In selecting Chris Vande Velde ahead of more promising offensive forwards (Viacheslav Trukhno, Linus Omark, Bryan Lerg, Phillippe Cornet), we’d need some pretty solid evidence this player brings a lot useful things in other areas.
I think he covers the bet and will call it right now: should he make it to the show, Chris Vande Velde is going to be a MacT favorite. You can see it a mile away. Vande Velde combines size, skill, hard work and secondary skills and leads his team in some important categories: PIMs and FO%.
Vande Velde’s FO percentage (58.1 this season, 55.0 one year ago) comes in over 350 attempts so cannot be viewed as a fluke. His PIMs come from 24 minors, one fight (UND has had 2) and something called “other” which must have involved some kind of diabolical behaviour (or at least I’m hoping it did).
Vande Velde is still on the 1line at UND with Ryan Duncan but it’s not the Vande vaunt it was a year ago. Here’s how VVV is doing this season (08-09):
- EV: 16gp, 1-3-4 .25 with 20 shots (involved in 17.4% of 23EV goals)
- PP: 16gp, 1-3-4 .25 with 16 shots (involved in 16.7% of 24PP goals)
- PK: 16gp, 1-1-2 .125 with 1 shot (involved in 66.7% of 3PK goals)
Let’s compare those numbers to 07-08:
- EV: 43gp, 9-14-23 .534 with 60 shots (involved in 25.8% of 89EV goals)
- PP: 43gp, 6-3-9 .209 with 27 shots (involved in 25% of 36PP goals)
- PK: 43gp, 0-0-0 (no involvement in 4SH goals)
The difference is probably his shooting percentage year over year (17.2% in 07-08 and 8.1% this season) and the fact that one year ago his linemates were Ryan Duncan and TJ Oshie. That trio scored a total of 51 goals in 43 games (1.19 per-game), compared to this season’s top line (VVV and Duncan joined by Andrew Kozek) popping 12 goals in 16 games (.75 per-game). He’s also way off at EVs but the entire team is slumping in that area (down to 1.44EV goals per game from 2.07 a year ago). Losing Oshie (and others) has had an impact on everyone.
Last year (+/-) Vande Velde trailed his linemates by a healthy margin (Duncan was +22, Oshie was +17, VVV was +10) and two other forwards had superior plus minus numbers. UND was +37 in 07-08. In 08-09, he still trails Ryan Duncan (Duncan is +4 and VV is Even, with Kozek -5) and there are once again two other forwards ahead of him.UND is -4 in 08-09, so in this area Vande Velde appears to be having a superior season (relative to team).
Vande Velde (pronounced Van-duh Vel-dee) has good size (6-2, 206) and secondary skills and he appears to be progressing in some significant areas. The fact that he isn’t dominating offensively at a time when most players his age are having a field day means he’s probably somewhat limited in this area and he certainly doesn’t drive the bus but we knew that one year ago. He’s 21 years old and in his junior season, meaning he’s going to be eligible for one more season in college.
Offensively, Desjardins suggests that Vande Velde will be somewhat shy of Slava Trukhno and clear of Tyler Spurgeon when he turns pro. The other things he does well (based on math and scouting reports) makes him a more attractive prospect than others on the list because none of them have enough offense to make them strong possibilities for major league hockey.