Sweden

NHL Entry Draft: Top Swedish Draft Eligible Prospects

The biggest exporter of National Hockey League players from Europe is once again very notable, as the young Swedish prospects prepare to take on the next hurdle before the NHL.

Just 24 hours is all thats left before the National Hockey League Entry Draft starts in Vancouver and already its very clear that the Swedes are going to be dominating the European scene by the end of it. There is a lot of high-end talent, and its likely we’ll see at least seven or eight drafted before the second round is finished. And for that reason, I was struggling to narrow this list down to four. And the fact that players like Simon Holmström and Tobias Björnfot didn’t make this list should be all the proof that is needed to showcase just how deep and strong this Swedish draft class is.

Philip Broberg – AIK – Defender

He might be one of the most talked about prospects at the draft, and the feels are very mixed on him. When you look at his stats for the year, its not something that looks like a top-10 pick. Whereas many of the other top Europeans plays in the top division and dominate, Broberg has struggled to really find the production in the second tier of Swedish hockey.

Embed from Getty Images

Only nine points in 42 games for a defender that has a lot of offensive strengths isn’t something that’s going to wow people. However, he is only 17 and is one of the youngest in the draft class (he turns 18 on June 25), and his size is already were it needs to be at 6’3″ and 200 lbs. And internationally he has been great against competition the same age with almost a point a game.

His major strength is his speed. One of the best skaters on the blue line that you will ever see and his ability to keep calm as he moves the puck up ice is amazing. Especially for someone his size. Where he needs to develop his game is in the defensive department, where despite a good frame, can get beaten and his lack of awareness has let him down on a few occasions this season. But if those problems can be ironed out he has all the tools to be a genuine top player in the league. And that potential is why I see him going within the first 10 picks. While it might change on a dime before tomorrow I would look for him to go to the Edmonton Oilers with the eighth selection. 

Nils Höglander – Rögle BK – Winger

His first full year in the SHL and while it wasn’t great on a team level or even production level, Höglander did gain a lot from the year, especially in terms of experience. Playing 50 games for Rögle is fantastic for a youngster and he managed to get some solid minutes as well. With 14 points to show for it and the chance to showcase his creative nature was something that he took full advantage of. With the Juniors team he had a nice showing with seven points in eight games, despite not being a part of the team that went to Vancouver.

One of the things that impressed me the most as a watched some games with him, was his sheer tenacity and grit despite not being the tallest guy on the ice. He plays a much bigger game than what his body type would have you believe and while his hands are silky smooth, he works harder than most on the backcheck and defensive zone. And if someone was in the middle of scrums or in the net front battles for Rögle it was typically Höglander who was a key part of it. He is like a terrier that will fight for everything, and that is something I could see taking him far in today’s game, when combined with his hands and creative and fast playing style.

Embed from Getty Images

His downside is that despite his hands and offensive talents, he lacks something to make him a true force to be playing against. He doesn’t have the greatest shot, nor the best vision and he is sometimes lacking that last bit of power and physicality in his net battles to really get the right position. However, if he can get something like that, he is someone that could easily become a great player and valuable piece to any franchise and is no doubt going in the first round.

Victor Söderström – Brynäs IF – Defender

The second defender from Sweden that is no doubt going in the first round and it’s very likely that he is the best of the two. A great two-way player who has so much awareness and calm to his game. And where Broberg played in the second tier, Söderström played 40 games in the SHL. He had seven points for Brynäs in those games and while those stats aren’t overly great, it’s not smart to be fooled by them.

What Söderström brings isn’t points but reliability. He will always find the right pass, and breakout and his understanding of the game in terms of pure hockey IQ is potentially the best in the entire class. And if the other team has the puck he uses his skills and knowledge to get into the right areas to block a shot or find a way to win the puck battle despite his lacking size.

His weakness is his shot, and while its not awful by any means, he again tends to use his knowledge to get the puck through and to the net. But despite a lot of time on the power play, he never really got the points rolling, like his vision should allow him too.

While he is a two-way player, he is better on the defensive end and his lack of speed does mean he is more than likely relying on reading the play well and find the open pass, rather than bring the puck up ice himself. However, despite that his understanding of the game and fantastic vision combined with defensive abilities more than makes up for it and he is a sure top-20 in my eyes.

