Gates here - "Holding Court" made its series debut at Fantrax today. The revised title features DobberHockey senior writers Rick Roos and Eric Daoust as they present opposing arguments on whether to keep, trade or drop the two players in question. With everything on the table, I give a final verdict on each case. Give it a look here.  

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Update - minutes after I post, Hertl scores two more goals. Four goals Tuesday! And that fourth goal - ridiculous. I'm adding the clip below.

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Patience. Early in the season it's so hard. For me, it's a little easier than it is for you. And I'll explain why. The first four days of the season, I'm swamped with customer service and - as was the case last week - site crashes. So instead of poring over stats and trends, all I got to do was catch a couple of games and breeze through the summaries. Then on the weekend I had a draft Saturday night. Games were on in the background, and when I got home I looked through the summaries, but that's it. So I have a good idea of who has been hot. And the players that I have flagged in my mind to watch for in terms of linemates (Frozen Pool) and ice time I know all about. But… the players that I don't have flagged and haven't been hot, I'm not as familiar with. Until now. So a full week of NHL hockey has gone by and finally I'm able to look closely at stats and pick up things.

I didn't feel the pressure of watching Cody Hodgson go three games with just one assist and minus-3. But yesterday in the forum I saw someone talk of dropping him and regretting taking him over Lars Eller. I didn't feel like his slump was dragging on and on because I didn't even know he was in one. In my head, he's still a guy who will flirt with 55 to 60 points with upside. It didn't matter to me if he had zero points as of now, or six points. That's the advantage of stepping back early in the year. Granted, I was pretty much 'forced' to step back but I still stepped back. If you pretend to know nothing about how your guys are doing - and I mean the top 75% of your guys, not the bottom 25% - if you pretend to know nothing about how they're doing, you'll have the right 'big picture' perspective. Only react to the bottom players on your team, quickly replacing them where needed. You should have an idea as to who those guys are before the season even begins.

Hodgson picked up two points last night (and six shots on goal) and has three in four games.

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I also didn't notice that Jamie McBain was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season. He has two points in two games since (both last night), including a PP goal. He was on the top unit, so it looks promising at least in the short term.

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When I stick my neck out for a player, it's a huge relief if it works out. So seeing Ben Bishop 2-0 while Anders Lindback is 0-1 makes me feel better. Also making me feel better - Bishop is my No.4 goalie in one of my leagues. And since Mike Smith is my No.2…I'm doubly happy.

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Speaking of Smith, he got rocked by the Islanders and was pulled after giving up five goals on 20 shots. I've said it here several times and even yesterday on Twitter:

 

Capture

 

 

This is the third year in a row that he has been terrible early. But his numbers will be fine. And yes, I believe that Tomas Greiss is probably the more talented goaltender. But talent doesn’t matter when such powerful politics come into play. In this case, the key factor in the politics is contract. Smith's contract will see him get dozens of starts that he doesn't deserve and all the opportunity in the world to come out of slumps. The only way Greiss takes over is if it's February and the Coyotes are battling to get into the playoffs and Greiss is the only goalie getting the wins. Then politics go out the window and it's all about wins.

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It's all coming together for Josh Bailey now, isn't it? Four points in three games this year, and last night he wasn't even playing with John Tavares.

(get latest game line combos here)

19.62%

EV

26 MOULSON,MATT - 21 OKPOSO,KYLE - 91 TAVARES,JOHN

15.38%

EV

53 CIZIKAS,CASEY - 17 MARTIN,MATT - 13 MCDONALD,COLIN

14.62%

EV

96 BOUCHARD,PIERRE-MARC - 29 NELSON,BROCK - 16 REGIN,PETER

14.23%

EV

12 BAILEY,JOSH - 40 GRABNER,MICHAEL - 51 NIELSEN,FRANS

Bailey has 14 points in his last 16 games rolling back to last year.

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My Hockey News article yesterday focused on Alex Ovechkin - he's back and there is a domino effect. And over at Puck Daddy Monday, Laidlaw made his PD debut here.

