Ramblings – Johnny Hockey is too late, Fox without Lindgren, Hagel’s potential and more (May 10) – DobberHockey
For the 15the time in 16 years (damn lockout), i offer a playoff draft list for your playoff pools. This one will be available for download on Monday (so it might be available as you read this). I had to stop working on them to write these Ramblings, but even with this little delay, I expect to have them ready by noon (Eastern Standard Time). It’s an interactive list – you select your digging teams, run the rankings on the spreadsheet, and you get your draft list. You can therefore print some scenarios. I’ll include my own list as well, in case you don’t want to get the job done. You will need Excel and you will need the macros to be authorized. You can run them on Google Sheets, but the macros won’t work – you’ll have to sort them out manually (that’s okay, you’re just missing the cool stuff). Pick it up here.
Last week I mentioned the creation of an expanded NHL Draft Preview Number to accompany the Fantasy Prospects Report. I am now announcing that we have put this on hold. We will come back to this idea next year. This year, we will stick to the RPF as you have always seen it. I will be putting this up for sale in about three weeks.
Those of you who have subscribed to DobberHockey Guides (thanks), you might have noticed a penny charge yesterday. It was the only way to push the subscription date back to May 15th. This is the first time that we have offered subscriptions, so there are still a few issues that need to be addressed. When next year’s products become available, if you’ve signed up, you’ll definitely have access to them when they launch, assuming the May 15 payout is working properly.
Brandon Hagel has quietly built himself into an interesting fantastic option. As well as making the team unexpectedly a good two years ahead of my expectations, he then stayed (equally unexpected) throughout the season. Once he entered the roster, Chicago never took him out. His ice time slowly increased from 12:49 per game in the first quarter to 3:44 pm in the last quarter. His line mates used to include names like “Carpenter” and “Kampf”. Now? They include “DeBrincat” and “Dach”. On Sunday he performed with Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev. With a pair of points on Sunday, Hagel now has nine points in his last 10 games. He has 21 points in his last 35. Next season he will face Kurashev and Alex Nylander for a key place in the top six. And while Hagel probably has the lowest edge of the three, I’m starting to believe he’s closer to the three than being a definite contributor. It’s only a question of whether it will be a 35-40 point player in the bottom six, or a 55-60 point player on the second row.
Despite a drastically dropping shooting percentage, Kubalik has managed to keep his points-per-game average tied with last year’s impressive numbers (55-point pace). He seemed to be struggling a bit with a sophomore crunch all season, but he provided enough assists to maintain his fantastic appeal. His 5on5 S% indicates a lower puck chance (certainly lower than last year) and his S% dipping from 19.1 to 10.9 was a big drop. His shooting volume has grown again this season and his PPIPP has risen to a solid 77.8%. It tells me that his goal tally will increase again next year. While his 30 goals in 2019-20 were a bit too high, he’s shooting more pucks at the net, which should make up for it. I think he goes over 30 against next season – maybe 35 via over 220 shots.
After eight days off, rookie goaltender Kevin Lankinen came back strong, stopping 37 of 39. Assuming they don’t play him two nights in a row, it’s great to see Lankinen finish on a high note with a start of. quality like that. The three Chicago goalkeepers signed one-way deals next year. And looking at the numbers, none of them had statistics worth starting. The Hawks have anointed Lankinen as their guy and will continue to push this narrative forward. With Jonathan Toews (hopefully) back next season, the team is unlikely to have the capacity to recruit an established goalkeeper.
Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk was useless on Sunday, but he has accumulated eight points in his last 14 games. The 24-year-old was drafted at the age of 20 and was already a student, and then he can become a free agent if he wants to, even after just three years of college, once he turns pro. So Kalynuk didn’t sign with Philadelphia, the team that drafted him, and instead signed with Chicago. His college numbers were huge – 78 points in 110 games. He then scored 10 points in eight games with Rockford as an AHL rookie, and he continues to post huge numbers at the NHL level. Color impressed me. He takes an offensive role when Ian Mitchell couldn’t. He is still a little fragile defensively, and I wonder how he will handle the return of Adam Boqvist to full health next season. A situation to watch.
Johnny Hockey had three points on Sunday, giving him 15 points in his last 12 games. Too little too late for Calgary and its fancy owners. I had always considered him in this rare stratosphere of players who could reach 100 points and I thought he would have rebounded from a terrible 2019-20 to really surprise this year. But that was another failure. That late-season push in trivial games only rubs salt in the wound, doesn’t it? He needed Matt Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm on his line to do anything. In total, 24 of his ES points came to play with these two, whereas with Sean Monahan and (insert name here) he hadn’t done much at all.
I think the Flames are ripe for a youth injection next year. Monahan needs linemates and Dillon Dube and Derek Ryan don’t. Will Andrew Mangiapane take the next step? Is Glenn Gawdin, who collected his first NHL point on Sunday, part of the team? Or could they turn to one of their emerging phenomena – either Conor Zary (24 points in 15 WHL games) or Jakob Pelletier (43 points in 28 QMJHL games)?
Mark Giordano himself had a huge game for fantasy owners – if any owners still had it active. He had just played six games without a point so I’m sure a few put him on the bench. But on Sunday he had two points, was plus-2, with three BLKS and added five SOGs. He has had 17 SOGs in the last three games. He will be 38 in the fall and, as fit as he is, I would be stunned if he hit 40 points. His power-play time shouldn’t be as high as it is (2:36 per game in the last quarter). He has eight PPPs this season, after 11 last year and 21 the year before. Its firing volume is also declining.
Josh Norris, who scored on Sunday, looks very promising as a point-per-game scorer for Ottawa in the very near future. They gave her the first-line treatment all year round and her numbers have grown steadily. He had 15 points in the first 30 games and 19 in the next 25.
Other quick thoughts …
Colin Blackwell, the surprise of the year three weeks ago, has come down to Earth in earnest since then. He has gone unhelpful and has been under-8 in his last 11 games.
What happened to Anthony Cirelli? He ran out of the gate like a bat from hell with 15 points in 17 games, but then fell to just seven in his last 32. the time has doubled. And for that its production… has fallen? Some guys do better when they’re buried in a defensive role with weaker line mates. It’s strange, but I’ve seen it before.
Adam Fox – useless in six and under-4. The reason? No Ryan Lindgren. These two were tied at the hip and with Lindgren in the lineup, Fox was one of the main contenders for the Norris. No Lindgren? Fox seriously stumbled. It’s not a blow to Fox, but rather – he’s playing with K’Andre Miller, a rookie who won’t be Fox’s defensive conscience.
Tomas Hertl has really stepped up a gear in the home stretch, scoring 15 points in his last 10 games. He also has 32 points in his last 32 games.
If Vegas wins over Colorado tonight, then the Golden Knights win the President’s Trophy. Fifteen teams have never won the President’s Trophy, and 11 teams have never been top in the NHL standings (that is, four of those 15 teams were first, but this trophy did not exist. again). So Vegas will win this trophy ahead of 14 teams.
I said “too little too late” about Johnny Gaudreau, but that’s not technically true. Calgary could win their remaining four games and Montreal could lose their last two. It’s just very doubtful. And that’s what it would take to bring Calgary in (and I should put Calgary players back on my playoff draft list!).
Two coaches have split from their squad: John Tortorella left Columbus after six seasons and Rick Tocchet left Arizona after four seasons.
See you next Monday.