Samuel Fagemo – Frölunda HC – Winger

Champion of Europe and Sweden at the age of 18. Not too shabby for the Swedish forward who had an excellent year for the Swedish champions. He was fantastic in scoring 25 points in 42 regular season games, 10 points in 11 CHL games and 10 playoff points on Frölundas path to glory. No matter how you look at it, he was a star this season and while he might be one of the older players at the draft, he has shown all his talents this year to all of Sweden and Europe. But, he failed to really showcase it at the juniors where he was one of the bigger letdowns for a disappointing year for the Swedes. He was expected to be their goal scorer and he failed, and it clearly hurt his draft stock.

I was fortunate enough to get to see him live as Frölunda took on Aalborg Pirates in the CHL and I was left speechless by his game. Fast, strong on the puck and with one of the best shots I have seen live. His release and wrist shot is upper-class and he was sensational. He didn’t score in that game, but I’m pretty sure the crossbar will never be the same, as he hit it at least twice with unrivaled power.

He is a pure goal scorer but sadly it means that his weakness is his backchecking and defensive abilities. In that area he lacks a lot and if he is having an off day offensively, he won’t be amazing defensively. If he can get that little bit better in that end of the ice, he might be a steal for someone who seems to drop much further than his talents should allow him to.

Statistics provided by EliteProspects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Puck77 Interview: Andrew Berkshire Of Sportsnet & Winnipeg Free Press

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire – Twitter) of Rogers Sportsnet and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Berkshire has done great work over the course of his career. In his role with Rogers Sportsnet, he’s a columnist and covers the NHL as a whole. His role with the Winnipeg Free Press is a bit different as he tends to focus more on the Winnipeg Jets.

In my interview with Berkshire, we talked about the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Vancouver Canucks, the Edmonton Oilers, the Montréal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets. Let’s take a look at what Berkshire had to say about those clubs.

Zaitsev & Lucic

Josh: In your latest post for Sportsnet, you touched on the Nikita Zaitsev trade talks. Do you believe that the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to pull off a Zaitsev trade or is he looking more like a buyout candidate?

Andrew: There’s always a market for right handed defencemen, even bad ones. I don’t think they’re likely to get the big haul that Toronto media is working hard to pretend they will, but they’ll be able to move him.

Josh: In a recent article, you discussed why Loui Eriksson would be a good fit in Edmonton. But, do you believe that Milan Lucic would be a good fit in Vancouver? Could he bust out of his shell?
Andrew: I think Lucic is a shell of the player he once was, but he’s not completely washed up. Edmonton continually pushed him to be a net front scorer and that’s never been his game. He’s a beast of a man so that gets you the reputation of going to the tough areas, but Lucic’s tendencies have always been as a perimeter playmaker first and foremost, who crashes the high slot to rip in heavy wrist shots. He can get to the net front, but usually as the second man in. If he’s allowed to play his own game, he can probably still be a decent 3rd line guy.

