s a guy you may have to wait on for a few years, though.


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The Canucks have recalled Derek Joslin from the AHL - could be a decent depth option for leagues with blocked shots and hits. Alberts/Ballard/Barker all struggled against the Blues, and the Canucks will want to give all of their depth defensemen some action before the postseason kicks off in a little bit.


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Great/moving video footage from Boston last night:



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Jared Cowen is a fantastic young defenseman, but even the most optimistic Sens fans weren’t expecting that type of return on Tuesday night. Cowen smoked Jeff Skinner with an open ice hit, and then  pummelled two different ‘Canes in very lopsided fights.


Cowen is a guy I saw a bit of during his WHL career, and his upside is interesting. He is thought of as a defensive guy by many people because of his size and physicality, but he has a great shot and he skates really well for a big guy, too. I’m excited to see what he can do now that he is healthy.


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Unfortunately looked like another concussion for Jeff Skinner, who has already battled his fair share of them early on into his NHL career.


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Christian Ehrhoff deserves some Norris attention,writes Thomas Drance. And after reading that, I can’t disagree.


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My end-of-season hardware picks:


Hart – Crosby


Norris – Subban


Vezina – BOBROVSKY


Jack Adams – Paul MacLean


Selke – Bergeron


Calder – Brodin (HM’s to Brenden Dillon, Brendan Gallagher, and Brandon Saad)


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Teemu Pulkkinen has officially been added to the Grand Rapids (AHL) roster. Wrote about him last week – another skilled Wings prospect with NHL upside.


Calle Jarnkrok, who had three points in nine AHL games, is heading back to Sweden, as he will play a big part on their 2013 World Championship squad. Jarnkrok has the most upside of any prospect in the Wings organization (not counting Nyqvist, who I consider an NHLer now).


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Ryan Kesler’s deadly wrist shot is back – for the first time in two years. Kesler’s shot is one of the best in the league, but it has been dormant (wrist injury the likely culprit) for a while. He’s been victimizing goaltenders and posts over the past week or so since returning to the Vancouver lineup. Great news for poolies (and the Canucks).


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Sticking with Vancouver – after only one goal in his first 15 games of the season, Jason Garrison is now on a 13/14 goal pace over a full 82 game schedule. And he’s done that without much top unit PP time. His shot is heavy and accurate, but its best attribute is how fast he can release it.


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My latest fitness post – 10 Nutrition Tips for April. Lots of good stuff in this one – hydration, the truth about carbs, a great book to check out, and more.


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The Wizard of Dallas – a look at what makes the ageless Ray Whitney so effective.


Whitney is a great example of the term "sport-specific skill." Nowadays athletes spend all summer (and all season) preparing their bodies with grueling workout routines and incredibly strict diets. Whitney obviously takes care of his body, as he remains an elite player into his 40's, but he doesn't dominate with his physical tools. You could be 6-6 and 250 pounds of pure muscle, and he's going to find a way to get around you (or saucer pass the puck over you, for that matter).


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Comments (17)add comment

buck0198 said:

buck0198
TJ Brennan Is this guy gonna get some love on the ramblings?
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

Anze said:

Anze
Subban for Norris So many defensemen will get votes for the Norris. Weber had a slow start, Chara is having a below-par offensive season, Letang missed some time, Karlsson is out of course, Lidstrom retired. Beauchemin was never considered a candidate but played so well. Doughty doesn't produce offensively. Subban has the most points, and is above average defensively, to me he is becoming a Letang with size.But he didn't get tough or even high minutes for the first 10-15 games of a shortened season. Who will get it ?
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

hawkdog said:

hawkdog
... Angus, you going to the game versus the Hawks on Monday?

I broke down and bought a ticket, in town for a conference.

Hoping for close hard hitting game!!
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

holdUP said:

holdUP
@rataylor22 I agree that Hart consideration should take into account standings. That was my argument last year- with Lundqvist/Quick both getting Vezina consideration, if only one of those two was to be in Hart talks it should have been Quick: His team would NOT have made the playoffs if they had any lesser of a goalie, whereas you could argue the Rangers could have with a goalie weaker than Lundqvist. Stamkos shouldn't have been considered for Hart - yes, he scored 60 goals, but say he only scored 20, either way they didn't have a shot at the Cup.

On the other side, I would NOT take standings into account for Norris/Vezina. That award is purely for the BEST at that position, not most valuable. So by that theory, last year it should have been Lundqvist with the Vezina, and Quick with the Hart. Don't have to be the BEST goalie to be most valuable to your team!
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

Raistlin said:

Raistlin
... With Garrison almost matching last year's offense while being at least on par if not better than Hamhuis on Van's blue line, I wonder if Dobber would like to retract his claim that Garrison is the biggest July signing bust?
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

Big Ev said:

Big Ev
... I think Huberdeau is gonna win the Calder but if I were voting I would only vote for players whose teams are in the playoffs and guys who made a big contribution to that. My top 3 rookies this year are Saad, Zibanejad, and Brodin, in whatever order. All three guys have made huge contributions to their teams and are big reasons they are where they are. Huberdeau has been great offensively but for me, what good is that when his team is awful?
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

letnry said:

letnry
... Andrew Miller only signed a one year contract with the Oilers.
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

Mr Zizzla said:

Mr Zizzla
Norris PK Subban wins the Norris? Not sure about that.
Great team player holding the franchise hostage and missing the first couple weeks.
If that still qualifies him for the Norris, then you HAVE to put Letang's name on the list.

