Been a while since I did one of these, and with a decent amount of games there’s some interesting things to look at now. So let’s do it.
-One of the questions heading into this season, and one that will be studied throughout to figure out what to pay him after it, is what is Artemi Panarin? Especially when it was likely that he would not stay on the same line the whole season with Patrick Kane. Apparently, he’s a hell of a fucking player. I know, right? Who knew?
Again, it’s only one month. But last year, Panarin’s CF% was basically right in line with the team’s, a good but not other-wordly 50.7%. That was just a tick below the team-rate, which is probably a little more impressive than it first looks as Artem Anisimov didn’t win a draw from January on.
This season, Panarin is simply kicking the dicks in of anyone around him. He’s rocking a 56 CF%, which is a +7.8% over the team rate. That’s the highest relative mark on the team by a decent margin over Duncan Keith, and is top-30 in the whole league of every skater.
What’s more impressive is that he’s had a tremendous effect on his teammates. Kane and Panarin have only spent just shy of 40 minutes apart at even-strength this season. When together, they carry the play to the tune of 56%. But apart, Kane’s rate drops to an even 50%. Anisimov is utterly helpless without him, though he’s only skated apart from him for about 25 minutes at even strength. But in those 25 minutes, Arty has been clocked to the tune of a 35.2 share.
So yeah, Panarin can do the thing, and so far he hasn’t needed his partner in crime from last year to do it. You can start getting more terrified of how expensive he’ll be now.
-Once again we find ourselves talking about Crawford playing the best hockey of his career. That sounds strange to say when the penalty kill has been so wonky (though arching up), but a .978 SV% at even-strength is pretty fierce. And yes, it’s also unsustainable but we have to enjoy it now. That leads the league, ahead of Henrik and Price and all the others.
It’s a good start to continuing a trend for Crow. His even-strength SV% has been increasing the last four seasons, from .926 in ’13-’14, to .930, to .933 last year. Last year, Lundqvist led at ES SV% with .936, if you need the frame of reference.
-We used to say that no one appreciates what Marcus Kruger does enough. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not even sure it’s possible. This dude’s a fucking unicorn. Kruger still has a positive CF%, at 50.5. He’s started exactly 10 shifts in the offensive zone ALL SEASON! He starts 60% of his shifts in the defensive zone. He’s been dragging around Dennis Rasmussen and Jordin Tootoo for most of the season. And yet his shifts only finish in the defensive zone 27% of the time. There’s an argument that he might be the biggest bargain in the league. And he’s doing it against the toughest competition for any Hawk forward.
Getting slightly off topic. As you may have seen we’ve changed how we do previews for every game, and some other things. But it’s an evolving thing, so if there’s something you’d like to be included more, or taken out, or suggestions for things we could change please let me know either at our Twitter feed (@RealFansProgram) or email me at email@example.com