Jussi Jokinen with another three points for the Penguins in their recent win over the Boston Bruins. That's eight in six games for the erstwhile Hurricane and his second three point night for Pittsburgh. I will continue to laugh at the fact the rest of the NHL could have had this player for nothing and that Carolina basically paid Pittsburgh to take him off their hands.

 

*

 

As I type this, the Leafs are ahead of the Senators 2-1 despite being outshot 34-14 through two periods. This has become something of a habit for Randy Carlyle's team this year - in their last five games (excluding the current one), the Leafs have been outshot 174-132 (-42), or an average of 8.4 shots per game. That's really ugly.

 

The Leafs have the worst overall shot differential of any team currently in playoff position currently (-5.3/game). To put that in perspective, the playoff club with worst shot differential last year was the Nashville Predators (-3.2/game) and Toronto's own SD in 2011-12 was a much healthier -2.5/game. Which is to say, the Maple Leafs success this season is almost certainly a mirage. Getting widely outshot is a bad strategy long-term and teams who rely on high-end goaltending or high shooting percentages to win don't usually manage to keep that going indefinitely.

 

Toronto will certainly make the post-season due to the shortened season, but it's unlikely they will make much noise there. Unless they can stop spending so much time in their own end, that is. 

 

*

 

On the other end of the spectrum is the New Jersey Devils, a team with one of the best shot differentials (+5.2/game) in the league but are nevertheless going to miss the dance. The Devils (finally) managed to score some goals and defeat the Panthers 5-2 on Saturday, but it's too little too late for a club that is fundamentally stronger than their record indicates. Like the Kings last season who struggled to score for more than three quarters of the year, the Devils probably woud have been able to turn things around in the long-term if they had an 82 game runway. Alas, the lock-out means they're going to run out of time.

 

*

 

Steve Mason is in the middle of his third straight start for the Philadelphia at the time of publishing tonight. In his previous two starts, he stopped 95%+ of the shots he faced, so it's hard to question the decision. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the Flyers crease for the rest of the year and if Philly decides to buy-out the huge Ilya Bryzgalov contract

 

*

The New York Islanders Cinderella story is a bit more legitimate than the Leafs. After beating the Winnipeg 5-4 in OT on Satruday, they are now 6th in the East with 53 points, four up on the ninth placed Jets. Despite having a bit of a "Island of misfit toys" feel, New York actually has a number of high quality player at various areas on the roster. Top of the pyramid is, of course, John Tavares who has 26 goals and 45 points in 45 games this year. 

 

Add in capable two-way center Frans Nielsen, supporting sniper Matt Moulson (who very quietly has 42 points this year) as well as Lubomir Visnovsky, Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and the Islanders could be a handful for whoever they face in the first round.

 

*

 

Like the Devils, the Detroit Red Wings are a good team that has gone cold at the wrong time. The 3-2 loss to the Flames on Wednesday night was especially ironic (for both clubs): on the heels of Jimmy Howards six year, $30M+ extension, Calgary won on a pair of, uh...dubious strikes by Steve Begin of all people. As a result, the Flames got a much un-needed win while the loss pushed Detroit from the playoff picture. 

 

And that's where they remain after a shoot-out loss to Vancouver last night. Despite outshooting the Canucks 34-14 (!), only Cory Emmerton could sneak one past Schneider in regulation.

 

The Wings are one point back of Columbus for eighth in the West, so it's entirely possible they will be able to keep their incredible 22-year playoff streak alive. They'll need guys like Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen to get on the scoresheet a bit more frequently in their final four games to make it happen though. Oh, and Jimmy Howard to assist on less opposition goals as well.

 

*

 

Speaking of the Howard signing, it was a surprising move for a franchise that has historically chosen not to pay a lot for goaltending. The Red Wings model has always seemed to be collect as many high-end skaters as possible and then muddle through with whatever puck-stopping they can find *cough* Osgood *cough*. Perhaps the move to a more conventional model (where one finds and keeps good goaltending) is in reaction to the retirement of Nick Lidstrom as well as the aging of Dastyuk and Zetterberg, who aren't going either elite or around forever.

 

As for Howard, I was surprised by how good his results actually are when I looked them up recently (Flames game aside). His career save rate in 230 games is an above average .917. He has also managed a very good-to-excellent even strength save percentage in three of the last four seasons (.925, .929 and .933 this year). 

