The 07-08 season is beginning to take shape, both in terms of the overall standings and in terms of specific player performances. As with every season and every sport, predicting this stuff is impossible. Still, it’s fun to review what has been delivered versus expectations.
The stats men on the blogosphere long ago convinced me that even strength points-per-hour is the absolute best line in the sand for establishing which players are having the greatest impact when the playing field is level. No wonky PP stats, just the facts at even strength. I don’t suss out the 4×4 numbers, this is just straight math from nhl.com.
Where it applies, last season’s pp-60 at EV is in brackets:
- Shawn Horcoff 2.99 (1.52)
- Ales Hemsky 2.20 (2.09)
- Kyle Brodziak 2.07
- Sam Gagner 1.99
- Andrew Cogliano 1.98
- Marty Reasoner 1.61 (1.45)
- Dustin Penner 1.41 (1.92)
- Robert Nilsson 1.31
- Raffi Torres 0.86 (1.94)
- Geoff Sanderson 0.62 (2.06)
- Jarret Stoll 0.54 (2.20)
- The biggest drop is Stoll (-1.66ppg), but Geoff Sanderson (-1.44ppg), Raffi Torres (-1.08ppg) and Dustin Penner (-.51) need to be better.
- Brodziak, Gagner and Cogliano are doing pretty well in this area. Gagner specifically looks way better than he is by this metric (his ability to have an impact on the game on many levels is being exposed currently) and Cogliano’s number is outstanding considering he’s also having an offensive impact on the PK and has a couple of PP assists.
- The forwards not listed above are scoreless, with Marc Pouliot having played the most pointless EV strength minutes (literally). I’m a fan of MP’s, but his performance this season added to last year’s number in the same category (1.17) really does imply he may not be able to hit above the Mendoza line.
- Nilsson’s number is close to his 05-06 NHL season where he had a 1.56 ppg at even strength.
- When you factor in the number of minutes he’s out there just for the faceoff in the defensive zone, Shawn Horcoff is having a tremendous season.
- Marty’s Marty.
- This does NOT factor in difficulty of minutes. You can assume Horcoff is doing the heavy lifting most nights, which makes his season even more exceptional.