So today is a big day for Fantasy Hockey nerds as the Dobber Hockey Midseason Guide is launching this afternoon! You can pre-order the guide here and I highly recommend you do. I personally contributed a quick advanced stats diagnostic for all thirty teams, so hopefully our readers find my contributions (and the guide itself) as informative as usual! This is now available for download

 

Note: forum issue seems to be fixed. Email me at dobber@ dobberhockey with any problems.

 

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The Jets have fired head coach Claude Noel and have hired Paul Maurice in his stead. Noel's tough to rate, I think, becasue the Jets did improve when he was first hired (by the underlying numbers) and while they haven't improved much since, they've remained a roughly league average puck possession side with awful goaltending. 

 

Getting jobs with teams that lean on bad goaltenders can blight a coaches resume permanently (see Arniel, Scott). Hopefully Maurice is smart enough to recommend a trade for Khudobin or any of the players from Anaheim's stable of netminders as a first course of action...

 

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One guy who went off this week was Wild depth forward Justin Fontaine, who managed a hat-trick this week. Fontaine obviously couldn't keep it up against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night as the Wild fell 4-2 and Fontaine was quiet. While I'd mention that his underlying numbers aren't particularly auspicious (no depth forwards on the Wild have strong underlying numbers), he nails the eye test with his excellent skating and high-end passing ability. Really high on this kid going forward.

 

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Another player lighting it up of late is Tampa Bay Lightning defender Matt Carle, who had a rather magnificent fantasy outing on Saturday in a 6-3 Tampa Bay victory over the Philadelphia Flyers (Carle had 2 A and was +6). Carle is traditionally one of those players who the "fancy stats" love and fans who watch him daily dislike, but he's having a huge season in Tampa: leading a good team in minutes while handling the toughest competition and coming out roughly even by the underlying numbers.

 

As a fantasy bet, however, beware of regression with Carle. Don't pick him up if you need +/-, for example, because his 103 PDO (combined sh% and sv%) is bound to drop off. Carle is benefitting from both a favourable on-ice sh% (which may inflate his assists totals) and an unlikely to be sustained on-ice sv%, and probably provides more actual hockey value to the Lightning than he will Fantasy value to potential owners.

 

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In my league (a 20 team deep Yahoo! Sports league that counts G, A, PPP, +/- and hits for skaters) Radko Gudas is the best. Which is why I bring him up every week. An assist, +4, and 5 hits on Saturday.

 

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The Devils defeated the Florida Panthers in the last second of overtime (thanks Ice Wings) and Brian Campbell played 8 minutes more than his next closest teammate (was never really considered for Sochi though). Cory Schneider continued his excellent play and continued to get zero goal support from one of the league's worst offensive teams. 

 

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Aleksander Barkov continues to be one of the most impressive teenage skaters I've watched in this league in recent years. He played nearly 20 minutes against one of the best puck possession teams in the league on Saturday and came out even by shot attempt differential. In many ways handling a major role like that at Barkov's age is more impressive to me than "Nathan MacKinnon skates by bad defenders" or "power-play specialist meshes will with talented team and puts up points from the blue-line." Barkov doesn't turn 19 until September by the way...

 

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The Ottawa Senators have quietly massaged their season into moving in the right direction (after a massively feckless start) and racked up another win aganist the Nashville Predators on Saturday (albeit a win of the shootout variety). Nashville put together some crazy line combinations on Saturday including a group featuring Jason Spezza, Zack Smith and Mark Stone that corsi'd at 60%. Paul MacLean is a hell of a coach.

 

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Worth noting that Spezza's line drew tertiary matchups from Barry Trotz on Saturday, by the way. Shea Weber and Roman Josi were glued to Bobby Ryan's group...

 

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The Habs found a way to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks thanks to a couple of goals from Andrei Markov including one in overtime. The Canadiens were pretty dominant on Saturday actually, as his Blackhawks teammates gave Corey Crawford ample opportunity to shine.

 

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We already discussed Claude Noel's firing, but let's talk a bit more about it. Against Columbus on Saturday, Noel obviously made his last stand and moved Dustin Byfuglien to forward. I personally like the idea of Byfuglien playing forward and think on the right team it's where he's be suited to being used. But on Winnipeg, there just isn't enough back-end depth to warrant it. 

 

With Byfuglien as a forward on Saturday, he played 17:31 and did okay (1A, -1, 2 SOG, 3 hits). But the problem is that left Trouba and Bogosian logging top pairing minutes as opposed to the vastly superior Byfuglien, who played several minutes below his career average. That's just a bad play...

 

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In the midseason guide you're about to buy (pre-order here if you didn't early in this Ramblings post) I went on at length about "breakout candidate Cam Atkinson" in the Columbus Blue Jackets section. Since I filed that, he's managed two goals in two games (and he added a couple of shots and three hits for good measure on Saturday). 

