Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
The man we call Atlas is leading the NHL in points and is off to by far the best start of his career.
Some of you think the Buffalo Sabres are not a good hockey team. Some of you think the Sabres are a good (or at least pretty good) hockey team that is underachieving in almost every way. Arguments can be made for both sides.
What can't be argued is that Thomas Vanek is off to an unbelievable start to this short season.
Unbelievable is not a word that I like to use lightly, but it certainly fits the bill here. So do words like incredible, amazing, and the Old Testament definition of awesome. Let's take a closer look at his superlative filled stats.
Vanek is currently leading the NHL in points by a decent margin with 19 points in just eight games. That's an astounding 2.375 points per game, a number that would translate to - wait for it - 195 points over an 82 game season. Yes, I said one hundred and ninety five. That's the circa-1984 pace that Vanek is on right now, and I urge Sabres fans to sit back and enjoy it.
There's been an ongoing argument via Twitter recently about Vanek's ice time, that he's not getting enough (even though he's getting far more ice time than he's ever gotten), or that he should be killing more penalties, and so on and so on. My entry into this argument is this: Thomas Vanek is the lone bright spot on this Sabres team this season, when everything else has gone wrong. So instead of wasting valuable Tweets arguing over his ice time, of which he seems to be getting plenty, let's just enjoy the ride, because it's not going to last forever.
Unfortunately, Vanek will come back to Earth eventually. He's always been a hot-and-cold player, and despite the fact that this is the hottest start he's ever gotten off to, he will cool. He currently has a shooting percentage of 24.2%, which is not only unsustainable for any NHL player, but it's well above Vanek's career average which is in the mid teens.
Someday, possibly soon, Thomas Vanek will come back to Earth and rejoin the rest of us mortals. But until then, and despite the rest of the team's failures, let's enjoy watching the most productive player in the NHL play for the Buffalo Sabres.