Mar 062007
 

On the weekend Steve Simmons produced another unfair Leaf Bashing article largely criticising John Ferguson Jr. for his moves as the Leafs GM and for has lack of commitment to a youth movement.

He traded away a first-round draft pick, two second-round picks, a fourth and a fifth for Brian Leetch, 36, Yanic Perreault, 36 next month, Luke Richardson, 37, and Ron Francis, 41.

Once again I called him to task on this and we exchanged several e-mails. I pointed out that he was cherry picking moves that Ferguson made 3 years ago while Pat Quinn was still significantly influencing roster moves and that he unfairly ignored the moves like bringing in Jeff O’Neill, Chad Kilger, John Pohl, Bates Battaglia, and Boyd Devereaux for next to nothing were great moves and helped give the Leafs depth that no other team has. I also pointed out that the Leafs have are the 12th youngest team in the NHL and started the season with only Mats Sundin over age 31 (Travis Green and Yannick Perreault have since been added).

I then went on to argue that the Leafs are a good team (maybe very good) with bad goaltending which brought me to some interesting findings.

The Leafs are 8th in the NHL in fewest shots against and give up about as many shots per game (28.590) as the New Jersey Devils (28.576). Would a shoddy defense do that?

The Leafs are also in the top 10 in goals scored. The only other teams in both the top 10 in goals scored and top 10 in fewest shots against are Only 3 teams are in the top 10 in both categories – Detroit, Anaheim and Tampa. Two of those are considered by most to be strong Stanley Cup contenders and the third won the Stanley Cup 3 years ago and only questionable goaltending stops them from being prime cup contenders again. And weak goaltending is the Leafs problem too as the Leafs have the 4th worst team save % in the NHL.

But the most interesting finding I came up with was Andrew Raycroft’s home vs road statistics. On the road Raycroft has a good (though not great) .907 save% which he converted into a 2.72 goals against average and a 18-7-2 record. At home Raycroft has a horrific .882 save% with a 3.22 goals against average and a 11-13-5 record.

I will add that Raycroft has 752 shots in 1543 minutes (0.487 shots per minute) on the road and 752 shots in 1658 minutes (0.454 shots per minute) at home. What is interesting about that is that the Leafs have given up 7.2% more shots per minute on the road than at home which is very consistent with other home/road statistics. Historically teams score ~10% fewer goals on the road.

With that knowledge I think it is safe to say that the Leafs are just as good at home as on the road (if not better) except for Raycroft. It seems more likely that local boy Andrew Raycroft is buckling under the pressure of playing in front of an unforgiving home town crowd.

Now let us all think about that for a second. If Raycroft had the same home record as road record (lets say 19-8-2 since he has played 2 more games at home) the Leafs would have 13 additional points which would put them at 84 points trailing only Buffalo (93) and New Jersey (87) in the east. Not too shabby. Oh, and that is with a ton of injuries as well.

So, I think the question is, is it time to play Aubin at home and Raycroft on the road? It would be an interesting way to split duties among your goalies but it might something worth trying for coach Paul Maurice.

For the record, Aubin has a .900 save% at home and a .874 save% on the road.

  21 Responses to “Is it time to sit Raycroft at home?”

  1.  

    “…helped give the Leafs depth that no other team has.”

    Either your Leafs bias got to you there or you haven’t looked at all 30 teams in the league. Because they definitely do not have anything near the best depth in the league.

    As for the Leafs’ shots allowed stat, I also noticed this and commented on it elsewhere over a month ago. I found my old post (turns out it was on Jan 13th) and here’s a summary:

    Toronto was 2nd in the East with 28.9 SA/G.
    New Jersey was 1st in the East with 28.8 SA/G.
    That’s close enough to be tied. Is Toronto really playing defense as well as New Jersey? That’s the conclusion you’ve jumped to. But that’s only one possibility. Here’s another one: Toronto’s opponents score on them first and early and get a lead, allowing them to sit back and not play as aggressively. This makes their shots allowed stat look better than it deserves to be. Fact: stats don’t tell everything. It could be either one; more likely, it’s both.

    Also back then Toronto was 25th in the league in goals allowed per game with 3.24. New Jersey was 1st with 2.30 GA/G. Suddenly, allowing few SHOTS doesn’t feel so nice when you’re allowing so many GOALS.

  2.  

    “Either your Leafs bias got to you there or you haven’t looked at all 30 teams in the league. Because they definitely do not have anything near the best depth in the league.”

