Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Report Card: 20 down, 62 to go

The Nashville Predators have gotten off to a 10-6-4 record in their first 20 games of the 2011-2012 season, and have collected 24 out of a possible 40 points. Through the first 20 games, the Predators sit in 2nd place in the Central Division and 5th place in the Western Conference.

It's been a moderately successful start to the season for the Predators during their first 20 games. There have certainly been ups and downs. But how did each individual player fare in the first 20 games?

FORWARDS

#5 Blake Geoffrion- So far this season, Geoffrion has played in 18 out of 20 games. He was scratched for the last two games against Columbus and Edmonton respectively, and only has two points on the year so far. Geoffrion has yet to score a goal so far this year, but he has done a good job defensively as a forward. Grade: C-

#10 Martin Erat- Erat was hurt during the first part of the year, and has only played in 12 of Nashville's 20 games so far this season. Erat has five goals and four assists on the year so far, and has really been a good two-way player. There are occasional instances where he makes questionable decisions with the puck, however. Grade: B+

#11 David Legwand- Legwand started off the season with a bang. He had eight points in the first three games of the season. Legwand has five goals and 10 assists in 16 games played so far on the season, which is nearly one point per game. Legwand is also a plus-five, which means he's doing a good job defensively as well. Grade: A

#12 Mike Fisher--Fisher has had two separate injury problems so far this year. He missed the first few games of the season due to shoulder surgery that he had during the offseason, and was also out for a little bit after taking a hit to the head by Anaheim's Francois Beauchemin. When Fisher has been in, he has three goals and seven assists in 12 games. Grade: B+

#13 Nick Spaling- So far this season, Spaling has played in 15 of 20 games for the Predators. He was a little knicked up coming into the year, which may explain his slow start. Given the expectations that were placed on him coming into this season, Spaling hasn't quite lived up to par yet. However, his penalty killing and defensive play has still been solid. Grade: C

#15 Craig Smith- Not many people expected Smith to excel out of the gate in the way that he has. Smith is one of the top rookies in the NHL, and has great speed. His 15 points on the season is tied for the team lead. He's a hard-worker and a complete player. His rookie status makes it more impressive. Grade: A+

#18 Niclas Bergfors- Bergfors was put on waivers by the Predators yesterday. He has played in 11 games for the Predators this season and has one goal and one assist. Bergfors just hasn't been a good fit with Trotz's system. He's been one of the major disappointments so far this year. Grade: D-

#22 Jordin Tootoo- With this season being a contract year for Tootoo, offensive expectations were at an all-time high for him going into the season. That has been the disappointing part of Tootoo's game so far. He only has one goal and four assists on the season. However, Tootoo has been an effective forward when it comes to his work ethic and his willingness to sacrifice himself for the team. Grade: C-

#23 Brian McGrattan- One of the most interesting things about McGrattan is that he isn't a liability when he's on the ice. His job is to be the tough enforcer who has an aptitude for fighting. But he has also been a pretty effective forward when he's in the game. He's got one assist and several scoring chances so far on the season. Given the role that he plays on this Predators team, he's played quite well so far. Grade: B+

#24 Matt Halischuk- Halischuk has played in every game for the Predators so far this season, and has five goals and two assists in those 20 games. He's also been a good player in his own end for the Preds. He even picked up his first fight of the season on Tuesday night against the Oilers. Grade: B

#25 Jerred Smithson- Smithson is the hardest working player on the team, and is very valuable as a penalty killer and as a faceoff specialist. Smithson has one goal on the season. He has also taken 18 penalty minutes on the year so far, and a lot of them have been bad penalties. Grade: B

#27 Patric Hornqvist- After a slow start to the season due to injury, Hornqvist seems to have fully recovered. His play on the ice reflects that. He has seven goals and four assists in 19 games played. He is doing what makes him successful, and that is simply planting himself right in front of the net. Grade: A

#33 Colin Wilson- Wilson seems to have new determination and focus so far this season. He has five goals and six assists in 20 games, but has also taken his all-around game to another level. If he continues this trend, his production will increase as the season rolls along. Grade: A-

#74 Sergei Kostitsyn- Kostitsyn is one of the most highly skilled players on Nashville's roster. He has three goals and eight assists on the year so far. The problem that Kostitsyn has is that he doesn't shoot the puck enough. He only has 12 shots in 16 games played this year. Grade: B-

DEFENSEMEN

#2 Teemu Laakso- Laakso has only played in nine games with the Predators this year, and hasn't looked particularly impressive when he's been in the game. He still has a lot of work to do to get his game where it needs to be. Grade: D-

#6 Shea Weber- Nashville's captain has three goals and 12 assists on the season so far, and is tied for the team lead in points with 15. He leads the league in plus-minus, and is one of the best defensemen in the world. The only blemish with Weber is that he only has three goals on the year. Grade: A

#7 Jonathon Blum- Throughout the first 20 games of the season, it appears that Blum has taken a step back from last spring when he played very well with the Predators. Blum is a minus-10 on the season so far, and hasn't been defensively sound. Grade: D+

#8 Kevin Klein- There have been a few games this season where Klein has been the best defenseman on the ice for the Predators. The Kitchener, Ontario native has thrived on the penalty kill, and is great at blocking shots. Klein is extremely valuable for the Predators, and could be a number one defenseman on a few other teams in the NHL. Grade: A-

#20 Ryan Suter- With four goals in the first 20 games of the season, Suter has already tied his goal total from last year. He has four goals and 10 assists, and is third in the league with a plus-minus of plus-14. Grade: A

#38 Jack Hillen- Hillen has been pretty solid for the Predators so far this year. He had a rough couple of games to start the season, but seems to have settled down a bit since then. He is an above average skater, but doesn't do anything offensively that is spectacular. He just rarely does things that will hurt the team. Grade: C+

#51 Francis Bouillon- Since Bouillon returned to the lineup after battling a concussion, he's really stabilized the defense. He's fit in nicely on a pair with Kevin Klein, and looks like he was never out with an injury. Grade: B+

GOALTENDERS

#35 Pekka Rinne- The $49 million man has played great so far this year. His new contract has certainly seemed to make him more comfortable, and he has played as well as any goalie in the NHL through the first 20 games of the season. Grade: A

#39 Anders Lindback- Lindback has seen game action three times so far this year, with only one of those coming as a start. Nashville has lost every game that Lindback has appeared in, and he's looked shaky at times. He'll need to see more playing time down the stretch so that he can stay in game shape. Grade: C

2 comments:

  1. Going to have to disagree with you on quite a few.

    1) Hillen, Blum, Laakso, Klein, and Bouillon are all at a C or less. We have nobody on D that is coming close to what Franson or SOB did last year. Our biggest problem (it isn't offense) is our defense. We have 1 and 1a in Suts and Webs. However, we have 4 guys backing them up that should be battling for the 6th D spot.

    2) Way to generous for Geoffrion. He (along with Blum) should be back in the AHL.

    3) SK74 should be dropped to a D- on the mere fact he can't shoot the puck if his life depended on it.

    4) Wilson is having a 'good' year, but not an A year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are you Klein's agent? An A-? Cue the Tina Fey and Seth Myers "really?" comedy routine.

    ReplyDelete