Good Morning Canuck Nation, I’m pleased to have finally put together something outside of game recaps, that is wholly different than anything I’ve ever written about, hockey stats, and lots of ’em!
Since I began writing recaps of the Comets, I’ve always wanted to provide more depth to my recaps but didn’t know how to do so. Over the summer, I did a whole lot of reading during my time at work (Two-time employee of the month, back-to-back) about hockey stats from CORSI, to Fenwick, PDO, expected goals, GF%, etc. Started with this post, then moved on to reading the various stat descriptions over at hockey-reference.com and figuring stuff out from there!
Eventually, I realized the grand-scope of what could be manually-tracked, might be a bit much for my plate. So I cherry-picked the most commonly known stats that I knew I could comfortably track in between writing up the gameday recaps I do, here, and those I provide for thesinbinet.net.
Lo-and-behold, I’ve got 22 games worth of shot-attempt data ready to roll-out in everyone’s favorite, accessible stats! Corsi and Fenwick! Yay!
RE: Future plans
I’ve just managed to get the process of tracking unblocked, blocked, and missed shots down to a sub-3-hour long process. Eventually, I’d like to expand this project to tracking hits, takeaways, and giveaways. Right now, however, between family obligations, my wife, and my writing, I’m stretched pretty thin as-is, so that might be a “next-season” kind of thing.
Before I get into the players report cards, I’ll quickly break down my work like it’s one of those grade 8 science-project hypothesis write-ups
I’m not a coding expert, nor am I a mathematician, nor am I one of those SQL/Python/VBA/data-scraper-dudes who has programs do all the work for them.
Everything starts with pen and paper first, which then gets transcribed into one giant Excel worksheet that gets broken down into a skater summary page, loaded with overly complicated formulas.
Margin for Error
AHL game-center reporting isn’t as accurate as one would hope. Thus there is a slight margin of error between general stat tracking and what my EVENT tracking puts together.
- As a total aside, this false reporting is problematic even outside of my little project, as many established news sources and even NHL broadcasts use the AHL’s game statistics as fact.
- Example, outlets praising X-players six-shot game when he actually only hit the net four times. Or the opposite situation occurs, when Z-players lack of shot-attempts is isolated, when it was the AHL who had been crediting Y-player for Z-players shots in error.
The only other room for error pertains to the quality of the games broadcast feed. If anyone’s ever seen an AHL game, you’ll know that the broadcast might not show everything that happens during play. There are many instances where the broadcast-team for the game will cut away from play to show in-house graphics, overlays, or close-ups. Depending on how much missed play-time there is. There could be on-ice events happening that I cannot accurately track without having to guess.
This practice isn’t common, but when it does happen, there is a risk that I, the shot-attempt tracker, will be unable to see if a shot-attempt occurred during said cutaways. If the play-by-play commentators don’t directly mention the attempt, then I have nothing to reverse-engineer either.
By my tally, 22 legitimate shots on goal went unrecorded, seven shots attributed to players that never actually happened and five instances where shots went credited to the wrong players.
Out of 2609 events that I’ve recorded, that gives an error rate of less than 2%. Not great, not terrible.
Because I don’t have time to memorize all of the player initials and jersey numbers, and given this is a Utica Comets focused project, I elected to not record the players-on-ice for opposing squads. Mostly because keeping track of one-team on the ice takes an insane amount of time as is. And since I’m not well-versed enough to provide Quality-of-linemates or quality-of-competition estimations, I thought it was best to keep this strictly to a raw shot-attempts for and against project for the Comets.
At the risk of going over the character limit (as I tend to do), I’m going to link to hockey-reference here, so everyone can get the descriptions of the stats that I’m cherry-picking for each players report cards.
Or, you can scroll to the bottom of this write-up and check out the workbook link yourself! I’ve, very kindly, included cell-comments above each stat-line in the skater summary section. Each comment boils down what each stat is, as well as its data-source, and the calculation efforts used to deduce the stat itself.