    I have. Toronto has more 10 goal scorers than any of them. Sundin, O’Neill, Tucker, Perreault, Ponikarovsky, Steen, Antropov, Pohl, Battaglia, McCabe and Kilger all have 10+ goals. That’s 11 players with 10+. Three more (Kaberle, Stajan and Wellwood) have 9. I challenge you to find another team with 14 9+ goal scorers. (Hint: you can’t. Even Buffalo only has 9).

    “Toronto’s opponents score on them first and early and get a lead, allowing them to sit back and not play as aggressively.”

    I don’t buy that argument. Toronto has lost 8 games by 4 or more goals. In those 8 games they have given up an average of 30.625 goals per game. Thanks for playing though. Got any other ideas?

    “Also back then Toronto was 25th in the league in goals allowed per game with 3.24. New Jersey was 1st with 2.30 GA/G. Suddenly, allowing few SHOTS doesn’t feel so nice when you’re allowing so many GOALS. ”

    Well, duh. I think that is my exact point. The Leafs don’t have good goaltending, the Devils do. Put Brodeur on the Leafs, the Leafs are a legit Stanley Cup contender probably second to only the Sabres in the east.

  3.  

    Goaltender of the Future…

    Hi David, I’m happy to hear your analysis because it certainly proves my thoughts for most of this season.. Although at this time i haven’t embarked on a rigourous statistical analysis. What i have done is used my ‘hockey sense’ to feel out what has been happening with the leafs and their goaltenders. For the 1st quarter of the season I was convinced Ferguson had made a huge mistake picking up Gill and Kubina (especially Gill)… But as I continued to watch the leafs I realized that the problem wasn’t the Defense it was the goaltending. Raycroft couldn’t handle the 1 on 1 breakaway and he couldn’t handle rebounds. .. Every team no matter how defensive will give up a few breakaways every game and when your goaltender can’t handle a shot and the opposing team has some skilled players or power forwards you could be in big trouble depending on where the puck lands. You can’t always blame the Defense. But what has begun to make me a believer was after I read an article about how the leafs goaltending coach after every game goes over Raycrofts mistakes with him.. I began to watch him more carefully and the 2nd half of the year has brought some significant improvements in his rebounding. This alone has helped turn the leafs into a playoff contender. Also as you probably already know, goaltenders take years to develop.. We know this one has the potential and from what I’ve seen he has the ability and drive to develop his potential… I’m looking forward to seeing if Raycroft can elevate his play in the playoffs…

  4.  

    Ok, I’ve been making the exact points you raised pretty much all season. If you look at Raycroft’s numbers in Boston last season, while his win totals were worse on the road, his goaltending numbers were actually worse at home. He had an .868 save percentage and 3.80 GAA at home, in comparison to an .885 save percentage and 3.65 GAA on the road. Even in his rookie year he had better numbers on the road than he did at home.

    In his Calder trophy winning year he was 14-7-4 on the road, and 15-11-5 at home. His save percentage was .923 at home, and .930 on the road, and his GAA was 2.14 at home and 1.95 on the road.

    The kid is OBVIOUSLY more comfortable on road trips than he is at home. I know goalies are quirky creatures but this is pretty alarming overall. Maybe if he were playing for a team that attracts zero attention in it’s home rink he’d be better off? Who knows, but either way this isn’t good if the Leafs want to make the post season.

  5.  

    Oh and in addition to David’s point about the Leafs’ depth up front with the number of 10 goal scorers, how many NHL teams have the depth the leafs do on D? Considering we traded away Brendan Bell and switched 2nd rounders with Phoenix to get Perrault, and we still have Kaberle, McCabe, Kubina, Gill, White, Colaiacovo, Wozniewski, Kronwall, and now Pilar all in the fold, I’m a tad amused that anyone would argue the Leafs don’t have depth on the back end either. 9 NHL quality D men is a luxury for any team in the league. While it could be argued that they aren’t all top 4 quality, they’re all NHL defencemen at the least.

  6.  

    Oh, and one last thing about the Simmons article. He comments on the trade for Suglobov at last year’s deadline, and giving up Ken Klee, while in the midst of bashing the Leafs for getting older. Does anyone else find it irritating when the media argue both sides of the same argument?

    Suglobov was the leading scorer on the Albany River Rats (Jersey’s farm team) and an AHL All-Star last year before the trade brought him to the Marlies. This season he’s only played 17 games, and has had difficulty finding his game putting up 1 goal and 4 assists to go with a -13. But when you’re a top scorer, and you don’t play with regular linemates or get the PP time you likely should (which I would think is probable given his lack of games with the team), it’s going to be hard to put up points. Anyway, I think Steve Simmons is a bit of an idiot and we can all agree he’s just giving Toronto fans info they want to hear. Hating on JFJ is almost as Canadian as Maple Syrup these days.

