Tampa may have lost the game, but man was I impressed with their system and I realized that I hadn't watched a TB game in a few weeks. They were just on it - defense, offense, everywhere. So quick and tenacious. Martin St. Louis was held off the scoreboard, but it seemed as though he and his linemates Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat were all over the ice and that they played every shift. And then I looked at the ice time after the game and it would seem that I was right - St. Louis and Johnson each played about 25 minutes! Forwards! In regulation! In fact, Johnson led all Lightning players, including defensemen, in ice time with 25:24.

Palat led the team in hits with six, as well as his two assists. I had always just assumed that when Steven Stamkos returns - and it sounds like it will happen in five to eight days - Killorn and St. Louis would be his linemates while Johnson and Palat would remain together but as third liners. But maybe not. Maybe they keep the line intact and start Stamkos off slowly, ease him back in on the third line.

It's hard to believe that Palat is only eight points behind Nathan MacKinnon in the rookie scoring race and is a plus-22. Johnson is only one point behind MacKinnon and is a plus-17. I have MacKinnon, Johnson, Palat and Kucherov in my 25-year keeper league. The last time I had that kind of rookie success on my team at the same time, their names were Kopitar, Radulov, Stastny and some Malkin guy.

More Lightning stuff - Radko Gudas had four shots on goal, five hits and four blocked shots. Palat has seven points in his last four games.

Interesting stat I saw on TV. Martin St. Louis has 16 points since not being named to Team Canada. That leads all Canadians.

I love that Nikita Kucherov puts up points despite low ice time. He is what you want all prospects to be. We get upset that our offensive prospect gets called up only to play on the fourth line for nine or 10 minutes. The prospect is held off the scoresheet and gets sent back down two games later. Then we get mad at the coach. But what the coach wants to see is this. Kucherov (and for awhile we saw this with Tyler Toffoli, too) chips in regardless of line and linemates. He's a future star.

*

Speaking of future stars, if I wasn't convinced before I certainly am now. Jonathan Bernier will be a star goalie and beginning next year he is going to start banging out 35-win seasons like nobody's business. And not just because of this save:

Interesting note from Daren Millard on Twitter last night - Jonathan Bernier is 7-1-2 this year when facing 40 shots or more. Doesn't it always seem to be that way? I don't know, growing up with the Leafs it always seemed like they won when they were outshot, but lost when they weren't.

Nazem Kadri, who was star of the game, has nine points in his last seven games and has really turned his game around after a terrible December slump. Hopefully you picked him up for a low price last month.

*

I was shocked to see Boston score six times and Brad Marchand gets zero. He's been that hot lately. The Bruins absolutely feasted on their old goaltender Timmy Thomas.

Jarome Iginla has seven points and is plus-7 in the last three games. That's all it takes - three games and he's suddenly back to being a 55-point, plus-20 guy. Fantasy hockey really turns on a dime, doesn't it?

With points in two straight and nine shots on goal, it's starting to look like Loui Eriksson has finally found his comfort zone. It's a start, anyway.

*

Aleksander Barkov is actually (co-) leading the Panthers in scoring. Yes, he's on pace for 39 points, but still…

Barkov is out with a knee injury, too. He's missed three games now, but is day-to-day.

*

Well the Flyers didn't need it, but Steve Mason owners sure did. A 33-save shutout. To me, that was his first good game of 2014 (10 appearances). Yes, he's had wins, but it had been the team holding the shots down. This time, even though they scored five, he did face a lot of rubber and stopped them all.

*

Henrik Zetterberg missed his second straight last night with that ongoing back injury. We'll always be dealing with that and Zetterberg. Let's just hope it doesn't get worse. We can still appreciate his fantasy value at 70 games a season, but not much lower than that. Zetterberg missed just four games over the last three years, but the back issue has always been there.

No Zetterberg or Datsyuk in this Detroit line combos:

 

18.43%

EV

11 ALFREDSSON,DANIEL - 71 CLEARY,DANIEL - 43 HELM,DARREN

14.51%

EV

17 EAVES,PATRICK - 41 GLENDENING,LUKE - 20 MILLER,ANDREW

14.12%

EV

8 ABDELKADER,JUSTIN - 18 ANDERSSON,JOAKIM - 14 NYQUIST,GUSTAV

9.41%

EV

26 JURCO,TOMAS - 15 SHEAHAN,RILEY - 21 TATAR,TOMAS

4.71%

EV

14 NYQUIST,GUSTAV - 15 SHEAHAN,RILEY - 21 TATAR,TOMAS

Detroit is now just outside of the playoffs. How do they get in with no Zetterberg and Datsyuk?

