Welcome back to Goldipucks and the Three Skaters, a play on words of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Instead of there being three bowls of porridge though, I cover three skaters and declare 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). In addition, I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.
The calendar may have recently flipped to 2022, but it's business as usual at Goldipucks. This week the three players being assessed are Robert Thomas, Thomas Chabot, and Shayne Gostisbehere. Can you start the new year off with a bang by guessing which of the three is too hot, as well as who is too cold and who is just right? Go ahead and lock in your guesses and then see if you got a perfect score. Data for each player is current through January 7th games played.
Robert Thomas (28 games, 3G, 24A, 42 SOG, 7 PPPts, 19:07 TOI, 1:50 PP, 42.1 PP%)
The former first round pick was already a full-time NHLer as a teen, where he posted just below point per every other game scoring. Then he raised the bar with a 52 point scoring pace in his second season, giving poolies visions of Thomas becoming a star in short order. But 2020-21 saw him score at a rate well lower than even his rookie campaign, although in fairness he did miss a significant chunk of time to injury. Still, expectations were markedly lower for Thomas upon entering 2021-22, but he's putting up by far his best ever numbers. Can he keep up the pace though, especially among a stacked St. Louis forward corps? The answer looks to be yes.
First and foremost, Thomas is in his fourth season and – given his size and position – at his 200 game breakout threshold. Although those factors in and of themselves don't always result in players seeing a significant jump in production, they lend at least some legitimacy to Thomas' marked increase in scoring.
One key to Thomas' success is his ice time, which is leaps and bounds above anything he's had in a prior season. While some might chalk that up to padded numbers during the games Brayden Schenn missed, even when Schenn has been in the line-up his ice time has lagged behind that of Thomas. Thi