  7.  

    Don’t forget Jay Harrison. He is another decent defense prospect.

    Everyone bashes the Leafs defense but at worst Kaberle, McCabe and Kubina are established #2 defensemen and from what I have seen of White and Colaicovo they look to be developing into at least quality #3/4 defensemen if not #2’s.

    A lot of people look at Anaheim as having a top defense in the NHL and sure they have Pronger and Niedermayer but have you seen what they have after that? Sean O’Donnell, Joe DiPenta, Kent Huskins (27 year old rookie and former 6th round draft pick with 18 games experience as of today) and Ric Jackman (remember him?). San Jose’s top defenseman is either Scott Hannan (17 points, -10) or rookie Matt Carle (32 points) who was demoted once already this season. And these teams are considered Stanley Cup contenders if not favourites by many. The Leafs defense is not near as bad as the hockey media likes to portray.

    And yes, Steve Simmons is an idiot who cherry picks and tries to play both sides of the equation while doing so.

  8.  

    Suglobov was never going to be a successful NHL player – at least I never thought so – but still, on the 5% chance that he did become a 30+ goal scorer in the NHL, it was worth taking that chance to give up the slug known as Ken Klee. Klee wasn’t worth more than a 3rd rounder anyway. Suglobov will likely return to Russia next season and never play hockey in North America again.

    As for the Leafs having more depth – there are teams below the border you know. The Sabres have way more depth that’s important – 10 goal scorers don’t mean a thing when the playoffs roll around. Terrific, the Leafs can ice a fourth line which has some guys with some hands on it. Some simple calculations can show that this is worth less than half a win over the course of a playoff series – and probably far less than half, given that 4th lines don’t play that much in the postseason.

  9.  

    I would classify the Sabres as one of the best teams in the NHL with both depth and talent so if you are comparing the Leafs to them that is a good sign.

    It was depth that has allowed the Leafs to withstand the long term losses of Peca, Wellwood and Tucker and remain in the playoff hunt. And how many Stanley Cup champions don’t have depth? Carolina didn’t have a lot of top end talent (particularly on defense) but they were deep and experienced. The Oilers didn’t have a single point per game player on their roster last season and only had 4 players with more than 20 goals. They didn’t have a lot of top end talent but had depth too.

    Too many people believe that top end talent wins Stanley Cups. It doesn’t. Just ask Ottawa Senators fans. Depth, hard work, playing a smart team game, and most importantly high quality goaltending is what wins. Toronto is only missing the goaltending.

  10.  

    David, you seem to be forgetting the leafs work ethic, it’s pretty erratic… Assuming the leafs went out and for 3 periods played there hearts out and could get the goaltending I would agree that they would have a shot at reaching the cup finals. But they don’t do that… They wern’t able to consistently push hard under Quinn, and it doesn’t seem like Maurice is able to get them burning hard for 3 periods either… Maybe a Gary Roberts could have made a difference with this team… But too late for that, I don’t believe they have a shot this year, i’ll be happy if they make the playoffs.

  11.  

    I am not sure what your point is about the Leafs work ethic. Are you trying to imply the Leafs work hard on the road but not at home? That doesn’t seem realistic. Or are you just saying that in general the Leafs erratic work ethic is a sign they aren’t good enough to win in the playoffs? Well, I don’t believe that either because I know that when the Leafs get good goaltending (on the road) they have a very good record. Only Buffalo has a better road record in the east.

  12.  

    David, My point is that the leafs work ethic is erratic and its likely because of that they arn’t good enough to win. I’m not exactly following your comments, what you seem to be saying is correlation, that the leafs do well on the road, implies causation, that Raycroft is better on the road and that if he didn’t play at all at home the leafs would do better. Don’t you think benching him at home would effect his play on the road? You seem to be forgetting that Raycroft is a very young player that would likely be effected by splitting the duties. He would see it as a lack of confidence though I can’t speak of the effects… But as you have pointed out its unlikely that if the leafs actually bench him at home it will positively effect him on the road because his record is right around the top of leauge on the road. How can it get better?

