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The Boston Bruins have called up prospect Ryan Spooner. He drew into the lineup for Jordan Caron last night and notched his first assist. He didn’t get much for ice-time or line-mates skating on the third line but you’ve got to like him making an impact right away.
It kind of feels like Spooner’s been a prospect forever but he is actually still just 21. He was a point-per-game scorer in the AHL last season and has really good upside whenever he sticks in the NHL.
Carl Soderberg scored his first NHL goal but you know his upside is limited as long as he keeps skating on the third line.
Just my luck. I chirp Zdeno Chara in yesterday’s ramblings for not shooting enough and he goes out and fires six shots, scoring his second goal of the season.
Tory Krug notched an assist on that Chara goal and now has seven points in 12 games. He isn’t seeing an incredible amount of ice time – just 18 minutes per game – but he is getting paired with Chara on the power play, which means good things. Barring injury he’ll get you at least 30 points this season.
Dougie Hamilton skated over 25 minutes last night and sits third on the team in overall ice time per game but he’s still a second unit power play guy so that limits him.
Both Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic had their scoring streaks snapped but their centerman David Krejci got back on the board after having his streak snapped on Wednesday. He has five power play points on the season, two short of his total in 47 games last year and already a quarter of the way to his career high 19 PPP set in his career best 73-point season.
Is Krejci headed towards another 70-point year? Well during his career year the Bruins had one of the league’s best power plays clicking on 23.6% of chances. They are sitting at 16.7% so far this year, which is pretty much where they’ve been every season since 2008-09 so it feels like Krejci is playing with house money a bit here.
Krejci has overachieved a bit this season. His five-on-five sitting on-ice shooting percentage is 12.33% likely driven by Lucic’s current 26.2% shooting so far. Both Krejci and Iginla are shooting below their career averages so maybe this all balances out.
I don’t know what to think. It’s still too early to know for sure. I wish the Bruins had a better power play. I wish they committed to using their top power play unit more often. Where do you stand on Krejci?
Mathieu Perreault was quiet in his return to the lineup on Wednesday but got in on both Ducks goals last night, skating on a line with Dustin Penner and Devante Smith-Pelley. He has seen just 14 minutes of ice time these past two games with second unit power play time. That’s no deviation from what he was seeing pre-injury. It’s safe to say Perreault is overachieving right now, which isn’t to say he can’t be good for you but he’s on pace for near 70 points. That’s not happening. I’d be happy with 50.
Both skated over 20 minutes last night with nearly five minutes of power play time. Maroon has been sticking with the Ducks top dogs of late both at even strength and on the power play. I’m not sure he is a long term solution there but he has upside if he sticks.
Good lord, a Cam Fowler sighting. He registered his fourth point of the season and his first since being demoted to the second power play unit. His overall ice time looks very strong at over 20 minutes per game with nearly four minutes of power play time but that’s deceptive because he’s been off the top power play for five games now, which only serves to hurt his stock further.
On the plus side for Fowler, the Ducks power play went 0/4 and continues to sit dead last in the league in efficiency, even as he slides down the depth chart. Keep a close watch on who is getting power play time because they are eventually going to find a unit that works to some degree and when that happens there are going to be some lucky players skating with Getzlaf and Perry.
Henrik Lundqvist shutout the Buffalo Sabres last night, which, I mean, whoopedy-doo, right? The Sabres league worst offense is less potent than most professional soccer teams.
To be fair, the Rangers are barely better in 29th place. Still, it’s good to see Lundqvist playing well returning from injury, no matter the calibre of opponent. The buy low window may be rapidly closing. Get in while you still can.
Chris Kreider fired six shots on goal last night and now has goals in two straight. He’s skating big minutes with Brad Richards and Derek Stepan at both even strength and on the power play. Last night it was Mats Zuccarello instead of Richards at even strength but either way the Rangers are putting Kreider in a position to succeed and it is paying dividends. Of course, the real question is whether he continues to see minutes when Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan return from injury.
By the way, that Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello line combined for 18 SOG last night. That’s a lot of rubber.
Michael Del Zotto has points in two straight. His power play time has been inconsistent this year but last night he was second on the team in power play time with 3:46. I say buy low.
Ryan Miller stopped 44 of the 46 shots the Rangers took last night but still registered his 10th loss of the season. His goals-against average is over three and will kill you but he’s actually stopping the puck at a very good rate so if you believe there’s a chance for him to get traded I think you have to start trying to acquire him to stick on your bench and wait patiently. Personally, I wouldn’t do it because the goalie market is way too complex to guarantee a move mid-season but he’s still playing well and would be valuable in the event of a trade.
