Monday, November 22, 2010

Scoring Forwards At The Quarter Pole

Moving on now to the forwards. First up are the "scoring forwards" who as a group have 32 goals over 20 games.


The legend again:

G, A, Pts - you know already
PM - Plus/minus
Ch +/- - Differential in scoring chances at even strength (these chances combined by Olivier are basically shots, misses and blocked shots that happen from danger areas)
Fenwick - Shots and missed shots for minus those against at ES
Corsi - Shots, missed shots and blocked shots for minus those against at ES
Dome - Dome for that game = 1
Scott Gomez

Grade:

B-

Who is this player, Scott Gomez? Those that look at points alone would say a third line forward. Those who add in salary would call him a liability. Those who look at things like Corsi thought, call him a horse.

Gomez gets a B for the balance of his work. he is part of the good defensive start, the rebirth of Carey Price and the outstanding PK. But he loses a lot of marks for not being the guy. At a certain point it is not enough to be a Corsi machine (some might be beginning to think he's only trying to be a Corsi machine). He's the top salary earner on the team and we have him down for 3 domes and no game pucks. Stats aside, that means he hasn't been outshining his compatriots. If he doesn't want to sink into true mediocrity, he needs to find some extra inspiration.


Mike Cammalleri

Grade:

B

Cammalleri is second on the team in scoring, third in goals and first in plus/minus. It's a strong B. To the traditional fan, looking at traditional scoring summaries and traditional gamelogs, he's having a nice start. But of all the mirages on the team, Cammalleri's might be most misleading.

Apart from these stats we track many others. Most informative for Cammalleri is the goals created record we have. Though he's been in on 14 goals, he's been a minor play in most of those. The same must be said for his plus/minus to date, he was on for a lot of Plekanec to Kostitsyn plays. Of course he opens the ice for them, and that gives him marks.

You might say that I have been harshest on Cammalleri, and I think that would be accurate. But as a top winger with a top quality passer, missing the net or having shots blocked, or just running into dead ends on the PP must be worked out.  He's picked it up recently, and that's been noted. His goal last game was sniper stuff.


Tomas Plekanec

Grade:

A

Can anyone believe the Andre Savard regime drafted this player? In fairness, they didn't commit a very high pick, and picked Duncan Milroy before him, so they may have lucked out a bit. And the Canadiens development? Tomas has mopped up all the lessons.

His first quarter represents a great start. Point-per-game pace is not the least of his achievements, but he is also the leading goalscorer, the leading penalty-killer and a pretty good model of consistency. He doesn't get an A+ yet, because as scary as it seems, he can be better.


Brian Gionta

Grade:

B+

A very very slow start had me thinking that something had changed with Gionta, and I pondered whether the only superficial change (the C on his sweater) was weighing him down.

But take a look at Gionta from Game 5 onwards. He's been outchancing, outshooting, and out-attempting all his opponents. That and 5 goals and 10 points in 16 games is about right for the captain's historical pacing. Of course, this chart doesn't show it all, as his shooting percentage (low) and PK work are also important stats.


Andrei Kostitsyn

Grade:

A

Andrei has been the revelation of the season. At least Carey Price had supporters who thought this would happen. Andrei's fans were probably thinking half of what he's done so far was a successful start.

For a guy who isn't a machine-gunner like Cammalleri and Gionta, his Fenwick and Corsi are quite telling. For every shot he takes, there are still more held back as he waits for seams. This is important, because teams with non-discriminating shooters need some danglers, else the defensive plan becomes rather straightforward. Kostitsyn's rise mean other teams can indeed focus on one line, but can't altogether ignore the next.


Benoit Pouliot

Grade:

B+

Yes, I'm calling him a scoring winger. And yes, I'm giving him a good grade.Pouliot was questioned to an insulting degree before the season and his first quarter has gone a long way to answer his critics. Largely without a good shift or a centre other than Halpern, he has made chances and buried chances.

A look at his work in chart form shows he's a net asset. And remembering this is his second NHL season, looking at 20 goal and 40 point pace is very sound for a third line winger. .

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