Thoughts on Koskinen, Parayko, Ovechkin, and more…
Of the four teams to make coaching changes this season, three are in a similar state to where they were before the coaching changes. Those three teams (St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles) currently occupy the three bottom slots in the Western Conference. The other team (Edmonton) has had a complete turnaround under its new head coach Ken Hitchcock, benefitting from the usual immediate impact that Hitch has on a team’s defensive system while leaping into a playoff spot.
No one player has likely benefitted more from Hitch’s system than Mikko Koskinen. Already on the verge of taking over as the starting goalie, Koskinen is as red hot as any goalie at the moment. Koskinen stopped 31 of 32 shots to keep him undefeated at home this season (7-0-0) and push his overall record to 11-3-1 and his save percentage to .930. That save percentage is even more impressive if you consider that save percentages are currently falling with the recent rise in scoring. If you’ve added Koskinen to your team, there’s a good chance you’re starting him over another goalie that you had higher hopes for but hasn’t panned out (my example is the injured Antti Raanta). With super goaltending increasingly hard to find, I’m holding on and starting with confidence as opposed to selling high.
I expected Koskinen to be a great potential add upon the Hitchcock hiring. What I didn’t expect was for the scoring to be as much of a threat as it has. Over their last five games, the Oilers have averaged over four goals per game. Sure, we know that Connor McDavid will do his thing, like he did on Friday (two goals and an assist). Same with Leon Draisaitl (three assists). But with another goal on Friday, Alex Chiasson now has a career-high 14 goals with five points over his last five games while riding shotgun on this top line. He is currently benefitting from a 30 percent shooting accuracy, but the goals may event