Joined: Jul. 2021
I guess it’s too late for me to offer advice for your pool, but I would have echoed most of what the previous four contributors said anyway, so I’ll use this as an excuse to comment on what’s been happening so far after the first 8 games.
Overall, the team has not looked as good to me as they did most of last season, when they looked like a well-oiled machine, but they have still found a way to post the league’s third-best points percentage to date. Perhaps that’s because it seems that they’ve played a disproportionate number of weaker teams, but nobody is an easy win, so it’s still a decent result. In any case, they should get better.
The biggest question in my mind going into this season was whether Kotkaniemi could handle the 2C role. If you look at his stats – no goals and 2 assists in 8 games – it looks like the answer is no, but I don’t think he’s looked out of place, and his wingers are scoring. You can’t attribute that to power-play time, as only 2 of Necas’s 11 points have come on the power-play, so his line has been highly effective. The points should come for KK, but even if they don’t, I’d leave him there as long as the line continues to produce.
I’m more disappointed with Aho’s line. Aho has been great, as usual, but Teravainen is still looking for his first goal, and Jarvis has slowed down after a strong start. Teravainen should recover – he’s been too consistent over the years for this to last. I didn’t expect Jarvis to get as many points as the other two, but I wonder if he’s suffering a bit of sophomore regression. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brind’Amour try Noesen in that spot, but I suspect that would be only temporary. I still think that’s where Jarvis belongs.
I’m happy with the bottom 6 forwards so far. Staal and Fast have been pretty much as expected. I didn’t expect Stastny to produce like he did last season because I figured he’d be in more of a shutdown role in Carolina, though Niederreiter got 24 goals playing with Staal and Fast last season, which is where Stastny started. Martinook is there now, and he has been more productive.
Burns has looked a bit erratic at times, but he’s still putting up good offensive numbers, so I guess he’s doing what he was brought in for, but I feel like overall offense from the defense is down, though I haven’t checked the numbers. I was disappointed to see Bear go, because I thought he could contribute more offensively than the three guys who’ve been playing on the third pair, but when you have four guys who all look like they can do the job, and one of them has a cap hit almost as much as the other three combined, that makes him seem like an unnecessary luxury.
The goalies have not been as consistent as they were last season. It may be too much to expect them to have another Jennings Trophy season, but they need to be better.