We're a little over a week into the 2019-2020 NHL season, and so far there have been surprises, disappointments, and many expectations that were fairly met in between. Let's take a look at how the Predators have filled out these categories and how the rest of the league has fared.
- Their shot percentage (S%) is currently in third place, meaning they have been generating lots of quality scoring chances.
- They are tied with Carolina for the second-highest goals for (GF), at 23.
- On a similar note, they are tied with Toronto and Winnipeg for the most even strength goals for (EVGF), at 19.
- Matt Duchene has certainly made himself at home in Nashville. He has nine points in five games with the Preds.
- The team save percentage is currently third-to-last in the league, at just a .861 save rate.
- The Preds' penalty kill sits at 26th out of 31, with a poor 71.4 percent kill rate.
- They are tied with five other teams- New Jersey, Toronto, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and San Jose- for the most goals against (GA) in the league, at 21.
- Juuse Saros' two starts have been extremely substandard. He has allowed ten goals on 64 total shots faced, and is currently averaging a whopping 5.1 goals against per game. Saros currently holds the fourth-worst save percentage league-wide at .844.
Preds' Met Expectations
- Roman Josi is clearly continuing his career with Norris-underdog gusto. His Corsi +/- rating is second highest in the league at +52 and is maintaining an overall Corsi For of 120. You could classify this as a surprise, but Josi has raised everyone's bar in terms of expectations of him.
- The power play is situated at 13th overall with a 23.5 percent conversion rate. So far, it's a vast improvement from last year, but it's an expectation-met because improving on a last place finish shouldn't be that hard for a playoff-caliber hockey team.
- The Preds have only allowed a total of 151 shots against them, which puts them at 20th league-wide. This shows that the defense has largely been able to control offenses and prevent scoring chances. However, that doesn't reflect well on your goaltending when you're simultaneously allowing the most goals against in the league (see Disappointments).
- Mattias Ekholm is back in solid form. He currently has a +5 on-ice rating.
Now let's review some of the NHL's noteworthy storylines for this past week.
- The Oilers?? James Neal??? Edmonton is off to an unprecedented hot start. They are 5-0-0, have the second best power play and penalty kill in the league, and are boasting the player with the most goals so far this season (7). That player? The Real Deal James Neal. You know, the guy we chose Calle Jarnkrok over. Apart from Neal, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are first and second, respectively, in individual points scored. We'll see if this Edmonton streak sustains, and if it does, we may be seeing a realignment of the Pacific Division playoff picture. But again, it's week one. You've got to win five before you go 5-77 for the year.
- The Hurricanes also got off to a 5-0-0 start, but have since lost to the Blue Jackets and now post a 5-1-0 record. They are tied with the Preds for the second-most GF, at 23.
- The Sabres have the best power play in the league right now, with a 42.1 percent conversion rate. Rasmus Dahlin and Jack Eichel each recorded seven individual points in five games.
- In contrast to Edmonton and Carolina, the Sharks are having a terrible start to their season. They are 1-4-0 and have the fourth-worst save percentage in the league (the Preds are third-worst). Last year proved that San Jose needed to improve their goaltending; they were top ranked in basically every offensive category, but were felled by a struggling Martin Jones in net. Jones will need to snap out of his funk if the Sharks want to compete for a playoff spot.
- The Devils- now equipped with P.K. Subban, Jack Hughes, Wayne Simmonds, and Nikita Gusev- have been building expectations around themselves all summer. Needless to say, they have been disappointing thus far. They currently sit at 0-3-2 and are one of just three teams (with Minnesota and Chicago) to not appear in the win column yet this season. Hughes also has a -3 on-ice rating through his first week in the NHL and has yet to score his first goal.
NHL Met Expectations
- Vegas is finally getting what they bargained for out of Mark Stone. He has three goals and five assists in five games.
- The Blues and Bruins are continuing off their dual Stanley Cup Final runs. The Blues are 3-1-1 and the Bruins are 4-1-0. Boston has only allowed eight goals in five games and claims the second-best save percentage in the league at .952.