Looking back at last season’s Norris Trophy candidacy and the debates that ensued, it’s pretty funny to look at the current landscape and re-examine how each of last year’s candidates are playing.
Granted, it’s a small sample size – with most defenders, we’re looking at a nine to eleven game sample size that they have played this season.
So let’s have a look, shall we?
We can make excuses for the absurdities that a shortened season can create but when contrasting these aforementioned numbers with Karlsson’s -- 11 GP, 5 G, 9 Pts, +6, 50 shots, 27:59 TOI/G, 3:31 PP TOI/G and 2:26 SH TOI/G -- everyone’s numbers, with the exception of Pietrangelo’s, fall well short of expectations.
And if we’re truly being honest with ourselves, Karlsson doesn’t have the added luxury of playing with a regular defensive partner who’s known for having the “greatest first pass in the NHL”. Yet, despite this incredible disadvantage, Karlsson leads the NHL in shots.
What’s intriguing about this list of defencemen is number of who have changed defensive partners. For Karlsson, and Pietrangelo, the transition has been easier than it has for Suter and Weber. Considering how much Predator fans and Karlsson detractors played up Erik’s lack of shorthanded ice-time, I never truly understood why a proportionate amount of criticism was not levied against Weber for the strength of his defensive partner.
Sky is Falling: Michalek Not Producing As Many Goals Without Spezza
Milan Michalek is not scoring goals and the media has taken notice. Last season’s shooting percentage of 16.5% was a career high for Michalek, so some regression from his career high of 35 goals was to be expected. The interesting thing about Michalek is that is still shooting 10.5%, just a shade of his career average of 12.7%.
The problem is that Michalek simply isn’t shooting enough. With 19 shots through 11 games, Michalek’s averaging 1.7 shots per game. Ten players on the Senators have better shot rate metrics than Milo.
The loss of Spezza is a huge blow to Michalek, but in his absence, it should help the organization determine whether Milo is a nice piece to have or a piece that they need when his contract expires after the 2013/14 season.
Carkner Sent to the IR
As one Twitter follower pointed out to me this morning, with Matt Carkner being placed on IR with a groin injury, it underlines how the Senators made the smart but difficult decision to walk away from the defenceman. I agree that the Senators made the right decision, but let’s give the Isles more credit for making it an easy one for the Sens.