Montréal

Josh: For many folks across the industry and kids growing up, you are viewed as a mentor. A lot of times, we in the industry have to write posts that aren’t necessarily in our comfort zone. As a Montréal Canadiens fan, do you find it challenging to write positively about other teams? 
Andrew: I’m not really a Canadiens fan anymore, not because I couldn’t be and continue to write objectively, I just fell out of love. I find this common question super interesting because there’s an impression that’s put out by media that no one with a press pass is a fan. It’s very untrue, and even if someone isn’t a fan in the normal sense, they will have the same biases as fans by covering one team constantly. They’ll know more about that team and tend to favour its players, they’ll have relationships with players and either like or dislike them, which absolutely colours coverage despite all protestations, and a lot of folks are just fans who don’t admit it. There’s more cheering in the press box than anyone wants to admit. With that said, it’s never been difficult for me to write positively about other teams, even when I was a hardcore fan. Part of that likely stems from the nature of what I do. I critically analyze, and if someone or some team is good, I’m not about to find excuses to say they’re not, and the same goes if they’re bad. I’m never really in a situation where I have to write glowingly about something I dislike about a team, which clearly helps make my job easier. The toughest thing in my job is when I’m asked to look into a player and see if there’s something interesting going on, but there just isn’t. Unsatisfying conclusions suck.
Josh: Noix JouleSon (@Abscoverage) recently posted a poll on the Habs. He talked about whether or not Brendan Gallagher is a top 6 forward or an elite forward. While his 5v5 play was spectacular, he wasn’t able to get the Habs’ power-play where they needed to be. If Marc Bergevin acquires the necessary talent to bolster their power-play, can we consider Gallagher an elite forward when he posts 70+/80+ points or is he still a top 6 forward?
Andrew: Gallagher is a top-line forward, full stop. Whether he’s elite depends on your definition of the word. For me elite means top-5 at your position. I have Gallagher in the 12-8 range so I wouldn’t call him elite, but at 5-vs-5 only he probably would be a top-5 right wing in the NHL. Unfortunately the nature of his game doesn’t lend itself to a big powerplay impact unless other areas of the powerplay function at a high level. You can have the best net front guy in the world, but if you don’t have anyone who can shoot and make plays on the half wall, or a defenceman who can walk the blueline and find seams for shots and passes, it won’t help. I wouldn’t lay the PP struggles on him.
Josh: Karl Alzner has had a rough time in Montreal. Do you believe that Bergevin might be ready to buy-out his contract? Also, do you believe that Alzner’s deal will prevent Bergevin from spending quite a bit of money on high-priced UFAs in the future?
Andrew: I can’t see a buyout in Alzner’s future unless the NHL throws out some more compliance ones. Alzner’s deal is structured in a way that the Canadiens would only get buyout savings in 2 of the next 3 years, then have another million or so against the cap for an extra three seasons. Better to wait it out or find a trade partner. I don’t think it’ll make Bergevin shy about UFAs, if anything I would hope it led to a restructuring of what the organization considers important.

Winnipeg

Josh: In a post that I wrote earlier this year, I spoke highly about Kyle Connor and why he should be paid more than Patrik Laine this summer. I just love how Connor’s role is better for the team as he’s better all-around than Laine. But, do you see different? Do you believe that Laine will earn more?
Andrew: Laine will earn more because his skill set is too tantalizing. He has the potential to be the next Ovechkin, and Ovi is about as one-dimensional as Laine is. Connor is a good player, but one thing I noted for the Winnipeg Free Press this season is that Connor has not played well apart from Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. He hasn’t been a play driver at any point. What would we think of Laine if he played most of his career with Scheifele instead of Bryan Little? I think to be honest, Connor is the riskier player to give big money to.
Josh: This past season, we saw a minor setback in Connor Hellebuyck‘s performance. Do you believe that he’ll get back to his 2017-2018 self next season?
Andrew: I’m not sure. Goalies are always hard to predict, but one area I usually look at season to season is high danger save percentage. According to the data I have, Hellebuyck’s save percentage on high danger chances was only about league average in his Vezina nominated year. He made up most of that great save percentage in the high slot and perimeter, and the fact that the Jets were one of the best teams in the league at cutting down high danger chances. Last season that wasn’t the case, and his performance suffered. Adjusted for the shots he faced, he was still worse this season, but not by as much as you would think. How Hellebuyck’s save percentage trends will have a lot to do with how the Jets defend.
Josh: Jack Roslovic will be entering his contract year. With the Jets moving Kevin Hayes‘ rights to Philadelphia, do you believe that Roslovic will be ready to play second line minutes or will Bryan Little be the second line centre?
Andrew: Roslovic was really inconsistent last year, but there were flashes towards the end of the season that he might be ready to step up a bit. If the answer is Bryan Little, it’s a bad answer. His performance has tanked recently as he hit age 30 or so. It would be a big step up for Roslovic to take that spot, but he’s certainly capable. I’m really not sure if he’s ready though.

Thank You

Thank you Andrew for taking the time to speak with me. I look forward to interviewing you again in the future.

player profiles from hockey-reference.com

New York Islanders

New York Islanders: Breaking Down The Eberle Extension

Per Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the New York Islanders and forward Jordan Eberle agreed to a five-year, 27.5 million dollar contract ($5.5 million AAV).