 

The only problem for Detroit could be the length of the contract. Howard is already 29-years old. His deal begins next season when he'll turn 30 and runs until 2019. That's a lot of seasons and therefore ample opportunity for things to go wrong. If Howard hits a wall in his mid-30's and is average or below average, then the Wings won't even be able to give away a contract like that. As we've seen with Luongo this year, moving goalies with big dollars isn't easy. That goes double if they are older and not very good anymore.

 

*

 

The Flames face off against the Minnesota Wild this afternoon and you can bet most of their fans (me included) will be cheering for a loss. Against all odds, Calgary is 5-5-0 in their last 10, including two straight wins over the aforementioned Wings as well as Anaheim on Friday night. Calgary now sits 25th in the league, which would place them sixth overall for the entry draft in June (absent a lottery win). That's bad news on a couple of fronts - first because there is a clear top tier of talent in this draft consisting of guys like Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Alexsander Barkov. At sixth, the Flames would be just outside that tier and the franchise desperately needs to pick a potential generational talent.

 

In addition, the organization has never picked inside the top five in the draft and the two other times they chose sixth during their "young guns" rebuild of the late '90's, the club took Rico Fata and Daniel Tkaczuk; names that are punchlines in Flames fan circles.

 

On the bight side for Calgary, some of their rookies have come in and not looked out of place as they stive to dive for five. Sven Baertschi in particular, who struggled in his initial stint with the club earlier in the year, has points in four straight games and has seen his ice time climb to more than 15 minutes on three separate occassions recently.

 

Baertschi probably isn't useful fantasy material this year, but keep an eye on him as a depth option in next season's drafts.

 


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Comments (22)add comment

olgrit22 said:

olgrit22
... I read Kent's articles for FlamesNation on twitter and find them very interesting and informative. I agree completely with his take on the shortcomings of Flames management and ways they can improve themselves going forward. I also am a big fan of his usage of advanced statistics to get his point across as this is an aspect of hockey I think isn't touched on enough. Unfortunately, the writing style he employs at FlamesNation doesn't translate we'll to the Sunday ramblings. While I appreciate he is trying something new in regards to the format of the ramblings, it doesn't appear as if he's gotten the message on the expectations of the readers of this website.

People want a summation of last night's games with a fantasy bent to them. They don't want to read about Jussi Jokinen or the Flames rebuild for the third week in the row. They also don't want to read an article that was written and submitted well before the majority of the games were played that evening. Kent, you are a terrific writer who has a lot to offer Dobberhockey. However, please consider the daily ramblings are what got most of the readers to this site in the first place. You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Good luck.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

NinjaKiller said:

NinjaKiller
Nichols and Autism Rain Man...that made me laugh. I actually like Nichols ramblings...but the comment still made me laugh.

April 21, 2013
Votes: +1

shingy said:

shingy
Ramblings
Might as well give as much feedback as possible since we've already started.

I'm a dobber fan and have only ever said positives things about him, his work and this site. Love it. But he can't be reading these ramblings, he can't. They just don't fit.
Thanks to Kent for his hard work and effort, and I'd read his work if I came across it anywhere else(considering we are all starved for almost anything fantasy related to read), but based on the ramblings I've been reading for 5+ years, I'm not getting any advantage anymore reading this. I learn much more just looking at the box scores. Ramblings usually give an edge or advantage or a heads up to a situation and not just a general read on things. Still appreciated though.

April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

Rain Man said:

Spec7ral
... While I agree the ramblings aren't as packed with info as Dobber or Angus, at least you can read them. Nichols read like he has autism.
April 21, 2013
Votes: -1

pull the goalie said:

pull the goalie
... Each paragraph is an interesting take on the state of a few teams, however I also agree that Sundays should cover more player news and predictions to get a jump on the next weeks games.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

gfunkb7 said:

gfunkb7
... A 8:09pm written rambling doesn't cover much information. Also agree on Seadawg's take. Please keep it short and concise. IMO, this is not a column with an intro, development and conclusion, although some of your points are still interesting.

Keep on improving next week. Good luck.

April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

NinjaKiller said:

NinjaKiller
Need a change Have got to agree with some of the comments here...Kent's ramblings have not been up to par. I'm not usually a hater...but these are particularly bad. I feel I need to add my voice to the others who are pointing this out. It is especially bad since he has Sunday...the day after the busiest night in the NHL.

