My original plan was to begin today’s Morning Thoughts by covering the Flyers-Wild game but then the Andrew Ladd trade happened so I’ll touch on that first. I say touch on because I already wrote my thoughts on the Ladd trade so I’ll just briefly state my opinion here. If you want a more in-depth look, I suggest heading over to the article.
Chicago’s offense undoubtedly improves with the addition of Ladd but I believe that the Hawks overpaid. I love Ladd as much as the next guy but they gave up arguably their best prospect in Marko Dano and a first round pick to get him. I remember seeing Dano play in Columbus and the guy looked fantastic. I’m a big believer in his potential and think he’ll become a 60+ scorer in this league. Let’s also remember that Ladd only has 34 points this year and has never broken 65 points in a full season before. I’m not saying Ladd’s bad, but maybe that he’s not such a great offensive weapon, especially considering that he’s up their in age. Maybe I’d change my mind about the trade if the Hawks could resign him but I don’t see how that could be a possibility. Chicago already has such little cap space and Artemi Panarin is going to get a huge payday at the start of the 2017 season. Ladd will help the Hawks now but in the future (if the Hawks don’t win the Cup this year), this trade has the potential to be one of those trades where you look back and say, “We gave up Dano for who?”. Now, notice how I said if the Hawks don’t win the Cup. If they do win the Cup, basically this is all null and void because I don’t care how much you have to mortgage the future; it’s worth it if you win a Cup. But that’s a big if…
I said I was going to be brief about the trade but that didn’t happen so let’s just go to the Flyers-Wild game. The Flyers beat the Wild 3-2 last night with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare getting the game-winning goal. Both teams were without their top players with Claude Giroux and Zach Parise out with injuries. Thomas Vanek continued his hot streak last night with a power-play goal and assist, giving him five points in the last five games. Ever since Mike Yeo was fired, Vanek has looked like a new player. In fact, both Vanek and Mikael Granlund have been on fire lately, even more so Granlund. With his goal last night, Granlund now has seven points in his last eight games. In fantasy leagues, both of these guys have been amazing and I suggest adding them if they’re available.
Wow, a Mark Streit sighting! Last night, Streit scored a powerplay goal, his fifth goal of the year and only his 13th point of the season. Granted, he has missed significant time with injury but I’m sure most people were expecting more than 13 points in 41 games, a measly 26 point pace for the full year, from him. Believe it or not, this is Streit’s first goal and second point since January 13th. Hard to accept that he scored 52 points last year.
The Carolina Hurricanes lost to Toronto yesterday, 3-1. John-Michael Liles was the lone goal scorer for the Hurricanes with Eric Staal picking up the assist. For the Leafs, P.A. Parenteau scored a goal and an assist while Brad Boyes had a power play goal. Even though Parenteau and Boyes have been doing well for the Leafs, I would expect to see them traded by the deadline. Toronto is stockpiling picks for the draft and would love to add more by trading some of the guys who don’t have a contract next year.
It was also announced yesterday that both Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsydk would miss the rest of the season with injuries.
The St. Louis Blues were unable to beat the Rangers and lost 2-1. Tanner Glass scored the first goal of the game and his second of the season while Chris Kreider scored the second goal for the Rangers. Both goalies had good nights but Henrik Lundqvist was fantastic. He stopped 35 shots out of 36 to give him a .972 save percentage for the night.
The Blue Jackets were able to destroy the Devils, scoring six goals while only allowing one. Nick Foligno had a hat trick and an assist, Matt Calvert had three assists, and William Karlsson had three assists.
While I’m sure most of you didn’t have either one of Calvert or Karlsson going in your fantasy leagues, Foligno owners must have been ecstatic. With those four points, Foligno now brings up his totals to 32 points in 53 games, about a 50 point pace for a full year. Not many people expected Foligno to repeat his 70-point season from last but I think Foligno can do better than what he’s doing now. He may not get to play next to Ryan Johansen anymore but I think he’ll hover in the 55-60 point range. Maybe this is the beginning of a hot streak for him.
