It’s time for part two of the 2014-15 season review. I’ll be taking a look at our bottom 7 forwards in 5v5 Time on Ice (TOI) this time.
If you missed part one, you can check it out here.
Just to review, here’s where Dallas as a whole landed. All of these are 10 game rolling averages of Corsi For %, Fenwick For %, and Scoring Chances For %, and are 5v5 and Score Adjusted. Per usual, all data comes from war-on-ice.com.
So let’s dive right in with the next skater, Ryan Garbutt.
As it was in part 1, this chart is in all situations, not just 5v5.
Oh, Butt-butt. It was not your year. Down in just about every metric, Garbutt found himself on the bench several times throughout the season – and not just because he was suspended for 2 games for a knee-on-knee against Taylor Hall. His one saving grace? Garbutt was extremely dangerous on the PK, using his speed to rack up a team-high individual 15 Scoring Chances. He also had the second lowest SCA/60 on the PK, right behind Demers.
Like most of the team, Garbutt was completely out of synch at the beginning of the year, but unlike his pals Eakin & Roussel, his game stayed fairly flat through the midseason, and then completely cratered during the Dark Days, aka during Seguin’s injury. While most of the team saw the dip here, Garbutt’s is completely all over the place, and it lead to another benching. The end of the season was much better for him, though we all were hoping he’d stay out in favor of BRBR, McKenzie or Nichushkin.
Because of his setbacks, Garbutt’s future with the Stars is uncertain. He’s a low cost third liner, he’s fast, and he can play defensively, but he also can be a liability who takes stupid penalties at crucial moments, and the Stars have more than enough youngsters to fill his spot.
Sceviour also had kind of a disappointing year, for his first full year in Dallas. He played only 71 games, missing 11 games here or there due to healthy scratches, but never for long stretches of time, like Garbutt. He only played 25 regular season games last year, so his scoring was way down, as evidenced by his Points/60. He never really seemed to find a good fit on a line, bouncing around from playing all the way up with Jamie & Tyler, and then down to the 4th with Fiddler and Horcoff.
Despite playing against harder competition this year, Scevs remained an extremely good possession player, and even increased his numbers while being given more difficult zone starts. He was actually one of the better players during Tyler’s absence, as his last 2+ game benching ended when we had 3 forwards hurt the same night.
Without the goals to his name, it’s difficult to see what kind of role Sceviour fits on the Stars. He’s 25, and isn’t the worst producer, but it’s hard to make a case for him to keep a roster spot with players like Ritchie and McKenzie in the wings.
Until I pulled these numbers, I didn’t realize just how good of a season Horcoff had. Good ol’ reliable Horcoff. While he played slightly more on the PP and slightly less on the PK, the majority of those points were on the 5v5.
This is the most perfectly upward trend chart of any of the forwards. Starting well below 50% CF%, Horcoff ended his season around 60%. Another guy who was frequently moved from line to line with the Ruffle Shuffle, Horcoff found a spot on the fourth line between Ritchie & McKenzie during Seguin’s injury, and clearly it paid off.
Horcoff is UFA this summer, and given his history and relationship with the team, I can’t see them trying not to work out a deal. Yes, Horcs is 35, but he clearly has some gas in the tank, and his leadership has been a huge asset on a very young team.
Eaves brought more than just his beautiful baby blues to the Stars, providing much needed depth scoring, and slotting right in with Jamie and Tyler as the top line RW – when he was healthy, anyway. While he was scratched fairly frequently at the beginning of the season, Eaves was just hitting his stride when he broke his foot during a December game. Once he came back, he was a scoring force, though again, he went out for an extended period with a concussion after taking a puck to the head.
Pretty Pretty Patrick was deadly on the power play, scoring 6 of his 14 goals with the man advantage (for 6.16 points/60, higher than anyone but Seguin).
With a $650k salary, the return on investment in Eaves was off the charts. Unfortunately, with only 47 games played this year (and only 30 the year before) it’s difficult to see if this kind of play is sustainable, or was caused by playing with two of the best scorers in the league. He’s a UFA this summer, and while I’d love to see him back, with Val healthy and so many Texas Stars waiting in the wing, I don’t know where he’d fit in the lineup.
As this season was McKenzie’s rookie year, there’s nothing to compare him to. With 36 games played this season, you’d hope he would put up numbers more similar to Sceviour last season (12 points, 1.95 points/60), especially since he was the AHL Rookie of the Year in ’13-14. Still, there was a lot to like about McKenzie’s game, even if you weren’t a particular fan of his “spirit” (Hint: I was not.)
The good news with McKenzie is that he really found his feet at the end of the season, in particular when he was on a line with Ritchie & Horcoff. He’s young, skilled, and seems to really be fitting into the new defensive play that Lindy was preaching. I don’t think he’ll be making the trip back to Austin much next year, if at all.
Baby Rookie Brett Ritchie
First, let me express my sorrow that Brett Ritchie will no longer be a rookie next year. Journeyman Brett Ritchie doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Second, holy hell. I was not expecting those numbers. Obviously those are a little inflated because they’re All Situation, and BRBR did get used on the power play while he was in Dallas, but that CF% is crazy good for a 31 game stretch. His Points/60 aren’t stunning, but they’re certainly serviceable, and there’s a lot to build on.
If you remember, Brett Ritchie’s first ever game was on 12/31, when he scored on his first ever NHL shot. So, naturally, it was downhill from there (his trend lines are rather hilarious because of this). That said…even on the 5v5, his low point was around 49%. Of 31 games, he recorded a CF% of less than 48% only 5 times. That’s good.
Ritchie is ready for a full season with the Dallas team, and I’m excited.
While Moen did start the year with the Habs, all of his points came with the Stars. Moen had a rough season, out with injury enough to play only 44 games this year. He was part of the Sergei Gonchar cap-dump trade, and was never expected to play much more than 4th line minutes and do some work on the PK. And that’s what he did.
Again, it’s hard to make a lot of conclusions from half a season of data, but Moen seems like one of the players that took a while to learn the possession based Stars game (FYI, this data is Dallas only, as opposed to the first chart). While I doubt he’ll turn into anything more than what he is, the upward trend is really good for either shopping him during the summer or keep him as a 4th liner next year.
Unfortunately Nichushkin didn’t even play 250 5v5 minutes this year, so I didn’t include him in our charts, as you would just be looking at something blank. Up next: Defense!