Early season panic meter for Penguins, Oilers and others teams off to slow starts
Also checking back in on the Frozen Frenzy experiment.
Happy Thursday. Here is what is ahead today.
Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday. It has been a hectic week. But we are back.
Looking at some teams off to slow starts and which ones need to have their finger over the panic button and which ones do not.
The Frozen Frenzy on ESPN was mostly good.
Which team off to a slow start needs to panic the most
The NHL season is only two weeks old but we have seen some first impressions from teams that have stood out.
One one side, we have teams like Vegas, Boston, Colorado, Dallas and even Detroit that have stood out in a positive way and gotten off to great starts.
We have also seen some teams with reasonably high expectations that have stumbled out of the gate. We are focussing on some of those teams today and trying to figure out whose bad start is a real concern, and who is going to break out of it.
Let’s get into it.
Record as of Thursday: 1-4-1
Panic level: Low …. for now.
I know they have just one win in six games, and I know Connor McDavis is going to be sidelined for a bit here, but I am not terribly concerned with them overall just yet. The underlying metrics are still very good at 5-on-5 and they were still only a .500 team through the first 20 games a year ago before really turning it on.
The big concerns so far are that the third-and-fourth lines are back to getting outscored at a similar pace to what we saw prior to last season, and the goaltending is an absolute disaster. I think the depth can — and will — be better, and when McDavid gets back that can help bring everything back together at the top of the lineup.
The goaltending is going to be a season-long concern, however, and I do not know how they can have any sort of confidence in Jack Campbell or Stuart Skinner at this point. They have both been awful. If that does not change, that will become a problem.
Record as of Thursday: 2-4-0
Panic level: Medium
Keep in mind on where this team is starting from — they did not make the playoffs a year ago. And even though it is only six games they look alarmingly similar to the team that did not make the playoffs a year ago.
The power play is disappointing and not producing.
The depth scoring is completely non-existent (the bottom-six has one goal in six games).
They blew at least one big lead to a bad team.
They seem to struggle with teams that have speed.
Goaltending is not the biggest problem, but on most mights the other team always seems to have the better goalie.
It is the same thing we saw all of last season.
I do strongly believe that the power play WILL improve. I know they seem like a passive group that does not shoot enough, but the metrics all point to a team that actually does shoot a lot. They need to create more traffic, they need to have more of a decisive plan, and they need to actually score more goals, but the talent is there for that to happen.
I also think Tristan Jarry will be better.
The depth, however, is going to be a big problem. The top-two lines have a chance to be great. But they are not going to be great every night and they are not going to score every night. You need consistent offense from the third line and something from the fourth line, and I just do not see where that is going to come from with this group as assembled. There is a problem there. A real problem.
Record as of Thursday: 3-4-0
Panic level: Medium … and rising
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