This week’s mailbag is late enough that I was considering just pushing it to next Monday, but seeing as I just published an article an hour ago that was inaccurate enough that it’s since been deleted until I can fix/re-arrange it, I figure it would be nice to replace it with… something. Not to mention, I still owe you all some answers. Let’s dive in!

I’d say 25 games. It’s a good benchmark from just about any perspective; it’s when statistics start to have in-season predictive value, it’s when coaches have mostly moved on from the experimental stage with their lineups, it’s nearly two months in real-world time so it gives some time for minor-moderate health concerns to shake out, and for those who evaluate solely on what they see, it gives you a somewhat passable amount of time to claim that you know a player’s tendencies.

I don’t particularly plan on being “concerned” about him, unless he were to literally go missing or something crazy like that. I’ve been pretty vocal about my weariness to give him the keys to the city in the way that many did last year; he’s an incredibly skilled player and a future superstar, but he also played sheltered minutes last year and battled mono in the spring, which can be a drag on one’s body and conditioning. I get why the hype was there; the hype was everywhere, and he was the most local-of-origin of all the breakout young players, but I think it set a bar that was higher than it needed to be entering this year.

I think a few months where we treat him as a young, developing player with upside will do him some good. Hell, “rock bottom” Mitch is still a 20-year-old sophomore on a 55-point pace; so the emphasis should be on progression rather than demanding dominance.

It might just be early-season noise. If it was fatigue from last year, we probably would’ve seen it more at the end of last year. Andersen started slow last season as well, though injury recovery may have caused a bit of that. He’s had a couple of good nights in the midst of this cold streak as well. I wouldn’t be concerned unless this continues into the winter.

…so, I’m a little late for that deadline. But anyway, my Pre-Season pick was Josh Ho-Sang, and as the Islanders start to catch a groove, I’m not feeling super encouraged to back down on that. I will say, though, that Clayton Keller and Mikhail Sergachev are pleading some damn good cases to start their seasons. Keller in particular already looks like a star, though again, he’s twelve games into his career. I’ll stick with Ho-Sang because I don’t like the idea of bailing on a six-month outlook after six games, but he’s got some good competition now.

My thought was likely a second round pick and a (likely defensive) prospect, but with the Leafs signing Roman Polak and Elliotte Friedman mentioning that Detroit hasn’t ruled out an extension for Green in his latest 31 Thoughts column, I’m starting to think this dream may be dead for now.

Buffalo and Arizona. I thought this was the year where both would make their big jumps, and both fell face first out of the gate. It looks like the Sabres have a shot at rebounding, but 0-8-1 in Arizona is… not ideal.

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