With all the prospect graduating that has taken place this season on the Oiler list, I think the #1 slot is a contest between college men Riley Nash and Taylor Chorney (in photo). Word today from Jim Matheson that when the UND season ends Chorney may head to Springfield to play for the Falcons.
Much has been made of Chorney’s lack of offense this season compared to his own history. In last night’s loss to Michigan Tech (in OT), Chorney had no points but led UND with 7 shots on net.
Is he playing in bad luck? Has his offense dried up because of reduced offense for UND? Is it a league wide problem? Let’s look at these issues one at a time.
- Is he playing in bad luck? Aside from last night I don’t really see any evidence. The emergence of defender Chay Genoway may have cut into his powerplay time, but Chorney has 2 PP goals (Genoway 3) so he’s getting time with the man advantage.
- Has his offense dried up because of reduced offense for UND? Last season, UND was led on offense by Jonathan Toews and scored 153 goals (3.56 per game). They also scored 56 powerplay goals. Chorney was in on 20% of the team’s goals (31 points) and scored 9% (5) of the team’s PP goals. This season, the Fighting Sioux have scored 113 goals (3.05 per game). They have scored 31 powerplay goals. Chorney has been in on 17.6% of the team’s goals (20 points) and scored 6% (2) of the team’s PP goals. I’m no stat genius but it’s my opinion that the numbers are close enough that we can consider them random (read “luck”). I don’t think there’s any clear evidence based on the numbers that Chorney has taken a step backwards offensively.
- Is it a League Wide Problem? The WCHA scored 701 goals among 10 teams this season, in a total of 140 games (5 per game). In the previous season (06-07), the WCHA scored 760 goals in a total of 140 games (5.43 per game).
Offense is off league wide, on his team and Chorney’s numbers reflect that. To borrow a line from Guy Flaming’s recent HF top 20, Oilers development coach Bob Mancini says he’s learned “how to use his feet and stick position. What he’s learned to do is gain body position by using his skating and his feet now.”
The big issue for Chorney is size. The best quote in recent Oilers history from a management perspective was Geoff Ward. He is more credible to me because when he’s talking about prospects they aren’t all headed to the Hall of Fame. Here’s what he said about Taylor Chorney:
“He’s steady in all areas and that’s what sticks out to me the most. He’s a strong passer, moves the puck well and the thing I really like is that after he moves the puck he follows it up the ice so he’s always in a position to be the fourth man. He’s a guy that has tremendous upside and as a freshman right now he does a lot of things very well. I think in three years we’re going to be extremely excited to see how far he’s come.”
When looking at his season (37gp, 2-18-20, .540ppg) in context, I don’t think there’s much reason for alarm when discussing Taylor Chorney’s future.