RNH and his Rookie Season

Lots of talk on the Al Gore lately about RNH and his even strength and road numbers. Before we get too far into this, let’s not start a witch hunt. NO ONE is suggesting he isn’t an outstanding player, no one is implying he isn’t the Calder favorite. Let’s look at the issue of road points and even strength points.

Even strength points

RNH is killing it on the powerplay–I don’t know if an Oiler rookie has ever impacted 5×4 in this way–but at even strength things have been less impressive. I thought it might be an idea to compare rookies over the past few seasons to RNH’s rookie even strength totals.

Desjardins 5×5/60

  1. Andrew Cogliano 07-08: 2.28
  2. RNH 11-12 2.23
  3. Sam Gagner 07-08 1.96
  4. Jordan Eberle 10-11 1.79
  5. Taylor Hall 10-11 1.78
  6. Magnus Paajariv 10-11 1.36 

Looks pretty good by this metric, Cogliano had a quality rookie season and of course the three kids last year showed signs of things to come. Now, we’re not looking at difficulty of minutes here because it’s tough to compare across seasons. Suffice to say that the Hall-Eberle duo faced tougher opposition that the rest of the kids on this list (they were paired with the veteran Horcoff a year ago).

Desjardins 5×5/60 for recent F Calder winners (courtesy Desjardins as always)

  1. Jeff Skinner 10-11 2.49
  2. Patrick Kane 07-08 2.32
  3. RNH 11-12: 2.23

RNH is facing 2nd level opposition according to Gabe

Which is about where Kane was among Chicago’s forwards in his rookie season

Now I know we’re not supposed to compare across teams, but it does show that RNH’s soft parade opposition from early in the season has been replaced by some “Zetterberg” nights as NHL coaching staffs have adjusted their sights.

Overall, I’d suggest the young man has done pretty well even considering he’s had terrific linemates. I don’t know that he’s going to win the Calder if he continues on this pace, but the 5×4 numbers have to be considered as well.

Is it fair to call RNH an average offensive rookie at 5×5 and a special one via 5×4?

Home/Road

RNH

  • Home: 18, 8-17-25 1.39ppg
  • Away: 16, 5-4-9 .563

Taylor Hall (rookie season)

  • Home: 35, 10-9-19 .543ppg
  • Away: 30, 12-11-23 .767

Jordan Eberle (rookie season)

  • Home: 35, 11-11-22 .629ppg
  • Away: 34, 7-14-21 .618

Jeff Skinner (rookie season)

  • Home: 41, 16-19-35 .854ppg
  • Away: 41, 15-13-28 .683

Patrick Kane (rookie season)

  • Home: 41, 15-36-51 1.24ppg
  • Away: 41, 6-15-21 .512

Based on those numbers, Kane would look to have had a similar path as a rookie. The following season he scored 2 more points on the road than at home, so it would appear to be something that one can overcome.

My own guess is that the home/road thing has a lot to do with the kids being the target of opposition teams and that means some tough sledding on the road. Breaking up the line might help, and coach Renney has done that on the road. As RNH gets older, one would also expect to see him be more effective in all areas and one of them might be splits.

The good thing is that he’s tracking well as a young NHL player, miles better than we had any right to expect as fans. I don’t think it’s possible to find a really negative thing to say about the kid.

He’s golden, touched by God.

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