Monday, October 3, 2022

Rambling: Sharks terminating cane contract, Pasternak breaks slump, Avalanche goaltending (Jan 9)

The Sharks put Evander Kane on an unconditional waiver to terminate their deal, although Kane is expected to file a complaint through the NHLPA. The last straw for Kane is for allegedly violating the AHL’s COVID protocols after Kane traveled to Vancouver while he was COVID positive. If his contract is terminated, Kane will lose $22.885 million, so the combination of his actions has resulted in a very costly mistake.

According to cap friendly, Kane can sign with another club after his contract expires, and he can also play in the playoffs if he signs before 21 March. Kane is dealing with some very serious issues, so teams may not want to roll the dice right away. Having said that, Kane has the kind of high-end skills that teams love, even if it’s common sense that he doesn’t make a positive impact on his team. I don’t think his NHL career is over if you use Tony DiAngelo’s example as a benchmark. Kane posted solid AHL numbers (8 pts in 5 GP), so at least hockey still has potential, albeit with no off-ice decision-making and accountability.

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With his goal on Saturday, Denis Guryanov has scored in back-to-back games and has six points in his last three matches. Linemates Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin aren’t completely setting the world on fire, and Gurianov himself is plagued by some cold parts. Gurianov’s icetime has been in the 16-18 minute range in the last two games, which is well above his 13-minute average and makes a change this season.

Jason Robertson assisted Dallas in all three goals on Saturday. He is currently riding a six-game point streak with nine points in that period. Robertson also has a 10-game home point streak, which is something to remember for future Stars home games if you play daily fantasy.

Jake Guenzel has seven points from the last four matches. If you do not include the games that Gwentzel missed due to injury, Gwentzel has not been held without a point in a game since November 11! This is a span of 17 games, in which Gentzel has scored 15 goals and added 11 assists. If you need a score from someone that sounds like a pretty good bet to me.

Chris Letang has eight points (all assists) from the last four matches.

Red-hot Brian Rust was placed on COVID protocol ahead of Saturday’s day’s play. Prior to Saturday, Rust had scored seven goals in his last three matches.

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Since Darcy Kumper was pulled into the first period after being allowed to score three goals on eight shots, we had Pavel Françoise seen on Saturday. The 31-year-old Czech netminder appeared in his second game of the season (and the last two seasons, for that matter). He managed to keep the Leafs at bay, intercepting 19 of 20 shots and winning a behind-the-scenes effort from Colorado. With a really poor start, Kumper’s streak of seven consecutive wins has come to an end. Injuries have been an issue for both Colorado goalkeepers, meaning either could be of substantial value at any given time. Kumper is still the starter, but if I’m an Avalanche fan, I feel more confident that Françoise looked fine.

Colorado has scored seven goals this season, seven times, so the 3-0 deficit was not as difficult as it is for other teams. Mikko Rentanen picks up four assistants, including this shrewd one below. Jack Campbell didn’t even see this goal coming.

Like the rest of the top line, Rantenon have been on fire with seven points in the last two games. Linemate Nathan McKinnon was held up for “just” one goal, but he fired 12 shots at Campbell. McKinnon now has a 13-game point streak where he has amassed 24 points.

With one goal and one assist, Kale Makar now have 22 points from their last 17 matches. He had at least one points-per-game pace both this season and last. If he can stay healthy, is he the most valuable savior in fiction?

The day after the waiver was cleared, Nick Ritchie scored a power-play goal. He also made his physical presence known, tying his season high with six hits. Remember when Dober said during the off-season that the Leafs brought forward a million too many? We shouldn’t be completely surprised that Richie went on a waiver, although he seemed a little more secure, given the fact that he was signed on for two years. Richie played just under 11 minutes on Jason Spaeza’s line, so it really isn’t the best place for him to get his scoring back on track.

Jack Campbell probably deserved better, taking 49 shots in total. Shot totals were spread, which meant that he faced double-digit shots every period. Here is one of his 44 saves, where he mimics a soccer goalkeeper.

