Thursday Morning Mashup: Un-fancy Stat

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?
Previous articleRevisiting the Nonis blueprint
Next articleAn interview with Leafs amateur scout Garth Malarchuk
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
  • 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.