So, for the first time in ages, there were two NHL trades that weren’t “borderline NHL player for middling prospect” or something of that nature. Even the trade deadline sometimes lacks the truly eyebrow-raising panache of the Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen swap.
Plenty of digital ink has been spilled over who “won” the deal, with many believing that the Columbus Blue Jackets will be better off with Jones.
I’m not as interested in who “won” as much as how fantasy owners will see it, and I think that it’s a winner in both instances.
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Jones gets better reps, likely being a go-to guy on the power play rather than watching Shea Weber and Roman Josi get the best of those cushy minutes. Maybe it won’t be immediate, but I expect a leap from Jones in the future. Especially since, as a pending RFA, the next few months could have a huge impact on how much he earns with his next contract.
(Nick Foligno can tell him all about how well the Blue Jackets reward a contract year, and Johansen can’t even step in to remind him that it’s not as lucrative when you’re an RFA …)
Some aren’t so positive about Johansen, but from a fantasy standpoint, it’s a boon.
Johansen was languishing under John Tortorella’s glare in Columbus, whether they want to admit it or not. His production suffered, and he was even a healthy scratch.
Guys like Johansen have flourished under Peter Laviolette’s watch, and I expect that trend to continue here. It’s a good system to take advantage of Johansen’s considerable skills, even if the overall team sacrificed a rare surplus of offensive defensemen to maybe be a little more “standard” in the process. They may regret trading Jones in the long run, but were they going to get quality value for Weber if they floated him? I’m not as certain as others seem to be.
CANADIENS 2, DEVILS
-- Another game, another low-SOG, low-scoring affair. This one was a 2-1 decision with a 25-20 SOG advantage for Montreal.
I was going to research how many Devils games featured less than 50 combined SOG, but then I fell asleep.
-- Mike Condon won his third game in a row, stopping 19 of 20 shots. He's allowed a single goal in his last two appearances.
His mediocre .908 save percentage suggests that he's getting plenty of help, yet with the choice appearing to be between Condon, Ben Scrivens and maybe Dustin Tokarski at this point, it's tough to refute the notion that the Habs should lean on Condon.
BLACKHAWKS 3, PENGUINS 1
-- What a couple of days for Artemi Panarin.
One night after his two-goal performance (which included an OTGWG), Panarin once again generated two tallies, including the game-winner. His first goal of Wednesday night was the standout of that contest, as he capped an impressive shift in which the Blackhawks held the puck in the Penguins’ zone for an uninterrupted minute before scoring.
-- The Penguins have been showing some signs of promise, but it really must sting to only squeeze one standings point out of this home-and-home. That frustration boiled over in the end, which included a little fracas between Kris Letang and Jonathan Toews.
This marks five straight wins by the Blackhawks, who are creeping ever so slightly on the Dallas Stars for the Central Division lead.
(Emphasis on slightly, it’s still a significant gap at six points.)
-- Scott Darling won his second game in a row, improving to 4-3-2 on the season. He's only played three games since December.
AVALANCHE 4, BLUES 3 (OT)
I wonder if, in a way, it symbolizes Allen's pursuit of greatness (or even goodness), or if they all capture the spirit of the Blues: good, quite good even, but not quite good enough? Even Allen's 18-10-3 record is very nice ... but maybe not "there" among the elite. They're a step above purgatory in some ways.
-- The Blues have also really been cratering with leads, and it happened again here. Colorado was down 3-1, yet the Avs came back to win it. Has to be a disturbing trend for St. Louis.
-- Maybe Vladimir Tarasenko needs a few more shifts per night? He was great as usual (impressive power move for a goal, also an assist), so maybe bump him up from a solid 18:26 TOI? Just throwing it out there.
(The better move would be to maintain aggressiveness, even with a lead, but old habits die hard for Hitch.)
CANUCKS 3, HURRICANES 2
-- Bo Horvat was the difference-maker in this one, scoring twice (including the GWG) and generally looking impressive throughout the contest. Even with five power-play opportunities, Vancouver only managed 21 SOG, and Horvat generated five of them.
He has three of his season's five goals in the past two games. Overall, his numbers are gross, but perhaps he's building some confidence for a breakthrough?
(You don't have to worry about his slower times if he's only joining your roster, after all. Not that I'm saying add him ... yet?)
-- Carolina really staggered into this game, only generated two SOG in the first period. After that, they fired 13 shots on goal in each frame. This team is just weird.
-- Jacob Markstrom made 26 out of 28 saves to bump his record back to .500 (5-5-3). His .919 save percentage implies that he's getting comfortable with the NHL game at 25.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, DUCKS 0
-- The most important note is that John Gibson suffered a lower-body injury when Nazem Kadri crashed into him during the third period. All we know is that the All-Star is considered day-to-day with that injury. Not good.
-- Holy smokes, Jonathan Bernier might just reach .500, as his third straight win (a span in which he's only allowed three goals) pushes him to 6-10-3. This was his masterwork, as the former Kings goalie stopped all 39 shots, and he's been tremendous during the winning streak (making 117 of 120 saves).
He's 6-2-0 in his last eight starts.
-- How could Anaheim not be a little frustrated? They were down 1-0 in the first period despite an 18-8 SOG differential. The Maple Leafs made up much of the difference overall, but some of that had to do with discipline issues (Toronto received six PP opportunities versus two for Anaheim).
-- P.A. Parenteau enjoyed a fantastic game, scoring Toronto's first two goals to give him 11 on the season. Tyler Bozak collected assists on each of Parenteau's tallies.
-- Corey Perry cross-checked Bernier, who began the exchange with a slash. Might be something to at least monitor, though I'd be surprised if anything came of it ... because the NHL. Not necessarily because they're guiltless (it was a pretty ugly scene).