NHL 2021-22 Recap Week 4 – Eichel traded, Coyotes stink, Maple Leafs goalies doing well
Jack Eichel has finally been traded to the likeliest of teams, the Vegas Golden Knights. The price wasn’t high for me: Alex Tuch, a prospect and a first and second round pick. The Golden Knights also receive a third-round pick. Jack Eichel can now do the artificial disk replacement surgery he wants. While that surgery has never been done on a hockey player before but it’s his life, and there will be life after hockey. It’s not the Buffalo Sabres’ responsibility to tell him which one to get. Assuming he returns as the player he was before the surgery. The Golden Knights will be lethal. It’s funny, a few months ago, the Golden Knights didn’t have a true number one center, but now they’ll have Eichel, William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson, and Nolan Patrick. Eventually, one of those will have to go because none are a fourth-line center. But only Stephenson isn’t injured currently. But this season will be disappointing because of those and many other injuries.
Things I like
1. Patrice Bergeron and Jordan Eberle had natural hat tricks on the same day. Bergeron’s game against the Red Wings, and he also scored the first goal of the game. Eberle’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Brock Nelson had four goals against the Canadiens, but an Oliver Wahlstrom goal ruined his natural hat trick. Hat tricks are a great part of the game, and natural hat tricks make a player’s greatness even more noticeable.
2. The last few seasons, nobody would have said goaltending was a strength of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Jack Campbell has played well so far, including two saves against the Boston Bruins. I’m mentioning this because two goalies with better save percentages than him are former Maple Leafs goalies James Reimer and Frederik Andersen. Reimer is now on the San Jose Sharks. The current save percentage leader with only three games played is Martin Jones of the Philadelphia Flyers. Jones was the heir apparent to Jonathan Quick at one point and a former San Jose Sharks goalie. A goalie is a cruel and thankless profession.
Things I don’t
1. If you’re the Arizona Coyotes, you’re thinking what exactly. You hadn’t won a game, and you have a -30 goal differential. You’ve only played in three close games. The team is last or second to last in every single major team stat. Only two players have a positive plus-minus. You have no starting-caliber goalie. If you were rebuilding, this would be fine. The Coyotes are still technically rebuilding, but this was supposed to be the start of their ascension. You finally made the playoffs two seasons ago. You had help because they were expanded. But you won a series you weren’t supposed to, and you barely missed the playoffs the following season. Now you have this. You may also wonder how much better Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse could be if they had a top-line center to play with. Something that’s essential today. Their one bright spot is Cam Dineen played well in his first-ever game against the Anaheim Ducks. However, they did have a comeback win against the Seattle Kraken for their first of the season and fourth close game. They scored three goals in the third period, two from Crouse. Baby steps. More on this game later.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Mark Borowiecki vs Brett Ritchie
Pretty even until the grappling, and then Borowiecki takes it to Ritchie.
Jarred Tinordi vs Erik Gudbranson
This was more of a grapple than a fight.
Goats of the Week
Ilya Lyubushkin – Arizona Coyotes
Well, they won, but I’m not sure what Lyubushkin was doing here. It’s like he was trying to pass the loose puck up the middle.
Adam Larsson – Seattle Kraken
In the same game, Larsson makes a weak pass behind his net which Johan Larsson takes and passes it to Lawson Crouse for the game-winner.
Saves of the Week
Thatcher Demko – Vancouver Canucks
Demko makes a bunch of saves without his stick or blocker.
In another game, he makes a great save with his stick.
Goals of the Week
JT Miller – Vancouver Canucks
Miller sticks with it when the goalie doesn’t know where the puck is. This was the game-winner.
Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
This goal encapsulates the sheer brilliance that is McDavid. Even he was surprised as he went through four Rangers. His running mate Leon Draisaitl had the game-winner in overtime. They are one and two in points as usual. I’m pretty sure that’ll be the case for the next five years.
Backwards and between his legs.
Stat Line of the Week
11/06/21 Minnesota 5 vs. Pittsburgh 4
Kasperi Kapanen scored his first goals of the season via his first career hat trick in a wild game. The Minnesota Wild were down two with about three minutes to go when they scored and then scored again with three seconds to go after a funny bounce landed the puck right in front of Ryan Hartman. The Penguins may have lost, but it’s good to get a depth scorer going.
20 – points in nine games for Leon Draisaitl, the first to do that since Mario Lemieux in 2003
3 – Goals by Patrick Kane in his return leading the Blackhawks to their first win
50 – Power play percentage for the Edmonton Oilers
0 – Power play percentage for the Golden Knights
3 – Short-handed goals against the Los Angeles Kings
1.58 – Goals a game by the Arizona Coyotes, the only team under 2
11 – Game point streak for the Ducks Troy Terry
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
4. St. Louis