Reid Boucher scored the lone goal for the Devils and has actually been very good over the past few games. In his past eight games, Boucher has scored three goals, four assists, and taken 22 shots. Not bad for a guy that the Devils love to scratch. Boucher is still fairly young and has seen his ice time increase lately yet is barely owned in Yahoo fantasy leagues. Boucher could hold some nice short-term value for those in deep leagues.
Talk about a bad night for both of the Devil’s goalies. Cory Schneider started the game but was pulled after 20 minutes. He finished the night with eight saves on 11 shots for a .727 save percentage. Keith Kinkaid didn’t fare much better in relief, allowing three goals on 13 shots for only a .769 save percentage. Schneider has been phenomenal this year but has had a couple terrible games in a row now. In the past five games, Schneider has only posted a save percentage above .900 once! He’ll break out of this slump soon, especially considering that before this, Schneider was next to unbeatable.
The Florida Panthers defeated the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 3-2. Shane Doan picked up a goal and an assist, giving him 37 points on the year. Doan has been surprisingly productive this year in the desert; he has already surpassed last year’s point totals and he’s done it in 27 fewer games. He even has 10 points in his last 10 games. However, while I like Doan, I think his pace will slow down. The main reason why Doan has been so productive this year is his massive spike in shooting percentage. Doan’s career average shooting percentage is 10.4% while this year he is shooting 17.6%. Doan isn’t getting any younger and I highly doubt he’ll be able to maintain that shooting percentage so I’d try to trade him if I owned him on my fantasy team while he’s hot.
For the Panthers, Aleksander Barkov scored two goals, one game-winner and one powerplay. Barkov has been scoring like crazy lately as he has six goals in just as many games. Barkov has been exceptional this season and is justifying why the Panthers took him with their 2nd overall draft pick (and his new contract).
The Predators defeated the Blackhawks 3-1, riding a strong performance by Pekka Rinne. Rinne’s numbers may not be too good this season but he played quite a game against the Hawks. Rinne finished the night with 38 saves on 39 shots for a .974 save percentage. Crawford played well too, having a .936 save percentage throughout the game but ultimately couldn’t get the win. Brent Seabrook scored the Blackhawks first and last goal while Mike Fisher assisted on the first two Nashville goals.
The Jets thoroughly beat the Stars last night by a score of 6-3. At the start of the game, Winnipeg scored the first three goals to take a 3-0 lead until the Stars rallied back for three straight goals. Sadly though, it would all be in vain because the Jets scored the next three goals. The big producer of the game was Mark Scheifele collecting a goal, three assists, a + 3 rating, four shots, and the game-winning goal. In the past four games, Scheifele now has three goals and four assists. Other important Winnipeg contributors were Joel Armia, who scored two goals and added an assist, and Jacob Trouba, who scored a goal and an assist. Michael Hutchinson secured the win by stopping 27 out of Dallas’ 30 shots. For the Stars, Jason Spezza scored two goals and Patrick assisted on both of them.
The Islanders won against the Flames and were able to bring their record to 7-2 in the past nine games. Jiri Hudler scored Calgary’s only goal while Thomas Hickey and Josh Bailey scored the two goals for New York. Both goalies in the game played very well. Jon Ortio made 32 saves for a .941 save percentage while Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves for a .969 save percentage.
Vancouver managed to beat Ottawa 5-3 last night. Matt Bartkowski had two goals and an assist for his first ever two-goal game and Emerson Etem scored two goals. The last one may have been an empty-netter but it still counts, bringing Etem to three goals on the year. Jake Virtanen had the Canucks other goal and he also assisted on Bartkowski’s second goal. For Ottawa, Mark Stone scored a short-handed goal, his 20th goal of the season. Dion Phaneuf and Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted two assists.
Jonathan Quick and the Kings won against the Oilers by a score of 2-1. Quick had 26 saves and a .963 save percentage. But as good as Quick was, the real stars of the game were the That 70’s Line players. No, not the line with Tanner Pearson. This modified version of the 70’s line has Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Dwight King. Each one of those three players had two points last nigh and did the most damage against the Oilers.