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Brendan Ross had another solid ramblings over at DobberProspects, musing on the likes of Brodin, Gauthier, Samuelsson, Petan and others.

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Nathan MacKinnon picked up another point, so points in all three of his NHL games. He was lazy defensively last night, failing on a couple of clearing attempts and then not taking his man on a Leafs goal. But his linemates Jamie McGinn and PA Parenteau aren't exactly defensive juggernauts either. So those guys will continue getting the offensive opportunities. Last night's numbers weren't in, but after two games those three forwards led the Avs in offensive zone start percentage - over 70% of their shirts began in the offensive zone!

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A couple of goalies were hurt last night. Tim Thomas suffered a 'minor' groin pull. My guess is that he misses one start. But if Jacob Markstrom shuts the door the way he did last night it may be more. Thomas allowed two goals on five shots. And took the loss! Markstrom stopped all 25 that he faced.

Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom was the other goalie hurt. More on him later.

Just 10:37 of ice time for Aleksander Barkov, but that was enough for him to pick up an assist.

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The Flyers got a win in their first game under the new coach. Sure enough, goals were down. Claude Giroux is still not on the board. Ditto Matt Read and Scott Hartnell. But kudos to you if you took a flier on Steve Mason as your No.3 or No.4 goalie. I have a feeling that the Flyers hope that Mason becomes their long-term goalie because he's young and had that one great year. So he'll get 60 starts if he does even 'above average' in them.

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Emerson Etem is ready to return to the lineup, though Bruce Boudreau may not throw him in right away. The Ducks are already rotating Selanne, Penner and Beleskey as healthy scratches. And Patrick Maroon is probably going to be in that mix as well. The spot won't be handed to Etem.

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I think we all knew that the skinny Mike Ribeiro needs a No.1 center ahead of him to take the heat off. As the only real offensive threat on the Coyotes (even over Vrbata), the opposition is keying on him and he hasn't responded well yet. Pointless in three games.

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Jussi Jokinen with a hat trick for the Penguins, playing with Malkin and even getting in some PP time. He had motivation - he was playing against the team that pushed him out back in April.

Of interest in that game was 19-year-old defenseman Olli Määttä picking up his first two NHL points. He's also plus-1 on the season with four shots in three games. Man, if he has five or six points in nine games, it will be awfully difficult for the Penguins to send him back to junior.

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Nathan Gerbe has two points in three games for Carolina. He played with Jordan Staal last night and is averaging 19 minutes of ice time per game:

24.81%

EV

39 DWYER,PATRICK - 14 GERBE,NATHAN - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

12.41%

EV

18 DVORAK,RADEK - 20 NASH,RILEY - 53 SKINNER,JEFF

9.02%

EV

28 SEMIN,ALEXANDER - 12 STAAL,ERIC - 19 TLUSTY,JIRI

7.14%

EV

21 BOWMAN,DRAYSON - 28 SEMIN,ALEXANDER - 12 STAAL,ERIC

4.89%

EV

16 LINDHOLM,ELIAS - 20 NASH,RILEY - 53 SKINNER,JEFF

4.51%

EV

18 DVORAK,RADEK - 42 SUTTER,BRETT - 19 TLUSTY,JIRI

Of note, Jiri Tlusty was knocked off the Staal line and Drayson Bowman put on it.

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On any other team, I would bet that Adam Larsson is on the road to stardom by now. On New Jersey, he's still getting scratched (as he was last night). This fourth overall pick should have never been rushed to the NHL. This should be his rookie season, and not two years ago.

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The big story, TV-wise, was the Luongo vs. Schneider showdown. I'm polishing up these ramblings before the third period starts, so I can't comment on how this went (it was 2-2 at the time). The only reason I brought it up was because if I didn't I'm sure someone in the comments would ask why.

