James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Don't wait to swipe Mike Smith

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Ryan-Nugent Hopkins won October’s rookie of the month, but I think Gabriel Landeskog will be more valuable over the entire season. It’s not just because I think the red-hot Oilers attack is bound to slow down a bit, either. The thing that jumps out at me is Landeskog’s shots on goal: 46 (which more than doubles Hopkins’ 22). While many other top-scoring rookies are scoring on about 20 percent of their shots – numbers bound to drop – Landeskog’s at a sustainable 8.7 percent. In fact, he could do some special things if those pucks start hitting the net a bit more and teammates like Matt Duchene get their acts together.



Some players just “work” dramatically better on one team. Erik Cole seems to flounder unless he’s skating alongside Eric Staal. Radim Vrbata seemed lost when he wasn’t wearing a Phoenix Coyotes uniform but is a solid performer whenever he’s in the desert.


He’s scored 7 of his 10 points in the last 3 games, so maybe you already missed out on his hot streak. Still, he’s been a pretty steady 20 goal scorer in Phoenix and isn’t shy about peppering the net with about 3 shots per game. You don’t have to get attached, but if you like to ride the waves of momentum, then maybe it’s time to give Radim a random try.



Duncan Keith is day-to-day with a hand injury … Steve Ott’s hip “bump” might cause him to miss action, although he has until Friday to heal up … Chris Pronger is now listed as week-to-week with his eye issues … Troy Brouwer’s shoulder is acting up again. (Click here for the full injury list.)

James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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