But today, let’s talk about a player who occasionally gets his name thrown out in praise but not nearly enough: Esa Lindell.
If you want to dig deeper, his advanced analytics also look pretty good. With a 54.11 CF%, Lindell ranks 11th amongst defenders that have played more than 700 minutes this season (Klingberg ranks ninth in CF% with 54.24).
In defensive point shares, a stat tracked by Hockey Reference similar to WAR in baseball, Lindell is fifth in the league at 3.5.
The only players ahead of him? Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (4.5), Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (3.9), Anaheim Duck Josh Manson (3.7), and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (3.7).
While he won’t get any Norris consideration, it’s easy to see that Lindell is playing like a true Top 2 defenseman this season. And if you don’t believe me, don’t take my work for it: ask his defensive partner:
I think we both just have a lot more confidence now,” Klingberg said. “He’s not the flashiest player, but he does everything right, and he can play both offense and defense, we got chemistry for sure. It’s a good communication he talks a lot, even if he’s Finnish. I think it’s more comfortable and more confidence, that’s the biggest thing.”
You can read more over at Sean’s place here.
Martin Hanzal looks to be out due to injury again, so a familiar face is back with the big boys:
Jason Dickinson has been recalled from the Texas Stars. https://t.co/ACEBT5fa2A— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 22, 2018
Speaking of the youngins, Stepneski has the latest on the Stars’ prospect cupboard:[NHL]
Arguably the best of the bunch, Miro Heiskanen, will be representing Finland at the Olympic games. Here’s what the greatest Finn ever, former Star Jere Lehtinen, had to say about the young defenseman:
Jere Lehtinen, GM for Team Finland, had high praise for Heiskanen: "Most of the time he stood out. But now, this season, he is even better. His skating and hockey sense skills, you can just tell are better than most guys."— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 22, 2018
Side note: his team might not have won, but Auston Matthews produced my new favorite reaction gif:
(No really, I’m going to be using that waaay too much now).
Here are the standings after last night:
Central Division standings after both Colorado and Minnesota won tonight, and Chicago lost. pic.twitter.com/RdOmcsa6Vh— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) January 23, 2018
Colorado has come out of nowhere recently, rolling on all cylinders since the Matt Duchene trade. Potential Hart candidate Nathan MacKinnon offers his two cents: [Sportsnet]
Also they didn’t play last night, but this makes me a sad panda:
Blues are getting healthier at a crucial time https://t.co/65cHyMZb2u— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 22, 2018
Believe it or not, the Vegas Golden Knights were first place in the league until that Lightning win. And it’s not just some fluke. [The Hockey News]
Still, how often does the top dog around the midseason point go on to win the cup? Ryan Dixon takes a look back at recent history: [Sportsnet]
This is a pretty cool idea: I highly recommend you all give Klingberg (or even Lindell) a Norris vote, and maybe Mattias Janmark some Bill Masterton love?
For the first time since the 1960s, the @ThePHWA will have Midseason NHL Awards.— PHWA (@ThePHWA) January 22, 2018
Fan voting will be part of the tabulations for these awards. The deadline is Thursday and winners will be announced Friday: https://t.co/ZQmBNEhOkk
Speaking of awards, Matthew Barzal is the new the Calder favorite, which probably won’t make DBD commenters happy... [FanRag Sports]
Meanwhile Charles McAvoy has had to put his season on pause after heart surgery. [NHL]
And while we’re talking about the Boston Bruins, Marc Savard has officially retired from the NHL despite not playing in years:
With his contract expiring at the end of 2016-17, Marc Savard’s playing days have officially come to an end after playing 13 seasons and 807 games in the NHL. The Ottawa native is now looking to get back into the game in a coaching capacity ➡️https://t.co/wm75g7zfAQ pic.twitter.com/qjZn7M2ebo— NHLPA (@NHLPA) January 22, 2018
Okay, one last Boston related thing: with the Lightning coming back to the pack recently and the Bruins surging, the Atlantic might be back open for grabs. That and more in DownGoesBrown’s Weekend Wrap: [Sportsnet]
One big reason for Tampa Bay’s recent struggles? Injuries, and they’re getting worse: [The Hockey News]
Will this make you more likely to watch the All-Star game?
NHL announces details of 2018 All-Star Skills Competition https://t.co/RjcvgLEf2M— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 22, 2018
Who are some of the most underrated players in the league? Chris Oddo investigates: [FanRag Sports]
Feels like it’s been awhile since I ended on a positive note, so here y’all go: