Jun 232014
 

More often than not the first thing I look at when I want to evaluate a player is their WOWY stats to see if the player boosts the performance of their teammates or suppress it when he is on the ice. Let’s take a look at a WOWY comparision of Umberger and Hartnell starting with some links to their WOWY pages.

When on any of those pages you can click “Visualize this table” to get some charts that I find are often a quick way of getting an overview of the player in question. For example, here is a CF% WOWY chart for Hartnell from last year.

Hartnell-CF-WOWY-2013-14

In these charts it is better to have bubbles below and to the right of the one-to-one diagonal line from that runs from the lower left to the upper right. For Hartnell in 2013-14 every single teammate was the the lower right of this diagonal line which is really good. Not a lot of players have charts this nice. If you go back and look at previous years you will see that Hartnell has accomplished this relatively consistently. This is a good thing. Now let’s take a look at Umberger’s.

Umberger-CF-WOWY-2013-14

That is a much less impressive chart as the majority of Umberger’s team mates have performed better when not playing with him. This is not good and yet is is fairly typical for Umberger to have WOWY charts that look like this.

This is a table of how Umberger’s line mates performed with and without Umberger last season. Listed are all forwards who played at least 100 minutes of 5v5 ice time with Umberger.

Line mate With Umberger Without Umberger
Ryan Johansen 50.2% 50.8%
Nick Foligno 50.4% 52.0%
Artem Anisimov 40.1% 53.3%
Blake Comeau 46.1% 54.6%
Mark Letestu 42.8% 52.1%

And now for Hartnell’s line mates who played at least 100 minutes with Hartnell last year.

Line mate With Hartnell Without Hartnell
Claude Giroux 55.7% 49.5%
Jakub Voracek 57.1% 52.5%
Brayden Schenn 51.9% 46.3%
Wayne Simmonds 53.9% 46.3%

Again, you can go back to previous seasons and the general trend for the two players is pretty much the same. Players perform worse when playing with Umberger than when not and players perform better when playing with Hartnell than when not.

From a WOWY perspective, Umberger is a below average player and Hartnell is an above average player. In fact there aren’t many players that have WOWY charts that look better than Hartnell’s except for the true star players (such as Toews, or Bergeron, or Kopitar, etc.).  Hartnell in my opinion is easily a top 6 player. Umberger I am not sure I’d really want on my team in any significant role. With this trade the Blue Jackets get better in two ways. First by adding a good player in Hartnell and second by subtracting a poor player in Umberger (classic case of addition by subtraction).

 

Mar 062013
 

One of the surprise player performances so far this season is that of Jakub Voracek. Voracek currently sits tied for 7th in points with 10 goals and 27 points in 24 games.  That puts him on pace to score 54 points in this lock-out shortened 48 game season which is 4 points more than he has scored in any 82 game season (career best was  50 points in 2009-10 in 81 games).

Last season when Rick Nash was on the trade block I wrote an article about Nash and in it I had a few comments about Jakub Voracek as part of a WOWY analysis. Here is what I wrote:

Nash played best when he was paired up with Voracek and Brassard and only Voracek, Brassard and Huselius made Nash a better offensive player when playing with him.  Vermette, Umberger and Malhotra were drags on his offensive numbers.  When playing apart, Voracek’s numbers are better than Nash’s.  Same for Brassard’s (who is doing it again this year, 0.782 GF20 vs Nash’s 0.613 when apart).  As an aside, the numbers suggest that Voracek is a very good offensive player  and it was probably a big mistake to trade him.  It also suggest that the Flyers aren’t getting full value from him by playing him primarily with Maxime Talbot.  If someone acquired Voracek and put him in the right situations, he could be the next Joffrey Lupul.

Voracek wasn’t traded but the departure of James van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr opened up some spots on the top two lines and Voracek got a promotion from playing mostly with Talbot to playing with Claude Giroux and getting lots of powerplay time.  The results of that move are, as I predicted, very Joffrey Lupul like. Lupul put up solid but unspectacular numbers while mostly been given second line minutes and secondary power play minutes for the majority of his career. Lupul’s numbers looked unspectacular but were actually quite good considering his usage as a secondary offensive player and the quality of line mates he played with. When Lupul came to Toronto and was put on a line with another elite offensive player, given first line minutes, and first power play unit minutes, he started putting up high end offensive numbers. It wasn’t so much that Lupul had a break out season or that he had a career year, its more than he was finally given an opportunity to play with top end talent and given first line minutes.  The exact same thing happened with Voracek.  He put up solid numbers while given secondary minutes in secondary offensive roles and just needed to be given a chance to prove his worth as a first line player with quality line mates. Now he has been given that chance and the results are clear. He is a high end offensive talent.