Image: imago, shutterstock, watson
Hischier takes over from McDavid and Swiss super rookies – that’s something to talk about in the NHL
Around a third of the regular season in the NHL is already over. A look at the stories that have made headlines so far.
Swiss super rookies
Before the season started, it wasn’t entirely clear what roles Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashev could play with the Chicago Blackhawks. It was known that both are undoubtedly talented and that the Hawks are badly injured. But the way the two young Swiss started their first season in the NHL has surpassed even the wildest expectations.
In particular, Suter has already brought himself into play as a possible candidate for the Calder Memorial Trophy – the award for the best rookie of the season. In the absence of Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach, the Zurich native is allowed to lead the first line with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat and of course benefits from it. But Kane and DeBrincat also perform better with the Swiss than without him.
After Suter had a little trouble keeping the game away from his own goal in the first games of the season, he is now getting better and better. And at the front he does what he does best: creating danger right in front of the gate. Together with ex-Ambri striker Dominik Kubalik, he shares the team-internal leadership for most high-danger opportunities with so far 15.
McDavid and Matthews
While the rookies are convincing in Chicago, the superstars do the same in the purely Canadian North Division. Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are on course for historic brands.
McDavid not only improved his defensive game this season, he also got better offensively – as impossible as that sounds. The 24-year-old has already achieved an incredible 37 points (12 goals and 25 assists) in 20 games. With this pace, the Canadian would have 152 points in a complete regular season with 82 games. Such brands have not been reached since the 1990s and Mario Lemieux.
Meanwhile, Matthews is shooting goal after goal (ok, last night against Calgary, for once, not). The American has now scored 18 goals in 19 games, giving him a realistic chance of “50 in 50” – 50 goals in 50 games.
To be officially included in the statistics, the 23-year-old would have to score 50 goals in his team’s first 50 games. Because Matthews missed a game this season, 50 goals in 49 games would be required.
The last time Brett Hull achieved “50 in 50” was in the 1991/92 season for St. Louis Blues.
Let’s put Matthews’ current form in historical relation: Over an 82-game season, the ex-ZSC player would be on course to 74 goals. That would be the eighth best value in the NHL, right between Wayne Gretzky (73 goals 1984/85) and Teemu Selänne (76 goals 1992/93).
Hischier takes over from McDavid
The league’s youngest captain. That’s Nico Hischier since he was officially introduced as captain of the New Jersey Devils on his comeback three days ago.
In the almost 40-year history of the New Jersey Devils, Hischier is the twelfth captain and the third Swiss after Mark Streit and Roman Josi to receive this honor in the NHL. “I found out about it from General Manager Tom Fitzgerald just before the game. It is a great honor and a privilege to be able to represent the team in this way, ”said Hischier about his election. Fitzgerald had a piece of advice for the Valais: «Nico should just stay the way he is. Because we chose him for this task because of his personality. “
Elias Pettersson has been a constant in the NHL in the last two years, always scoring over 25 goals and 66 points twice. This year the young Swede got off to a slow start. After 22 games, he’s now with seven goals and nine assists.
The 22-year-old has only hit the boom eight times – four posts and four crossbars. No other player in the NHL has nearly as much bad luck to complain about.
For fantasy owners who have Pettersson on their team (such as the author), it should be said here: You don’t have to get rid of him. At Pettersson currently “only” 13 percent of the shots go into the goal. That is actually above average, but an unusually low value for him. Over the past two years, his shooting efficiency has averaged 18.1 percent. It is quite possible that the Swede will soon be running hot.
Another development this season is nice from a Swiss point of view is the resurrection of Nino Niederreiter. In last year’s playoffs at Carolina, the Chur from Chur is, together with Vincent Trocheck, the best goalscorer of his team this season. He recently scored 299, 300 and 301 points in his NHL career.
The success that has returned is no accident. Niederreiter is also playing significantly better than a year ago. Niederreiter not only has the most scoring chances and shots in his team, but also the best shooting positions. This is reflected in the best expected goals value of the entire team.
Surprises and disappointments
The Blackhawks are currently even on one of the four playoff spots in the heavy Central Division – even before last year’s Stanley Cup finalist Dallas Stars.
The Chicago Blackhawks with Philipp Kurashev and Pius Suter. Image: keystone
In the east, New Jersey surprises. Although the team had to get along without Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt at the start of the season and was otherwise seen as the clear bottom of the East Division, they fought their way up to fourth place. In the meantime, the Devils have fallen back a bit after two defeats, but they have also played significantly fewer games than the competition.
The y have lost ten out of 17 games and hardly any player can get what is expected of them. Matt Duchene remains at most mediocre, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are defensively vulnerable, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson do not score enough and goalie Juuse Saros is a sieve. Coach John Hynes’ chair is likely to wobble a lot.
Swiss defender on the siding
In addition to Roman Josi, for whom the team is not doing well, the other Swiss NHL defenders are also going through difficult times. Mirco Müller did not receive an NHL contract at all, he currently plays at Leksands in Sweden. Luca Sbisa has played one game for Nashville so far and is now injured.
Image: IMAGO / Icon SMI
Dean Kukan was actually one of the best defenders at Columbus. But since he owed a goal in a game, he has been labeled a scapegoat by coach John Tortorella and is hardly ever used. When the man from Zurich got another chance in a game, he screwed it up completely.
As expected, Jonas Siegenthaler at Washington has to contend with the increased competition. And Yannick Weber was brought in from Pittsburgh to make up for injuries. However, the Bernese only played two games and has now been transferred back to the “Taxi Squad”.
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