The 29 year old forward recorded 19 goals and 18 assists in 78 games last season. Unfortunately, we’ve come to expect more from Eberle. During his days with the Edmonton Oilers, he had outstanding seasons. But, over the years, we’ve seen a slight drop in production. However, he hasn’t had a season like this. This was a poor season.

The Trade With The Edmonton Oilers

Before talking about his production this season in comparison to other seasons, let’s look back on how the Islanders landed up with Eberle.

Eberle was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the New York Islanders on June 22, 2017 for forward Ryan Strome. Not a bad trade for the Islanders if I’m being honest. At the time of the trade, Eberle was coming off of a 51 point season, and his fourth consecutive twenty goal season. On the flip side, Strome didn’t have much luck with the Edmonton Oilers and would end up being traded to the New York Rangers.

Comparing Last Season Production To Previous Seasons

Embed from Getty Images

Like mentioned earlier, Eberle only scored 19 goals last season. Certainly not a bad year out of a top nine guy, but disappointing considering his six million dollar cap hit. Eberle only recorded 37 points last season. The first time since the lockout shortened season that he tallied under fourth points. He also recorded 22 less points than the season prior, while only playing in 3 less games.

Eberle didn’t miss time to a major injury. Plus, the New York Islanders made the playoffs last season and were one of the best teams in the NHL, so I’ve failed to come up with a logical explanation for the decline in production. Like I mentioned earlier, he’s only 29, so it’s hard to imagine that he would have a major decline as he’s still relatively young.

After looking at Eberle’s consistent production in his previous seasons, I’m willing to chalk it up to a bad season. Eberle took a five hundred thousand dollar per season pay cut, and if he returns to his 20 goal and 30 assist production, that’s very good value. I think those numbers are worth five million a season. So yes, I do feel he was slightly overpaid before. That has been addressed and even though it’s not much less, it’s still closer to the value Jordan Eberle can provide.

On the other hand, my main concern for the Islanders is that last season he wasn’t the Jordan Eberle that we’ve been used to seeing. While I’m willing to accept it as an off year, I’m going to keep an eye on him next season. Reason being the upcoming season is going to decide if this contract is bad or not. If he returns to form, then it’s a good contract. If he has another disappointing season while turning 30, it’s incredibly likely that his best days are behind him. And if that’s the case, it would making that 5.5 million cap hit an awful contract. 

But, Eberle’s level of consistency isn’t a fluke. He should bounce back and the Islanders will have a good top nine winger for the next five years. Just keep a close eye on him Islander fans, because there is always the possibility it goes south. Of course, I hope that’s not the case.

stats from hockey-reference.com, NHL.com

research from CapFriendly.com

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

NHL Draft: German League Prospects For The Draft

Only seven days remain before the 2019 National Hockey League entry draft and prospects from all over the world will be gathered to see their fate. Among the prospects, there are a few of them that will be coming from Germany. 

The journey to the NHL is long and hard and while it’s still heavily dominated by the Canadian players, the Europeans are starting to gain more and more momentum. Over the next week or so, I will try to look at the players from the European leagues that could be stars in the NHL down the road and late round steals.

First up is Germany. We’ve seen quite a bit of top talent coming from Germany. Players like Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers and Philip Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche have been stellar in the NHL. On the international scene, German hockey has created near miracles, something that Puck77’s Wally Mazurek also focused on in his article from earlier this week. But how do the Germans stack up ahead of the 2019 entry draft and what players from their leagues is worth keeping a small eye on during the draft?

Moritz Seider – Adler Mannheim – Defender

The next German star of the NHL is well within the cards for 18-year-old Moritz Seider. Talks have him to being taken mid-first round and for good reason. The Mannheim defender has had a dream season, where his first of many great achievements came when, at the age of 17, he  took the German Under-20 team back to the World Juniors top division as its captain. To be the captain at that age is something unique, but his young age didn’t show in the tournament. He was a star player for the Germans, getting seven points in  five games for the Germans.

Embed from Getty Images

In the domestic league, he helped Adler Mannheim win their seventh league title. And once again the young defender was a key part of it, playing 43 games for the club. While his points production wasn’t as good as it was at the junior levels, he held his own and played in all the 14 playoff games.

