depth of Saint-Louis; Andre Burakovsky; Cale Makar and more – DobberHockey
My playoff picks were hit hard in the last round, going 0-4, which puts me in the playoff power play of the Florida Panthers and the Leafs in the final games of a playoff series. Luckily for me there is a faster path to redemption here as I get another chance with round three starting last night. Our group presented our third-round picks here, and they don’t really need an explanation. They were in line with the almost unanimous picks of the rest of our writers, and they’ve been the top two teams so far. Their opponents may have the MVP candidates needed to pull out a few games, but depth will win here, just like it has in recent rounds.
I also wanted to explain why I thought the St. Louis Blues might follow the Avalanche’s final round, as I was one of the few people who gave them the time of day before this series started. . I saw their group of forwards as an even deeper group than the Avalanche. They don’t have the 100-point threats like Colorado, but they have more 70-80 point players, and their third line is better than most second lines of other playoff teams. That’s why even a defensively responsible team like Minnesota had trouble with them in the first round, even though Colorado’s speed at the back really seemed like the difference I hadn’t anticipated.
It looks like their attacking depth will be very similar to last season, as David Perron is their only notable free agent up front and is looking to return. Perron has only ever signed contracts with STL, despite playing for five different NHL teams, so there’s no reason to think that would change now.
Here are the line combinations the Blues have run the most with this season. Keeping David Perron on an excellent two-way line that has had the toughest competition and most defensive minutes on the team, while maintaining a positive Corsi rating, will be huge for continued production from lines two and three. .
The second line with Robert Thomas, Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko received the best offensive deployment on the team, and although I said above that the Blues do not have a 100-point scorer, they can have a guy 90 points or two. Robert Thomas just crossed his breakout threshold earlier in the year, and he’s put up 46 points in 41 games since that point, an easy 92-point pace.
Tarasenko also scored 90 points this season, but that was a career high for him, and his underlying numbers were a bit high across the board this year. He’s shown in the past that he’s more of a 75-80 point player. Meanwhile, on the other wing, with a suspension and some minor ailments to start the year, Pavel Buchnevich has been slow to acclimate to the St. Louis system. Once he did, he was extremely reliable and he put up 28 points in his last 20 games. All of his numbers seem a bit more reasonable than Tarasenko’s, although the name value isn’t quite there, meaning he should be cheaper to acquire in the offseason or at the draft table.
At full-back, with Nick Leddy unlikely to return, the Blues have seven defenders they can take down on a regular basis. If Scott Perunovich is in alignment, he’ll lead the lethal higher power play unit, while evenly-strength cover, but when he’s out of alignment (and it’s hard to predict at what frequency it could be at this time) then the top unit will be Torey Krug’s and the second unit will see time with Justin Faulk and Colton Parayko. All of the outgoing defenders appear to be taking a step back offensively next year, but with the full-time arrival of a healthy Perunovich. Something to keep in mind.
Overall, the Avalanche ended up dominating the Oilers in a home-and-away game, taking a 1-0 series lead. Andre Burakovsky was back in the lineup, which seems like a dumb thing to describe, but the Avs are so deep that he was out healthy for two games in the series with the Blues. The 27-year-old future free agent picked up an assist on Avs’ first goal of the game. His back-to-back playoff play will likely cost him a few bucks this summer, but that will only make him more valuable in cap leagues and show him as a player with reduced value overall.
However, stepping out of the shadow of Colorado’s big guns might be the best thing for him, as his numbers have dropped slightly this season despite more ice time. As a free agent, the team that signs him will likely have a front-row spot for him, and with even longer ice time on top of a rebound in his underlying numbers, Burakovsky could be ready. for a career year.
How long before Cale Makar scores 100 points in a season? It’s a matter of when, not if, now. Roman Josi gave up 100 runs per run this year, and he did it by playing a higher percentage of time shorthanded. Makar also plays on a more powerful attack, and while he hasn’t factored in his team’s offense as much this year as Josi, he has the talent to do so. When that inevitably takes a leap, Makar will top 100 points by Game 75.
It certainly seems possible that Carey Price will no longer play in the NHL, and ideally for Montreal, they would like to know if they should wait for him on the ice next season or not. Jake Allen’s value will be greatly affected, although regardless of Price’s status, the Habs need to sign a better third goaltender than the carousel of options they had last season. Having a full season of Martin St. Louis at the helm of the ship should also help.
With last season’s lackluster performance, possible big volume and improved team ahead of him, Allen could actually stand as one of the best goaltenders at the draft table come the fall.