Defensemen are tougher to figure out than forwards, in my opinion. There’s more ‘saw him good’ when evaluating blue, and that can mean wildly varying opinions. For instance, many fans believe Evan Bouchard is a struggling defender. If that were true, that he is not a good defender, that probably holds all the way back to junior right? So, what if the numbers from junior hockey tell us something else about Bouchard? What then?
Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.
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DEFENSEMEN EVEN STRENGTH GOAL DIFFERENTIAL
This is everyone’s draft year except Broberg who is draft +1 because I couldn’t find his numbers. Nurse played against the other team’s best (Kyle Dubas tracked it) and came out better than his team by about three percentage points. That’s a good season, but does it indicate future success? Look at Reinhart down at the bottom? A guy like Bear looks good, Broberg too, but Samorukov and Niemelainen could not rise above.
Bouchard? He was demonstrably better than his team based on these numbers from Pick 224. So, is Bouchard poor defensively, or does he look lethargic when retrieving pucks? I’m not sure of the answer but these numbers suggest he was better than his teammates in his draft year in outscoring. What about Bouchard in the AHL, 2019-20?
- Bouchard 2019-20 Bakersfield on-ice even strength: 41-51 44.57 percent
- Condors 2019-20 with Bouchard off-ice EV strength: 71-89 44.38 percent
Bouchard performed at about level overall but did improve markedly in the second half of the year. I think he’s better defensively than he’s being given credit for, maybe because he looks lethargic in retreat for the puck.
I was hoping for more revealing numbers here but Drysdale’s on-off numbers are impressive. He’s regarded as a strong puck mover and smart defender but lacks size. They all look good and their teams do too, save Poirier. He and his team were under water.
Some rumblings online about OEL coming in a trade, I have many thoughts. First, the cap hit is enormous ($8.2 million) and goes through summer 2027. This fella is 29 now. His contract is longer than 97’s and 29’s.
His PuckIQ page shows strong work against elites for ages, then a dip in performance this past campaign. Over at NST his power-play goals per 60 were above 1.00 for some time but dipped last year. At even strength, his scoring totals were up but mostly second assists. His possession numbers were uneasy and his rel number a little below par. Here are his five on five numbers with his two main partners:
- OEL-Jason Demers: 679 minutes, 46.80 shot differential, 18-24 goal differential.
- OEL-Ilya Lyubushkin: 173 minutes, 50.25 shot differential, 12-6 goal differential.
OEL with Adam Larsson would be a strong pairing, you could run Nurse-Bear or Klefbom-Bear on the second pair and have a nice set. Trading Klefbom and Russell gets you there in terms of cap, but this is not a trade that represents a clear win. I don’t think this trade is wise.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A fun morning on TSN1260, we get started at 10. Frank Seravalli from TSN pops in with trade rumours and we’ll chat about last night’s heartbreaker for the Islanders. At 11, Sean Woodley from Locked on Raptors will talk to us about a brilliant win for the Raptors last night and a massive Game 7 Friday night. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.
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