Kyle Connor! Ivan Provorov! Who should you be truly watching on Florida??
It's been 9 games now since Kyle Connor had less than two shots on net. He had 18:33 in ice time and 4:07 in PP time against MIN. He's the example of what can happen for a potential offensive star to start his season in the AHL and come up to shine. I picked him up in one of the leagues after three games. I had seen enough and I figured that the only roadblock to his success would be Mathieu Perreault returning his injury. He's been back for 7 games now and while he has gathered seven points in those seven, he's seemingly not a threat to bump Connor out of a thriving Jets Top-6.
Garnet Hathaway has been recalled by the Calgary Flames due to depth injuries to their lineup. Many have been excited about the breakout from Andrew Mangiapane of the Stockton Heat as he has 21 points in 18 games, currently sitting tied for fifth in AHL scoring. Linemate Hathaway has 19 points in 18 games including 11 goals. I wouldn't bet long term success on his NHL offensive output potential, but CGY could use a spark from wherever it comes from. Many fans were hoping Mangiapane, Klimchuk, or older vet Marek Hrivik would get the call instead.
Speaking of Morgan Klimchuk, he continues to show chemistry with multiple different skaters while playing on the PK. While his offensive potential isn't as high as others, he was drafted with the understanding that he had the ability to play with great players on multiple lines. At the U-18 World championships, Klimchuk's line-mates were Sam Reinhart and Connor McDavid. It's encouraging to know that Klimchuk can play both the PP and be an effective PK option with speed. The Flames PK is embarrassing lately and Klimchuk could and should be an option.
One player who isn't getting enough due is Ivan Provorov. I had the pleasure of being able to watch him play multiple times during his Brandon Wheat Kings draft year and he had the ability to do two things very well.
1. He made the game of hockey seem easy. His smooth skating and calm demeanor allowed him to never seem overwhelmed. At this point, I'm not sure he could play more minutes than he's been playing in the NHL.
2. He made people consider drafting his d-partner Ryan Pilon early. He's now retired from hockey. There might be a metaphor to a current Philly defenseman somewhere in here.
The youngster is still 20 years old and averages 25:02 for Philly. He is up to 13 points in 25 games including five in his last six. On Nov 16th, he played 29:34. Let that soak in. He is mostly being used on the PK but can you imagine if he became a legitimate Top PP option? Wowzers.
*** Henrik Haapala. Picture from NHL.com
Florida's Denis Malgin scored his first goal of the season which ended up being the game winner. This might be a dynamic to watch carefully. With the injury to Evgenii Dadonov, Florida will be looking for chemistry both at 5on5 and the PP. Malgin skated on the top line but had zero PP minutes after seeing time in his first attempt with Huberdeau and Barkov. Henrik Haapala had been used instead. Keep an eye on Haapala who showed flashes and struggles in the AHL as well. The early reports in preseason was that Haapala could be a consistent Top-6 playmaker for Florida. This may be his chance to gain minutes.
There's a few random thoughts for the day!
Thanks for reading!
Can find me writing about the Calgary Flames on Twitter @dathockeydoe