3. The sample size is not large enough yet to get a fair assessment.
Kevin Lankinen has been far, far better than anyone probably would have believed he would be at this point. However, it’s too early to say that he’s the real deal. More time is needed to determine if Lankinen is really ready to be an NHL starter, even if the net is basically his at this point.
He’s just one example of the fact that the team’s success is based on players that aren’t proven NHLers. It’s one thing to say that such-and-such player belongs in the NHL, but it’s another to have a record of success to refer to. Chicago has played 20 games this year, and that’s about all the NHL experience some of these players have.
I might be being overly cynical, but you don’t start making postseason predictions when a single player like Duncan Keith or Patrick Kane has more pro experience than all of the rookies combined. Pius Suter and Kevin Lankinen were both playing in professional leagues before coming to North America, and so there’s a little bit more of a record to take into consideration.
However, for guys like Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, and Philip Kurashev, just to name a few, there’s not much to go on. Certainly not enough to say that their success so far is guaranteed to continue without error or significant setbacks.
Chicago needs more time to let the players develop and really show what they can do, and the level they can perform at. There’s more talent in the system than people probably realized, but it’s too early to make predictions about where the team is at. Twenty games simply aren’t enough.