That hairdo is just so amazing. I think I might have my Halloween costume picked now. Anyway, we’re about 5-6 games into the NHL season and already the crazy predictions and ranting has begun. In Toronto they are planning the Cup parade while on the opposite coast the Vancouverites are planning Luongo’s public execution. As most hockey fans know, the NHL season is a grind. These early results of course do matter, but things can change in a hurry. For example do you think Dallas and Colorado will be on top of the West by the end of the year?
One thing that has been fun to watch so far is the play of the youngsters in the league. Here are a few 18 year olds that have caught my eye:
1) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton Oilers
The #1 overall pick in this past year’s draft has 4 goals already including a hat-trick against the Canucks. The offensive skills are obviously there, but what has surprised me is his defensive awareness which is above and beyond what you typically see with an 18 year old. The Oilers are getting close to something special and RNH will be a big part of this along with his talented line-mates Hall and Eberle.
2) Sean Couturier – Philadelphia Flyers
4 points in 6 games to go along with a +4. What stands out for me is how much confidence the Flyers have in this kid. The 18 year old is playing important minutes on the PK and going head to head against top lines and not looking out of place.
3) Gabriel Landeskog – Colorado Avalanche
The 2nd overall pick in this past offseason already has hockey pundits drooling at his skill set. 2 goals so far with one being a game winner. His good start has likely solidified his status with the Avs for this season.
The youngn’s aren’t the only one’s looking good so far. Here’s a couple NHL castaways that have jumped out to a good start:
1) Jaromir Jagr
Now 39 year old, he’s not expected to be a top 5 scorer anymore, but it’s obvious he’s still got skills. 4 points in 6 games thus far, he is still a load to handle down low and it’s almost impossible to take the puck from him when he sticks his arse out. I really wanted him in my hockey pool, I’ll probably overpay for him in a trade later in the year. I think he’ll put up 70+ points this year if he stays healthy.
2) Sheldon Souray
Banished to the minors after publicly asking for a trade, Souray has persevered and is back in the league with the Dallas Stars. 5 points and a shocking +6 in 6 games thus far. He’s likely hungry to prove himself this year, but I’m not completely sold yet. Unlike Jagr, Souray is not surrounded by talent up and down the roster so he won’t keep up this pace for long.
Two teams that have caught my eye for completely opposite reasons:
1) Washington Capitals
6-0 to start the year aint to shabby. A popular pre-season pick for the Stanley Cup has done nothing to tarnish these expectations thus far. Could this finally be their year?
2) Columbus Blue Jackets
Off to a woeful 0-5-1 start the Blue Jackets do not look good at all. Their prized off-season acquisition Jeff Carter is already injured and it might be a lingering type injury as he might have damaged an already surgically repaired bone in his foot. Goaltending has been awful and Steve Mason’s time as the #1 is nearing an inevitable end.
As I type this the Canucks are already up 4-1 on the Preds in the 1st. I’m going to stop typing and watch the boys avenge their maligned goalie.