As Pred Nation crawls out from underneath what will probably be known as "the Kessel hangover," we are left with an annoying sound ringing in our ears. That sound is the question, "If not Phil, who?"
Who will fill the void left in our top six forwards? The answer, as it seems for now, is that the 2nd line winger spot will be filled by one of several relatively untested rookies. Based on the lines we've seen so far in preseason the front-runner for this position would appear to be Mike Santorelli, who played in only 7 NHL games last season. I would not be surprised, however, to hear that Patric Hornqvist is a close 2nd place for the job. After all, Hornqvist dawned the Predators jersey a whopping 28 times last year!
In fairness to these two players, both have been lighting it up in the preseason, and I have no doubts that either or both of them could be poised to have breakout seasons this year. However, I can't help but be reminded of another rookie from last season who seemed poised for greatness: "Captain Hair" himself, Antti Pihlstrom. As we all know, Pihlstrom didn't exactly "Rock the Casbah" as a winger in the NHL. So, before we hand over a top six winger to someone like Hornqvist, it's fair to ask the question: Is Hornqvist another Pihlstrom?
Let's start with the similarities:
- Obviously, both are easily recognized for their blonder than blonde (don't stare directly at it or you'll burn your retinas) hair.
- Both come from Scandinavian countries known for Viking ships, geothermal energy, and blonde hair (go figure).
- Both earned exactly 2 goals and 5 assists last season.
- Both are known for speed and willingness to shoot the puck.
- Both seemed cursed at times last season with an inability to find the back of the net: Pihlstrom with a disappointing 2.3% scoring percentage, and Hornqvist not much better with 3.7%.
- Hornqvist earned his 7 points (2g, 5a) in only 28 contests, as opposed to Pihlstrom's 53.
- Pihlstrom is somewhere in Europe right now, while Hornqvist is fighting for an NHL roster spot.
- Hornqvist is leading the NHL in preseason shots on goal, while Pihlstrom is leading his Viking buddys with shots of mead (I'm assuming).
- Dirk, feel free to jump in here with any kind of Corsi stat (forgive me, I'm new at this).
- Finally, and possibly most importantly, I have reason to believe that Patric Hornqvist trained in the Cobra Kai Dojo during the early 80s. Watch for him to appear approximately 2:30 into the video...
You're The Best Music Video (via xrockhardx)