THE REPORT CARDS
Here, I’ll actually grade players based on a combination of their contributions to four areas of the game, offense, defense, powerplay, and penalty-killing. Because I’m not an expert in stats, I’ll be punching up my eye-test analysis with some of my interesting findings and try to find a middle ground between the two.
I think for my year-end reviews of players, I didn’t clarify well-enough. The grading system relates to my interpretation of how the player has performed amongst the Comets team, not amongst the league itself. So keep that in mind when you see someone like Mitch Eliot get a B-. It’s a combination of stats, eye-test, and relative expectations of how he’s performed as a Utica Comet against other teams in the division.
You can find the full list of report cards on my blogsite here. I cut out the following players to fit under the character limit, you can find their report cards on my site.
- Gaudette, Fantenberg, LeBlanc, Graovac, Sorenson, Bancks, Blujus, Camper, Hamilton, and Sautner
|GP||SH||G||1A||2A||PTS||5v5oiGD||pts/gp||SH%||CF||CA||CF%||FF||FA||FF%||Satt||Thru%||SH CF%||PK Supp%|
Offense: I mean, what needs to be said, the guy is a Quad-A goalscorer at the AHL level. 68% of all shot-attempts wind up hitting the net. The guy is a hound on the pucks and takes shots from impossible angles at will.
Defense: his negative shot-attempt differential comes from how far up Boucher plays with the puck. Most shot-attempts against at even-strength come from him playing aggressively up ice while being somewhat disengaged from the defensive side of the game. That’s not to say he is sitting at the center-dot doing nothing, but it’s clear as day that Boucher prefers to defend around the Comets blue line. Boucher has an underrated takeaway game, and he pounces on breakaway opportunities generated by his ability to strip the puck off his opponents. He’s more adept at that side of defending than the, “clog up center-ice and try to block shooting lanes” style of defending in his own zone.
Powerplay: A third of Boucher’s points came from the powerplay, so yah…safe to say he’s pretty useful on that first unit.
Penalty-Kill: as previously discussed, Boucher’s ability to strip the puck off his opponents is second to none. Boucher has been a mainstay on Cull’s penalty-kill, and for a good reason. Of all the PK mainstays, Boucher is tied with Lukas Jasek and Wacey Hamilton for short-handed goals and leads all penalty-killing forwards with 17 shot-attempts while short-handed.
While his defensive game lacks finesse, his offensive upside and niche role as an aggressive, scoring penalty-killer makes up for it. Speed and ability to create space will likely prevent him from making it in the NHL, but Canucks fans can be happy that he’s scoring for the Comets and not against them.
Offense: Goldy’s offense at the AHL level has been quite fun to watch, goals come a lot easier to him at this level when he doesn’t have to work as hard to make space for himself or wait for his linemates to find space for themselves. Flashy, creative, and fun to watch, Goldobin has been way more physically engaged while playing with the Comets, and that drive to battle harder in the offensive zone has resulted in more scoring chances for than against for the Comets. The area of concern would be that sky-high shooting percentage of his. There’s no way scoring on every fourth shot is sustainable.
Defense: In contrast to the above, however, Goldy’s defensive game has looked pretty weak at the AHL level. At even-strength, Goldobin has been on the ice for just as many goals-for as he was for goals-against. The majority of Goldobin’s success has come from his use on the powerplay.
It is worth noting that this season, Goldobin has only ridden shotgun alongside two natural centers in four of his 18 games played. As much fun as the Euro-Line was, defensively, they were putrid, alongside Lukas Jasek, at even-strength Goldy posted a measly 41.4% CF. Goldy didn’t post too good of CF% or FF% stats with the Comets this season. His other centers he played with this season included Wacey Hamilton, whom he posted a 47.6% CF. Tyler Graovac, for two games at 51.2% CF. And lastly, a two-game stint alongside Carter Camper, for his season-high CF of 64.3%.
