With a Bang…or a Whimper

Dobber Sports




Just eyeballing some of the early season scoring leaders, the old guard is already starting to take their positions. There are a few pleasant surprises though, and some unpleasant ones when scanning the bottom of the NHL stats list. Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Ovechkin (Washington), Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton (San Jose) are sure to be in the Top 10 by season's end. Here are some thoughts on some other names you see up there.


Anze Kopitar, LA – This is his fourth season so a breakout is not only feasible, but likely. His nine points in four games is a great start. He'll beat his career high of 77 points.


Alexander Semin, WAS – Ho hum, a sizzling start just like last year. He's a dynamite player, but he's scheduled to twist his ankle sometime in early November.  When he returns after missing a dozen games, he'll slip to being a point-per-game guy.


Matt Carle, PHI – He has eight points already this year. At what point, does a final number become unrealistic? Is 70 points unrealistic for him this year? Sixty? I think reaching 65 points is out of range for the offensive rearguard, so let's use that as a cap. We'll use 35 points as a floor. To come up with an end number, we'll take a range in the middle, erring on the side of caution – so expect 45 to 50 points. That means another 37 to 42 points in 77 contests.


Jeff Carter/Mike Richards, PHI – They'll be there. If not in the Top 10, then pretty damn close to it.


Rene Bourque, CGY – He'll slow to about a 65-point pace. However, he is a lock to get hurt, as he is an esteemed Band-Aid Boy and anything over 55 points in 70 games would be a bonus.


Brooks Laich, WAS –He'll improve upon his career high of 53 points, as he is 26 and just entering his prime. However, anything over 60 points is extremely unlikely this year.


Keith Tkachuk, STL – He's not seeing a whole lot of ice time (15:25 was his season high) and 55 points is about the norm for the veteran.


Kris Versteeg, CHI – I'm starting to realize that betting against this guy is the wrong move. He'll slow, but not until the second half. Look for 40 in 40 by January, and then 22-26 in 40 in the second half for a total of 62-66 points.

Eric Belanger, MIN