Earlier this season I wrote a post on what’s reasonable to expect from our NHLers over in Europe. Certainly we shouldn’t expect them to lead every league in scoring, but at the same time, you don’t expect them to, y’know, look worse than they do in the NHL.
I was doing a little stat-mining this morning to catch up on how guys were doing, and a few names caught my eye. Here are the five players who are under-performing (compared to my expectations), and the five who are meeting, if not exceeding how we thought they might fare.
Evander Kane has been having his share of problems since heading over to the KHL, the biggest of which is represented above by his 0.09 points-per-game average. This is a guy who almost scored 50 times in a season as a junior, and popped 30 in at the NHL level in 2011-12 with the Jets. At one point, his coach implied he’s out of shape, but I would’ve assumed he could’ve done eff-all the entire summer and have a better line than that.
He’s not technically in Europe, I know, shut up. You know what this is.
The expectations on NHLers is that, when you go to a lesser league, you should do better (logic!). That applies to grinders too, as evidenced by other stat lines like that of Paul Bissonnette (he just went over to the British League, and has three goals and two assists in his first three games) and Dale Weiss (who went to the Netherlands and has 15 points in a mere six games). These “lesser leagues” allow the grinders a chance to play a more offensive role, and work on rounding out their games.
When guys drop levels significantly, you expect far better (more logic!).
Nate Thompson signed in the ECHL and has played ten games.
Still hasn’t scored. Not good. Hell I scored in my second ECHL game (then took 20 off)!
Anisimov isn’t doing terribly, but as a 6’4″ 24 year old with three NHL seasons under his belt (who is expected to provide some offense), you kinda hoped you’d see him light things up this season. You remember his celebration that caused the brawl against Tampa Bay (as seen on 24/7) – he’s can snipe, as he’s shown 46 times over his first few seasons.
So far in the KHL…
One goal? Not exactly lighting my hair on fire in excitement if I’m the Blue Jackets.
Seven goaltenders who were expected to play in the NHL this season have gone overseas and played over ten games. One is a player who, at one point in his career, looked like he was blossoming into one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. Shall we see how Pavelec is doing in the Czech League so far?
Be afraid, Jets fans. Be very afraid.
And last but not least…
The optics of Joe Thornton’s play in the Swiss League can be improved by hitting “PPG,” as I’ve done here. He’s only played 17 games, after all. But frankly, we expect more from Joe Thornton than to be the 35th best offensive player in the Swiss League so far. Especially when you check out how the other NHLers are performing there in the bottom half of this post.
What you see below is the Top 10 scorers of all “NHL players” (I think it’s guys who played in the NHL last year, or have a contract for next one, from EliteProspects.com) who suited up for teams in Europe. Old man Jagr tops the list, pouring in over a point and a half a game for the team he owns, HC Kladno.
Tip of the cap, good sir.
A pretty funny media spat took place on Twitter yesterday when Damien Cox of the Toronto Star commented on Yakupov saying “That’s all there is?” after watching him play in a few games of the Super Series, and David Staples wrote up a little thing on what a ridiculous a comment that is.
Below is the top-10 of all scorers in the KHL (not just NHLers) by points-per-game:
10 goals in 13 games for the kid – that’s all there is? Slightly better than Anisimov’s totals.
We’re talking Seguin and not Damien Brunner, who’s leading the Swiss League in points, because he’s not nearly as well-known outside of “Red Wings prospect,” and I had high expectations for Seguin (in the NHL, that is, let alone the Swiss League) this year.
Seguin hasn’t disappointed. Shall we check out points-per-game?
Solid. Other observations here: this isn’t just a list of NHLers over there (must like the Russian list above), this is literally the league’s Top-10 in PPG, so…nice performance from the NHLers. Second, I’ve played and gone drankin’ with Mickflikier, and I can’t believe he’s gone from the ECHL to having Kane and Seguin on his team. Nice upgrade. And last…Patrick Kaaaannneee!!1!
Giroux is playing in the German Elite League, which is pretty darn good. Giroux was in my “Seguin” files, for people I expected crazy-good things from this season in the NHL. Hell, he’s in the thick of his offensive prime, more or less (as I’ve said before, it comes at a lower age than people think).
So off to the DEL top-10 in PPG:
19 points in eight games. Eff the NHL for not existing this year. We’re only missing Claude Giroux at his finest. Hey look, a Jamie Benn sighting!
Don’t look now, but a couple of our NHL stars are creeping up the list of point leaders in the K. Radulov is leading the league still, but if you flip it to PPG…
Kovalchuk, Malkin, Datsyuk at five.
North American coaches have desperately tried to make Kovalchuk more aware of defensive hockey, so part of me suspects he may have been afforded a little more freedom back in Russia to wheel and deal. Either way, he’s tearing up the KHL, and Malkin is right on his heels.