Thursday Morning Mashup: Un-fancy Stat

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Photo: Getty Images

Yesterday morning, I encountered a tweet that looked like this:

So, because it’s the off-season, but also because I’m a little lazy, I skipped the article and asked myself the question, who on Earth is Brenden Dillon? And (after several Google searches), why is a 22 year old defenseman, with 49 games worth of NHL experience, considered a suitable candidate for the Dallas Star’s captaincy?  This might seem absurd to us but what I realized is that it actually gives us a glimpse of how other NHL fans might view Leafs fans whenever we’re off our rockers over a player.

There are many perils that come with marrying yourself to a player. Take Jake Gardiner as an example. After a phenomenal, break-out season where he placed 9th in rookie scoring (7G 23A 75GP), the 2012-2013 campaign turned out to be a trying time for Gardiner and his proponents.  Many Leafs fans are put off by how the coaching staff  handled Gardiner. No matter your opinion of how he was managed, Leafs fans should, and will, be very interested in how Gardiner performs in the upcoming season. If his playoff performance was any indication, Gardiner should be a good candidate for a strong bounce-back performance.

Having said that, I thought it would be interesting to look at how the top-10 rookie scorers, between 2006 and 2010, have fared in cases where the player either experienced, or did not experience, a drop in production in their second year.  I decided to exclude rookies from the past 3 seasons because they had yet to play in enough seasons to be included in the data set.

I began by defining four broad categories of players based on their impact in the NHL; All Star, Impact, Role, and Bust. The former and latter are self-explanatory. Meanwhile, Role players are generally bottom-6, bottom-pairing, players who do not chew up significant minutes or contribute much to the team’s point production. Impact players are typically top-6/top-4 pairing players who play significant roles and drive team production.

Between 2006 and 2010, I observed and tracked the point-per-game (PPG) performance of the top-10 rookie scorers during their sophomore year, and the next three years.  In total, 50 players make up the sample.

Here is a breakdown of the NHL impact of top-10 rookie scorers:

For what it’s worth, defensemen make up 6 (3 All Stars, 2 Impact, 1 Role) of the 50 rookies in the sample. No matter how you interpret this, Gardiner is in good company and his rookie peers likely include future All Stars.

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Morning Links

Top 25 under 25 – Garret Sparks
Sparks slides in at 18 over at PPP.

The Star previews the new Atlantic Division
Will probably never not strike me as odd that the Leafs are in the “Atlantic.”

Taking the late summer temperature of Leaf supporters
Michael asks the following questions – feel free to post your answers both here and over at VLM:

  1. Are the Leafs a sure-fire playoff team?
  2. Who’s the number-one goalie?
  3. What surprise does Nonis have in store for us before October 1?
  4. Whose team is this—Leiweke’s, Carlyle’s, Nonis’, Phaneuf’s, someone else’s?
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A graduate student at Columbia University, Aaron is defined by a love of nature, an intense interest in finance, and a passion for the Blue & White. Toronto born and raised, earliest Leaf memories include emulating Joe Bowen calls and carpet mini-stick during HNIC. Former D1 NCAA Tennis player. Aaron can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mapleleafmuse.
  • Burtonboy

    27 days till camp starts

  • Aaron Chan

    Good morning everyone

  • mcloki

    Good morning gents. This is and will become Lupuls team.

  • mcloki

    So sweet to hear that.

  • Burtonboy

    Thanks Aaron . I’ll bet money Grads will have a major impact on the Leafs this yr.

  • Aaron Chan

    I’m also of the opinion that Gardiner will have a strong bounce-back year but need on the data I collected, players who have 1-2 years of production growth coming out of their sophomore slump are more likely to become Impact and All Star players. If anyone is interested in the findings I would be happy to discuss and put up a dedicated post

  • Komas Taberle

    Are the Leafs a playoff team… Yes, they will go to conf final
    Who is #1 Goalie ….. Bernier
    What surprise does Nonis have in store……trade for a 3rd line LWr
    Who’s team is this…………. Nonis’ and Carlyle’s with a bit of Burkie.

  • Burtonboy

    Aaron Chan Just curious . You seemed to indicate in the case of defenseman it even more likely they become allstars or impact players. Correct?

  • mcloki

    I just read the Daly says the NHL is going to test for HGH in 2015. Do you think they’ll catch anyone? Who will be hockey’s A-Rod?

