Notes After 1 Day of NHL Action

Auston Matthews now has 7 points in 2 season-opening games.  *Disclaimer: Do not hold breath waiting to see what he does in next season’s inaugural game.  Doctors say that holding breath for that length can sometimes cause death.  PAPuckChronicles and all affiliates are not responsible for any voluntary suffocation.

Wayne Simmonds is on pace to score 246 goals this season.  

The Oilers have decided to rename the franchise The Edmonton McDavids.  Leon Draisaitl was the only member of McDavid’s supporting cast that could be found for comment.  Those comments were in German

Alex Pietrangelo is awesome (not news, but it needed to be said).

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Twine Flu

Fantasy hockey…it’s a love/hate relationship. For as much as I love hockey, the nuisance of having to check your lineup daily for 20-some weeks is just wearisome. My favorite game mode of the EA NHL franchise has always been GM Mode with a fantasy draft; I absolutely love building NHL teams and managing the rosters. You would think fantasy hockey would be a perfect fit, right? But no, it just doesn’t get my pucks off.

So what did I do? I joined a fantasy hockey league (sorry, Chris).

Maybe blogging about it will keep my interest from waning.
League Overview
14 Teams
Head-to-Head
Roster: 16 players – C, C, LW, LW, RW, RW, D, D, D, Util, Util, G, G, BN, BN, BN, IR+, IR+
F/D Stat Categories: 9 – Goals (G), Assists (A), Plus/Minus (+/-), Penalty Minutes (PIM), Powerplay Points (PPP), Shorthanded Points (SHP), Game-Winning Goals (GWG), Shots on Goal (SOG), Hits (HIT)
G Stat Categories (min. 3 starts): 4 – Wins (W), Goals Against Average (GAA), Save Percentage (SV%), Shutouts (SHO)

I present to you, the 2017-18 5-Hole Hockey League Twine Flu:


D
raft Results
Round Pick Player Position
1. (11) Patrik Laine RW
2. (18) Leon Draisaitl C,RW
3. (39) P.K. Subban D
4. (46) David Pastrnak RW
5. (67) Andrei Vasilevskiy G
6. (74) Alex Pietrangelo D
7. (95) Ryan Suter D
8. (102) Jonathan Drouin C,LW,RW
9. (123) Scott Darling G
10. (130) Evander Kane LW
11. (151) Max Domi LW
12. (158) Jared Spurgeon D
13. (179) Alexander Wennberg C
14. (186) Bo Horvat C
15. (207) Matt Duchene C,RW
16. (214) Ivan Provorov D

 

Let’s take a closer look at those top 5 picks…

11th Overall – Patrick Laine
After bursting on to the NHL scene last season, Laine looks to avoid the dreaded ‘sophomore slump.’ Scoring 36 goals last year, he gives Twine Flu a legit scoring threat and with top powerplay unit time, should chip in significant powerplay points.

18th Overall – Leon Draisaitl
Draisaitl scored a big contract in the off-season and has high expectations in Edmonton as Connor McDavid’s starring cast. Draisaitl excelled as McDavid’s winger last season, the two will get significant powerplay time, and if the Edmonton coach spits the duo up, Draisaitl will be afforded the opportunity to play against lesser opponents. Win-win.

39th Overall – PK Subban
The Nashville defenseman has scored 10 goals 5 times in his 7 full NHL seasons. The Nashville d-corps is still a busy place, but PK alwas gets more than his fair share of TOI.

46th Overall – David Pastrnak
With Laine being mainly a goal scorer and Draisaitl being mainly a setup guy, ‘Pasta’ fits right in between the two bringing a balanced attack. Having 34G, 36A with 24 points on the PP last season, Pastrnak should be a stat category monster.

67th Overall – Andrei Vasilevskiy
With Ben Bishop gone, Vasilevskiy gets full control of the crease in Tampa. With a healthy team in front of him (looking at you, Stamkos) he should give his team every opportunity to rack up the W’s and lead TB to the top of the division.

 

The First Wave

Hockey fans, awakened from their summer slumber, turn their snouts skyward.  The autumnal breeze from beyond the horizon brings rumors of a new season.  Unshaven and grotesque, these creatures will slowly meld into their favorite team’s jersey over the coming days.  Families will be put on hold, careers dismissed, for the offseason is ending and there will be hockey once more.

One such icetop zealot is the Flyers fan, who can be recognized by his surly expressions and colorful taunting of referees.  This unruly creature sacrifices hockey but once a week to pay respects to the Church of Carson Wentz.

Speaking of, howboudemiggles?

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With the new season, the Flyers are starting to see their prospect pool flood over into the NHL:

Taylor Leier and Robert Hagg, who have been teammates for the last three years, are both sticking with the Flyers.  Scott Laughton, who already has over 100 games of NHL experience, has also earned himself a role back with the big club.