*

In his career, Anton Khudobin is 25-9-1 with two shutouts while playing for three different teams. He, Stalock and Greiss are my three favorite backups in terms of who could be a valuable fantasy commodity next season as a starter. Only 30 jobs out there though, and that's the difficulty with finding your next sleeper stud goalie.

*

I mentioned earlier about St. Louis and the Team Canada announcement, and here is another fact related to that. Since being named to Team Canada, PK Subban has three points and is minus-10 in nine games.

*

You ever have one of those great nights? That was my night last night across all three keeper leagues. The highlight though was in one league where my goalies are Mason, Anderson and Halak (two of them with shutouts, all three won and played well).

*

Michael Del Zotto got his first point for the Preds. Still not on the power play though and as such I can't recommend him.

It amazes me how Craig Smith still doesn't get top PP time. Another two assists last night, up to 33 points, leads the team in plus/minus and goals, second in shots. He needs 22 points in 27 games to reach 55. I think he gets there with or without Trotz's help.

*

Here is my article in The Hockey News on Jacob Trouba. I also touch on Johnson, Sekera, Ennis and Nyquist…

At this point it's pretty clear that Devin Setoguchi is done. He's losing his PP time and his linemates and I wouldn't touch him in any pool, any format except maybe hits - it's almost like he's becoming a crash-and-banger instead of a scorer now.

Blake Wheeler is up to 27th in NHL scoring now. And rising. He'll end in the Top 20 easily. Mark it!

*

Antoine Vermette is white hot and I strongly urge you to grab him. A five-game points streak, with eight points and plus-5, 16 shots on goal. Still only 26% owned in Yahoo.

*

Mikael Backlund, by all accounts from the Calgary media, is playing his best hockey and has often been the best Flame. It hasn't shown up in points really, but maybe yesterday's two points will be the catalyst for that. Injuries have stunted his development, or I think he'd be a star by now. But now I wonder if he ever will. He needs to stay healthy and keep this momentum up or he'll just be another Chuck Kobasew.

That Chicago - Calgary game was a game in which both starting goalies were pulled. Raanta and Berra each got the hook after giving up four goals.

*

Mikael Granlund has four points in three games since Zach Parise returned. Not playing on the same line, but the team dynamic has changed and it helps everyone. Line combos last night:

 

16.67%

EV

3 COYLE,CHARLIE - 22 NIEDERREITER,NINO - 11 PARISE,ZACH

16.67%

EV

64 GRANLUND,MIKAEL - 15 HEATLEY,DANY - 29 POMINVILLE,JASON

15.33%

EV

21 BRODZIAK,KYLE - 24 COOKE,MATT - 14 FONTAINE,JUSTIN

 

*

Alex Ovechkin had four points last night and has six in the two games since his return.

Still looking for his first goal, but Martin Erat has four assists and is plus-5 in his last two games. Here were his linemates:

 

20.35%

EV

19 BACKSTROM,NICKLAS - 90 JOHANSSON,MARCUS - 8 OVECHKIN,ALEXANDER

18.18%

EV

20 BROUWER,TROY - 10 ERAT,MARTIN - 21 LAICH,BROOKS

9.52%

EV

83 BEAGLE,JAY - 25 CHIMERA,JASON - 43 WILSON,TOM

7.79%

EV

16 FEHR,ERIC - 42 WARD,JOEL - 48 WELLMAN,CASEY

6.93%

EV

83 BEAGLE,JAY - 25 CHIMERA,JASON - 42 WARD,JOEL

Yet Erat got both of his points while playing with Ovechkin. I wonder if Adam Oates will give him another shot there.

Gorgeous Mike Green OT goal from Ovy:

*

Linus Omark is losing his job to Phil Varone? It's funny that the last Prospects Rankings I did (January 10) I deleted Varone from the list. Not a future NHLer. I knew it years ago, but I keep prospects on the 700-plus player template just in case. So I did a rare thing and deleted him. And then a week later the Sabres call him up. Anyway, he's played four games and has two points. Omark should be embarrassed.

