Last week we analysed the team as a whole and justified the hot start of the lightning while describing their ratings. Today we are going to look at how the players have done in the NEFHL so far this season and see if some of the players are playing over their head and are due for a regression as well as if some players are due for a breakout in the second half of the season.
Lets start off with the players who are off to great starts.
-Jiri Hudler is off to a great start of the season leading the team in goals and scoring with 17 and 40 respectively in 41 games. That puts him on pace for 34 goals and 80 points this season which is quite similar to his 31 goals and 76 points in 78 games in the NHL last season which means he's pretty much playing at the pace that his ratings are indicating he would produce at.
-Filip Forsberg is a candidate for rookie of the year this season producing at a 0.9 p/gp which is 2nd on the team and is leading the lightning with a +19. Forsberg averaged 0.77 p/gp last season so there may be a little bit of a regression in his offensive production during the 2nd half.
-Fun fact, Filip Forsberg is the only lightning forward with a higher p/pg rate than he had in the NHL last season which means no more forwards off to hot starts.
-There aren't really any positives on defense either as not one player is playing at the ppg rate that they had in the NHL last season, however 4 d-men have had great success burying the puck this year and they aren't named Eric Johnson and his 91 SC either. Wisniewsky leads the way with 9 so far this year, Wideman has 7, Shattenkirk has 6 and Lindholm 5 all of whom are tied or ahead of Johnson's 5. The lightning could easily see 5 d-men reach 10 goals this season which is quite unheard of.
Lets move on to the players who are underachieving by wide margins.
-Max Pacioretty is in the prime of his career at 27 years old. He's the superstar of the team and the team invested a lot to bring him in here to be the leader on and off the ice when they signed him to a 4 year 24 million dollar offer sheet two seasons ago. His first season last year was a bit underwhelming with only 54 points but the team as a whole underperformed and he did manage to bury the puck 34 times. This season however there is no excuse as he has a start studded cast surrounding him and a team that is first in the NEFHL. Max has a meagre 8 goals and 19 assists in 41 games which is unacceptable for a players of his abilities being an 82 OV with 85SC. He was recently demoted to the second line hoping that weaker competition may get him going. The lightning need him to be the star that he is if they want to have the team success that they are hoping for this season.
-Mikkel Boedker is talented young forward with a 70 PC and 71 SC while being 76 OV. He averaged 0.62 p/gp in the NHL last year with a 27 goal 82 game pace. In the NEFHL this year he's only averaging 0.44 points while only potting 5 goals in 34 games this year. Boedker has the 4 highest SC amongst lightning forwards and really need him and Pacioretty to start producing goals at the rate that they are capable of.