  • Aaron Chan

    That’s what the numbers suggest. What I’ve found is that D that finish in the top-10 of rookie scoring are usually pretty special players. I’ll check the data when I get to work but the number of seasons of production growth, following their sophomore year, is pretty telling.

  • Aaron Chan

    Alfredsson

  • mcloki

    Aaron Chan But it’s for his luxurious hair.lol

  • wendelsway1

    Good Morning Gents……Thanks for the write up Aaron…..Gardiner’s gonna be a beauty……let’s make him Captain…lol  :)  jk about the Captain part, but he will be a very good player for us in the not so distant future.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    mcloki It’ll be a Hab…trying to get taller.

  • Leafs rule

    .Gardiner’s gonna be a beauty..,this I agree with,what ever a beauty when it comes to hockey lol really means .He can and will be reliable when it comes to the breakout and setting up the offensive attack imho

  • Greg Fenton

    mcloki Depends if they want too or not.

  • Leafs rule

    Komas Taberle only one correction sir  Taberle the ,# 1 goalie is Reimer until proven otherwise on the ice ,Go Optimus Go prove us right :)

  • LightmyLeaf

    mcloki this can not happen soon enough

  • Dink

    wendelsway1 In all honesty he needs to be now

  • LightmyLeaf

    Greg Fenton mcloki I pick Boston…they lost enough depth, so try to increase width….? or is that bone-head width?

  • Dink

    mcloki  Subban

  • phaneufoundlander

    nearly all the scabs!

  • phaneufoundlander

    lol

  • phaneufoundlander

    I love Lups

  • LightmyLeaf

    Leafs rule great Article Arron – so the break out, Gards’ Bernier…amd too bad we couldn’t push Reilly ahead 2 years….that would be 3 breakout specialists we didn’t really have last year….Go Gardiner!

  • Dink

    mcloki  The Leaf Announcers

  • Dink

    phaneufoundlander I love pizza

  • LightmyLeaf

    Leafs rule I should add Riems – he’s working on his stick work….

  • Leafs rule

    LightmyLeaf Leafs rule Yes Reilly ,I cant wait to see this guy mature to the NHL level .Watching him fly down on opposing defenses will be entertaining ,setting up Loops or Kessel or Jvr etc

  • B_Leaf

    Surprised to see no one mention Gards injury. I had the privilege of watching him several times in the AHL before his major concussion. I can tell you this player was well on his way to a great sophomore season. Once his head finally cleared and his timing came back he was very good against the toughest of competition. So not sure how to break this into stats but basically as long as he is healthy I expect a good year from “Gardiner Express”, with a chance that he turns into a very good player.

  • Greg Fenton

    I looked up some of the info mentioned int he article, and frankly I think some of the results presented within are…..misrepresented. 
    The 6 D-men who have been in the top 10 in rookie scoring from 05-06 to 09-10 are Phaneuf, Carle, Enstrom, del Zotto, Gilbert and Myers. Of those 6 players only Enstrom and Phaneuf have even played in an All-Star game, and only Phaneuf has played in more then 1 and been named as an All-Star. Almost all played in the young guns game, but thats hardly the same thing. I also think its a stretch to say any of those players (Phaneuf might be the exception, but it wouldn’t unamious) are players that fans think of when you say “All-Star talent”. 
    This isn’t to say that I thinK Gardiner is a bad prospect or anything like that, but the results of “half of the top 10 scoring rookie team from that period are all-stars”……its a bit misleading or just wrong. Its not a bad group, and if that was a team starting 6 D they wouldnt be in horrible shape or anything, but hardly an all-star filled group. .

  • Leafs rule

    B_Leaf I didnt forget  Guars injury thanks to the stove posters who are the greatest lmao

  • Greg Fenton

    LightmyLeaf Greg Fenton mcloki I mean it depends if the NHL wants to find anyone or not. As far as I know the NHL does all testing in house, not a 3rd party tester, and destroy’s all saples after testing. Someone could test positive and no one would ever know about it. 
    In the last CBA the drug testing policies were considered a joke and had more to do with the NHL not finding many people using then no one int he NHL uses. If they still don’t want to find anyone and project that “clean imagine league”, they won’t find anyone using HGH.