Until the groin (x2) and toe injuries, it was Letang's to lose. He has 33 points in 31 GP (3 assists last night) and is only 3 points behind Subban.
Letang is a CRUCIAL piece to the puzzle in Pittsburgh and i think he is valued just slightly below Crosby, ahead of Malkin. It's unbelievable how well Letang can hold the line on a PP and control the zone not to mention his ability to get the puck up the ice in lightening quick fashion.

If Letang played even 2-3 more games, i think there wouldn't even be a question as to who gets the Norris. He's above a point per game now and will likely continue the trend for the rest of the season.

I doubt Letang will win but i don't understand the Subban by a landslide talk. Subban didn't look so hot last night, hahaha.


April 18, 2013
Votes: +1

grindin griers said:

grindin griers
Also What is slightly better possession team without Suter mean? How far are the numbers apart? What's the uncertainty around those numbers? If it's close can you really say that possession was better when he was off the ice? If you can does that slightly better possession matter more than other defensive abilities?

I know it was an article about Erhoff but those comments on Suter are not useful except to maybe suggest further exploration into those numbers because the claim is not justified in the article.
April 18, 2013
Votes: +1

grindin griers said:

grindin griers
Brodin and Suter It's not that Brodin is doing the heavy lifting. It's that they have great chemistry together. I have watched almost every Wild game this season. They each have their role and execute it consistently from game to game. It's weird that Drance uses underlying numbers to describe Erhoff's possession abilities but then simply says Brodin has been doing the "heavy lifting" ... wtf does that even mean to him? If anything Suter has been doing the heavy lifting because he plays a greater amount of minutes in all situations and more often than not he is the one responsible for clearing guys out in front of the net. They both neutralize defenseman off the rush very well due to positioning, gap control, stick work. The most important part like I said before is that they have chemistry together. They know what to expect from each other and how to use each other to relieve pressure in the defensive zone.

Lastly, Drance can't compare what happened when Spurgeon was his partner because it was at the beginning of the season and the Wild were still working on the large amount of turnover. Plus it was a very small sample size that Suter has been paired with Spurgeon.
April 18, 2013
Votes: +1

angus said:

angus
... You got it, SD. All about changing or expanding the thought process.
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
@rataylor22 Did you read Thomas Drance's article? He explains why Ehrhoff should get Norris consideration. He also says in the article that Subban should win in a landslide. He is only suggesting that Ehrhoff should get a nomination, and he does an excellent job explaining why.

In the article, Drance also mentions that Brodin does "most of the heavy lifting" for Suter, which partially explains why Suter's numbers are so good this year. From the games I've watched, I have to agree that Brodin has been unreal. If I had a vote for the Calder, it would be Brodin for sure (and for the record I don't own him in any leagues either).

The point is that selecting the winners isn't simply about looking at stats (or at least it shouldn't be) and the team's position in the standings (though that is always a factor). With defensemen especially, it is important to look at the whole picture and evaluate how the player is contributing to his team even if the player doesn't have a lot of points.
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
Ehrhoff for Norris Ehrhoff shouldn't get any Norris attention for the same reason Stamkos shouldn't get any Hart consideration. Their teams are still shitty and their contributions aren't adding to their wins (and I say this as someone who loves Stammer). Why would you consider Ehrhoff when Suter, Subban, Chara, are all doing the same thing but actually winning? Why would you consider Stamkos when Crosby, Tavares, Ovie are doing it better?
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

The Hockey Hitman said:

The Hockey Hitman
awards I agree.w/ Angus. Brodin for Calder. He's playing like a ten year pro and Suter didn't start producing in Minny till Brodin arrived. He's had a very positive impactful effect on Wild lineup. Honorable mention to Huberdeau and Fasth(even though Fasth not eligible to even be nominated due to age....that's bogus)

Also agree Adams goes to MacLean w/ honorable mention to Michel Therrien and Jack Capuano. Selke is probably between Bergeron and Toews....can go either way. I'll say Bergeron too. Hard to argue against Crosby for Hart. Bobrovsky should get his first Vezina nomination but I think Lundqvist will probably win it. Or Price. Niemi deserves consideration too so does Rask!

Norris is tough this year as well but Subban is a solid choice I agree. Have to think Chara gets a nod and Beauchemin deserves one but won't get it. Norris would be Karlsson's again if not for Cooke.
April 18, 2013 | url
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... Don't own him in any - just think D is a much harder position for a rookie to master. A great crop this year with many worthy candidates.
April 18, 2013
Votes: +0

hank mooney said:

hank mooney
... Somebody's got Brodin in a few poolssmilies/cheesy.gif You trying to escalate his value to move him before the year's up?? I think you're on an island on this one though. Don't you remember the Calder 'cage-match' just a couple of weeks ago? The poll that was won by a landslide vote, but you could barely muster a congrats?? Huberdeau!!!!!!!
April 17, 2013
Votes: +0

metaldude26 said:

metaldude26
Contracts Limit My understanding is that with a lot of these college guys their contracts won't count towards the contract limit unless they play in any NHL games. Instead they may go to the AHL on tryout contracts similar to the way Junior players can jump up to the AHL once their season has ended without burning a year off their ELC but I may be mistaken.
April 17, 2013
Votes: +0
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