Go six games without a goal in this league and suddenly you’re chopped liver. At least that was the case for Tomas Hertl. After setting the league aflame with an incredible stretch of play from October 3 to October 15 that saw him score seven goals, he’d gone quiet—pundits around the NHL were suddenly wondering aloud if Hertl had run out of power and gone dry.
McLellan also downplayed the suggestion that Hertl has “hit a wall,” as I put it. Don’t over-evaluate it, was basically Todd’s response
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) October 27, 2013
Don’t over-evaluate it indeed.
Hertl scored early on when the San Jose Sharks took on the Ottawa Senators last night, breaking his goal drought at six contests.
You’ve got to love where he scored from as well. He’s really shown a knack for getting it done in the dirty areas.
What was interesting was how much attention Hertl’s small goaless streak received. Ottawa mentioned it in their opening comments on air, and it was something that had been discussed on San Jose’s end as well. It wasn’t like Hertl had suddenly gone away from his game, like some rookies can do after finding success.
He was still shooting the puck and had tacked on and assists across that span of six games, so the idea that his offense had suddenly gone dry seems a little silly in retrospect. There isn’t a player in the league that hasn’t gone a handful of games without finding the back of the net.
On the flip side, there are plenty of players in the NHL that have never scored four goals in a game and aren’t capable of putting up the sort of numbers that Hertl has to this point. He’s still on pace for 75 points despite the slowed production, and while he might not finish with that kind of stat line, it’s important to remember that Hertl is still a kid, still learning a language and still adjusting to the best pro league in the world.
When he’s not scoring he’s still been outstanding in all three zones and has the kind of hockey IQ and awareness that coaches and managers dream of on draft day.
Let’s cut the teen some slack the next time he doesn’t score for a week or so, shall we?