Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry
Starting goalie: John Gibson
Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry
Starting goalie: John Gibson
Keep this good stuff up, NHL GMs.
Ears perked up on Thursday, as the Anaheim Ducks landed Adam Henrique (and other stuff) from the New Jersey Devils for Sami Vatanen (plus some nicknacks) in another intriguing trade. One can only hope this means that we’ll see more interesting moves sprinkled throughout 2017-18, rather than having to beg for trimmings during the trade deadline alone.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the fantasy hockey implications of this move. Apologies to Joseph Blandisi for a lack of attention here, but honestly, his fantasy impact will most likely be … well, the first five letters of his last name.
Sami Vatanen – As much as I love how the Devils are redesigning their team, I’m not so sure what to make about Vatanen from a W-L record standpoint. In other words, the “reality” part is tougher.
It seems like I’m not alone in having some mild doubts about this, but for more on the real-world implications of the move, check out Sean Leahy’s analysis of the trade.
From a fantasy perspective, this is a slam-dunk for the Devils and Vatanen’s value, though. It will be intriguing to see how Vatanen’s arrival impacts the value of Will Butcher, who has been averaging three minutes per night on the Devils’ power play. Will New Jersey opt for a three-forward, two-defensemen setup or go with league trends and lean 4F-1D?
Either way, the Devils suddenly have more balance, and continue to nudge themselves up the ranks of the NHL’s most entertaining teams (because their strengths and weaknesses lineup so blissfully). Vatanen’s had some struggles in the past couple seasons, but he’s a two-time 30+ point scorer despite never playing more than 71 games in a single regular season.
I’ll leave the add/drop analysis to PHT’s Joey Alfieri, as far as where Vatanen might fit in your lineup. There’s little doubt in my mind that Vatanen is more valuable today than he was as a member of the Ducks, even though he was given reasonable opportunities to succeed in Anaheim.
At the absolute minimum, the Devils get that much more fun to watch.
Instead, this was a very sensible move where two teams gave up surplus pieces to fit glaring needs.
In the case of Henrique, the Ducks get a sorely needed center – probably their top center for quite some time, as Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf both deal with serious issues – who’s also cheap at $4M. For a budget-conscious contender, this makes a lot of sense.
So, what kind of player is Henrique? That might be a question many are asking, considering that he’s been part of a Devils team that’s been under the radar for some time.
Henrique brings some impressive mid-level goal-scoring to the table. While he’s been weak in that area this season (just four goals on 49 SOG for an unusually low 8.2 shooting percentage), his career shooting percentage is a lofty 15. He’s hit 30 goals once and also had 25 and 20-goal seasons.
Eventually, you’d expect the returns of Kesler and Getzlaf to push him down the lineup, but it’s worth noting that Henrique can probably move to the wing when that happens.
It’s not as if a fantasy owner wants long-term results if they’re adding Henrique; you’re not really slotting a keeper league spot for him, right? This would be about short-term returns in most instances, and the bigger question is just “How depleted is this Ducks offense?” Along with Kesler and Getzlaf having serious issues, the Ducks also have Ondrej Kase, Jakob Silfverberg, and Rickard Rakell on the shelf. Let’s not forget Patrick Eaves‘ frightening health issues, either.
That opens the door for Henrique opportunities, but it’s worth mentioning that he probably won’t be carried by red-hot wingers. The results could be modest for would-be fantasy owners.
Who gains from Vatanen’s departure?
It will be interesting to see which Ducks defensemen get a boost from Vatanen being traded away, too.
So far in 2017-18, Cam Fowler was the only Anaheim blueliner who averaged more PP time per game than Vatanen. That said, Brandon Montour (2:41 per night) wasn’t far behind Vatanen’s average of 2:48 per game, and Hampus Lindholm got his fair share of reps, too, at 2:16 per evening.
Between power-play time and even-strength minutes – Vatanen averaged 21:06 minutes of total ice time per game, third among Ducks skaters and defensemen – there are some nice opportunities for Lindholm, Montour, and Josh Manson to take bigger roles.
The Ducks are transitioning from such a deep defense that people have to fight for ice time to something a little more stable, what with Vatanen and Shea Theodore out of the mix. Personally, I’m especially intrigued by what this might mean for Lindholm and Manson, two of the Ducks’ most interesting blueliners.
Again, it’s wise to check in on Alfieri’s add/drops post for more immediate advice on Monday, though.
The Anaheim Ducks have been crushed by injuries so far this season and the news did not get much better for them on Tuesday.
General manager Bob Murray announced that center Ryan Getzlaf underwent surgery to repair a fractured cheek bone that could sideline him for two months. Getzlaf has only appeared in six games this season for the Ducks.
Along with him their list of injured players this season has included (and in some cases still does) Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Ryan Kesler, Sami Vatanen and Patrick Eaves, who is currently sidelined after he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Getzlaf was injured back on Oct. 29 when he was hit in the face by a puck in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
When healthy this season Getzlaf has been his usual productive self for the Ducks with seven points (one goal, six assists) in the six games.