 

My only concern with Atkinson was whether he'd continue to log big minutes with the return to health of Horton and co.. He played major minutes on Saturday though, and I'm very bullish on his chances to go off in the second half of the season.

 

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The Anaheim Ducks just keep racking up victories and shooting a massive percentage. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm in particular had a huge game against the Coyotes on Saturday scoring twice (once on the power-play), managing three shots, and throwing a hit. The play of Anaheim's young defenders (from Lindholm's emergence, to Sami Vatanen's specialized effectiveness, to continued improvement from Cam Fowler) has been an untold key for the Ducks this year.

 

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Francois Beachemin blocked 11 shots on Saturday. Just call him Larry Sanders, except, y'know, actually good.

 

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Sidney Crosby went pointless in a 2-1 Pittsburgh victory over the Calgary Flames. What a bum.

 

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Really fun game between the Bruins and Sharks in the Bay Area on Saturday night, even if the score finished 1-0 and the two sides combined for just 48 shots. That was like the model of a "low scoring, tight-checking, but fast paced and entertaining" game in my opinion. I was raising the stakes mentally while watching the game by pretending that whichever goaltender won (Niemi vs. Rask) would get to start for Team Suomi at the 2014 Olympics!

 

Cool to see Loui Eriksson contribute an assist in his return. Hopefully he doesn't leave the lineup again this season.

 

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Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar combined to take down the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (managing a goal and a primary assist each in a 3-1 victory). It was reported this week that those two players (along with Brendan Smith) had been offered to the Vancouver Canucks at the draft in exchange for Alex Edler at the draft. Which begs the question: would you rather have Edler or Sheahan, Tatar and Smith?


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Comments (13)add comment

RP__ said:

RP__
... haha like the LARRY SANDERS! reference
January 13, 2014
Votes: +0

sparrowtrini said:

hockeysmygame
... There was tonnes of talk of an edler to Wings trade. For example Back in June Kyper reported: Canucks were asking for 2 roster players and a 1st rdr for him.
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

germant said:

germant
Misleading Either the link leading to the Smith,Tatar,Sheahan/Edler trade is wrong or you're being purposefully misleading. Nowhere in that article does it say this was an actual draft day offer. In fact, it sounds like the writer read it in a forum and threw it out there for discussion.
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
... Just google the Dwight Howard effect, it will be the top result.
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
MIT conference and Larry Sanders Being an advanced stats guy you will enjoy a paper presented at the MIT Sloan conference last year which showed that Larry Sanders was the most effective paint protector last season. The guy has had a rough season thus far this year no doubt, but he will figure it out.

http://www.sloansportsconference dot com/wp-content/uploads/2013/The Dwight Effect A New Ensemble of Interior Defense Analytics for the NBA.pdf
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

Tobias Funke said:

Tobias Funke
... @ mr drance. I agree that PIM is not one of the best cats in fantasy hockey. In fact, +/- is the only one I hate more (keeper leagues, not so bad in one year leagues) but the point is that the overwhelming majority of leagues do still use those cats and it is a disservice to most of your readers to ignore them. Aside from that, I enjoy reading the Sunday ramblings.
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

Thomas Drance said:

Thomas Drance
... @Tobias Funke PIMs are the dumbest fantasy category in the book, but I'll try to chat about them more going forward. Thanks fort he feedback!
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

sasquatch said:

sasquatch
Edler trade A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush I suppose
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

Tobias Funke said:

Tobias Funke
Very shortsighted Why, oh why mr drance do you refuse to ever mention anything about a PIM? A good fantasy hockey writer must understand that their personal league set up may not be the same as many of their readers.
January 12, 2014
Votes: +4

Ice Wings said:

Ice Wings
... The devils didn't win in a shootout. They won on an amazing play in the final second of OT. Jagr positioned them nicely for the face-off and Zidlicky ripped a shot from the back end.
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

metaldude26 said:

metaldude26
Larry Sanders Great line except that Larry Sanders is actually good too.
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Schneider Cory Schneider's stats remind me of similar stats garnered by Fernando Valenzuela in the early '80s. In his second or third season, Fernando had no run support from the Dodgers as he pitched himself to a player-of-the-month award one April. If I recall correctly he finished the month with one win, five losses and an ERA of 0.81
January 12, 2014
Votes: +2

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Carle/Hedman While Carle was plus 6, Hedman was -2, the only minus player on TB last night. I did not see the game but Hedman was on ice for both Voracek goals, which were the only even strength goals PHI scored. Was Carle playing against the third and fourth lines while Hedman played predominantly against PHI's top line?
January 12, 2014
Votes: +0
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