    The leafs right now have seen their longest winning streak end at 5 games. They’ve had one 4 game winning streak and I believe 3-4 3 game winning streaks…. This is extremly inconsistent play. Whether on the road or at home… They have been, for the most part, a mediocre team… I don’t care where they are playing… My point to this was that from watching alot of games I have noticed that when the leafs work hard they do well, when they don’t they lose. Of course goaltending is a huge factor, but as you saw when toronto went down against philly in the 2nd round a few years back goaltending isn’t everything. The players have to want to win, and work hard to win. Because I believe the leafs arn’t at that point yet, I don’t believe they can do well in the playoffs. Though I would be happy if I was proven wrong.

  13.  

    “Don’t you think benching him at home would effect his play on the road?”

    It’s hard to say. It depends somewhat on why he isn’t doing well at home. If it is just because he can’t handle the pressure then maybe it won’t. But then maybe it will affect his confidence. So far Aubin has had more of his starts on the road than at home. Maybe what Maurice needs to do is give Aubin a few more of the home starts. Don’t bench Raycroft completely at home, but if Aubin is going to start 3-4 games between now and the end of the season, why not have them all on home ice?

    “You seem to be forgetting that Raycroft is a very young player that would likely be effected by splitting the duties.”

    Raycroft is 26, turning 27 in 2 months. That isn’t old, but it isn’t young either. He should be entering his prime right about now. He is the same age as Ryan Miller, a year older than Rick DiPietro and a couple years older than Ray Emery. Being young is not an excuse.

    “The leafs right now have seen their longest winning streak end at 5 games. They’ve had one 4 game winning streak and I believe 3-4 3 game winning streaks…. This is extremly inconsistent play.”

    I am not sure that qualifies as inconsistent play. Wouldn’t having 6-7 game winning streaks followed by 6-7 game losing streaks qualify as inconsistent? For the record, Ottawa’s longest winning streak is 5 games. New Jersey’s longest is 5 games. San Jose 5.

    You could look at it the other way. Aside from a 7 game losing streak in December, the Leafs longest losing streak is 3 games. That’s not too shabby.

    “They have been, for the most part, a mediocre team”

    Only because of weak goaltending.

    “My point to this was that from watching alot of games I have noticed that when the leafs work hard they do well, when they don’t they lose.”

    You can say that for 29 other teams too.

    I guess ultimately what I am getting at is that the Leafs are a very good team on the road. The question is, why is that. I postulate that it is because Andrew Raycroft struggles playing under the pressure of playing on home ice. Another theory might be that the team as a whole works harder and plays smarter hockey on the road than at home. Either are possible but I suspect the former is much more likely than the latter and there are many reasons why.

    1. The Leafs give up fewer shots on home ice which based on history is what one should expect.
    2. Raycroft’s home ice statistics are substantially worse.
    3. The Leafs were 26-12-3 at home last season and 15-21-5 on the road. A lot of players have changed as has the coach, but that is a huge change to blame on group of 18 skaters.

    It could certainly be a bit of both, but the Raycroft issue seems to be a significant portion of it.

  14.  

    I guess ultimately what I am getting at is that the Leafs are a very good team on the road. The question is, why is that. I postulate that it is because Andrew Raycroft struggles playing under the pressure of playing on home ice.

    Dave, I think what you’re saying is possible… But we have to be careful about conclusions we draw from statistics… I believe you view the leafs as a leaf fan… They have to win at all costs…. It’s not a bad attitude to have because it can keep us in perspective and not allow us emotional attachments… But this is not a winning team… This is a rebuilding team… Raycroft is part of the puzzle, a huge part… I believe in him as a player who has a great deal of potential and I have watched him improve during the season… If i was Maurice I would play Raycroft every game at home… If he can’t handle the pressure in Toronto he should be traded… I don’t think we should give up on him anytime soon… but with young, inexperienced players (and he is young compared to goaltending standards, the guys you mentioned ie. emery and miller, just won starting jobs)you have to give them a chance to play and eventually you’ll figure out if they can make it or not… Realistically do you think if we were back under Quinn a few years ago we would see guys like steen, wellwood, and white doing so well? Look at what he did to Antropov… I was watching the guy since he played in the world juniors… His first year quinn had him playing on the 3rd line and he showed wonderful potential to stick handle and score and he was using his size to create room for other players… Instead of giving him a chance quinn tells him to go out there and hit everyone he sees and become some kind of penalty killing machine, he never gave antropov a chance to really use his skills… We’re finally seeing some of the antropov I saw many years ago because he’s getting a chance to play… I think maurice knows this and that’s why raycroft has been starting so many games…

    anyway enough of this, good chatting with you about this,

    i just found this site a couple days ago, i’m glad to find another leaf fan with a good head on his shoulders and some passion about our leafs…

    Tratham

  15.  