To end the season, he also got to shine doing the IIHF Worlds Championships, where he was playing extremely well for Germany, with strong play on the blue line on both sides of the zone. He never looked out of place on the German team and for a teenager playing against men and NHLers, that’s one of the biggest compliments to receive. Sadly, his tournament ended on a sour note as he was taken out with a minor injury against Slovakia.

Seider is possibly one of the best mid-to-late first rounders in a few years and with his size and speed he can become a great pick and, in my opinion, would be one of the major steals of the draft if he were to drop outside the top 20. He has all the tools and skills to become one of the better defenders in the league if he continues his development.

Simon Gnyp – Kölner Haie – Defender

Last year was a fantastic year for German hockey. Not only due to the success in the Worlds and Under-20 team getting promoted back to the Worlds Juniors, but also due to the success of the Under-18 team.

Under the leadership of captain Simon Gnyp, they also gained promotion to the top of Under-18 hockey. Like Seider, he also showed a great ability to get points from the blueline during this tournament as he grabbed eight points in just five games. A huge part of the reason for the promotion and its very likely that he will be a part of the World Juniors next winter for the Germans.

Embed from Getty Images

Gnyp has somewhat been overshadowed by Sieder in a lot of the German prospect talks, but Gnyp has played 14 games in the DEL against the best that Germany has to offer, and at only 17-years-old that is a monumental achievement. And while he wasn’t a regular in the Kölner line-up, he did manage to find a lot of success on the Under-20 level at Kölner EC U20, where he had 35 points in just 29 games. Being a point a game in any league is good. But when it’s done as a freshman in the junior league its worth taking note of.

His one weakness is his size. At only 5’11″ and 179 lbs., he is on the smaller side when it comes to the NHL build for a defenseman. However, as we seen with players like Jared Spurgeon and Samuel Girard, its more than possible to break into the NHL even with a smaller frame. I see him going in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he turns out to be one of those picks that people look back on with a lot of pride in a few years as he dons an NHL uniform.

Nino Kinder – Eisbären Berlin U20 – Center

The top scorer of the German Under-18 team and another part of the aforementioned team that gained promotion, Nino Kinder’s nine points was a key part in their success. Especially since he always found a way to score the key goals in the tournament, with very important tallies against Kazakhstan and Denmark.

Within Germany, he has mostly been apart of the Under-20 team in Berlin although he has had a small taste of Men’s hockey with five DEL games to his name. In the Under-20 league, he has been good and shown a lot of nice signs with a lot of offense. With 41 points in 33 games, and 17 goals to his name, its clear to see that he can find the back of the net at the junior level in Germany.

Embed from Getty Images

The major question now is if it can be transferred to the big leagues. Next season will be a very important year for him where he more than likely will feature more heavily in DEL. This is yet to be confirmed and this could scare off a lot of teams from looking his way despite a fine international showing, at least in the early rounds. I see him as a late pick, potentially even seventh round that by a team hoping that his skills at the junior levels will be showing as he takes the next step in his career.

Jan-Luca Schumacher – Jungadler Mannheim U20 – Center/winger

While Jan-Luca Schumacher has never played a game in DEL, his stats in the juniors in Germany is astonishing. Well over a point and a half per game in over 30 games for Mannheim tells the story of his talent.  A great playmaker at the junior levels, he has all the tools to go quite far. At only 17, he has time to grow as well and he might have as he has a smaller frame.

Schumacher was a major part of the U18 German team who won the promotion, where he got six points. And like Kinder, he also made some key contributions along the way.

Schumacher and Kinder are very similar players and they both are going to have to show that they can break into the men’s league and transfer their fantastic play to the senior level. And that is a lot easier said then done, so his lack of senior level might hurt his draft stock, since the pure junior players that tend to be picked in the first couple of rounds are playing in the juniors in North America. Therefore, I feel he would be another late round pick from a team looking for a steal.

Statistics Provided By EliteProspects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals 

 

Puck77

National Hockey League: Who Will Take Home The Hart Trophy?

The NHL Awards Show is coming up, and the finalists have already been announced. There are favorites and there are snubs, and fans have been vocal about who should win, and who deserves a nomination.

 

The Hart trophy is no different, and there have been varying cases for all three finalists. The Hart Trophy, for those who don’t know, is awarded to the player who is judged to be the most valuable to his team. Here are the finalists, and why they should, or could, win.

