Let's begin with the Hot Topic Players get them out of the way first.
Zack Kassian (A) - Zack has captured the attention of Vancouver fans. His Youthful exuberance, combined with his stature has made him a physical force in this early season. He's protected the puck well, shown great vision and certain not afraid to get dirty on the ice. But before we crown him the second coming, we need to remember that, like cody, he's is being put in a position that makes him look better than he really is. Playing with 22 and 33 gives him the time and space to make plays. His career has been inconsistant so far and nothing stands out to tell me he won't continue to struggle with consistancy. He also need to learn to make smarter decisions out there. He needs to remember he's a skill player as much as a power forward. He shouldn't be just parked in front all game nor fighting every other game. His potential is sky-high, and learning the game from Henrik and Daniel will help, but let's hope he can keep humble, work hard and remember his game.
Jordan Schroeder (B-) - For a rookie, I found Jordan to be what I expected. A few mistakes chalked up to inexperiece, but nothing I think that hurt the team. With the puck, Jordan is smart. He's shown good vision along with foot speed. He's not afraid to shoot when given the opportunity and is looking like he can be an effective NHLer. He is NOT Ryan Kesler, but he is the best available option (barring trade) we have at 2nd Line centre.
Alex Edler (D-) - Edler has had numerous defensive lapses this season. His decision making has just been horrendous. Part of this is due to lockout, but he struggled throughout last season as well. On the PP, his breakout is the definition of insanity. (Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result) He skates to the same place on the breakout every time and drops back to Henrik at the same spot everytime. When paired with Garrison, he's elects to shoot too often. A poor choice when you have a roaming Defensive partner in Garrison (Circa Jovanovski)
Jason Garrison (C+) - In the few games that he's played here, he certainly isn't being utilized correctly. With Edler the self-proclaimed triggerman, Garrison has been forced to play set-up man. His rare opportunity to shoot, he's been more focused on power than accuracy. When moving into the slot, he looks out of place. Defensively, he hasn't been great, aside from last night's give away, he's not as bad as everyone is making him out to be.
Cory Schneider (B-) - It's hard to hang all the loses on Corey. The defensive breakdowns have been abysmal. You can argue that a goalie should be able to steal one for you, but hard to do when your team can't find consistant offense. From what I've seen is that Corey is deep in his net. Luongo struggled with this 2 years ago, he isn't cutting down the angle enough and staying deep leaves openings. This is likely a by-product of not trusting your defense. Having full confidence in your D allows you the luxury of challenging the shooter knowing the back door is covered. As usual, his puck handling has been suspect but in the end, Goaltending isn't the problem here.
Dan Hamhuis (C-) - It appears that the lockout has just sucked all the hockey sense right out of him. He looks so lost and slow. I'm fully confident he'll get into game shape, just afraid we'll be too far below the playoff bar when he finds it.
Kevin Bieksa (C+) - Shown some nastiness, and I like that he tries to move the puck up the ice. He hasn't been terrible but nothing like the Bieksa we had last year or years prior.
Keith Ballard (B+) - Him and Tanev are by far the Best 2 Defensemen we have right now. Ballard is playing for his life with the Amnesty buyouts coming this off season. And If I'm MG, I'm seriously reconsidering. Ballard has been tough on the opposing forwards, shown great passing and even shown a bit of the edge that he had in Florida. He's performing above expectations which is why I give him good marks.
Chris Tanev (B+) - See Above. Tanev is the cool customer that makes the smart play everytime. I'd like to say he's the Dan Hamhuis of 2 years ago. Always defensively sound, he's gotten stronger this season and it shows. He took the big hit from Clowe (I think) and was able to shake it off without incident. He also is looking for an extension, I hope we resign him around 2 million per.
Henrik / Daniel (C+) - I'm lumping them together because the analysis is the same. They look like their timing is off. They haven't been AS dangerous as Art Ross Trophy winners are, but the foundation is there. AV benched them to send a message. They need to find their game, but only playing more games will help with that.
Rest of the team has been pretty invisible. My only other critique is with the coaching staff. I made a post prior to the season that AV needs to have more faith in youth. It does look like that is happening, but I see serious flaws in the PP and the breakout. Teams have figured us out. And so we haven't adapted to try and put that extra wrinkle into our offense. We've added tools like Garrison and Kassian. We are seeing a re-emergance of Mason Raymond and an upstart like Jordan Schroeder. Yet we continue to try the same schemes over and over. Team needs to sit down and re-hash some plans after the LA game tonight.
I do predict another Vancouver Loss, we'll definately have jump in this game, but we seem to unorganized to beat the defending champs.Edit: I said the rest of the team was invisible and that's not true. I do like what Aaron Volpatti brings to the 4th line. He'll throw his weight around and isn't afraid of a challenge. He was a skill guy in Junior as well and so can chip in with the odd one (1 a year). Also Dale Weise has looked decent. Obviously the Dutch league has given him an extra bit of confidence but he needs to remember his role and contribute physically and give 21+45 space on the ice.Mason Raymond, I like that he's come back fully healthly and is creating plays with his speed on the ice. He needs to make better passes but I think he'll take a step forward in being a legitamate scoring threat this year. His health is the main factor.
Edited by KassiansTooth, 28 January 2013 - 12:56 PM.