First of all, sorry for the short absence here–and I’m glad you’ve checked back–it’s been a hectic few weeks. I’ll be picking up the posts shortly.
We’re a good month and a half into the season, and most teams are right on the doorstep of 20 games into the schedule. Ditto for the players, of course. A quarter of the way through the season, we’re starting to get a good idea about who’s performing poorly and well this season. For Even Strength Total Rating, we generally like to see a good 500 minutes ESTOI before we put much stock in ESTR – So, we’re getting there, but it’s not worth looking at the metric quite yet.
What we’ve seen so far is poor performances out of some of last season’s top 20, such as Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie, David Perron of the Blues, Ruslan Fedotenko of the Penguins and Stephen Weiss of the Panthers. Poor to mediocre starts for St. Louis and Florida are part of the explanation, but Fedotenko’s 3 G, 3 A, 6 P, -5 plus/minus stat line is particularly disappointing given playing time with either Malkin or Crosby, and manning the point on the man advantage in lieu of Sergei Gonchar (The Penguins’ below average PP% continues to befuddle me in general, given their top shelf offensive talent). I’m also not sure what to make of Martin Havlat’s line of 2 G, 6 A, 8 P, -12 plus/minus; the Wild have been unexpectedly poor this season, and Havlat’s certainly never been known as a defensive forward.
On the plus side, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom continue to be bright lights on the suddenly average Red Wings, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac of the Devils continue their dominance, and even Bobby Ryan of the Ducks has woken up from a slow start. Two lesser known ESTR stars, Rene Bourque of the Flames–6 G, 12 A, 18 P, +1 plus/minus in +2:25 AVTOI compared to last season–and Tim Connolly of the Sabres–4 G, 11 A, 15 P, +0 plus/minus–have had excellent starts, at least on the offensive end.