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Hockey Daily Dose

Dose: Ovechkin keeps scoring

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

So, trade deadline day is upon us.

Remember when this was basically a holiday? Honestly, I almost do not.

I began with PHT during the 2010 trade deadline, when many of us spilled a worrisome amount of ink - literal and digital - about Alexei Ponikarovsky. (Please try to hold your laughter.)

My memory can be dodgy, but I feel like a significant chunk of the significant trades during the last few years have happened before deadline day.

This is a long way of saying that I would be surprised if a bigger name than Keith Yandle (98 percent owned as of this writing) gets shipped anywhere. Sadly, we might not even see anyone more relevant Curtis Glencross (who was shipped right before Yandle) get traded.

Either way, Rotoworld will take you through this, including Michael Finewax’s deadline blog, which kicks in at noon ET today. My plan for Doses this week - give or take - is to try to cover players in their first game or so with a new team.

(Smaller names might get lost in the shuffle here and there, so drop me a line via email or Twitter if someone’s missing who you’d like to hear more about.)

It was another fairly busy Sunday, so let’s get recapping.

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-- Alex Ovechkin has 41 goals already, after his 64th game. Rick Nash's brief time out with an injury might have sapped a lot of drama out of the Maurice Richard race (he has 37 in 60 games), though the gap isn't so large that No. 8 cannot rest on his laurels. With a month-plus left in 2014-15, he could hit 50+ goals for the fifth time in his career before he turns 30. Insane.

Another remarkable facet of his scoring is that it's not that remarkable. His shooting percentage is a pretty sustainable 13.1 (312 SOG). His career shooting percentage isn't much lower (12.4) and he had a 13.2 mark in 2013-14.

-- Braden Holtby stopped all 32 shots for his seventh shutout of the season, also improving his record to 30-15-9. He came into this season with just 11 shutouts, so this is a pleasant surprise, even for those who were expecting a nice season from the 25-year-old.

-- Not sure who would be too interested in Tim Gleason, but he received decent ice time (18:34) in his second game with the Capitals. That's ... about it, though.

-- There were some rumors that Jonathan Bernier might get traded, but it doesn't sound particularly likely.

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-- In his return to action, Blake Wheeler scored a goal and an assist. It was a nice night for that line, with Bryan Little getting an assist and Andrew Ladd generating two goals, two PIM, two hits and seven SOG.

--  Dustin Byfuglien with a beastly all-around game, even with just an assist: +2, 11 PIM, two SOG and one hit. He now has an impressive 118 PIM to go with his usually strong play.

Part of me wonders what he'd do on a different team, but Winnipeg's climb and his big role make me think that this is (finally?) the right fit.

-- In the last two games, Justin Williams has a -5 rating. It's been a disappointing contract year: 16 goals, 29 points, 25 PIM and 132 SOG in 61 games played. Not awful, mind you, but I thought "Mr. Game 7" would do more to remind the hockey world that he's more than just a big-game guy.

-- Michael Hutchinson has not lost a game in regulation since Feb. 6. The 24-year-old is now 19-7-5 with a .919 save percentage.


-- Ryan Johansen scored a goal, an assist and clobbered Sidney Crosby. I bet he sold some No. 19 Columbus Blue Jackets jerseys last night.

-- Sidney Crosby's on a roll (six points in  his last four games), but Evgeni Malkin is on a rampage. Malkin has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past five games. He's now tied with Crosby with 64 points, just one behind the NHL lead (which is now at a four-player tie).

This would be exciting if it doesn't also imply that the NHL league leader will only finish with about a point per game.

-- I'd say Steve Downie is exceeding the expectations of most: 11 goals, 24 points and easily a league-leading 191 PIM. Considering his health challenges over recent years, that's some good stuff. Is he a knucklehead? Sure, but he's about as functional as his kind get.


-- Well, it did not take Jaromir Jagr very long to find some chemistry with the young fellas he's skating with. He scored a goal and an assist, Jonathan Huberdeau had three assists and Aleksander Barkov scored a goal. Very nice.

-- Aaron Ekblad broke a seven-game scoreless slump with his 10th goal of his rookie season. Even with this dry spell, he's had a nice start, generating 33 points. Probably not the kind of numbers that will get him ahead of a strong Calder class, but I doubt the Panthers are complaining about the top pick of 2014.

-- It probably won't happen again (he's played in 20 more games), but from a sheer quantity standpoint, Anton Stralman's been a better investment than Victor Hedman. Stralman has 32 points and a +20 rating in 64 games versus 29 points and a +11 rating in 44 games for Hedman. Hard to believe the big Swede is only 24.

-- Ben Bishop saw a four-game winning streak end on Sunday, allowing four goals on 26 shots. He's 31-11-3 now, with a modest .913 save percentage.


-- Could John Gibson steal the Ducks' top job down the stretch? Bruce Boudreau is smart enough to go with the hot hand, and his work has been impressive. He stopped 39 out of 40 shots to improve his record to 8-4-0 with a very nice .920 save percentage.

(Honestly, I wish I could tell you that I had a strong feeling about where the Ducks are going with this, but it's pretty tough to follow the twists and turns at this point.)

-- Jhonas Enroth still does not have a win with the Dallas Stars, which might be a strong buyer beware to any GM tempted to recklessly buy high on Michal Neuvirth. That said, this would be a weirdly subversive way to tank if it was actually intentional.

-- Tomas Fleischmann did not get to make his Ducks debut, but on the newbie bright side, Jiri Sekac got his second assist in three games with the Ducks.

-- Patrick Eaves seems to be the winner of the Jason Spezza - Jamie Benn sweepstakes, and he delivered with a goal.


-- All things considered, Radim Vrbata's had a nice first season with Vancouver, generating 44 points in 59 games. Things have definitely been spotty lately, however; while he has four points in his last eight contests, six of those games were without a point. Not ideal.

-- In the last two games, Eddie Lack has allowed 10 goals ... but hey, he at least grabbed a win in the process.

-- I did not expect David Backes to produce comparable numbers to last season, but he really is not that far off. He now has 20 goals (vs. 27), 41 points and 88 PIM with 148 SOG. It might be pretty safe to pencil in a healthy Backes for 25-30 goals and 100 PIM going forward.

-- Jake Allen is getting plenty of chances to prove himself, yet he's been generally getting bailed out by his teammates. The 17-6-3 record is great, but the .903 save percentage will not steal Brian Elliott's job anytime soon.

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James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.