Welcome to another Two for Tuesday, the Tuesday feature that has managed to hit the four week mark. Crazy times we live in!
Let’s Play the Pick a Player Game! The game is simple enough. I’ll present some statistics for two players and you’ll get to choose which one you’d rather have. It might over-simplify the situation in some cases, but it’s at least one way to remove name-recognition bias from the process.
Today, we’re going to look at two defensemen who are somewhat linked (you’ll see later). We’ve got some performance numbers for their 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 NHL seasons (up to but not including games on 3/19). Let’s jump right in for Player A and Player B with stats compiled from the fine folks at Hockey Analysis.
Which player do you want on your team?
Player A is a more prolific even-strength scorer over the past two years per time on ice. Player B has seen a slight drop from last year in his 5-on-5 goal and point rates, although his first assist numbers have gone up a bit. But in every case, Player A has the advantage in either year over Player B. Player A also has a net positive shot differential (that is, his Corsi ratio is above 0.500. Player A’s team has more shots for than against when Player A is on ice).
Player A’s powerplay performance is also better for both years, although his shots are much more infrequent than Player B (which may explain the goal difference this year).
Neglecting contracts, which player are you more interested in seeing on your team? I hope the answer here is Player A. He’s a better offensive weapon, and his possession numbers at even strength are more favorable, something that can aid team success and defensive strength. So who are these d-men, and who is the one we picked?
Player A is Slava Voynov, Player B is Jack Johnson. Honestly, I believe that Slava Voynov is the player people think Jack Johnson is: he’s a great offensive force who can generate the shot differential necessary be considered a great d-man overall. Voynov’s ability allowed the Kings to deal their less-offensively-talented player for Jeff Carter.
In the trade, LA improved threefold: by shedding Johnson, by letting Voynov into the lineup with more regularity, and by adding a potent Carter to their team. It’s the trade that keeps on giving for Los Angeles as they march toward another shot at the Stanley Cup.
Steven Stamkos’ Reign of Terror is Awesome. You’ve probably read a thing or two about Steven Stamkos over the past few weeks. Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien has a great write-up about Stamkos scoring his 200th (!!!) career goal last night, and the perspective offered is pretty wild: he’s exceptionally young (he’s still only 23) and he’s not even at the typical prime of an NHL career.
A few more reference points beyond the age thing: Stamkos is only one of 16 players to hit 200 goals in his first five seasons. Most of the rest of those players are Hall of Famers or Hall of Famers-to-be. His overall points per game are on the upswing as his scoring rate continues to stay above a silly 0.70 goal per game.
Since joining the league in 2008-2009, Stamkos is the top goal scorer, he’s fourth in points, and sixth in points per game (among players with over 100 goals). Factor in that “slow” rookie season and his second-through-fifth years look even more remarkable: he’s first in points since 2009-2010, and that last season is still in progress.
There are plenty of reasons for a Blue Jackets fan to be happy about realignment, but the ability to watch every team in Nationwide at least once a year is an underrated awesome benefit. I can’t wait to see Steven Stamkos in Columbus next year as he continues to tear the league apart.