    Yes, I am a Leaf fan, but that doesn’t make me biased. The facts still stand that the Leafs score a fair number of goals and give up a relatively low number of shots. The facts are the Leafs have more 10+ goal scorers than any other team. The facts are that the Leafs defense 3-6 are substantially better than most teams, including many Stanley Cup contenders. The facts are that the Leafs have the 4th worst save% in the NHL.

    Now, some people may see me as biased, but I really don’t know any other way of interpreting those results.

    “Realistically do you think if we were back under Quinn a few years ago we would see guys like steen, wellwood, and white doing so well?”

    Probably. One could easily argue that Steen had a better season under Quinn last year than under Maurice this year. Antropov’s best season was 2002-03 under Pat Quinn. Antropov isn’t really having a better year this year than last year. He is scoring a few more goals but not getting as many points. Kaberle developed into an excellent defenseman under Quinn. Matt Stajan had a pretty good year as a 19 year old rookie under Quinn. People say that Quinn wasn’t able to develop young players, but he was able to and did. Quinn also turned around Bryan McCabes career from floundering in Chicago to 4th in Norris Trophy voting in 2003-04.

  16.  

    Every team in the top 20 is missing something. you say the leafs are only missing goaltending. well. goaltending is HUGE. probably the most important part of any cup run. when was the last time a team won without stellar goaltending? maybe the wings when they had vernon? god knows its been a while. and before that i havent a clue. turco, belfour, roy, brodeur, ward, ricther.

    but look at other teams. if ottawa could get consistent goaltending (that has been their acchiles heel the las few post seasons), if pittsburg could get some good defensive play, if vancouver could get some scoring, etc. every team is missing that 1 ingredient.

    and u have to realize, when your dealing with all these stats, and u use a lot of stats. change in one will affect another. albeit minor. so sure u can say IF the leafs got better goaltending, they would be contenders, but better goaltending might imply playing better defense and giving up fewer high quality scoring chances, which would affect the goals for column. same with the pens and their defense. or if vancouver would play more offensive, then maybe luongo would have more trouble dealing with the extra scoring chances.

    fact is, there are few contenders for a reason. few teams have everything, if any. if a team had everything they would be a contender. the leafs are missing goaltending. so theyre not a contender. say they had better goaltending, it would also imply they would have to pay their goalie more (eventually, at the very least) which would mean either less money on forwards or on defense, and then those aspects of the team would drop. anything u do will affect something.

    and the problem with quinn isnt exactly with quinn. coaches can do 1 of 2 things. win games or develop players. not both. sure u can always deal with 1, MAYBE 2 players. but quinn had 3 young forwards. no way he can properly develop them WHILE winning games. unless their names are crosby ovechkin and malkin. theres a line. quinn obviously was trying to win. A) he wanted to make the playoffs, B) he was trying to protect his arse. especially in T.O. where playoff revenue is the only thing that matters. coach was suppose to make it. coach didnt make it. fire the coach. pretty simple. 1st things first quinn will look out for himself. look at waddell in atlanta. if they dont make it hes fired. what does he care if he sells the farm? either that or his job.

  17.  

    “the leafs are missing goaltending. so theyre not a contender. say they had better goaltending, it would also imply they would have to pay their goalie more (eventually, at the very least) which would mean either less money on forwards or on defense, and then those aspects of the team would drop. anything u do will affect something.”

    This is not necessarily true. Assuming they make the playoffs, their success will depend on how well Raycroft plays. He’s shown that he’s capable of playing very well for stretches. Consider Carolina last season: they had a very deep team but their playoff success was due in large part to Cam Ward really coming out of nowhere and playing so well that he was the playoff MVP.

    David raises the point that they DO get good goaltending, and they ARE successful – they just only get it regularly on the road, not at home. They have the third best road record in the NHL. And unlike Raycroft’s stats, the Leafs’ team stats are not substantially different at home and on the road.

  18.  

    Can we all at least agree that Raycroft’s numbers are better on the Road than they are at Home?

    Considering the fact he faces fewer shots and lets in more goals at home, and has had more bad games on home ice, lets just examine a few things.

    He’s been lit up for 4 goals or more 10 times on home ice. That’s happened 6 times on the road. He’s only got 2 shut outs all year. 1 on the road in Ottawa, 1 at home against Washington. He had a 6 game winning streak in early November, 3 of those games were on the road, 3 were at home. But on his 5 game streak in late Jan, early Feb, 4 of the 5 games were road games.

