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The Roundtable

Biggest Surprises

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 8, 2018, 10:36 am ET

Welcome back to the Roundtable! We were on the Season Pass side the last couple of seasons but this year we are back on the main site!


Let us know your thoughts.


This week’s question is: What has surprised you in the first few days of the season?


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Michael: The start of the Montreal Canadiens has really surprised me. It was thought that Montreal would be a bottom dweller who would be unable to compete, especially early on as their top defenseman Shea Weber had off-season surgery and likely would miss the first half of the season. Add to that, the weak performance of Carey Price last season as he was statistically one of the worst goalies in the NHL, as well as the trading of two of their best forwards, Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk, and it was not a recipe for success.


But the Habs were great in an overtime loss to the Maple Leafs on opening night and then knocking off the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Saturday as they totally outplayed a much better team on paper.


I am shocked!


Corey: The sluggish start of the Toronto Maple Leafs has surprised me.  The team definitely misses William Nylander more than I thought they would and his absence has cut into the depth.  Being forced to use Tyler Ennis in the top-six forward group has not been a good look.  It has also hurt the team's ability to score their way out of some of the shortcomings they experience defensively.    


Ryan: I'm reluctant to put too much weight into these early game performances, but one thing that did surprise me was the Columbus Blue Jackets picking Joonas Korpisalo as their opening game starter.  I appreciate that it was the first half of a back-to-back, so Sergei Bobrovsky started the next day anyway, but it's a weird signal to send, especially when Bobrovsky is in the final season of his contract.  Columbus is already dealing with the fact that Artemi Panarin has been public about his reluctance to sign a long-term contract with them.  If they end up losing Bobrovsky as a UFA too, then that combination would be a disaster that would trump the Islanders losing John Tavares.  To be clear, Korpisalo being the opening game starter might not really mean much of anything - but it did surprise me and does, intentionally or not, draw attention to the very dangerous situation that Columbus finds itself in.


Brian: The start of Jonathan Toews has to be the biggest surprise of the start of the season. Toews only scored 20 goals last season and in 11 NHL seasons has had 30-plus goals just twice; the last coming in 2010-11. He has five goals in three games thus far and could get back to 30-goals this season. The past has hurt Toews as the Blackhawks usually went deep into the playoffs but last season Chicago failed to make the playoffs and that gave his body a long rest.


Joey: The Ottawa Senators are off to a surprising start. With the way things have unfolded for them in the last few months, you'd expect their season to get off the rails early. Instead, they managed to force the Chicago Blackhawks to overtime before beating the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. It'll still probably be a long year in Ottawa, but considering Erik Karlsson is gone and Brady Tkachuk missed the first two games of the year, things are going pretty well right now. Of course, the season still isn't a week old. 

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 16th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.