Atlanta Thrashers: Early Season Observations

Andrew BuccellatoContributor IOctober 19, 2009

As we Thrasher fans look back at the first five games, we are starting to get enough data sets to draw some statistics about this team. Now, granted, I understand that the season is extremely young, but some very interesting things are starting to show for the boys in blue.

Kovy is a freaking machine. No matter how you slice or dice it, he is unstoppable. He is arguably the best Russian in the NHL right now. Beyond his goal-scoring ability is the fact that he is such a great leader. This team is playing so well because he leads by example. I have never seen Kovy really play defense in his stint with the Thrashers, but right now he looks like he was signed to be a two-way forward with his play in the Thrashers zone.

Apparently, changing your defense can make the difference on how good your goalie is. Not to discount or downplay the roles of Hedberg and Pavlec this season, but wow this new defense is better. I'm not exactly sure what Johnny Anderson did to get them motivated, but they are blocking almost 10 shots a game. That in-your-face D is going to carry this team deep into the playoffs.

Special teams bring special results. I never thought I would ever be able to say this, but the Thrashers PK is in the top 10 of the league. Sitting at a respectable 85 percent kill rate, the Thrashers have been able to cut down on those extra goals that sunk us in the standings.

In addition, a smoking hot PP clicking away at 35 percent isn't too shabby either. Actually, it's first in the NHL, but don't expect it to hit at that high a rate the entire year. I personally think these two stats are why this team is 4-1 right now. Need more proof?

Check out the five-on-three kill they had against Buffalo. That shows you how much they want it this year.

After all the offseason moves and people wondering about commitment to winning, we see the Dudell (Waddell and Dudley) tandem got it right this season. Just about every move they made has had some positive effect on the team. The scary part about this: Chemistry hasn't kicked in yet and this team is only going to get better.

We can roll three scoring lines a very capable top four defense group, and solid play in net (how much that is attributed to the D is up to you...I think it does have some baring).

The one stat for concern is the shots we still allow on goal. I do understand that thus far most the shots are from horrible angles and far away (defense has done a superb job of taking away the slot), but its just not pretty to see a 40 spot up on the board.

Now, the style we play does allow that, so we need just a bit better than average goaltending to keep this game alive.


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