As we close the book on the first month of the NHL season, there have certainly been surprises and disappointments.
Who saw the Edmonton Oilers tied for first place in the West on the first of November? Or the Boston Bruins in last place in the East?
Which new free agents and big-name trades haven't panned out quite right? Which stalwart producers have suddenly gone cold? Which names could be on the trading block come spring?
Read on to find out.
Penner hasn't done much more for Los Angeles than the squatting seen to the left.
After the Kings paid Edmonton a first-round pick, a conditional second-rounder and a prospect to bring Penner back to SoCal last season, the power forward scored only six points in 19 games.
This season hasn't been much of an improvement, either. After nine games, Penner has exactly one assist to his name, even though he's gotten time on lines with Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards.
Penner is in the last year of a five-year offer-sheet deal he signed with the Edmonton Oilers.
If he wants to stay in LA, or even make sure he has job prospects next season, he'll need to step it up, especially if he's playing on the Kings' top two lines.
Cam Fowler has been suffering from the dreaded "sophomore slump" since the beginning of the season.
He's only 19, so it's hard to pass much judgement on him.
But his two assists are a stark contrast to last season's 10 goals and 40 assists.
It shouldn't be too hard to improve on last year's minus-25 rating, but if Fowler doesn't begin to put up more offensive numbers, he may find his playing time reduced in favor of teammates like Lubomir Visnovsky, Francois Beauchemin and Toni Lydman.
Tyler Myers took the league by storm in 2009-2010, winning the Calder Trophy over the leading rookie scorer that year, Matt Duchene.
His solid sophomore campaign convinced the Sabres to sign him to a seven-year contract extension this past summer, and it may be the pressure of that contract has hindered Meyers' play at the beginning of this season.
Meyers' three assists put him on pace for only 24 points, the lowest output of his career.
While the 21-year-old will no doubt pick it up over the course of the season, continued mediocre play would run the risk of offseason addition Christian Erhoff supplanting him as Buffalo's top defenseman.
The Detroit Red Wings are not accustomed to sitting at third place in their division.
And yet, one month into the season, that's where they find themselves—behind Chicago and Nashville.
The Wings would likely be sitting prettier if not for the lack of offense from Henrik Zetterberg, their best player behind Pavel Datsyuk.
Zetterberg's current stats of two goals and one assist put him on pace for a whopping 27 points—success for a fourth line player, but unacceptable for a player of Zetterberg's caliber.
If the 31-year-old Swede takes too long to turn on the heat, the Wings may find themselves too far behind the Blackhawks or even the Predators to assure themselves of a top three playoff seed.
Steve Downie often finds his name behind the likes of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos in the Tampa Bay game coverage, but he has consistently put up decent numbers over his two-and-a-half seasons with the Lightning.
Last season, Downie scored 10 goals and added 22 assists, down from his 46-point effort the season before, but enough to keep him relevant on Tampa Bay's roster.
He only has one goal and a matching assist so far this year, and sits at a minus-six after posting positive seasons since moving south from Philadelphia.
Downie's age, 24, makes him a prime candidate for a trade if he's not producing this year, but the Lightning would no doubt like to keep him since Lecavalier and St. Louis aren't getting any younger.
Hopefully the Ontario native can step it up and give the Lightning a viable secondary scoring option if either of the big three go down with injury.
Drew Doughty enjoyed a successful foray into the NHL after he was drafted in 2008, just behind Steven Stamkos.
He has developed into one of the top young defensemen in the league, possessing the perfect blend of grit and skill.
But when he held out from signing a contract at the start of the season, he placed a big target on his head for the fans and media alike to scrutinize his play this year.
He eventually signed an eight-year deal with Los Angeles, but after all the hype, he has played in only six games, contributed two assists and has a minus-two rating.
Everyone knows Doughty will need some time to get back into the swing of things after missing much of the preseason, but Kings fans hope that time is sooner rather than later.
Don't expect to see Doughty's name in any trade rumors, as the Kings have gone all in with him and his contract. But after dropping games against the Oilers and Avalanche over the weekend, Los Angeles will no doubt need their top blueliner to step it up to help turn things around.
Derek Roy is a hometown guy in Buffalo, being drafted by the Sabres in 2001.
He has consistently put up great numbers for the team, while keeping his name under the radar for the most part.
But when Roy doesn't show up for games, it shows.
