If you’ve been following the Connecticut Whale, then you’ve noticed that some of the highly touted prospects, including Chris Kreider, aren’t scoring at a pace that some would like to see. Kreider, who is NHL ready, has a line or 1-3-4 through six games, and isn’t even in the top five in scoring on the club. Meanwhile, Kris Newbury is leading the team in scoring (as per usual).
It’s important to note that it’s not about the point totals. It’s about how players look on the ice. It’s why a lot of folks are very happy about the way Kyle Jean is progressing, as he is putting up points and looking like a possible NHL forward in the process. It’s also why you shouldn’t necessarily be worried about the point totals of Kreider and J.T. Miller.
By most accounts, Kreider and Miller (and Jean) have been very strong on the ice, and while their point totals aren’t matching those of Jean and Newbury, they are still considered to be some of the best players on the ice for the Whale. From reading game recaps and asking around, both Kreider and Miller are getting key minutes and are counted upon for major offense.
Another thing to note is that it’s not always the highest scorer that is the most NHL ready. The perfect example here is Newbury, who generally is among the team leaders in scoring. Newbury is only called up to the Rangers when there is a bottom six spot that needs filling. If there’s a top six spot, then it’s expected that one of Miller or Jean will get that call.
On the other side of things, it might be worth taking an extra look at someone like Christian Thomas, who has a line of 1-2-3 in seven games, but has also been playing on the bottom six on a regular basis. I am not watching Whale games regularly (streams are lacking), but it appears that the coaching staff doesn’t have as much faith in his as they do in players like Miller and Jean. Just something interesting to note through the first seven games of the year.