NHL Tales of Halloween Horror 2016

by | Oct 30, 2016 | Soapbox | 13 comments

Despite last summer's addition of P.K. Subban, the Nashville Predators are off to a poor start to this season.

Despite last summer’s addition of P.K. Subban, the Nashville Predators are off to a poor start to this season.

Several NHL teams and stars are experiencing a scary start to the 2016-17 season.

When the Nashville Predators shipped former captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens in June for P.K. Subban, it was expected the latter would bring them significant change. Many observers believed the Preds got the better of the deal, predicting Subban would provide a substantial boost for their offense. While Subban’s among the Predators’ scoring leaders, they lurched from the gate with a 2-5-1 record, sitting second-last in the Western Conference. Adding early insult to injury is Weber leads the Habs in scoring and was a key factor in their 8-0-1 start.

Led by promising young forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, the Arizona Coyotes were hoping for significant improvement this season. As of Oct. 30, however, they were mired in the bottom of the Western Conference. With only two wins and four points in eight games, they had the NHL’s worst record (2-6-0). Domi had six assists, but Duclair managed only one point during that stretch. Worst, starting goalie Mike Smith remains sidelined by a lower-body injury. Backup Louis Domingue and call-up Justin Peters struggled to replace him. 

The Chicago Blackhawks entered this campaign once again considered among the Stanley Cup contenders. However, the steady depletion of talent over the last two years due to salary-cap constraints could be catching up with them. With nine points in eight games, the ‘Hawks also have the league’s worst penalty kill.  Team captain Jonathan Toews is having difficulty finding the back of the net, with only three assists in those eight games.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs approached their Oct. 30 game against the New York Islanders, starting goalie Frederik Andersen had a bloated 3.67 goals-against average and an weak save percentage of .876. That’s hardly the type of netminding they expected from Andersen when they acquired him this summer from the Anaheim Ducks. His poor play is among the reasons the rebuilding Leafs struggled to maintain leads in October.

Speaking of the Islanders, after winning their first playoff round for the first time since 1993 in the 2016 postseason,they had high hopes for better things this season. October, however, was a nightmare. With only three victories in their first eight games, the Isles found themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Free-agent acquisition Andrew Ladd, acquired to skate alongside superstar center John Tavares on their top line, managed only one assist in that stretch.

Injuries took a big bite out of the Dallas Stars roster in October. Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, Jiri Hudler, Ales Hemsky, Cody Eakin and Mattias Janmark felt its sting. As a result, they managed only seven points in their first eight games. The Stars must get healthier if they hope to build upon last season’s promise.

The Los Angeles Kings suffered a serious loss when starting goalie Jonathan Quick was sidelined up to three months by a groin injury. While backup Peter Budaj has filled the void admirably, losing Quick is a Sword of Damacles scenario for the Kings. It’s probably only a matter of time until his absence becomes a serious issue. 

Speaking of sidelined netminders, the Boston Bruins definitely suffered when former Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask missed several games in October. Prior to his lower-body injury, Rask won three games for the Bruins. Unfortunately, Anton Khudobin (also sidelined), Malcom Subban and Zane McIntyre failed to offset his absence, losing all of their starts. Fortunately for the Bruins, he returned to action in grand style on Oct. 29 with a 1-0 shutout of the Detroit Red Wings. Still, the Bruins must do something to address their dreadful goaltending depth in case Rask is sidelined again. 

The Anaheim Ducks played through October without defenseman Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell. The duo withheld their services until re-signed to new contracts. While both are now re-signed, work visa issues delayed their return. Their absences contributed to the Ducks 3-4-2 record through their first nine games.  







13 Comments

  1. The real horror story might have been if Toronto had got even a little bit better goaltending, they`d have 3 more wins and be sitting near the top of the standings with 13 pts. Then who would most of the commentators on this site be picking on. Oiler Fan and Big bear would be waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

    • Lol why do leafs fans constantly blame Anderson that defense is terrible a whole lot of giveaways lead to a lot of those goals

      • They do have a relatively young defensive corp that are gonna make mistakes but they’ll get there and sure Andersen is probably having a harder time in net due to that but he should be able to steal the odd game as every other goalie in the league making 5 Mil a season can. Toronto fans know this is not the team yet that is making the playoffs. Very well could be in a year though. Mathews and Marner are everything they represented themselves to be not to mention Nylander who is even better than most thought he would be Rielly and Zaitsev are getting there. they got the offensive touch happening they just need to get it going defensively. It seems to me that they’re just allowing this team to fly right now with little regard to playing a defensive style. It seems if you can’t come in to Toronto and in most games score 4 or more goals you’re not winning the game…that’s exciting hockey to me.

  2. I doubt The Ducks, Hawks and Preds are sweating too much just yet.

  3. Yogi and BBB you are both right…The Leafs are just one or two easy saves away, and one or two defensive gaffes away from being 5-2-0 right now. Coulda woulda shoulda… Coulda beat the Sens, Woulda beat Peg and Shoulda beat Chicago… but its still early and there is 75 more games to go until the Leafs earn their next lottery pick. But next season the excuses won’t stand the same level of forgiveness.

    • I agree medic Anderson hasn’t been spectacular but it’s definitely not all his fault that defense is still in the bottom of the league

    • @Leafsmedic you are right about the lottery pick. If you watch some of Babs line juggling and parings during the games, he`s definitely still in the experiment mode. The forward lines (except Matthews line) is still changing game to game and the defensive pairing seem change from shift to shift. Babs seems to be redesigning his blueprint on how he wants the team to play. Kinda using the Pittsburgh system or if you watch the Marlies, their system. Always on the attack, heavy on the fore check and the defence pinching down. You rely heavily on goaltending and team speed. Fun to watch tho. Wait til Bracco gets a shot at the end of the year, the next Marner

  4. How about Dallas sends 1st & 2nd , Oleksiak, and Niemi to WPG for Trouba and Pavelec =)

    • I like it, overall; except I would Dallas needs to add LD-Esa Lindell and take away the 2nd round pick. Otherwise, Chevy says no ‘thanks’.

  5. Too many games are coulda woulda shoulda. Half the teams this year are using back up goalies. Budaj is getting the kings wins, can’t blame a goalie for all your struggles. Boston played their ahl goalies, and while they were not great, they had no sustained support throughout those games. Would Rask had been better? Of course, but the rest of the team had to show up too.

  6. Leafs fans should be pretty happy with their forwards. The new wave of young players has helped their offense, and something about the Matthews line doing most of the heavy lifting has taken a huge weight off Kadri’s shoulders. As a result, their top 6 is thriving. Their defense is going through some growing pains, and Anderson may not be the answer. Still, they’ve upgraded at every position. There are too many reasons to be excited about this team going forward, which is good for hockey. Toronto has had very little to cheer about on that front.

    • Not just up front either Zaitsev and Carrick have both looked pretty good it’s a roster with 11 guys 24 or under 6 guys on d under 26, there is going to be some growing pains. All in all I think they’ve been a treat to watch for the most part, the wins will come eventually. Still very early in the process.

  7. On the trade proposal front: what do y’all think of Jacob Trouba and Toby Enstrom and Alex Burmistrov NYR’s for, ld-Marc Staal,,
    rd-dan girardi, ld-Brady Skjei and either of:
    future center Keegan Iverson, or current center Oscar Lindbergh?