50-ish Games In Reportby Matt MacInnis | February 23, 2018, 7:36 PM ET
Expectations were sky-high for the Vancouver Island Norsemen after coming up just two games shy of the franchise’s first ever Continental Cup last spring. Here’s are some highlights and lowlights of the season to date.
The record: Fans had greater expectations for this season than management, which is pleased to be sitting in a ‘home ice’ position with 30 games left on the schedule.
Jamie Benn: A cornerstone of the team, Benn leads the team in goals, assists and points. He’s earning every penny of his $9 million a season deal signed this off-season.
Ryan Ellis: The diminutive blueliner has really stepped up this season. The former first round pick has 36 points in 52 games, one of only five players to appear in every game to date.
Sergey Kalinin: The team’s least heralded off-season signing, Kalinin has 10 points and 10 assists and a plus-9 rating while playing mostly on the third and fourth lines. He’s putting up the same numbers as fellow UFA Brian Gionta, who is making four times as much.
Mathew Barzal: Barzilla is Coming.
Penalty killing: The team is a disappointing 81.55% on the PK, 20th in the league, despite a strong defensive group.
Carl Hagelin: His fourth season with the team (he was acquired at the end of 14-15), has been a disaster. Hagelin has found himself scratched 13 times this season and has scored just four goals. Hagelin appears earmarked to be exposed in the upcoming expansion draft.
Injuries: The Norsemen have resembled a MASH unit more than a hockey team at times this season. Megestar centre Sidney Crosby has played in less than half the team’s games, and TJ Oshie, Erik Johnson, Josh Manson, Tyler Bozak, Steven Santini and Brooks Orpik have all missed notable time.
Hampus Lindholm: The name known only as HAAAAAAAAAAAAM-PUUUUUUUUUUUS has been truly abysmal. He’s a minus-12 in 47 games, has been a healthy scratch, and routinely relegated to the fourth pairing, appearing only in fringe minutes when the team’s health allows.
Shootouts: This team is historically bad in the shootout. Matt Murray has an astounding 11 OTLs (the team has 12). If the team had league average shootout performance (around 6 OTLs), the Norsemen would currently be second in the Canadian Conference (and league overall) with 72 points.