Forward Thomas Vanek is having a bigger effect on the Canucks than previously expected writes Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre. Though some fans were concerned about the one-year deal Vanek inked, the early indicators are that Vanek will turn out to be quite the bargain. Though the Wild cut him loose with a buyout during the summer of 2016, the Red Wings took a flier and then flipped him to the Panthers for a draft pick and Dylan McIlrath thanks to a nice return during his five months in Detroit. Though he only potted two goals for the Panthers, MacIntyre points out that he has five goals and fifteen points in 23 games already for Vancouver. For a player seeing third and fourth line work (13:18 ATOI), Vanek has been a low risk signing that has produced with limited minutes. Though there was concern he would block prospects, it’s shown that the veteran forward still has value.
- Tyler Seguin embraced the change from sniper to two-way forward reports Dallas Morning-News beat writer Mike Heika. While many weren’t sure how he would react going from goal scorer to having to be more defensively conscious, Seguin couldn’t wait. Heika writes that the moves, however, created some problems for Hitchcock and Seguin. Calling him a “goal-scorer,” Hitchcock tweaked lines to get some of the early season magic back for Seguin. Pairing him with Jason Spezza on Friday night, Seguin responded with a hat trick in a 6-4 win over Calgary. Spezza moved to right wing and the gamble paid dividends as Seguin notched his first hat trick of the season. Though Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn were the ideal linemates for Seguin, it was necessary for Hitchcock to keep the team balanced. Friday’s move is one that Hitchcock hopes can keep Seguin’s name on the score sheet consistently.
- As the Oilers stumble through their first quarter of the season, Sportsnet’s Andrew Berkshire wonders if Connor McDavid is truly regressing defensively. Much has been made about Edmonton’s struggles to score goals outside of McDavid, and Berkshire writes that it’s splitting hairs picking on a player who is responsible for nearly 50% of the Oilers scoring. Instead, Berkshire takes the opposite approach, showing both graphically and through words that McDavid has actually been just fine this season–especially where he’s been criticized heavily when it comes to turnovers. A closer look reveals time lost due to penalties–which is a team-wide problem, as one of the culprits. Berkshire argues that a 32 second increase in penalty minutes and a three second decrease in power play time caused a drastic swing in performance for not only McDavid, but the entire team performance. A closer look at the problem, through the use of numbers, reveals that McDavid isn’t the problem at all.