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Rick Nash left the game with this injury:

 

 

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Every time I count out the San Jose Sharks, they bring in a player who becomes a star. What's their track record for prospects? A hundred percent? Seriously. I've been doing this for six years full time now and 11 years if you go back to my moonlighting with it. And it seems like the entire time, no team had a shallower prospect pool than San Jose. And yet, with just one or two promising offensive prospects in any given year, they manage to turn him into a stud. I mean, what if they whiffed on one? What if Pavelski sucked? Or Couture? Or Cheechoo (I'm referring to when they needed him to be a stud, he was one)? Clowe? Michalek? Setoguchi? Each year I rank their prospects with fantasy value a 'D-' with one appealing player and a small handful of nobodies. And every year they call up that one appealing player and he contributes.

So now, when their entire team is aging and on the decline (except for Couture, Pavelski, Vlasic and Burns), they add Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto. And what happens? Hertl - five six seven points in three games, Nieto with a pair of points last night. Come on! Here is his ridiculous fourth goal.

 

 

Hertl will get 50 points this year. Minimum. I know it's early to say, but since I thought he's a strong candidate to do that anyway, I feel comfortable saying it. Nieto will probably struggle to get 30, but he'll have his moments.

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Seth Jones and Filip Forsberg each picked up their first NHL points. But the big fantasy news is with the Wild, who lost their starter…

Niklas Backstrom left the game after Nystrom crashed into him, pinning his leg against the post. No word on the seriousness.

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Watch this Eric Staal deflection - great look at 20 second mark:

 


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Comments (10)add comment

coldsquad2002 said:

coldsquad2002
... After this season, I think you will not consider Hedman a bust !
October 09, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
... I would trade rather have Brodin than Larsson every time.
October 09, 2013
Votes: +1

LuckyLuke said:

LuckyLuke
... Any prediction for Adam Larsson this season? Are Devils ruining his development with those constant healthy scratches / low ice time? I'm starting to be really dissapointed with him, drafted him pretty high 2 years ago and still waiting for at least some signs of things to come (if suffering with waiting for Kulikov's breakout wasn't enough smilies/smiley.gif). I didn't expect tons of points right away, but he does't produce even hits or blocked shots. It seems that Brodin will be better own long-term than Larsson. Even Erik Johnson or Victor Hedman (who are widely consider as busts) were more useful in multicat leagues than Larsson in this stage of development. So - can he still evolve into solid 30-40 pt + peripherals 1st pairing defenseman, or is he getting into lower category?
October 09, 2013
Votes: +0

jacques oeuf said:

hammer2003
... from that angle looks like Stuart hit Nash in the chest and his head hit the glass. Anybody see anything different?
October 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Great Rambling today!!! Oh those Sharks at the Shark Tank!
Deadly!

I wonder if I can still buy Hertl in Dobbernomics on the way up!
Tricky stock market!

Great stuff!!!
October 09, 2013
Votes: +0

frozenpools said:

frozenpools
... The oilers shopped for a goalie (Schneider) during the summer and MaCT doesn't believe in DD. If I owned him in a keeper, I'd consider moving him during the year. Just not now with his value lower then it will be in 10 games. He's still a decent goalie on an improving team.

Good ramblings Dobber. Hertl scored all those goals in 11 min ice time. If I owned him, I'd be shopping him today. See if someone thinks he's Jagr and can fetch a crazy return.
October 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... Don't look now, but Michael Grabner has six points in three games. With Boyes out of the way and Parenteau long gone, Grabs has climbed the depth chart into the top six and could finally build on his Calder-nom rookie year in what is, yes, his fourth season!
October 09, 2013
Votes: +0

itzSteve said:

itzSteve
... Hertl's 4th goal...WOW...just WOW!
October 09, 2013
Votes: +2

Dobber said:

Dobber
... I don't "truly believe" it. I suspect it. And no, because Dubnyk will get more starts than that.
October 08, 2013
Votes: +0

Doug Glatt said:

Doug Glatt
... So Dobber, would you drop Dumbnyk for Steve Mason in a keeper league? If you truly believe he's going to get 60 starts, he is someone that should be owned in more than 10 percent of leagues.
October 08, 2013
Votes: +0
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