Ramblings: Early-Season Misses; Nichushkin Update; Hellebuyck Skating – November 9

Michael Clifford

2021-11-09

We are about a month into the NHL season and it does seem like the games are flying by, right? It doesn't feel like a month has passed since the season opener, but here we are.

While it's still too early to make some determinations, there are definitely some players and situations I've moved on from completely in fantasy. In that vein, I thought I would go through my misses at this point of the season. We all like to talk about our successes, but there are more lessons in failure, and having done this for nearly a decade now, there have been lots of failures.

Here are some players I've whiffed on. They are players or situations that I was higher on than others and it just hasn't worked out as anticipated.

Antti Raanta

Before the season, my reasoning for drafting Raanta was as follows.

First, neither he nor Freddie Andersen had been very good recently. If they had, their respective teams wouldn't have ditched them. Second, while Raanta is certainly injury prone, Andersen was coming off an injured season of his own. It seemed a bit foolish to discount Raanta for injury while not at least assigning some of the same risk to Andersen. Finally, this team has long run a 1A/1B situation, with neither goalie getting monster start volume. Maybe Andersen would get 45-50 starts but a healthy Raanta would still get around 30. Needless to say, this has gone all wrong.

Honestly, not sure what to make of this. As mentioned, this is a deviation from what this team does: last year, the team didn't see any goalie start more than five games in a row, same as the year before. To see Andersen come right out of the gate with six starts is not only a deviation from what we could have expected this year, it would have been way out of left field in any recent season as well.

That is why I'm struggling to see if there's something to be learned here. While we can say that situations in the NHL can change on a dime, that doesn't really help us; "stuff changes" isn't good advice. If Andersen starts 60+ games this year, I will truly be at a loss . It is just something I never anticipated. Maybe that's on me, but the fact that Raanta is now hurt should mean even more starts for Andersen. We could see this team give 50+ starts to a goalie for the first time in five years.

Brady Tkachuk

It isn't as if he's off to a terrible start. He was late getting into the lineup because of his contract status but has five points and a whopping 43 hits in eight games. There is one problem here, though: shot volume. After averaging very nearly four shots per game last season (3.93) he is down to 2.88 shots per game this season, a career-worst. Three shots per game isn't terrible, obviously, but he was often taken at the end of the first round in part because of that shot volume. There is a big difference between 220 shots on goal and 320. That, of course, has a cascading effect if he can't keep his shooting percentage at the career-high 13% it is now.

What is going on here, I think, is that he finally has line mates that shoot. Tkachuk didn't play