Forum Buzz: Kucherov vs. Svechnikov; Cap League 101; Barzal; Thomas; Stutzle; Malkin; Yamamoto & More

Rick Roos

2022-04-13

Welcome back to Forum Buzz, where I peruse the DobberHockey Forums and weigh in on active, heavily debated, or otherwise relevant recent threads, reminding folks just how great a resource the Forums are. Nearly anything might be covered here, other than trades and signings, which usually get their own separate write-ups on the main site and are also normally covered in the next day’s Ramblings, or questions that are specific to salary cap issues, which is the domain of the weekly Capped column. To access the specific forum thread on which a question is based, click on the “Topic” for that question.

Topic #1Who is the better own when factoring in both goals and points – Kevin Fiala, Robert Thomas, or Mathew Barzal?

With goals getting a boost, so does Fiala, who, although by no means a textbook sniper, looks like one as compared Barzal or Thomas. Although like clockwork Fiala had his usual slow start, he emerged from it sooner and has played even better thereafter. What concerns me about Fiala though is he's consistently been relegated to PP2, which puts a natural ceiling on how good he can be. Perhaps he forces the issue at some point; however, Matt Boldy also will be angling for a spot on the first unit, so it's not certain if a spot – most likely the one currently occupied by Joel Eriksson-Ek – even opens up, that Fiala would end up being the one to grab it.

Thomas' role has vastly expanded in this, his fourth season which happens to coincide with his 200-game breakout threshold, making his big jump in production all the more "for real." The issue is St. Louis is a deep team down the middle, with Ryan O'Reilly and Brayden Schenn in the mix and signed to big deals. That hasn't stopped Thomas from becoming the top pivot, although like Fiala he's yet to claim a spot on PP1. In the case of the Blues, they're deep enough at forward as to field two solid units plus they don't play their PP1 into the ground like most teams. Another concern though about Thomas is his paltry SOG rate. It might be he's a pass first center, and those can have major success in the NHL, ala Henrik Sedin or Joe Thornton, although the jury is still out as to whether Thomas can be as great long term as those two.

Barzal is a rock musician stuck playing for a symphon