Welcome to the second edition of three up, three down.
I went six for six in the first edition (well, Montreal from 13th to 11th is a stretch “up” pick), which makes sense: the standing are always a little wonky in the early going, and it’s pretty easy to see that certain trends can’t continue all season. Yes, we’re looking at you Colorado.
It gets a little harder as we go on, so from a gambler’s perspective, here’s how things are going to move:
The usually spectacular Bobby Ryan (remember this?) is off to a rancid start. He has 5 goals and 4 assists for a grand total of 9 points in 18 games. He plays on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, a couple names you may have heard of before. It’s impossible for him to continue a 0.50 point-per-game pace with his talent level, especially when you consider he’s usually somewhere around 0.8.
Given that he’s only 24, this was supposed to be the year he broke through and became an even point-per-game guy – I’d have absolutely bet that he would in preseason.
His stats will get back on track here soon.
Oh right, they were in 15th before.
This takes little explanation on my part – they’re only three points out of fifth, and they have games in hand on every team between 9th and there, except for the red hot New York Rangers. They’re a really, really good hockey team. 9th ain’t gonna be where they end up.
The Canucks haven’t found “it” yet, whatever “it” is. While it’s possible last season’s playoff run and subsequent emotional scarring set them back, a team with the talent of the Canucks just doesn’t suddenly become “bad.”
And in a league where a mid-season lull always exists, talent will win them enough games to climb. It’s just a matter of when they want to begin their ascent.
Ryan Smyth is off to a start he just can’t maintain – 10 snipes in 18 games (8th in the NHL), along with a point-per-game pace all adds up to a pretty ridiculous(ly good) season so far.
In his career, he’s somewhere around the .71 point-per-game mark, and the guy’s not exactly in the prime of his career (though it’s not his twilight either, he still has lots to give). Either way, I don’t see him having some statistical outlier of a season after cracking the 1,000 game mark.
His stats will regress to the mean sometime, and probably soon.
This bubble is going to burst.
That’s not to say they’re going to fall off the map – they’re likely a playoff team after this early success – but the Western Conference is tough, and some other damn good teams got off to slow starts.
And, again, it’s the West – they’re also just 5 points from being in 9th.
The Sens currently sit inside the playoff bubble, tied for seventh with the Florida Panthers (sentences nobody thought would get written in pre-season for $800, Alex). This little run has created a “the Ottawa Senators might be good this year” mirage. They’re still rebuilding.
The unfun numbers for Ottawa – they have a -7 goal differential, and they’ve played the most games in the NHL thus far.
7th looks pretty for now, but this is still a team that’s going to finish somewhere near the bottom of the conference.
Up: Montreal up from 13th to 11th, Boston from 13th to 9th, Matt Ducene up from 4 points in 9 games to 14 points in 19 games.
Down: Ryan Nugent Hopkins from 8 points in 8 games to 14 points in 18 games, Dallas Stars from 1st to 5th, Colorado Avalanche from 3rd to 12th.