By the way, Bryzgalov started on April 18th, so it is not Mason's 3rd straight start. It is only one in a row.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

hellboy said:

hellboy
agreed Sorry to pile on Kent, but i have to agree whole-heartedly with the other comments. The sunday ramblings just have not been useful. They are more water cooler discussion than fantasy related.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

4horsemen said:

4horsemen
... Not sure if you watched CBC's coverage of the Leafs game last night but they pretty much spent an entire section talking about the shot differential and arguing the different angles. I do agree that it's a bit worrying to see them getting outshot so often BUT there's a lot of method to Carlyle's madness. The Leafs special teams have been where they really separate themselves from former Leafs teams. Their PK ranks third in the league, less than 1% behind the top two!! Their PP ranks 13th and is less than 1% behind three teams in front of them and they attempt to hold teams to the perimeter where shots are less effective. In fact, Healy pointed out that during his years with the Kings they were constantly outshot and that wasn't an issue for them at all because they were way more focused on eliminating quality chances than worrying about how much rubber was flying at the net. Different strokes for different folks but the point is that there's no one textbook way to win a hockey game.

Shot differential is a stat that could be massively skewed through a few horrific games and does not necessarily paint an accurate picture of what affect this has had on their 'fluky' wins (games they won while being outshot). Winning % when getting outshot is a FAR more important indicator of a teams 'luck factor' and the Leafs currently sit at 9th in the league!! Here are the teams who have higher winning percentages while being outshot:

Pittsburgh, Chicago, Anaheim, Montreal, Detroit, St Louis and Vancouver


Now for the icing on the cake. IF, as your logic suggests, the teams with the worst shot differentials are due to crash and burn while the teams with the best shot differentials are destined for success then it should follow that most teams have a higher winning percentage when they outshoot the opposition. The fact of the matter is that 16 teams have a higher winning percentage while outshooting the opposition (53%). That is obviously more than half but just barely...raises some very interesting questions.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
Sunday Ramblings I've been very disappointed with the Sunday ramblings since Kent took over. Nothing against Kent personally, but either he isn't being directed on how this site does the ramblings, or he is trying to go in a completely different direction, which isn't making the majority of the people who use this site very happy. I spoke my mind on the first Sunday Kent rambled, and haven't said anything since, but now that the last Sunday of the regular season has come and gone, I have to admit that when I needed the Sunday Ramblings most (during my season's Semis and Finals), they were completely useless to me.

The people who visit this site expect a summary of the Saturday night games with any major develops that affect fantasy hockey. We don't mind a bit of personal opinion and statistically discussion, but what happened last night? Well, Mike Smith returned from injury, in case anyone missed that. And with Phoenix on the playoff bubble, you can bet the 'Yotes are going to play him the rest of their games this week. Kovalchuk returned from injury, but was held pointless in 22 minutes of ice time. Did anyone know RNH is out for the season with shoulder surgery? With 5 games this week, I hope no one started RNH in their upcoming H2H leagues. Apparently the reining Norris trophy winner might be playing later this week.

The Sunday Ramblings are the most important of the week for most fantasy hockey participants and I think Kent should be trying to replicate the quality and quantity we have come to expect from the other writers on this site. I can understand someone wanting to put their personal voice into the ramblings, but I'd say that Angus, Dobber, adn others have found a way to do that while still giving the readers the information they are looking for.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

Ice Wings said:

Ice Wings
Sunday Ramblings I think something I am seeing that doesn't follow suit with the other days is the lack of predictions and recommendations. I am seeing a lot of stats being spewed out, but it's stuff most of us likely know or don't really tell us whether someone is worth grabbing off the waivers or whether a player is hitting a cold streak and its time to cut bait. That is the type of information that a lot of readers are looking to get. At least I feel this way.

I thought you started well with the Jokinen rambling, but the rest really does not help in relation to fantasy hockey.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
Also Almost no real player info here. Just some musings on a few teams. What happened last night in the NHL? What players did what, which ones are those to watch down the stretch, who is playing with who, who had an unexpected night? All of this stuff is missing on Sundays, the day after what is usually the busiest day on the schedule.

Kent's ramblings are well behind the curve of all other writers on the site.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +2

onthebeach96 said:

onthebeach96
... @slutfoot - I look at the total body of work from this season, not one game. The Leafs will win their last 3 games and could even finish 4th if the Habs keep playing like their AHL team.
April 21, 2013 | url
Votes: +0

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
what is your obssession with Jokkinen? It's been three weeks, time to give it a rest, I think.