*

Weber will be suspended for this cheap shot on Backstrom, who stayed in the game:

 


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Comments (11)add comment

number54 said:

number54
MDZ Weber left the game with a UBI last night and didn't return so, if anything, I would suggest keeping an eye on Del Zotto (and Weber's injury) because he may be inches from serious fantasy value if Weber's injury keeps him sidelined. I don't think they've released an update on Weber yet, so we'll have to wait and see.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

letnry said:

letnry
... Granlund did play the majority of the powerplay along with Parise.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

slopoke said:

slopoke
Kucherov Dobber - I agree with your assessment. I have watched lots of TB games this year, and noticed that this kid (20 years old) seems to have the combination of skating, great vision, and the soft hands to make it work. I have seen him make some beautiful passes in the offensive zone setting up great scoring chances. Unfortunately, thus far in his developing career, the line mate has often fumbled the pass, shot it wide, or directed it right at the goalie. The day may come when he gets top 6 line mates on a consistent basis, and when that happens ... watch out. Regardless, this kid displays talent (especially the creative vision) that might some day translate into better numbers.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +1

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Hey Mabus, 28 days after a monthly rankings list is posted is the absolute worst time to ask about them. Couldn't be more dated. Surprised Gretzky isn't on the list somewhere. smilies/grin.gif
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

mabus said:

mabus
... ...and was able to get Trouba for Faulk who is 46 on the list. I guess only time will tell if it was a good or bad move, but right now it's looking smart.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

mabus said:

mabus
Trouba Interesting how fortunes can swing in a month. I acquired Trouba just after Christmas, and in doing research was surprised to see him so low on your list of keeper defencemen. Am I assuming that with one month of solid production he's going to go from the 90th best D-man to own in a keeper league to a top 20 guy? Maybe you can explain why his ranking was so low before this recent string of production, because it was off the charts low compared to the other places I was looking.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

marsid6687 said:

marsid6687
Palat Just picked up Palat for D. Brown. Here's hoping he's the one that skates with Stamkos & St. Louis and not Killorn.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... I think Wheeler will always be 18th to 28th at the end of each season because he's an 82-game player.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

Still learning said:

Still learning
... So Dobber, you think that Wheeler will finish in the top 20 this year. Do you think he can do it for the 5-6 next year?

Thanks for the rambling in if you have time to answer it will be so appreciated.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +2

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
... There's no such thing as being Gilbert Brule'd. We just had #BellLetsTalk day and Brule's mental issues have been pretty well disclosed at this point. He didn't succeed in the NHL for that reason, not because he played a few games at age 18. Backlund is playing the best hockey of his career, but he was never more than a second line center anyways. He's finally starting to play to his potential, but that potential was never to be a star or a 1c or eve a 65 point player. He's just an average second line guy and that's all he's ever had the potential to be, and that development has been delayed by injuries, not by being "rushed". Ideally his game and skill set is more suited for an offensive-minded third line checking center anyways.on a decent team he's a 3c that provides some offense.

As for the Bernier save, it's his job to try and cover as much of the lower net as possible. Every starter and most backups in the NHL would have made that save if they have proper mechanics, St. Louis shot it in to his pad. TSN showed a replay that clearly showed the shot hit is leg pad, and just fell in to his glove. Not trying to hate on Bernier, but St. Louis screwed up more than he made an amazing play. He just let himself get hit with the puck.

I can't believe Khudobin isn't the starter in Carolina. Well I can, because of Ward's contract, but he is the real deal. I couldn't believe when he didn't get more offers this offseason from more goaltender needy teams.

Thanks for the ramblings and all your hard work Dobbs! Your work is always fantastic and appreciated!
January 29, 2014
Votes: +0

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Backlund So you're saying that Mikael Backlund could become another Chuck Kobasew by having been Gilbert Brule'd by Calgary? Let's hope it does not happen because with their rebuild they will be playing these young prospects by default. Flames management needs to be cautious with Monahan, Backlund and Bartschi as well as their young goalers.
January 29, 2014
Votes: +1
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