The streak is over. James O'Brien's streak ends today at 297 consecutive columns of the Daily Dose. James now knows how Henrik Sedin must feel when a long streak comes to an end but now I am the current holder of the longest streak writing the Daily Dose, albeit at one. I will try to fill his shoes as best as I can but if I do half as well, I'll be very happy.
I will be on the NHL.com's Google+ hangout today at 1pm ET along with Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Brian Metzer and Justin Goldman of NHL.com and Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! for our monthly chat. Feel free to ask us questions on twitter using the hashtag #NHLHangout. Along with answering your questions, we also give out picks for who will be good and surprise the rest of the season.
Notes from Wednesday Night
While the Stadium Series game between the Rangers and the Islanders at Yankee Stadium was thought to be the highlight of the night, Ben Scrivens' effort against the San Jose Sharks may have been the performance of the season. The netminder, who was recently acquired from Los Angeles, turned aside all 59 shots in a 3-0 win. That's right!!! The Sharks pummeled the Oilers and Scrivens with 59 shots and Scrivens turned all aside to beat Mike Smith's record 54 shot shutout set two seasons ago in the post-expansion era.
Goaltending was also at the forefront of the outdoor game as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots while Evgeni Nabokov made his first start since January 6 and made 32 saves. The outdoor game at night was quite the spectacle. An interesting side note was that the Rangers were the away team in both games (Sunday versus New Jersey) as a deal made 30 years ago gave the Rangers a break on taxes at Madison Square Garden with the proviso being that should they play a home game in New York, the deal would be nullified.
In Vancouver, the Blackhawks spotted the Canucks a 2-0 lead and stormed back to win 5-2, courtesy of a two goal, one assist effort by Brandon Saad who now has 17 goals this season. I remember writing in his draft year that the players between 10 and 45 were all the same and Saad, who was selected 43rd overall in the 2011 Draft has certainly helped to prove my point at the time.
PHOENIX TO BE KNOWN AS ARIZONA COYOTES NEXT SEASON
The Phoenix Coyotes made it official on Wednesday as they will be known as the Arizona Coyotes starting next season. The name change was first announced last summer when the Coyotes were sold and now it's official. There will not be a change to the uniforms save for a couple of patches on the shoulder.
FIRST ROUND PICKS IN THE PAST WHO DISAPPOINT DESPITE MAKING THE TEAM RIGHT AFTER THEIR DRAFT YEAR
I've been doing some research on players who are drafted and end up playing a full season in the NHL in their draft year and it is surprising how many of them have disappointing careers. Fantasy players usually get quite excited when an 18-year-old rookie sticks for a full season in keeper leagues as they think they are usually on the verge of getting a future superstar but as you will see, it always does not turn out that way.
Going back over 20 years, the ultimate disappointment of all was the first overall pick Alexandre Daigle (stats). He was supposed to be one of the all-time greats and he signed a five-year/$12.25 million contract, the largest rookie contract ever up to that point in time. Daigle was a bust and had a couple of 51 point seasons but was out of the NHL at the age of 25, although he came back a few years later and played with the Wild, collecting one more 51 point season.
Fantasy players tend to think that a high pick used on a forward means that the player will be a high scorer but a lot of teams use it to take a superior defensive player. In 1998, the New York Rangers took Manny Malhotra seventh overall and he made the team out of training camp but he was never a good fantasy player as his best offensive season was a 35 point effort in 2008-09 with Columbus. He was and is a superior face off man and quite a good defensive player but he never fulfilled the hope that fantasy players had early in his career.
A goalie rarely comes straight out of junior and makes it in the NHL but Dan Blackburn did as he was drafted 10th overall in 2001 and played in 31 games, backing up Mike Richter. He only played in another 32 NHL games as nerve damage in his shoulder forced him to retire. I'm sure a lot of poolies grabbed him in their keeper leagues, figuring they had the next Martin Brodeur or the like, for a long time.
There are plenty of other examples in the last 12 years including Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Luke Schenn, Josh Bailey and Viktor Tikhonov but I want to focus on three Russians who failed miserably at the NHL level when their immense talent level is taken into account.
The Columbus Blue Jackets drafted Nikolay Zherdev fourth overall in the 2003 Draft. He dazzled fans with his offensive flair but had several run ins with coach Ken Hitchcock due to Zherdev's poor work ethic and bad attitude before he was dealt to the Rangers where he played one season before ending his NHL career with the Flyers after New York declined an arbitrator's ruling. He has bounced around Europe ever since and had his contract terminated before the start of this season by HC Lev Prague of the Kontinental Hockey League for his off-ice antics.
These are examples of players thought to be emerging stars that fantasy owners in keeper pools drafted early. The final example is the supposed offensive star whose team looks at him for his defensive play.
The prime examples of this are Alexander Burmistrov and Sean Couturier. I was talking with Gus Katsaros, the pro scouting coordinator of McKeen'shockey.com about this topic who stated that Burmistrov was not selected for his offensive prowess but for his defensive acumen. Burmistrov was an outstanding junior in his only season in the CHL as he had 22 goals and 65 points in 62 games with the Barrie Colts and 16 points in 17 playoff games. The Atlanta Thrashers took him with the 10th pick in the 2010 Draft and poolies thought he was sticking because of his scoring touch and offensive ability, drafting him higher than he should have been in keeper pools.
However, the expectation from the Thrashers (soon to become the Winnipeg Jets as the 2010-11 season was their last in Atlanta) was that he would become a defensive center with a scoring touch. Therefore Burmistrov won his spot because his defensive maturity. He posed minimal risk defensively and the Thrashers thought that he would develop offensively.
Poolies saw it differently. They saw a six goal and 20 point effort in his first NHL season and thought the franchise was just bringing him along slowly. They thought that eventually Burmistrov would get onto the first line and blossom, but that was not to be. He spent a couple of seasons in Winnipeg before signing on with Kazan Ak-Bars of the KHL where he has 10 goals and 35 points this season in 50 games. He may never return to the NHL.
Sean Couturier of the Flyers is a similar example. He was drafted eighth overall in the 2011 Draft after a couple of 96 point seasons in the QMJHL. His defensive play got him a job in the NHL as an 18-year-old with poolies thinking it was just a matter of time until he broke through offensively but he may never be better than a 45 point a season player but great defensively.
The point is, do not jump all over a rookie who makes an NHL team the summer after being drafted. For every Sidney Crosby, there are plenty examples of Alexandre Daigle or Manny Malhotra types, players who just do not perform up to their potential or are drafted for reasons other than their scoring prowess.
Tomorrow Corey Abbott takes over this spot as my one article streak comes to an end.