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Frozen Tools’ top searches typically feature more hot or up-and-coming players than players considered elite. Yet David Pasternak is listed among those discoveries, possibly because he has been in a funk lately. Pasta broke the slump on Saturday by scoring two goals. Pasternak also took seven shots, bringing his total to 13 in his last two matches. Prior to Saturday, Pasternak had just one point in his last six games as well as just three in his last 11 matches. In other words, he entered Saturday’s game with only three points throughout December and January. With a slightly lower than normal advanced statistic including 8.1 SH%, this seems like a buy-less opportunity. But after Saturday, attempting to pull pasta from an unexpected manager might not be as easy.

In an effort to move the scoring around (and perhaps a change of pace for Pasternak), Bruce Cassidy recently moved Pasternak from the Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron line. Marchand himself scored a few goals, which seemed unaffected by the line change. The top two lines for the Bruins are now as follows:

Taylor Hall – Eric Houla – David Pasternaki

Patrice Bergeron – Brad Marchand – Craig Smith

Although Craig Smith has not benefited from a plum assignment (0 PTS in the last 3 GPs), Erik Houla currently has a four-game point streak, including an assist on one of Pasternak’s goals. Smith was mentioned in our most recent weekly preview article ‘Looking Ahead’, but if Smith isn’t available you can also consider Houla.

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Tomas Hertl recorded a natural hat-trick, including an overtime winner for the Sharks over Philadelphia. He also matched his season high with seven shots on goal. Hertl remains on the heater, earning 18 points in his last 12 games. He has also reached 20 goals, which places him seventh in the league in that category. His hat-trick is also his second of the season. I discussed Hurtle more in Friday Ramblings.

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Brady Skazei struck again on Saturday scoring another goal. The suddenly red-hot defenseman now has three goals in a row as well as eight points from his last five matches. Oh, and he also got a sniff of power-play time (44 seconds, to be exact). I have no doubt that Skeezy will be cool, as I discussed yesterday, but I am enjoying one of my team rides.

Radko is known for Gudas hits, so it’s probably worth mentioning that his 10 hits on Saturday is his season high for a game and is tied for highest hits totals from a player on Saturday (Juzhar Khaira also hit 10. ) Yes, I think I’m going to win that category this week because of Gudas, who leads the league this season with 148 hits.

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Although I didn’t watch the game myself, the Capitals/Wild game looked like it had a lot to offer in terms of entertainment. Let’s start with our target of capitals on the delayed penalty call.

It kind of reminded me of what happened to Louis Eriksson during his first game with the Canucks (see here).

How Kapo Kahkonen skated out of his crease to save.

Look at it from the opposite side. What a strange place for a goalkeeper.

Then there’s Zach Fucale’s unrealistic savings in overtime.

By the way, Fukale holds the record for the longest shutout streak to start a career (138:31). “Own Goal” aside, Fuchley’s allowed first goal was a net blank with 35 seconds remaining in regulation. Fucale was in the lineup as Vitek Vanecek has been ruled out of the lineup with an illness. Assuming Venesque returns soon, Fukale probably won’t be in the NHL for long. Yet with both Ilya Samsonov and Vanessek set to become RFA this season, Fukale, 26, is making his case in the Capitals’ goalscoring mix next season if the Caps decide to go a different direction.

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A good revenge game for Marc-Andre Fleury: 30 saves, 1 goal allowed, and most importantly a win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Fleury’s last win and quality start was December 15, four starts earlier. Although buying a $7 million contract isn’t easy, I wonder if the Blackhawks will offer it as business bait to hire him somewhere.

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It’s been a month since we’ve heard from Cal Peterson. He managed to reward those who were patient enough with him, as he stopped facing all 21 shots in a 4-0 shutout win over the Red Wings. Apart from starting with Garrett Sparks, when Pietersen was in the COVID protocol, it’s all Jonathan Quick in the nets for the Kings while Pietersen has been absent. Pietersen looked set to retain Quik again in a backup role this season and seemed to offer significant value to the Yahoo rankings, but Quik has managed to turn back the clock this season. Although he was not tested much in this game, Pietersen should be able to make it a goalscoring fight in the new year.

Some one-sided shot totals from games played of late:

Kings 42, Red Wings 21, including 27-2 after the first period. In other words, the Kings had more shots in the first period than the Wings throughout the game.

Rangers 40, Duck 14 (Rangers won 4-1)

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For more discussion about Hockey, follow me Twitter @Ian_Gooding

Nation World News Desk
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