Morin and Sanheim seem to be fighting for the last roster spot on defense.  Both players looked excellent in preseason and will likely be on the Flyers roster by season’s end, but the team’s choice to waive Read over Manning or MacDonald may mean that there’s reluctance to play out the season with three rookie defensemen.  Sanheim seems the likely choice to be sent down once Ghost is healthy, but will have the opportunity to prove himself in the meantime.  

Oskar Lindblom, unfortunately, will spend some time in the AHL to start the year.  Though he played a strong all-around game in the preseason, he looked a little starstruck on offense.  He’ll be a call-up candidate for injury once he gets comfortable.

Oh, and Nolan Patrick fought David Krejci.

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This season will be about growth for the Flyers.  These young players will have to become the veterans that guide future waves of prospects the same way that Provorov and Gostisbehere must do now.

PA Puck Chronicles is back with an awesome new logo.  Here’s to a new season of hockey.

Slow and steady wins the 3rd line center race?

Here we are, 3 days from Opening Night. GM Jim Rutherford has yet to pull the trigger on a deal to acquire an anchor (not the Hal Gill type of anchor) for the 3rd line.

Strength down the center has been the mantra of this Crosby-era Penguins franchise: Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Sutter, Bonino, Cullen.

This year’s starting four in the middle: Crosby, Malkin, McKegg, Rowney.

I mean, really, you can’t complain with the first two on the list, but us Penguin fans have been a little spoiled as of late. Carter Rowney was a 27-year old rookie, who almost doubled his career NHL games played during the 2017 Stanley Cup run (oh, the Penguins won b-t-dubbs.) McKegg has a few more games played but on some much worse teams so maybe surrounded with some significant players, he can make an impact.

But I do not see McKegg keeping that 3rd line spot for long unless he lays a golden egg.

GMJR is on record as saying he has been keeping tabs on three centers from across the league. Names haven’t been confirmed, but one is suspected to be Riley Sheahan (read a tear jerking article from The Athletic on Riley.) Sheahan is looking to improve on last season’s abysmal showing (2G, 11A) which shouldn’t be that difficult.

My dark-horse pick is going to Adam Johnson. The undrafted college free agent signed a 2-year ELC with the Penguins after impressing in the annual Rookie Camp. He followed that with an impressive Rookie Tournament showing. Coach Sully gave him every chance to show what he has in the pre-season, loading his wings with legit NHL 3rd-liners. He was sent down to the minors, but if McKegg falters I would expect he gets the call.

 

Quick hits

Players to watch
Daniel Sprong – wicked shot, needs work defensively (didn’t Kessel come with the same description?)
Zach Aston-Reese – Hornqvist’s replacement, spent loads of time with Kessel/Malkin
Matt Murray – “To he honest, I feel like I’ve been quite average the past couple of years.”

The Athletic launches in Pittsburgh, steals writer from existing sports subscription service, then Montreal-based writer calls out Mario Lemieux over White House visit. Hilarity ensues.

New Logo – let me know what you think!

 

Fleury Trade Theories

Let’s face it: Fleury’s on his way out of Pittsburgh.  Here are some of my hopeful trade partners and possible returns:

 

Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury

for

Winnipeg: An antique Atlanta Thrashers jersey with fabled Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk’s name on the back (Current ebay price: $40)

 

Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury + Kris Letang’s hair

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SKT Moscow: An actual flower and Kris Letang’s lost dignity

 

Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury + Matt Cullen’s freedom

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Buffalo: Ryan O’Reilly’s stick.

 

Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury

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Las Vegas: ….  ….  maybe they’ll pay for his plane ticket after the expansion draft?

 

But on to real news.  Travis Konecny has more points than all but 3 players in the Penguins lineup.  This kid has shown poise, creativity and confidence.  I’m elated.

Oh, and let’s not talk about Sean Couturier just yet.  Let’s let everyone else figure it out on their own…

The Flyers early schedule has been rocky, to say the least, but has also shown flashes of excellence in short bursts.  The Flyers will pair up Ivan Provorov with Brandon Manning tonight, as the Streit/Provo combination hasn’t lived up to expectation thus far.  This may initially look like a throwaway pairing, but Manning has built a modicum of trust with the coaches in the first four games, and his 3 assists and +3 rating really represent the effort he’s been putting forward in my eyes.

I’m unlikely to catch tonight’s game, unfortunately, unless my lovely girlfriend and I are going to start making hockey games at weddings a tradition, which, now that I’m thinking about it, is kind of an excellent idea.

Side Note: Good for Vancouver and good for Edmonton.  So far.

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