We’re going back to the well for this rendition of the Ramblings. A few months ago, mere moments before the NHL season kicked off, I shared my notes from a recent appearance on The Hockey PDOCast with Dimitri Filipovich. Well, Dim and I decided to evaluate our early predictions while discussing all the early surprises, disappointments and everything in between last weekend in a follow-up episode. Below are my notes (partially fleshed out for more clarity). 





Roope Hintz

  • We called this one right so far. 

  • Most common mates at evens this year – Benn and Perry

    • Pavelski and Radulov next most common

    • Has split his time evenly on the PP units

    • 16 mins (+2min PPTOI)

  • Clicking at 26% – due for a massive swing back to earth

  • Pushing for the Cy Young 11+2

  • The best player for the Stars through their dreadful start. Now the team is rolling and his assist rate should start to rise. 

  • Injury – was out for two weeks

    • Came back – 2 goals in 5 games

  • Was centring Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and on PP1. Now centring Denis Gurianov and Joe Pavelski on L2 and bumped to PP2

    • Mattias Janmark up on the top PP unit is far from safe. I imagine Hintz will get another look there soon.

    • He's got the size, speed, skill and a developmental arc that's racing upwards. I'm a believer.


Filip Hronek

  • He’s doing pretty well exactly what we had hoped

  • He’s been splitting PPTOI – 50.3% so far. But with Dennis Cholowski instead of Mike Green pilfering some of the opportunities.

  • He’s their top defender by a mile – 23 mins a night but could be among the league leaders. He's that good.

  • But! He's getting buried. Only 41 Ozone Starts – That hurts. He's become too important as a defensive player on the worst defensive team.

    • Still posting basically a wash for play driving at 5v5 (50.8 CF%)

  • Meanwhile, Cholowski seeing 70% ozone and has a worse CF% 

    • Sheltering him because he’s mostly offense at this point, but he still can't drive play like Hronek.

  • Clearly the team sees Hronek as their everything – taking 48% of the PK time too

  • Concern long term about his upside vs deployment opportunities as Mo Seider is looking all sorts of good in the AHL.

    • Seider is going to come gunning for that top RHD spot very soon. 

  • I could see Hronek becoming an all-around guy – terrific real-life player – but not ideal for pushing 50+ point seasons. 


Tyler Bertuzzi

  • He’s been a perfect compliment on L1

  • 24 in 30

  • 3:14 on PPTOI

  • 2 shots/per

  • 16.4 SH – high finisher historically and clicked at that level in 73 games last season. Likely a sustainable metric.

  • Has gone from sub-45% Ozone starts last season to 55% this year. IPP is hovering around 70 – he and Mantha are getting their points when the team scores. Not too high, but Bertuzzi could see a reduction when the luck starts to shift Larkin's way (whose IPP is just 46)


Kevin Labanc

  • Brutal start. Had found some momentum but is now floundering with 6 points in his last 13 games

  • Dropped outside of the top six

  • Has been flip-flopping between the two PP units – most common linemates at 5v4 are Couture, Hertl, E. Kane.

    •   Seeing consistent PP2 of late 
  • Starts 58% in the Ozone last year. Just 48% this year
  • I’m scared of San Jose – Labanc was supposed to be a driver of that transitioning core but he needs to find more consistency.

  • Evander Kane has really run with the top deployment.

  • Labanc played at a 65-point pace in the back 40 last year. He's on a 44 point pace in the first 25 this year. Which is the real Kevin Labanc?



    • Realistically, he's probably somewhere in the middle this year. And holds the medium high-end (65-70) as an upside, but will need to find consistent minutes and usage.
  • I'm getting ready to walk away


This kid is way too clever.



Filip Forberg

  • We didn’t talk about him on the show, but I had him forecasted for  36 goals and 72 points in 75 games 



    • He’s on pace to do about that – but with 41 goals.

  • I really feel like he’s a forgotten superstar. – Maybe not as much as Jonathan Huberdeau – who is top-10 in total points since the start of last season. but severely underrated. If Nashville ever went out and bought a true superstar that would compliment Forsberg, his numbers would skyrocket. Or if he could stay healthy. Health would be good. 


Nikita Gusev

  • 12 points in 24 games – but 4 in the last 4

  • 3 healthy scratches

  • 12:54 a night

  • Was absolutely buried with dzone starts to start the year (30% ozone starts) – John Hynes had flipped that of late (and he's now out the door) which has gotten Gusev up to 49%

  •  Most common linemate is Travis Zajac – that’s not going to help him produce.

  • That said, he has been a liability – amongst a sea of young players who are liabilities. The Devils are obviously going to be patient and give Jack Hughes all the chances he needs. A 27-year-old Gusev on a two-year deal? Not so much. 

  • I still think Gusev has the goods to be an impact player. And perhaps the new coach will help facilitate that. Maybe now is the time to kick the tires on a very low, buy-low?


Anthony Mantha

  • Dim and I nailed this one. 

  • 40-goal, 75 point pace

  • Living on L1 and PP1

  • Shot generation is WAY up – just shy of 4 per game

  • Metrics are very sound. 

  • This guy is a 35 goal, 75 point player right now. And I feel confident that there is more to come. 

  • I'm buying him at every opportunity as the Red Wings tank won't last forever. Zadina, Seider, Veleno are all coming. A top-three pick in the DEEP 2020 class will jump within two years. Watch out for Detroit.


Andrei Svechnikov

  • Another home run

  • We felt he would be stuck off of the top line but see top PP

    • Well, he’s been getting both – Aho his most common linemate at even-strength

  • That line with Aho and TT are controlling 65% of the shot share

  • T-4th in the league with 4.1 p/60

  • I would still like to see him shoot the puck more. 

    • He had 2.3 last year

    • Up to 2.65 this year

    • His draft year in Barrie he put up 4 per game – I think he’ll get to that level in Carolina one day too – probably next season. 

  • He’s a superstar. I'd do a lot of terrible, unforgivable things to obtain him in a keeper. He's going to run around popping 90 points on the regular for the next little while. 



Brayden Point stayed in the game. Johansen will be getting a phone call for this one. 





Ondrej Kase

  • Well, we can basically say this about the entire Ducks squad – but if you can’t score on the PP you won’t have any interesting assets. 

    • 7 PPG as a team.

    • 3 players – Pasta, McDavid and Neal all have more

  • Only seeing 15 mins and 2nd PP duties

    • But with Getzlaf a ton at EV

  • The shot rates are down a bit but still top 10 in the league

  • If they ever hook Kase up with Getz and Rakell for keeps – all three should jump

    • Not really buying into him anymore. Still some potential but on a poor team, injury concerns and general lack of deployment and production.


Jakub Vrana

  • 68 point pace – not seeing PP1 as expected. 

  • But he’s good. Maybe good enough to go over 60 without that real PPTOI – which is rare

  • We figured 55 was doable so we weren’t too far off at this point.

  • If he was elsewhere with the juicy minutes – I'd absolutely love him. But trapped off of that Washington PP means the glass ceiling is thick. 

  • He scored two more goals on Tuesday night just to make sure I didn't forget to mention just how talented he is. 


JT Miller

  • Man, I was all the way wrong on this one. I fancied Miller to be locked with Horvat. And he's seen some time on that second line in an attempt to get it rolling. 

  • His presence on the top PP unit has been massive. Quinn Hughes has made the world spin, but Miller has been integral in the team leading the league up a man. 

  • 70 points legit this season. He's a keeper. 


Ryan Strome

  • NOBODY saw this coming

  • I was pissed when the Rangers dumped Filip Chytil in the minors so Strome could be the 2C

  • When Mika Zibanejad went down, it was supposed to be a recipe for disaster

    • Instead, Strome has been terrific and meshed very well with Artemi Panarin

  • Unsurprisingly, the metrics don’t match up for continued success

    • Personal and EV Shooting % are way too high

    • Seeing deployment that was unsustainable

      • 20 minutes a night with 3 on the top PP with those juicy, young NYR piece. He had better put up a few points!

  • With Zibanejad coming back, he’s slid down the lineup and his points will slide with it. 

    • But NYR does have some fun winger options for him at that spot. He’s been a bright spot early this year, but I'm struggling to believe it’s real.

    • He's an RFA at the end of the year and building a strong case for an arbitration hearing. The Rangers would be smart to deal him before the metrics crash back to earth. You should too if you can find a buyer. 


Tony DeAngelo

  • I thought he was going to get squeezed out in NYR with Trouba and Fox joining the fray

  • But instead, he’s been the best D asset on that team

  • He and Trouba have almost the exact same PPTOI totals, yet Tony has DOUBLED his production on the man advantag

  • He is 60% better than Fox on PP1 as well. 

  • He doesn’t shoot nearly enough still – under 2 per game – which is up from last year, but the 15% shooting will fall precipitously 

  • He’s banked enough points and enough goodwill that even when the fall comes, he should still be solid and keep the deployment. 

  • I love what I'm seeing from Fox though.. He will be a threat to pushing Tony to the 2nd unit for good. Seriously, Fox is really good. 


Martin Necas

  • Another star in the making

  • We touched on his need to steal that 2C job but that top PP would be unavailable. 

  • He’s produced nearly all of his EVPs with Haula and Dazingel

  • Playing at a 50 point pace as a rookie with 13 minutes of ice and isolated from the team’s best players (minus Nino)

  • The upside is real

  • Just need to get him a partner in crime since it looks like Svech is now with Aho

  • Never going to be a volume shooter, so works best with a sniping mate. 


Cale Makar

  • One of the top stories of the young season

  • He’s 100% the real deal and will push for D point leader for many years 

  • BUT! This level of production cannot and will not continue

  • 16% SH is coming waaay down

  • 13 at 5v5 too

  • Kid is crazy dynamic though. 

    • We’re going to have some fun with him, Dahlin and Hughes running around for the next 15 years


Canucks PP

  • Leads the league in opportunities and PPGs

  • Quinn Hughes has transformed that top unit. And to think we had to lobby to get him up with the big boys!

    • 13 PPPs – lead all D

    • Despite starting on PP2, he Leads all D in avg PPTOI 4:04 and 2nd in overall PPTOI behind only Carlson.

  • Even strength scoring is another issue altogether for the club, but if they can continue feasting on the man-advantage, the high-end players will be valuable. 


Ivan Provorov

  • Now that Ghost is well.. mostly a ghost, Provo is the man on that top unit

  • His 10 PPPs so far are more than the last two years combined

  • The 5v5 production is lagging but the 22-year-old is a good bet to hit 50 this year.

  • More upside to come – he was a monster in jr. 

  • Racks up blocks and hits in multi leagues too


Dougie Hamilton

  • This is it. All those trips to the museum have paid off. He’s here. 

  • 28 points in 28 games

    • 18 EVPs trials only Carlson

  • All his Metrics are very sustainable – except for the personal SH% – that will drop but probably only 2 or 3 points. 

    • But 20 goals and 65-70 points are very realistic.


Travis Konecny

  • 27 in 28

    • Top 20 in pts/60

  • Seeing less than 50% Ozone starts

  • All the metrics are sustainable – even maybe ready for a little uptick!

  • Looks great with Couturier at evens and on that top PP

  • He’s for real and on a sweet contract.



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