Ramblings: Biggest Surprises and Stumblers (Dec 26)

Ian Gooding

2021-12-26

Merry Christmas! I know this hasn't been the most ideal holiday season, but hopefully you were able to enjoy something this year. Even without NHL action for at least another couple days, at least we can dive into the World Juniors today. Here are today's games that you can watch or at least follow.

Finland vs. Germany (Edmonton), 2 p.m. ET

Russia vs. Sweden (Red Deer), 4:30 p.m. ET

Czechia vs. Canada (Edmonton), 7 p.m. ET

United States vs. Slovakia (Red Deer), 9:30 p.m. ET

Ben Gehrels will be covering the World Juniors in The Journey for the next few weeks. Check out his first piece about Three WJC Players Poised for Breakouts.

With no NHL games to talk about at the moment, it's a good time to reflect on the season so far. Comparing Dobber projections to actual results, I've identified surprises and stumblers at forward (two of each), defense (one of each), and goalie (one of each). Think of it as an interim report card from school, where for these players it might be okay but it might not be. Not only will I describe the to-date performance, but what to expect going forward. I won't include injured players, unless the player has also been a poor performer when healthy.

FORWARD

Surprise: Nazem Kadri

If someone time travelling from the future told you before the season that a Colorado player would be fourth in league scoring at Christmas, you would automatically assume that the player is Nathan MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen. Kadri's spot in the league scoring race is surprising in and of itself, but his 1.58 PTS/GP separates himself even further from the pack, as only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl score more on a per-game basis. MacKinnon's injury has a lot to do with Kadri receiving first-line minutes, but even MacKinnon's return hasn't stopped Kadri from piling up the points (11 PTS in last 6 GP). A minor drop might be inevitable, but the fact that the Avalanche are far and away the league's best offense (4.22 GF/GP) helps Kadri's cause.  

Surprise: Troy Terry

Dobber's projection: 74 GP, 13 G, 20 A, 0.45 PTS/GP

Terry's scoring so far: 31 GP, 18 G, 12 A, 0.97 PTS/GP

I'm not trying to embarrass Dobber here.