Like last season we did a twenty game report card with grades for the players in a quick paragraph. With Thanksgiving next week and a busy schedule over the weekend I felt game eighteen would be a good time to do this feature.
Anyone who has not played at least seven games is an incomplete to this point and will not be reviewed. I want to see more of Josh Bailey before voting in our poll or doing a paragraph.
Guerin still had his quickness to drive the net when necessary, he has not given them enough big goals yet and some nights has seem flat-footed after giveaways and still is too much on the perimeter which accounts for his team high seventy four shots. He only has one even strength goal on the season to go with his two powerplay tallies, one shorthanded and empty net goal. He has to finish some plays and has a center he trusts in Doug Weight. On pace for twenty four goals/forty eight points which is about as much as can be asked but he has to do more at even strength.
Doug Weight has four goals, three come off deflections on the powerplay by the other team but despite his lack of speed does see the ice well and is making plays in all three ends of the ice. He also looks like he is having fun playing hockey after what was a tough season a year ago. So far it looks like a great signing by Garth Snow.
Credit the system, the center around him or just a player skating better but Hunter has been in better position to finish his chances. As usual he is doing a great job in the checking, defense department along with great shorthanded play going all out to block anything he can get in front of. Do not let the plus/minus rating fool you here because he has been that good in every area.
This is a player who even early was getting chances and making plays, what he has done so far will not stand out on the score sheet but his speed and decision making with and without the puck has been very impressive. The hockey instincts are obviously there and only getting more acclimated to this level, his shot needs to be a little better but it's a good start. Scott Gordon has a lot of confidence in playing him in critical moments.
Some good stretches where his individuals skill have stood out but playing him on the left side with Guerin and Weight set him back when he looked ready to break out.
Fair or not Okposo has to produce more and has not had his wrist shot working off some good looks at the net. I'm not sure if Park or Hilbert are right for that and it's asking a lot of Josh Bailey to set him up as well as he did in Ottawa. Okposo does work hard/skate well and has some very deceptive moves where he has beaten some defenders one on one. It's going to take time and confidence but there are signs.
Seems wherever Bergenheim goes that line starts getting chances off his skating and checking, it's no coincidence. He made a goal against Ottawa Saturday shooting and then driving the net for the rebound. The production has not been consistent but he has been making some impressive moves and displays a nasty edge sticking up for his teammates. Among the club leaders in penalties with most the over-aggressive variety but all Bergenheim needs to do is keep doing what he has been. The speed and instincts indicate he is an NHL player with good potential.
Maybe not the best role/system for Sim but he is on his seventeen goal pace with less minutes and not on a set line after starting with Guerin and Weight. The acceleration from behind the net to drive the goal is as good as ever and he is a pest who will get after the other club. Many may forget he missed an entire season but so far he's chipped in with two powerplay goals. I suspect he will do even more
with a set line.
From opening night where he was on wing until the time his hip started acting up Comrie has seemed somewhat off-balance in this system and with who he is paired with. A few good plays where he drove the slot for rebounds and the work to feed a team-mate for a breakaway in the corner was there but it's obvious there has been something missing from the best version of his game despite his eight assist. Not sure if injury-related or system related but last year's leading scorer has to be an offensive factor when he returns.
Richard Park-Andy Hilbert:
Might as well combine both players because both are excellent on defense and in the passing lanes breaking up chances with great speed going back the other way. Hilbert
had a nice goal opening night, banked one in off a player against Philadelphia and is on pace for about twenty five points. He will go body for body with anyone in open ice/corners and has skills lacking on the roster.
Park is off to a slow offensive start for him but has great instincts to win a puck and skate off the wing along with his pk ability.
Both players are doing exactly what you expect and doing it well.
We have seen some games he has tried to play physical, he has made a few good passes to set up plays along with driving the net. He had that great rush in Florida and had Vokoun looking lost after his shot hit the crossbar, it's something lacking on this roster but we are not seeing it nearly enough. If Bergenheim, Okposo, Nielsen can be visible every game Tambellini has to be also.
Considering Tambellini is the oldest in the young prospect group and what he did in the AHL the pressure should be rightfully on. He receives a failing grade based on a lack of quality chances created, not a lack of production on a weak offensive roster not geared to help a young player breakout and score.
It did not start well but he did become acclimated to this level and brought some energy to a fourth line. Scott Gordon had him as the only forward on ice in some five on three situations and he has stood up for his teammates. There is some speed but seemingly not the hands unless were talking baseball swing which led to a big first goal in Manhattan. Given he was picked up off waivers after the Bruins could not make a deal he's done about as good as can be expected to this point.
Of course only management knows if he has a spot in New York moving forward when all the injured players return.
Defense & Goaltending will be done Thursday or Friday.