Buffalo sits at a respectable 6-4 after the weekend, but Roy has only one goal and three helpers so far, including zero points in his last five games.
A team can only rely on their goalie for so long before other weaknesses start to show, and Ryan Miller and company can only hope that Roy finds his scoring touch as the team heads into the holiday season.
Erik Johnson was the centerpiece of the blockbuster deal between St. Louis and Colorado last season.
The Avalanche wanted a top-flight defenseman, and although the weight of being the first overall pick may be off of him, fans in Colorado are seeing some of why their St. Louis counterparts were so frustrated with Johnson.
He has six helpers this year—a decent number—but the stat that sticks out is his minus-six rating. That number is simply unacceptable for someone who is supposed to be an elite defenseman.
Johnson still has time to develop at just 23 years of age, but the Avalanche need him to step up immediately and shore up his defensive game if they are to maintain the surprising success they've enjoyed so far this year.
Ville Leino was supposed to be Buffalo’s big-name acquisition this offseason.
After posting a career season in Philadelphia and coming one game from winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, Leino was a valued commodity.
He signed a six-year contract with Buffalo but hasn’t delivered quite as expected.
One goal and one assist on the Sabres' second line isn’t what new owner Terry Pegula had in mind when he went out and got Leino.
Buffalo may look at trading Leino for cap room or replacing him with a more established scorer towards the end of the season if he doesn’t begin to pay dividends on what the team invested in him.
Ondrej Pavelec was a fantasy owner’s dream a year ago. Completely off the radar, Pavelec stormed the ranks of NHL goaltenders and shot to the top of most statistical categories, leading many to believe the (then) Thrashers had struck gold.
That success hasn’t been carried north of the border, though.
Through nine games in Winnipeg, Pavelec has won just three games and has been a key component of the Jets’ 4-6-1 record.
The team will no doubt go through a honeymoon stage with the fans, but individual players will enjoy a much shorter grace period. Pavelec needs to be aware of this.
The Czech still has some trade value given his first half last year, but if he wants to avoid bouncing around the league like one-hit-wonders Jose Theodore or Craig Anderson, he’ll have to get used to the cold weather and start stopping pucks.
Matt Duchene is another Avalanche player who needs to start pulling his own weight for the team.
It's no secret that Duchene is the most talented player on the roster, but his two goals wouldn't give you that impression.
He did score the game-winner against Los Angeles on Sunday night, but that needs to become a more regular occurrence for him.
The Avalanche need him to improve on his 67 points from last year, and the absence of well-matched linemates like Peter Mueller or Tomas Fleischmann can no longer be an excuse.
Duchene is a top talent in the NHL, and he needs to shed his slow-start persona and start performing.
Craig Anderson has won five games in a row, so why is he on this list? Well, in the 10 games he's played in, Anderson has allowed the most goals of any starting netminder in the NHL—not exactly stellar.
In fact, the only reason the Senators have won six in a row is because stars like Jason Spezza and the rest of the offense have decided to wake up and start scoring in droves.
Anderson enjoyed a stellar year in 2010, and after his falling out with Colorado, he played well enough in Ottawa to receive a four-year contract.
Senators fans are right to be wary of the length of his new contract, especially considering how shaky Anderson has been since the start of the season, regardless of the team's record.
While he has shown flashes of brilliance over the last few seasons, he’ll have to maintain above-average play consistently for his team to win more games than they lose; otherwise, the Senators will be stuck with him due to the size of his contract.
Jaroslav Halak has lost his starting job to Brian Elliott.
Tell this to any St. Louis Blues fan before the season started and you would have been laughed at as they asked ,“Have you ever even been to a hockey game?”
Well that’s what has happened in St. Louis one month into this young season.
While the highly-touted Halak struggled to a 1-5 record, his counterpart Elliott has played brilliantly, leading the team to a 4-1 record while he’s in net.
Now Elliott isn’t going to continue on this Vezina-like tear, but can Halak bounce back?
He better, with players like Chris Stewart struggling and no other big name stars on the team.
Otherwise, Halak will join the recent string of goalies (Jose Theodore, Cristobal Huet) who have come out of Montreal highly regarded, only to fall flat on their face.
Zach Parise was one of the biggest names in the NHL two years ago. He was coming off of consecutive stellar seasons of 94 and 82 points, and he was supposed to provide a one-two punch with newly acquired Ilya Kovalchuk.
Things didn't go as planned, however, and a knee injury sidelined Parise for most of last season.