It was a battle of the backups down in Phoenix last night as Thomas Greiss outdueled Carter Hutton in a shootout, both literally and figuratively.
For Greiss that made his second win of the year. He got blitzed by the Predators early but settled down and eventually stopped 36 of 40 shots in a very respectable performance that allowed the Coyotes to come from behind a steal a win.
On the other side, Hutton continues to start for Nashville in Rinne’s absence. He’s put up back-to-back stinkers now, which may open the door for Magnus Hellberg. I remain firm that Hellberg is the better option, especially long term.
David Legwand had himself a game for the Predators scoring three points, all in the first period. That brings him up to 10 on the year, which is slightly above the 50-point pace you should expect from him. But he has done most of his scoring in bunches this season, with three multi-point efforts on the year, so he’ll probably drop a couple of goose eggs to balance things out.
Roman Josi returned to the lineup after nearly a full month off and skated some big minutes. He led the team in power play ice time with 2:02 for the game pairing with Ryan Ellis on the man advantage. Josi also finished third in overall ice time with just over 22 minutes. The big minutes, however, went to Seth Jones and Shea Weber, who skated 30:19 and 29:01 respectively.
For Josi, you snooze you lose. He had a chance to keep Jones down early in the season when he was given the pairing with Weber but when Josi went down Jones took the reins and he won’t be handing them back. So Josi’s value takes a hit.
Both Weber and Jones had assists giving them both six points on the year.
On the other side of the ice, Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson continued their hot streaks. OEL had one assist giving him points in three straight. Yandle had two assists extending his points streak to five, including four multi-point efforts in that span.
OEL is “winning” the power play and overall time on ice battle over Yandle but Yandle still sits third on the team in power play time and second overall so it’s not like he’s hurting and he is the more dynamic offensive talent so it’s no surprise he has vaulted past OEL with his recent scoring binge.
Jordan Szwarz scored his first NHL goal but is hardly fantasy relevant. He skated just 6:08 last night.
Antoine Vermette ended a four-game skid with a goal last night. He got off to a bit too hot of a start and has cooled off recently to balance things out. His current pace is for 47 points, which is about right.
Radim Vrbata is now scoreless in two straight without the suspended Martin Hanzal. Probably just a coincidence and Hanzal will be back soon enough. Either way, Vrbata was due to cool off. He’s a streaky scorer and a good one but he’s not point-per game material.
Shane Doan is heating up with a four-game scoring streak. He has more to offer so if he’s sitting on the waiver wire, maybe now is the time to snap him up for a little while.
Apparently Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom has declined the opportunity to play for Sweden at the Olympics. Consider that a mild boost to his fantasy stock as there is less chance for injury and more chance for him to use the Olympic break to recharge his battery.
I touched on Dustin Brown getting relegated to the third line this season and how that has affected his fantasy stock thus far. Jewels from the Crown has more on the subject, including a discussion of why Brown is hitting less this season.
Habs Eyes on the Prize taking a stab at making the NHL’s real-time stats more meaningful:
As you can see, the Penguins lead the NHL through approximately 1/8th of the season, blocking approximately 33% of the shot attempts towards their net. The Canadiens are in fact second, while John Tortorella's Canucks are 13th and Adam Oates' Capitals are down in 29th. There are good teams at both the top and bottom of this list, so it would be hard to argue that shot blocking is a critical component to winning over the long term, at least when compared to shot prevention.
Yesterday a reader asked about Nazem Kadri potentially taking over the top line center job in Toronto in lieu of Tyler Bozak. Pension Plan Puppets gives a great breakdown of why the Leafs SHOULD stick with Kadri when Bozak returns but this is pretty easy to figure out without the long discussion. Kadri is simply a better player and deserves the job.
Alexei Emelin is currently injured but that didn’t stop the Habs from extending him with a four-year $16.4 million deal. Emelin is a good young defenseman and is actually a really solid option in rotisserie leagues. Here are the 20 most comparable contracts courtesy of CapGeek. That’s some pretty good company Emelin is in.
The Hurricanes finally made the move signing Manny Malhotra to a one-year, two-way deal. He’ll be in the lineup tonight against the Lightning. I actually scooped him up in my salary cap pool because we count faceoff wins and he is an absolute ace on the draw. If you don’t have faceoffs in your pool then you probably don’t need to worry about Malhotra. Great story of perseverance though.
Make sure you check out Dobber’s latest article over at Puck Daddy. He touches on the Blues’ hot top line.
Are the Blues relying on that line too much?
Lately, that’s nothing new. In a 3-2 loss to Vancouver last week, Backes played over 25 minutes and his sidekicks were both over 23. When it comes to who the Blues might want on the ice at any given time, those three of have become the “Three Must-keteers.”
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