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Quick Hits: "Southleast" No More?

It's a quiet day in Caniacville so I thought I would take a few moments to share some deep thoughts from a shallow mind. 

Don't look now but there is a team from the Southeast tied for first place in the Eastern Conference, and it's not the Washington Capitals.  Several pundits predicted that the Tampa Bay Lightning would be a much improved bunch this season and so far the team is not disappointing.  The Lightning have a conference best 13 points, (tied with Montreal), and they are one point ahead of the Caps.  While it's still very early, there is no reason to think they will fold anytime soon.  

Has Steven Stamkos made a believer of you yet?  He has 8 goals and 18 points in just 9 games, with the next closest competitor at 13 points, (Ryan Getzlaf).  In his rookie season, the sniper "only" had 23 goals and 23 assists and was deemed by his one time coach, Barry Melrose, as not being NHL ready.  Stamkos followed that up with 51 goals along with 44 assists and looks to improve both stats this season.

Obviously, playing in the NHL as an 18 year old did not hurt his development. 

The Hurricanes are looking for a similar development path for Jeff Skinner.  Can "Skinny" score 50 at this level? I would not bet against him, although it seems like he might need to use his wrist shot and slap shot more often.  Right now it looks like he is content taking the puck to the net most times, although he is getting mugged in the process.  But defensemen are not going to allow him to waltz freely to the front of the net.

The New York Islanders are trying a different development approach with their prize first round pick, Nino Niederreiter, who was returned to his junior team today.  That means the 3rd, 4rth, 5th, and 6th overall picks of this year's draft are all back in junior now, as Skinner joins Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall as top picks who made the cut.  (assuming Hall is not going anywhere).     

Speaking of the draft, let's give Tony MacDonald kudos again for his fine job this year.  After the questionable pick of Philippe Paradis in 2009, he more than made up for it this summer because it's possible that Skinner could eventually be considered the jewel of the entire 2010 draft.  Oh yeah, and some of his other picks don't look too shabby either.

We will review the early season status of some of our top prospects soon.


Switching gears now, there is a new blogger out there who might be of interest.  Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos is joining our pedestrian ranks.  He says that his blog, named Karmanos Unplugged, will be about the city of Detroit, business and technology, and the NHL, namely the Carolina Hurricanes

We will be monitoring his new blog and will link to anything hockey related.  The site is also included on our Canes Related blog roll on the left sidebar.