Just a Few Random Thoughts On The Season So Far

I've been an infrequent visitor/blabbermouth here for the past while, so I thought that I would just put up a few random observations on the season so far.

  • PLD is 10-8-18 in 30, in the middle of a personal slump. He's currently at a 27g/50pt pace, which is either an elite 2C or a low-end 1C. For much of the season, he's been an average 1C, statistically. Don't worry about Dubois; he's doing fine.
  • As long as we're talking about young forwards, I'd like to drop a note about how much I like what Milano is doing this season. He is doing far better with the puck this season than he has ever before; his xGF/60 is 0.128, compared with 0.011 in 2017-18, when he put up 22 points in 55 games. He's still getting his standard 60/40 split in zone starts; but he’s doing so against better players, and with stronger teammates.
  • Overall, Milano’s xGF/60 differential is +0.077. That is literally a greater contribution to the team’s performance than his xGF/60 in any prior season. In other words, after you subtract what the opposition does while Sonny is on the ice, he’s still creating more on the ice than he has ever in his career.
  • What is interesting is that his xGA/60 is comparable with his 2017-18 season (0.051 this year, and 0.052 then). He's providing roughly the same defence, but playing against better opponents. It's almost like playing harder against the opposition in their own zone generates offence all on its own.
  • Yet he still has the same snakebit production as the rest of the team. He’s scoring at a 0.039 GF/60 rate at 5s, which is roughly 1/3 of his expected production, based on shot quality. Hypothetically, he could have as many as 6 more goals on the season, based on what he’s done on the ice.
  • There are roughly 16 GMs in the league would give you a first-rounder for Ry Murray, and another 14 that would give you a top-10 protected 1st for him. Murray is a better defensive defenceman than Savy, when healthy, and he is also a transition machine, improving the team's scoring opportunities every time he's on the ice.
  • Fortunately, the only GM who wouldn't do that deal is the one that actually has to accept that offer. Murray isn't going anywhere; nit at that rate of return.
  • If we're moving a D, why not move a couple of our younger D (not Gavrikov or Peake) for Quick? NHL-average goaltending is the primary piece we need, and we can afford his ticket without LA keeping salary, which very few teams can do.
  • What should the team do to honour Savard? He's likely to exceed Rusty's (unofficial) record for blocked shots in a career with Columbus -- Savy already has the official count, but Rusty played over 325+ games before the league started officially tracking blocked shots. Rusty probably has 760+ blocks in a Columbus uniform; at 757 and holding, Savard could easily make that jump in his next game.
  • My vote is for a silver athletic protector (a cup); however, silver shin guards would also be appropriate, and will lead to less ribbing in the locker room. But I would love to see Savy presented with a silver cup to start the Dec 16th home game and do a lap around the ice with it over his head like it was a (different) Cup.
  • If nothing else, that might loosen the bench up so they could make a better start to the game.
  • Why on earth would we let the Leafs pick up Hall when he's one of two pieces that we need to turn the season around?
  • Speaking of adding a top-6 left winger, I'm wondering if moving Cam from RW to LW might help get him rolling. Get him playing on his off-wing so he can unleash the one-timer more quickly might be a big thing to help him get his mojo back. We're weak on the port side, so moving Cam might open up the right side, as well as put him in better scoring positions overall, since the RDs and LHCs would be able to feed him across the royal road.
  • No one should worry about Dubi's $5.85 mill impacting how we sign kids or our ability to afford bringing in additional help. Dubi is done, I'm sorry to say. If he has osteoarthritis in the repaired wrist (which is what it's starting to sound like), then there's really nothing to discuss; he's done. There's nothing about his game that can be done one-handed.
  • The only question is if Dubi is LTIRetired, or if he actually files his papers with the NHL. As long as the contract is insured, and I don't see any reason why it would be (he didn't have a significant injury history when it was signed), the team can afford him to vacation on Clarkson Island for a couple of years.
  • I'm giving pride of place to Andy. More than anything else, this team needs Anderson to get back into the form that he had over the past two seasons. He is so hard to play against when he's playing his game, and he is also able to contribute at an indisputable top-6 level while providing that sandpaper and high-end defensive moxy. It's been said many times, but he is our Tom Wilson.
  • With that said, if the front office does decide to chalk up this season to a rebuild, then our best trade asset isn't Ry Murray, Savy, or any other defender. It's Andy. When you look at his youth, what he's already done in the NHL, the potential that he still has not tapped into, and his current incredibly low salary, there is nothing that we could move to a contender that would be as easy and impactful as trading Andy. Hell, even Toronto and Edmonton could afford to bring him in, right now.
  • That said, every reason that makes Andy a valuable trade chip makes it more important, in my opinion, that we keep and re-sign him. Anderson and Savard are the guts of what makes this team work. We need Andy to get rolling.
Thanks for letting me spew out the overstock of random thoughts bouncing around my bean this Thursday morn. If anyone thinks that I'm right off my rocker with any of this, please feel free to take your best shot in the comments section below.