 

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

Why He Should Win: Kucherov finished the season with 128 points, which, for this era, is unbelievable. He showed dominance in the league that had not been seen since the Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux era in Pittsburgh. He has already claimed the Art Ross trophy for most points in the entire league. A guy so dominant deserves this trophy certainly, but are point totals really enough?

Why He Should Not Win: Kucherov has every reason to win, but let’s look at what awards the players this trophy. “The player judged to be the most valuable to his team.” His own team. This is not league MVP, which Kucherov would claim, hands down.

Embed from Getty Images

Was Kucherov really that vital to his teams performance? Well, yes, but if you take him out, the Lightning will still be a playoff team. They have Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s also not a captain, nor an assistant captain, so you can’t turn to leadership qualities for help. Yes, he led his team in points by a wide margin, and yes, he had a historical season in every sense. But no, Tampa would not blow up if he were not there.

 

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Why He Should Win: Sidney Crosby is the Pittsburgh Penguins. While Phil Kessel was swirling in trade rumors and Evgeni Malkin struggled, Sidney Crosby remained Sidney Crosby. He led the Penguins in points with 100, 18 more than second place Kessel. He led the team in assists with 65, 10 more than second place Kessel. He finished second on the team in goals with 35, behind linemate Jake Guentzel (40) and ahead of third place Kessel (27). He was tied with Kessel for power play goals (12) and had the most time on ice among forwards, averaging 20:59. He is the heart and soul of the Penguins, and their captain.

Embed from Getty Images

Why He Shouldn’t Win: The Penguins had a down year in terms of where they finished as a team, as well as some individually underwhelming production. Crosby did not, as he held strong to his name. However, he’s just like Kucherov in a sense that the Penguins may not be awful if he were to leave them. Crosby is a huge figure in the locker room, but the Penguins still have so much star power with Malkin, Guentzel, Kris Letang, Kessel, Justin Schultz, and Matt Murray. They would still be a far different team, but I still believe they’re good enough to make the playoffs.

 

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Why He Should Win: As the captain of the Oilers, he went on to do McDavid things. He finished second in the league in points with 116, just 12 points behind the otherworldly production of Kucherov. He finished with 41 goals, which is tied with Kucherov for sixth in the league. He also notched 75 assists, second to only Kucherov (87) around the entire league. Edmonton is not a good team, and if you take McDavid off the roster, they’d be worse than the Ottawa Senators. What McDavid does for this team, no one can top it.

Embed from Getty Images

Why He Shouldn’t Win It: While Kucherov was able to lead the Lightning towards a President’s Trophy, and Crosby was able to snag a playoff spot with the Penguins, McDavid was left golfing. He wasn’t good enough to get his team to the playoffs, despite being one of the best players in the league.

 

Deeper Dive

One way to decide whether or not a player was more lucky than successful is by looking at a stat that ultimately quantifies a players luck.

Higher than a 100 PDO means that person was lucky, and likely won’t repeat their season at that clip. Under 100 PDO is unlucky, and likely means that player could have done better. 100 PDO is average, not lucky or unlucky.

Kucherov finished the season with a 102.7, Crosby finished with a 101.9, and McDavid finished with a 100.7. That being said, Kucherov’s historic season was spectacular, but required a lot of luck, and he likely will never reach that total again in his career.

Crosby did not have as spectacular of a year, posting the lowest goal, assist, and point totals among the finalists, but still required some luck to reach triple digits, and if the Penguins struggles continue into next season, Crosby may not reach the 100-point plateau.

Meanwhile, McDavid was just a little over average, not requiring much luck to reach an incredible 116 points, and has a good chance of consistently hitting those marks despite being on a relatively weak roster.

 

In Conclusion

McDavid deserves this trophy through and through, because he produced at a very high rate, and didn’t need a lot of bounces to go his way to reach his mark, showing that he can consistently reach that same production season by season. He’s also the only guy you can look at and say “Without him, his team would really struggle.” He’s also the captain, and the captain of any team is extremely important as is. So while he didn’t produce like Kucherov did, he has the “C” on his sweater, and not as much luck on the ice.

 

Stats via NHL.com

PDO via Hockey-reference

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals