Goldipucks and the Three Skaters: Zibanejad, Teravainen, & Vatanen

Rick Roos




With the halfway point of the regular season having now passed, it’s important to look beneath the surface to identify sustainable – and, arguably even more so, unsustainable – patterns emerging for skaters. That’s where this column comes in. For first time readers or those needing a refresher, the column is a play on the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story, except instead of there being three bowls of porridge I’m covering three skaters and declaring one too hot (i.e., doing unsustainably better than he should), another too cold (i.e., doing unsustainably worse), and a third “just right” (i.e., producing where he should be). I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating just how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), or how cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or how “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.


The three skaters being covered this week are Mika Zibanejad, Teuvo Teravainen, and Sami Vatanen. Put on your thinking caps to try and decide which of the three is too hot, which one is too cold, and who is “just right.” After you’ve locked in your guesses, read on to see how many you got right.


Mika Zibanejad

Still just 26, Zibs seems older because he’s been an NHL regular since he was just 19. For a while, it looked like he might fall short of expectations for a sixth overall pick, as he’d scored at a 51-54 point pace for three straight seasons spanning his last campaign in Ottawa to his first two in the Big Apple. Then in 2018-19, he climbed to 74 points, prompting poolies to wonder if he’d truly arrived. Now, despite missing time due to injury, he’s doing even better, scoring at 90-100 point pace for 2019-20. And guess what – signs point to him being able to maintain this production rate.