Player moves to new situation, player scores at an improved pace compared to old situation. We've seen it a thousand times.

I agree with the other posters, we need better Sunday ramblings. These feel very low-effort.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +1

slufoot said:

slufoot
LOL Plan the parade. The Leafs are in. Amazing how quickly one win by the blue and white erases the memory of their followers. Did Jeremy even watch the Leafs play the Caps the other night? Couldn't have.

Hilarity is going to ensue after they beat bottom-dwellers Tampa and Florida over the next 2 games.
April 21, 2013
Votes: -1

Jeremy Campbell said:

onthebeach96
Leafs making the playoffs The Leafs shot differential isn't so good vs opponents but I think a better stat would be the plus/minus on scoring chances as many shots have been weak. The Leafs can sure do damage in the playoffs as they have beaten many great teams this season including the Pens in Pittsburgh. I think the Leafs can win round 1 unless they play Pittsburgh or Boston then all bets are off. The Capitals would be tough too but I think they could win in 7. The Leafs are one of the toughest teams in the league too so that bodes well for playoff hockey, I can't wait to see what Komorov does, he hits anything that moves!! Don't under estimate the Leafs as they will be playing like they have nothing to lose and most people will write them off vs any opponent in the first round. Mind you, in my playoff draft I won't be likely picking a Leaf player as I'll be going for players from Pittsburgh, Boston, and Chicago, but I think the Leafs will win a round as I'm calling Leafs vs Habs first round. Disclosure: I'm a Leafs fan!
April 21, 2013 | url
Votes: +1

mfsr27 said:

mfsr27
Leafs Did you watch the Leafs-Sens last night...yes the Leafs were outshot badly but quite honestly there were very few good scoring chances by Ottawa. Allowing a ton of perimeter shots that have little likelihood of scoring is not a bad thing. And when the Leafs got their chance they buried their shots. While the Leafs might not be Stanley Cup favorites, they definitely have a chance to do some damange and surprise.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +0

beyondthewall19 said:

beyondthewall19
goob King goober, quit yer bitching. You dont hear me or other canes fans cringe and complain when we hear our Mgmt getting laughed at for paying the pens money for the Juice, among all the other things that forces me to facepalm and then meditate quietly in the corner about this organization and its leadership.. But what the NHLs princess team gets some criticism, paragraphs must be written "proving" the better team. When it came down to it, I recall the isles handing it to the leafs the other night..? Yes i emember now thats correct and yesterdays shootout win over the jets was an electric game , those of you who caught it. I can just pray canes tank nice an proper for a great selection and that the isles pull the underdog role and pull out a heartfelt Cup run! Hah ha
April 21, 2013
Votes: -3

KingGoob said:

KingGoob
"A bit more legitimate than the Leafs". Why don't you buck the trend and not spew negative assessments of the Leafs for the sake of fitting in?
The Leafs allow more shots on goal and this makes the Islanders more legitimate? The Islanders have the worst goal differential of any team currently qualifying for the playoffs. Wouldn't you think that was a bigger deal? What teams win? The ones who allow less shots against or the one who score more goals and allow less?
The Islanders are more legitimate because they have a number of high quality players? I mean obviously Tavares is the cream of the crop but again, here's Kessel with more points sitting 7th in league scoring. Matt Moulson has 42 points? Well Kadri also has 42 points with more goals and a far better +/-. Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky? I'll counter with Phaneuf and Franson. Frans Nielsen? Jay McClement.
You also put Kyle Okposo in there as a POSITIVE point for the Islanders. He has 4 goals! Lupul has 2.5 times as many goals in 13 games. I don't even have to mention JVR and his 18 goals but I will anyways.
If you're an Islanders fan than I apologize for this rant. That's the only reason any of this would make any sense.

There will be lots of time for negativity towards the Leafs if they don't do we'll in the playoffs, lets not use something like shot differential to try and paint the picture now.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +2

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Is it possible for you to double the output of the Sunday ramblings, Kent? Right now they feel a bit... thin. Just a couple of thoughts. We're used to getting lots of things to consider.
April 21, 2013
Votes: +2

buck0198 said:

buck0198
Isles in 6th I hope they stay there. I would love t see them and the Caps in a 7 game series.
April 20, 2013
Votes: -1

Matt207 said:

grits207
... Good lord the Leafs are terrible.
April 20, 2013
Votes: -2
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