Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pre-Season Scoring

In general, the pre-season is a time to give plenty of playing time to players who are on the bubble and may or may not be in the NHL. Its a time to give some of the lesser players big playing time to see how they can handle it. Most proven stars do not get much pre-season playing time. Why play them? You know they will make your team. Its better to give the playing time to players who you are uncertain about. As a result, the top scorers in the pre-season are usually players who are not well known. This year is no exception to that rule.

Pre-season statistics can be found here at the CBS Sportzone website. They have a good searchable database of pre-season stats. The NHL has failed on their website. Until recently, they had nothing on their website. They now have this. It is a hard copy of the top scorers (possibly right from the CBS website) and is not nearly as fan friendly. The new fan friendly NHL is failing to be fan friendly (does that really suprise anyone?).

Who are the top scorers in the pre-season so far? They are Andrew Hutchinson and Mike Zigomanis of Carolina and Jon Sim of Philadelphia who are all tied with eight points. Jes Golbez has a post about Hutchinson. He is a 25 year old defenceman who was traded from Nashville to Carolina on draft day. He has 8 points in his 18 career NHL games and has been a solid AHL defenceman.

Mike Zigomanis is also in the Carolina system. He is a 24 year old centreman who was drafted by Buffalo, but re-entered the draft and was picked by Carolina. He has 6 points in 36 NHL games over the past two seasons and has also been a solid AHL player.

Jon Sim won the 1999 Stanley Cup in Dallas. He is a 28 year old left winger who has played 158 NHL games over 7 seasons scoring 36 points in that time. He is in the Philadelphia Flyer system and is a solid AHL player who was important in the Philadelphia Phantoms Calder Cup victory.

All of these players are what baseball fans would call AAAA players. Meaning they are too good for the AAA team, but not quite good enough for the NHL. With their solid pre-seasons, each may get a chance to play some NHL this year, but I doubt any of them make any significant impact. If these players fail to get an NHL job this year, expect that they look in Europe for a higher paying hockey job.

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