New fan here. I'm a huge NBA fan (Nets... formerly NJ). Moved from NY to Florida about 4 years ago.
Last year, during the NBA lockout, I really committed myself to watching the Panthers. I needed a Florida team... and since I'm already a Nets and Jets fan, and I hate baseball, the Panthers were an obvious choice.
That being said, I really DO NOT know anything about hockey. Except that it is AWESOME to watch, both live and on TV.
As I said, I watched a lot of games last year, but when the NBA came back I lost focus. The playoffs were fun, I went to 8-10 games, but I didn't watch every game like I am this year.
SO... here are my thoughts (and remember I'm coming from an NBA perspective on this and admittedly do not know much about hockey)
1) Our best players are Shore, Huberdeau, and Mueller. It isn't even close. Shore and Mueller are great creators, and Huberdeau is a scoring threat every time he touches it. I love watching these three guys play. My only criticism is that Huberdeau is really small. He needs to put on about 20 pounds. I'm sure this is a common opinion among you guys and gals, but I don't really know. Final opinion, these three should play more. They get about 15 mpg, and they should be getting more like 20.
2) Theodore is above average, Clemmenson stinks. Why not bring in Markstrom?
3) Defense... here's where I really get lost. Aren't they supposed to be like the QB, or the PG? Our defense seems to be bad on offense and bad on defense. And we took this Gudbranson guy with a TOP 5 PICK. I understand it takes NHL rookies longer to make an impact than rookies in other sports (right?) but I'd expect more out of a really high draft pick. In general it just seems like this is a major, major weakness for the team.
4) We win games that we grind out. Is this accurate? We are not a flashy team, we grind. Sometimes we it looks like they are way too conservative when they have a lead, and it lets teams get back into it.
5) Final thought. Let the rookies and young guns play. Let them develop. It looks like we play the older guys just because they are older. The young guys are more exciting, and they are future.
Thanks all. I know this was a novel, and I could be enlightened on a lot of things... this is coming from a brand new hockey fan.