  • phaneufoundlander

    me too, but its fattening and it goes right to my gut

  • Leafs rule

    Gilbey93 Leafs rule LightmyLeaf Well he might be a little shy in the hitting dept after seeing how many concussions occur in the NHL now

  • Leafs rule

    phaneufoundlander Try thin crust ,u will get used to it , Maybe ,leaves more room for the diet beer I call light ,blue like ,lakeport light lol

  • Greg Fenton

    @Dink phaneufoundlander I love lamp

  • B_Leaf

    Are the Leafs a sure-fire playoff team? They were at the end of last seasonWho’s the number-one goalie? ReimerWhat surprise does Nonis have in store for us before October 1? Hopefully a ninth forward LWWhose team is this—Leiweke’s, Carlyle’s, Nonis’, http://mapleleafshotstove.com/roster/dion-phaneuf/‘s, someone else’s? It was Carlyle’s last year…but it may become James Reimer’s this year…I feel the team will rally around him, because of Leiweke’s comment about “the guy we inherited”. It wont really become his team but in a way he could be a major cog…We also may see Phaneuf emerge more than previously. These are just baseless hunches…Go Leafs!

  • Aaron Chan

    Greg Fenton You’re right, there were technically only 2 all-stars. I just went back to my sheet and corrected the error. If I had more time, I would much prefer to create different player categories as opposed to Bust, Role, Impact and All-Star. I guess what I was trying to get at with this is to see how these high-scoring rookies eventually pan out. Also, when I speak of Gardiner’s peers, I’m including the forwards.

  • LightmyLeaf

    Leafs rule Gilbey93 LightmyLeaf Wonder if the level and depth of a team (Leafs on the upswing) makes it easier to break in a young specialist, obviously it would have to be guarded minutes….and protect him….

  • dlb eh

    1.  Maple Leafs are a playoff team so long as they don’t set a record for injuries
    2.  Bernier is the #1 goalie.  He will start the first two games.  James will be ready, and will get a chance.
    3.  Nonis will sign Franson and Kadri for a surprisingly low CAP number.  No one traded before October.
    4.  Not Leiweke’s team.  It’s Nonis’ team, trusting Carlyle’s input and all his other top dogs.  Phaneuf is only one part of the leadership within the room, and there’s no issue there.

  • Greg Fenton

    1) I wouldn’t say sure fire, but more then likely. 
    2) As of now, Reimer, but clearly there is a hope/though Bernier will take the job or Reimer won’t keep it, otherwise why bring in a young, high potential goalie?
    3) Probably nothing big or major.
    4) I think it will remain Carlyles. His personality is big and dominate enough.

  • Greg Fenton

    Murph2417 Greg Fenton phaneufoundlander I love lamp, I love lamp

  • dlb eh

    B_Leaf 
    i’d love to see a trade for a 9th forward LW as you put it.  a banger who can pop the odd timely goal and play a checking role…with size and speed.
    but i think we’re going to have to find that from within.  if i had to make a prediction, Colbourne and someone else will emerge.

  • phaneufoundlander

    i like my ladies under a lamp

  • B_Leaf

    Greg Fenton 
    Probably you are right on number 4…RC is strong…but there is a funny dynamic there right now with the goaltending, as some say goaltending is 50% of the game.

  • Greg Fenton

    Aaron Chan Greg Fenton Cool. I wasn’t going back and looking for mistakes, I was more curious who the D-men were cause I didn’t remember that many great D-men coming in during that time. I think the indicator is they will have at least a good top 4 D-man in Gardiner, maybe/hopefully a top pairing guy or better. I just though pegging him as an All-Star (which he might very well be) based on that stuff was a little….to much.

  • Greg Fenton

    B_Leaf Greg Fenton Show me a good coach, I’ll show you a good goaltender. 
    Doesn’t mean Reimer or Bernier will “take over the team” though. For someone to do that they really need to have the right make up and personality, and I think the Leafs are missing someone like that and Carlyle does have that make up.

  • dlb eh

    Greg Fenton 
    you’re a pain in the ass, Fenton.
    but you contribute something to this place.  things get boring when everyone always agree.
    you are irritating at times, just remember that.  you don’t seem to have an open mind on most topics…just once i’d like to see you flip flop on something, just to show you’re capable of…let’s call it “learning”. (i can’t be nice)

  • B_Leaf

    dlb eh B_Leaf 
    Thats exactly the type of guy I was thinking of, but it will be tough for them to swing it unless they find a market for Liles.