Now that we’re a few games into the season, you may have noticed a few things that are happening with certain teams, especially when it comes to the power play.
San Jose has the worst power play, with zero goals on 14 opportunities. Buffalo leads at 66.7 per cent conversion rate, while teams such as Minnesota, the Rangers and Montreal are in the top 10.
The same thing goes for players. It’s early in the season, and coaches are willing to try certain combinations. The main thing is not to panic and make rash decisions when it comes to dropping players or making earth-shattering trades. At the same time, it’s important to note early trends. Unexpected players getting an opportunity on the top power-play unit might be able to stick it out there for a while if they produce.
Sticking there is the key part. Richard Panik has been playing some minutes on the top power-play unit in Washington, but expect that to change now that Evgeny Kuznetsov is back from his three-game suspension.
Here are the top 10 takeaways from the power plays this early in the season.
10. Tyler Ennis, Ottawa
To be fair, Ottawa is so bereft of talent that there are not a lot of options for the top unit. However, Ennis having the most minutes of all forwards is a complete surprise. However, despite this plum assignment, remember that Ennis isn’t a productive option. In each of the last three years, he’s produced at a sub-30-point pace. Now he’s up to 19 minutes a game, with five minutes of power-play time per night. If he can’t produce, he won’t keep getting those numbers for long. Expect a lot of movement among the lineup for most of the Sens players this season.
9. Alex Iafallo, Los Angeles
In the one game L.A. has played, they had five power plays and scored on one of them. With so many minutes, ice time was all over the place. A couple of things worth noting is that Anze Kopitar played 4:05 (half a minute more than the next closest forward) and that Iafallo was third among forwards in ice time. I don’t believe there’s much upside with Iafallo, but if he can keep getting significant power-play minutes, expect a breakthrough season.
8. Derick Brassard, I