That list of injuries has obviously had a negative impact on the Ducks season and is a big reason they are sitting at 6-6-2 through their first 14 games and has them in sixth place in the Pacific Division.
Along with the update on Getzlaf, Murray also updated the status of Fowler and Kesler.
Fowler, who has been sidelined since October 20 with a knee injury, is still on his original six week timeframe while Kesler (sidelined since offseason hip surgery) is still expected to return sometime around Christmas.
With Getzlaf and Kesler injured the Ducks’ center depth is obviously depleted at the moment.
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with a doubleheader on Tuesday night. In the early game, the Buffalo Sabres host the Washington Capitals at 7:00 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.
The Capitals will be playing their second game in as many nights. They’re coming off a 3-2 overtime game against the Arizona Coyotes that saw them trail 2-0 in the opening period.
After a slow start to the season, the Caps have now rattled off three straight wins over the Isles, Bruins and Coyotes. Things are starting to look up.
“I think we’re just kind of finding our way and figuring out what’s working for us,” Carlson said, per the Washington Post. “We’ve got to put a couple of these together. We didn’t start [the season] like we wanted to, so we’ve got a lot of work to do, but just keep finding ways to win.”
Things haven’t really been going as well for the Sabres, who are in the basement of the Eastern Conference. They also own the worst goal differential in the East and the second-worst goal differential in the league (ahead of Arizona) at minus-18.
“We think a couple little changes here and there and we’re going to be better, but we all have to demand more out of ourselves,” Ryan O'Reilly said, per the Buffalo News. “It feels like we are a little fragile right now. When things don’t go well, it’s tough to climb back.”
This is a really important stretch for the Sabres, as six of their next nine games will be played on home ice. If they’re going to salvage their season, it will have to come before the end of November.
In the late game, the Anaheim Ducks host the Los Angeles Kings at 10:00 p.m. ET. To stream that game live, click here.
This will be one of the Kings’ few upcoming road games on their schedule, as they’ll begin a five-game homestand over the next couple of weeks.
Before they can start enjoying some home cooking though, they’ll need to take care of business against their state rivals, who are off to a rocky start in 2017-18.
“Yeah, it’s always fun,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said of playing the Ducks, per LAKingsinsider.com. “Good team. They’ve been probably better than us in the last three years or so. … I’m not sure what the head-to-head match has been, but they’re a division team, a division rival, they’re only just down the road there. Have a lot of support there from our fans in their building. I feel like we always show up to play there and play well.”
Unlike the Ducks, Los Angeles has enjoyed a terrific start to the year. They come into tonight’s game in top spot in the Pacific Division and they have a 4-1-1 record in their last six contests.
In fairness to Anaheim, their 6-6-2 record is a little deceiving. After all, they were without Ryan Kesler, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm to start the year (Cam Fowler is also out of the lineup). Now, Lindholm and Vatanen are back, which should eventually help boost their record.
“Obviously now you get a couple extra minutes because Cam is out,” said Lindholm, per the OC Register. “Even when he’s in the lineup, we usually get to play up to or close to 24, 25 (minutes). I think we both have proven we can handle it.
“Right now, we kind of have a couple of injuries. For me, I just feel that I want to bring as much as I can to the table and do as much good as I can out on the ice to help the team win some hockey games.”
Unforunately, Lindholm’s return hasn’t really sparked the Ducks into winning more games. Anaheim also has a ton of home dates this month, but they haven’t gotten off to a great start.
They opened November with a pair of home losses to Toronto and Nashville before dropping shootout decision in San Jose on Saturday night. Still, they have a great opportunity to get themselves back on track with seven of their next eight games coming at the Honda Center.
The Anaheim Ducks have already been dealing with injury issues this season, and now an errant puck to the face lands Ryan Getzlaf on injured reserve.
He’ll be reevaluated on Monday, according to the team, which means that Getzlaf will miss at least the next three games for the Ducks. They host the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, the Predators on Friday, and then face the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday. After that, they’ll begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Here’s that unfortunate moment from the Ducks’ eventual 4-3 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes:
Give the Ducks credit; they won that game, and head coach Randy Carlyle is taking a matter-of-fact approach:
True, but it’s understandable if the Ducks are a little frustrated.
They finally got Ryan Miller into the mix on Sunday. Sami Vatanen is back to some extent, as he played on the weekend but didn’t suit up for back-to-back games. Cam Fowler‘s knee injury looks foreboding, and it remains to be seen when Ryan Kesler can return (and how long it will take the hard-working two-way center to approach full health). Kevin Bieksa is banged-up, while Patrick Eaves deals with a legitimately frightening ailment.
Speaking of frightening aliments, John Gibson seemed to avoid anything, um, too severe:
Despite these injuries, the Ducks have won four of their last five games to improve to 6-4-1. That’s resilient work, yet you wonder if they’ll cave under the pressure with their captain sidelined for at least the next three contests.