Dia de los Yotes. What a great idea. It wasn’t just the wonderful sweaters, the whole idea is fantastic. That is what growing the game looks like. The NHL shouldn’t just try to appease middle-aged white men, the rest of the world should get a chance to love the NHL.
Kudos to the Yotes for making a positive step.
If you show me someone who predicted that Calle Jarnkrok would have five points in seven games to start the season, I will show you a liar. I’m one of Jarnkrok’s biggest supporters, but this offensive outburst reads like one of Michael Wade’s fanfics.
While I don’t expect this kind of production to continue, Calle Jarnkrok has given the Johansen line something it needed desperately. Arvidsson and Johansen were starting in the defensive zone more than they ever were, and couldn’t move the puck effectively. Something Jarnkrok does with great efficiency.
Jarnkrok’s ability has taken the pressure off Viktor Arvidsson especially, who looks much more comfortable than he did with Craig Smith. Who knows what lines will look like a week from now, but the Johansen line shouldn’t be messed with until they give you a reason.
2. Corner Battles
The Nashville Predators have owned the offensive slot since the start of the season. The top six especially has been devastating. The only fault I can find has been in their battling along the corners.
Puck battles are a key component towards winning a hockey game and it could cost the Predators big. The game against Vegas, for example, was an especially rough showing.
Of the total 37 battles, the Predators only won 12! That’s only 32 percent! Mattias Ekholm had the worst of it with four losses while Kyle Turris, Calle Jarnkrok, and Filip Forsberg make up the rest with three.
It’s hard to ignore these terrible marks, but I honestly don’t know how the Predators fix this. You’d think guys like Austin Watson, Nick Bonino, and Colton Sissons would be the answer but the three only combined for one win.
3. Something To Watch
It’s an established fact that Arvidsson is one of the best volume shooters in the NHL. He’s consistently in the top 10 of shots and shots per 60 year after year, but this season has started differently. He’s tenth on the squad with nine shots in seven games at five on five.
That’s levels out to 6.57 shots per 60 minutes played, good for sixth on the team. That wouldn’t even rank within the top 150 in the NHL, of those that have played at least 30 minutes at five on five.
The sample size is tiny and so I can’t conclusively say whether or not this is a “real” number, but it’s something to watch for.
4. Third Line Trouble
I very much believe that Kyle Turris is doing a great job on the third line. He’s had great games and some mediocre ones as well, but he can’t do this alone. Separating him from Craig Smith is a mistake in my opinion, especially when you replace him with Austin Watson and Rocco Grimaldi/Daniel Carr.
They need more talent but there’s very little budget to work with, about 3.126 million dollars. Not a lot of teams have realized that they don’t have a real shot this season (it’s October after all) and so there aren’t many players available at the moment.
Maybe someone from the Kings, Wild, or even the Red Wings.
5. Don’t Worry About The First Month
As writers, a lot of us are very quick to try to identify a trend or to jump on the next big talking point. The first month of hockey is an absolute hellscape of hot takes and misinformed opinions. One game can throw stats all out of balance.
That’s why I don’t say anything definitively. I’d like to say the fourth line of Watson, Bonino, and Sissons is bad, but I can’t until I have a large enough sample size. If anyone tries to tell you that they “know” something from a <20 game sample size, they’re either not worth listening to or trying to sell you something.