NHL Monthly Recap: November
aThe month of November was an exciting one in the NHL, with quite a few changes being made within the standings. We will go over a few teams who we think stood out and shot up in the rankings, as well as mention a few teams that are falling in the standings and performing below expectations. So, without further ado, lets jump right in.
So, in our October recap we had the Stars as one of our “underachieving” teams to the start of the season. However, now, we think it’s no question that the Stars had the hottest November month out of any team in the league, sitting at a comfortable 15-10 with 33 points. At one point in November, they tied their franchise record of consecutive wins with 7. And that was part of the streak where they went 14-1-1 in a 16-game span. Perhaps this run was sparked by the recent performances of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who have finally started to consistently put points on the board. It also helps that their special teams, both the power play and penalty kill units, in the month of November were the best they’ve been all season by far, highlighted by Radulov and Klingberg. In fact, their penalty kill unit reached a 92% shutdown rate this past month, good for one of the best in the league. Moving forward, we’re excited to see if the Stars can continue their dominant run!
Point wise, there was no team hotter than the Philadelphia Flyers in the month of November. This past month they went 10-2-4 with a franchise record of 24 points, finishing out November on a four-game win streak. Despite their slow start, a lot of their key guys have been stepping up lately, giving the Flyers a good overall roster from top to bottom. Of course, you have guys on the offensive side like Giroux, Voracek, and Couturier, but guys like Travis Konecny and Oscar Lindblom have really started to take over. On the defensive side, Shayne “Ghost” Ghostisbehere, Matt Niskanen, and Kevin Hayes have been quite the formidable defensive trio. The Flyers come into the month of December as one of the leagues best in terms of fewest goals allowed. Furthermore, despite what people said about his offseason contract, Kevin Hayes has been one of the best shutdown defensemen in the entire league up to this point in the season. As the season continues, we look forward to the battle for first and second place in the powerhouse that is the Metropolitan division.
In our October recap, we had the Sabres as one of our “overachieving” teams after starting the season 9-2-2, good for first place in the entire league. However, after going 3-8-3 in the month of November, they have plummeted in our hypothetical league rankings, and 20th in the actual league rankings, sitting at 12-10-5 with 29 points. So, what is the issue with the Sabres? Simply put, there is a huge lack of offense. Outside of Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, and Sam Reinhart, the Sabres offense is almost non-existent. Guys like former number 8 overall pick Casey Middelstadt and Marcus Johansson have been in a point-gathering slump. Additionally, Rasmus Dahlin, one of the Sabres potential franchise players, has seen a slight decline in performance in both offense and defense compared to his previous freshman year.
To make matters worse, Jack Eichel is statistically off to the best start of his NHL career and has been the single most consistent player for the Sabres so far. Going forward, we’d expect those younger guys and key veteran players, to help out the key guys like Eichel and Skinner. If this happens, the Sabres would very well get back into the win column.
Powering the blue line for the Colorado Avalanche is the 18-year-old rookie, Cale Makar. Winning the Rookie of the Month award for the month of November, he is making a strong case for the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year award). In 14 games played for the Avs, Makar finished with 7 goals and 9 assists for a total of 16 points. Additionally, Makar leads all rookies in +/- with a +10, which is also good for 3rd on his team. Makar is one of the key reasons why the Avs sit at 16-8-2 on the season. If the season ended today, we think it is no question that Makar would win the Calder Trophy!
Nathan MacKinnon has continued from where he left off from last season, amassing 42 points in just 26 games this season so far. In the month of November, MacKinnon ramped up the point total, scoring 10 goals and dishing out 15 assists, for a total of 25 points, which was good for the second star of the month, just behind Connor McDavid (who else?) Despite a few other players having more points than MacKinnon, we think that MacKinnon is making the strongest case for the Hart Trophy (league MVP) by being able to carry most of the “weight” and lead the Avalanche to victory despite some big-name injuries on the roster.