    Now one thing to consider that might affect his play is goal support on home ice. They’ve only scored 3 or more goals 13 times on home ice, in 29 home games for Raycroft. In 8 of their Home games they scored 1 or fewer goals. That means most of the time he has to be good to great for them to win on home ice, and frankly he hasn’t been. Compare that to the 18 times out of 27 games they’ve scored 3 or more goals on the Road, and you begin to notice a bit of a “team” trend. Everyone on the squad is more confident when it comes to road play as a team. Yes they give up fewer shots, but they’re also scoring more goals as a team. The Leafs are 19th in the league in Home scoring. They’re 3rd in the league in Road scoring. They’re 3rd in the league in Road shots on goal, and 5th in the league in Home shots on goal. 22nd in Road save percentage, 29th in Home save percentage.

    Now I admit Raycroft’s numbers are worse on the Road. But looking at those stats, the larger variation would be between the difference in Home and Road scoring. Not goaltending. Perhaps if the team put more pucks in the net at Home, their goaltending wouldn’t matter so much. Or alternatively, perhaps if they weren’t so productive on the Road, we wouldn’t be considering Raycroft their sole weak link.

    Clutching the sticks tightly might be putting it mildly but I’m pretty sure when your goal production drops off that much, and your goaltending gets noticeably worse, everyone on the team is contributing to the problem. Not just Raycroft. I don’t have the time right now but perhaps we should examine the Leafs on a player specific basis and see whose splits are suffering at home BEYOND just Raycroft.

  19.  

    Ok I lied… I’m quickly looking into it. Here are they players whose offense drops dramatically when they come home from the road on the Leafs.

    Hal Gill: 11 Away pts, 4 Home pts.
    Tomas Kaberle: 28 Away pts, 21 Home pts.
    Chad Kilger: 8 Away goals, 2 Home goals.
    Bryan McCabe: 26 Away pts, 21 Home pts.
    Jeff O’neill: 12 Away goals, 8 Home goals.
    Matt Stajan: 20 Away pts, 12 Home pts.
    Alex Steen: 20 Away pts, 11 Home pts.

    Ok so obviously Kilger, Stajan, Steen, and Gill are the worst offenders. Most notably Stajan and Steen. One wonders if they aren’t handling the pressures on Home Ice attention as the new face of the franchise very well.

    Perhaps since our secondary production drops off we need to work more on letting them function without all the attention we put on them?

  20.  

    Last years stats:

    Kilger: 15pts at home, 13pts on road
    Kaberle: 38pts at home, 29 on road
    McCabe: 41pts at home, 27 on road
    Steen: 25pts at home, 20 on road
    O’Neill: 19pts at home, 19pts on road
    Stajan: 16pts at home, 11pts on road

    Clearly those guys are more than capable of producing in front of the home crowd. So, what is different this year? Hard to say. Does Maurice have them playing too defensive on home ice? That would explain them giving up fewer shots at home, but not the fact that they give up more goals unless Raycroft is to blame. And if it is Raycroft not being able to play under pressure of home ice, does the rest of the team play more tenatively because of that? Who knows, but it is all kind of odd.

  21.  

    Yeah I must admit, Steen had that 5 point game against Boston IN Beantown which would likely explain at least part of such a big point differential.

    Other things I’ve noticed: O’neill had a horrible February. 40 SOG in 12 games, but only 3 goals? The most he had in any other month was 35 in November and he only had 3 that month too, but at least he was getting Assists that month. Stajan’s December was absolutely brutal, with 1 point in 13 games, and only 11 shots during that span. But in the other months he’s getting 5 to 10 points a month with around 20 something shots. Steen was brutal in October and November to start things off, but he’s been around a point per game since then. His shooting percentage took a hit again last month though and he’s having a hard time finding the net pretty frequently. Pohl is consistent with his shot, and his scoring, I’d like to see him get more ice time. It’s really frustrating that Wellwood went down when he did, I think he was finally figuring out the NHL pace and going on one of his patented point explosions. He had 11 points in 13 games in October, 10 points in 14 games in November and then 10 points in 8 games in December before he went down. In 4 of his last 5 games he had scored 8 points, with that 5 point game against the Rangers coming 2 nights before he dropped off the planet with his hernia. Overall this is just a frustrating season in a lot of ways, but I’d attribute the up and down play of the youngsters to youth I suppose. Here’s hoping they keep improving and avoid the injury bug.

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