He returned healthy this year but has managed only five points so far. His four goals are respectable, but he is only on pace for 45 points—just over half of what he did in his last full season.
Martin Brodeur isn't getting any younger, so the Devils will need to rely on their offense more and more as the season progresses, and Parise is the main component of that.
Parise won't be traded, but he will need to re-acquire his elite scoring touch for the team to make a run at the playoffs.
Alex Goligoski isn't owned in any of my four fantasy leagues, and each day I look, his total ownership points decline by two or three.
That describes the kind of season Goligoski is having so far.
The former Penguin has never had a negative plus/minus rating, but he sits at minus-three so far this year.
He has consistently improved on his point total from the previous season, but his current four points put him on pace for only 29—17 less than last season.
And while 29 points is certainly respectable for a defenseman, the Stars need him to improve on last year's mark, especially considering he's entering the prime of his career at 26.
It's unlikely the Stars would part with the man they traded James Neal for, but if Goligoski fails to impress through this season, Dallas may be forced to see if they can ship him back to the Eastern Conference.
Tomas Kaberle has had a stigma surrounding him ever since he left the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Boston Bruins last season.
He totaled a mediocre nine points in Boston after he was traded, but he did add 11 assists during the playoffs, finishing with a plus-eight rating.
However, the team chose not to re-sign him, and he went to the Carolina Hurricanes, where he has gotten off to a disappointing start.
His two assists so far put him on pace for exactly 14 points—a far cry from the 38 he scored last year.
Carolina needs more from their big-name free-agent signee to justify the three-year contract they gave him.
Brent Seabrook has always been a consistent 30-point scorer for the Chicago Blackhawks, but he really came out during Chicago's Stanley Cup run in 2010.
Seabrook scored 11 points in 22 games and finished the postseason with a plus-eight rating.
Those numbers, as well as his solid defensive play, put Seabrook in the ranks of top NHL defensemen.
The 26-year-old has been anything but stellar so far this season, though.
He has only two assists and a minus-two rating a year after finishing with almost 50 points, and two years removed from a plus-20 season.
While the Blackhawks are sitting at the top of their division, a resurgence from Seabrook could give the team a spark to go on a run and build a sizable lead for the division title.
If Seabrook continues to falter, though, the Hawks could think about entertaining what would no doubt be lucrative offers for him toward the trade deadline.
A year ago, Chris Stewart was considered one of the most valuable emerging forwards in the NHL.
He was coming off of a 28-goal, 64-point campaign, and he was one of the rare power forwards with a gift for scoring goals.
When the Colorado Avalanche traded him to St. Louis before the trade deadline, they were mercilessly criticized by the media, who said that St. Louis had won the trade by a mile.
Stewart, however, has failed to produce so far this season, scoring only two goals and one assist.
There's no doubt that Stewart has talent, but if his team is to have any success this year, he must shed the hot/cold stigma that has bothered him in past seasons and establish himself as one of the Blues' top consistent scoring threats.
Ilya Bryzgalov was one of the biggest free-agent signings of the summer.
The Russian signed a nine-year deal with the Flyers, who hoped that he would be their goalie of the future.
Well, the future looks bleak in Philadelphia if Bryzgalov continues playing the way he has through the first month of this season.
His goals against average is 3.16, and his save percentage is a dismal .880, numbers good (or bad?) enough for a 4-4-1 record.
Players who sign these long-term contracts have been known to falter at the beginning, maybe because of the pressure to perform and live up to the deal.
But that contract makes him nearly impossible for Philadelphia to move should they so desire, and if youngster Sergei Bobrovski starts to win some games in Philadelphia, Bryzgalov could be watching more games from the bench than he wants.
Roberto Luongo is probably the biggest underachiever in the NHL through the month of October.
Call it Stanley Cup hangover if you will, but it's hard to see how losing players can suffer from a hangover—they should be hungrier to make up for the failures of last season.
Luongo has a staggering 3.54 goals against average and .869 save percentage, a dramatic changed compared to his 2.11 and .928 numbers from just a year ago.
At 3-3-1, there have been whispers of the Canucks needing to trade Luongo while he still has high value and go with highly-regarded youngster Cory Schneider in net.
That scenario wouldn't be a surprise at all if Luongo continues to play the way he has started the season out. The return the team could get for him would be substantial, and if there are any holes that need filling before another playoff run, the offers might just be too tempting to pass up.