If someone had told you before the season began that Todd Fedoruk would have scored more goals than Vincent Lecavalier ten games in, you’d have thought they were crazy. But, here we are ten games in, and it’s true. Fedoruk just scored his second goal of the season last night, while Vinny still has one goal so far.
Yes, this is unusual for Lecavalier. And yes, he doesn’t have an excuse to fall back on like rehabbing from injury. But, really, is that any reason to panic? We all know that he can score goals. Ten games into an 82-game season isn’t much. So why make an issue of it?
Vinny, at least, has nine assists to go with his one goal – and that’s still a point per game. Alex Tanguay has had four seasons where he’s been at that pace – a point a game – but he only has one goal and three assists. Jeff Halpern doesn’t have any points yet this season, and Halpern’s pace is usually at about a point every two games.
Of course, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone, and Martin St. Louis are making those guys look worse than they really are. There’s no doubt that Stamkos is on a tear right now with nine goals – two of which were scored last night. Malone’s not far behind him, either, with eight goals scored. And St. Louis has at least a point in every game this season so far; 14 points in 10 games ain’t too shabby.
But that line clicked; they had outstanding chemistry from the outset. And that’s really the problem: There isn’t two of St. Louis for both Stamkos and Lecavalier to play with. Vinny doesn’t lack talent, and he’s not a has-been at the age of 29. Vinny lacks chemistry with the guys on his line.
The number of goals scored is important, but perhaps people ought to take +/- into consideration. Some see it as a useless stat, but it does serve a purpose. Right now, Matt Walker leads the team with a +7, while at the other extreme another defenseman, Andrej Meszaros, is a -7. Despite their goal scoring, Stamkos and Malone are only +3 and +1, respectively. While St. Louis is a -3 and Lecavalier is a -5. Perhaps they need to work on their defense a little bit?
Really, so long as the team is winning, does it matter if Vinny is scoring or not? True, scoring goals is a big part of his job, but the bottom line is the number of W’s in the win column, not Vinny getting a scoring title while the Lightning miss the playoffs – yet again. As captain, he does have other responsibilities, and perhaps those are more important than scoring right now.
Personally, I’d rather he have a slow start and a strong finish to the season. Although, I’m sure Lecavalier himself wouldn’t, as he is still trying make the Canadian Olympic team. At this point, however, it looks as if Stamkos might’ve jumped over him in the depth chart for Team Canada. But it’s still far too early for any of that. It’s not so much how they’re playing now, but how they’re playing a month before the Olympics that really matters.
Seriously, which is more important: scoring or leadership? Obviously, you’d like to have both, but not everyone is Mark Messier. Sometimes you get one or the other instead of both, and that’s alright. Right now, Lecavalier is providing good leadership, and he’s been much better with that this season than last, I think. The scoring will come – probably sooner rather than later, too.