June 5, 2023
Ramblings: Be patient with slow starts;  return and replacement in case of injury;  Appreciate Volume Goalkeepers (Oct. 26)

Ramblings: Be patient with slow starts; return and replacement in case of injury; Appreciate Volume Goalkeepers (Oct. 26)

We’re a few weeks into the season and there are definitely a few slow starters that I’m looking at, some that I certainly didn’t expect to have to worry about so early on.

Vitek Vanecek – Goalkeepers are the definition of fickleness, and that’s especially true with small sample sizes. When that goalie is on a new team and has to both get used to a new defender and the incumbent gets a new chance. Mackenzie Blackwood was rocked the other night and then Vanecek putting in a decent performance against Detroit could be a sign the tide is changing.

Jonathan Huberdeau – Huberdeau’s points aren’t too far off his pace from last year, a couple of jumps and he’s back in action. However, the rest of the numbers are worrying. His time on the ice has dropped to levels not seen since his sophomore year a decade ago (under 17 minutes per game). Hubs are also used in a more defensive role than in previous years. Last year he started 70% of his shifts in the offensive zone, and this year that number has dropped to 45%.

There is an adjustment period for players with new teams, but especially so when usage and expectations change so drastically. There will be a drop from last season and that may be especially true for shot counts and other peripherals. At least teammate Nazem Kadri has adjusted well. It probably won’t be too long before these two are brought together to ignite Huberdeau, which should work as Lindholm’s line will likely continue to have defensive responsibility while a Huberdeau/Kadri combo would enjoy all the offensive starts, which they have could handle.

Kyle Connor – Winnipeg was very inconsistent at the start of the year and that affected everyone across the lineup. Like Huberdeau, Connor’s ice age and shot rate has dropped slightly this year with the new trainer. He also shoots just five percent, three times less than his career average. Balance his shooting percentage with an extra two goals on top of his career average and he’s pretty close to his usual self. Nothing to worry about, especially with the easy schedule Winnipeg has ahead of it over the next three weeks.

Pavel Buchnevich – The nagging injury that has kept him out of the line-up since game one was hard to spot, but Buch has made the most of his one game so far. The problem is that when everyday injuries drag on longer than expected, they almost always become a background issue for the rest of the season if the player decides to just play it through. The Blues also need the help as they haven’t shown much offense overall and have had one of the lighter game schedules in the NHL so far.

Rick has a deeper dive into Buchnevich on Forum Buzz this week. He also needs a few more questions for this month’s monthly mailbag. To ask him your question you can either send a private message to “rizzeedizzee” via the DobberHockey forums or send an email to [email protected] with “Roos Mailbag” as the subject.

Teuvo Teravainen – He was already dropped off in one of my leagues, and I picked him up as soon as he got out of the waivers (the perks of getting up at odd times and trying to get a one-year-old back to sleep). He’s been one of the more consistent wingers over the past five years, posting at least a 60-point pace in four of the last five seasons (the only one he hasn’t posted was a season greatly cut short by injury). .

Playing with the same linemates this year, with the same time on the ice, bringing up his usual shot counts and his underlying counts reflect his usual attitude. The biggest problem is that he still hasn’t put the puck in the net on 16 shots. Just like Kyle Connor, if he got back to his career shooting percentage norm there would be nothing to talk about here as he would be spot on at his usual 65 point pace.


Last night we saw a couple of rookies take bigger chances due to some injuries and it’s situations you should keep an eye on.

Miro Heiskanen misses the game with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Nils Lundkvist saw his ice age leap and was on the ice last night for the most power play ice time among any stars. He hasn’t scored a point but he still has three points in seven games and if Heiskanen is out for an extended period, Lundkvist’s goal-scoring pace should rise above a point every two games.

Ondrej Palat was also added late to the injured player list and we saw Alexander Holtz take his spot in the top nine. He failed to find the scoring charts, but with his shot and the dominance of this year’s New Jersey offense coming in waves at the opposition, Holtz should fit in seamlessly.

Erik Haula took Palat’s place at the top and spent the game alongside Jack Hughes and the red-hot Jesper Bratt. Haula is still looking for his first point of the season, but he’s worth adding to the roster while he’s on that line and brings a wide range of peripherals to boot. He was initially handed an assist for Hughes’ goal last night but it was later taken away from him. It’s only a matter of time.


Last night was Matt Grzelcyk’s third game after returning from injury. He has points on all three points despite still not usurping Hampus Lindholm in the first powerplay session. This unit has been absolutely dominant for the Bruins and if Lindholm sticks with it for another two months or so until McAvoy returns then it is well worth owning and could be a cheaper DFS play in the short term as well.


In yet another injury return, Patrik Laine was playing in his second game of the season and was back a week earlier than expected. He didn’t make much of an impact on the game, but he’ll be set for the upcoming games in Finland and will be of great help to the Blue Jackets as they try to break their big slump with man advantage. They’re now 0-17, which is a big surprise considering how good their top unit is and that they have a solid second unit on paper. It won’t be low for long.


Alex Stalock put on another entertaining performance in the Blackhawks’ win last night. I’m not kidding, he’s the most entertaining goalkeeper I’ve seen in a long time. Very aggressive and always makes himself felt when the puck is around him.

I’ve already added him in two leagues as he’s winning games and seeing a tremendous number of shots. He has been out of the NHL for a while with some heart issues but he looks healthy and in great shape at the moment. He’s never back-to-back two solid seasons, but he does show up for an exceptional 30 games or so every four years.

As someone who hates spending any kind of hefty draft capital drafting a keeper and refuses to give up a solid skater for a keeper of equal value, Stalock is just the kind of hot keeper I love hanging out with drive to the next 20 games or so Shiny goalie comes along.


Speaking of goalies who can run, Connor Ingram seems to thrive when he sees a heavy workload. It’s working well for Arizona, and as he adjusts with the team’s defense, he looks like he’s getting a lot more comfortable and putting in a handful of performances where he only allows a goal or two on 40 shots. His first start, in which he scored five goals in 29 shots, is the flip side of the coin, that’s the risk with any goalie, especially when you look at a player who plays for Arizona (or Chicago). .


It’s fun to read about how Phil Kessel broke the NHL Ironman record last night.


you find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean if you have questions or comments about fantasy hockey.

Until next Wednesday!

#Ramblings #patient #slow #starts #return #replacement #case #injury #Volume #Goalkeepers #Oct

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