Arguably his 5-on-5 numbers could improve had he been playing with a bonafide, natural center at the AHL level. But injuries and lack of depth shoehorned players like Jasek, Hamilton, and Graovac into roles as Goldy’s centerman that they weren’t capable of filling.
Powerplay: See above re powerplay stats inflating his point totals
Penalty Killing: Goldy had one shift on the PK, and in that time, he was on the ice for two shot-attempts for the Comets and held his opponents to just five goals-against.
I probably seem like I’m going hard on Goldy, but in truth, he (like most of the Comets this season) weren’t being dealt a fair hand, with the weak crop of centers that the Canuck’s org prepared for this season. Goldy has done admirably to keep his head above water, and even to earn himself a call-up. Who knows if there was a point, though, as it appears that Travis Green is over the Goldy experiment.
Offense: Now I know what you’re thinking, “how could Sven be rocking a +8 for 5-on-5 on-ice goal differential, but have a rock-bottom 43.7% CORSI-FOR?” Well, it’s pretty simple, in two of the Comets weaker efforts this season, Sven and his line got matched hard and ended up hemorrhaging shot-attempts-against. The two games in question were the Comets 8-2 win over the Charlotte Checkers, and their 2-1 shootout win over Hershey.
In the 8-2 win over the Checkers, the Comets managed to give up 63 shot-attempts at even-strength. Again, not a typo, the Comets won EIGHT-TO-TWO, despite giving up shot-attempts at even-strength by a two-to-one margin.
The Hershey Bears shootout win was no better, as the Comets again gave up shot-attempts at a two-to-one clip.
Sven’s offensive numbers look putrid because of these two games, where he was line-matched hard by the competition, as Sven went on to have an even-strength shot-attempt differential of -33
Sven’s numbers probably look infinitely better if those games weren’t so hard on him and his linemates, but alas, here we are. The Swiss Army Man has been money on the powerplay and at even-strength for the Comets.
Defense: The only critical aspect of Baertschi’s defensive game, is that he shy’s away from hits and physical contact along the boards. I mean, I get it, I think we all do. If he can find the offensive success he’s found away from putting his head in vulnerable positions along board-battles, then yah, I can see why he’d avoid it. You could see his hesitation and fear when he played with the Canucks on his lone trip, and it’s what Travis Green spoke of after training camp. I think the latest concussion has changed the way Baertschi approaches offense, and unfortunately, I don’t believe the new approach can cut it at the NHL level.
Powerplay/Penalty-Kill: Baertschi was on the PK once. He managed one shot-attempt for, and one shot-attempt-against. His 100% penalty kill suppression is tied for first on the team — truly remarkable PK work.
Offense: A quarter way through his sophomore season, and we’re getting a completely different Kole Lind than we saw last year. Like, Goldy, Lind has struggled at even-strength but thrived on the powerplay. There’s definitely an increased swagger to his game that shines mostly in his playmaking. His vision and passing game have taken a noticeable step forward. Needs to work on his aim, though, as 25% of his shots miss the net.
Defense: Defensive game is still a huge work in progress. Jumping up and creating plays is one thing, but getting back to his end and negating shooting lanes, disrupting passes, etc. is something that hasn’t been his strong point this season. Still early on, and given the massive strides he took since last season, I’m willing to give that side of his game some time.
Powerplay: Lind has been dynamite on the Comets first unit powerplay. He is their de facto faceoff guy for the opening draw, and his tenacity on the puck in the offensive zone has resulted in him earning points on just under 1/3rd of the Comets total powerplay goals this season. Not bad for the sophomore.
Penalty-Kill: *cough cough*
Decent first quarter for the Shaunovan sophomore, still need to see either a better defensive effort at even-strength or an insane run of offensive production in all-situations, before I bump him up to the A-category.
Offense: All things considered, Zack’s first 13 games with the Comets weren’t exactly encouraging from an offensive standpoint. Despite being on the first powerplay unit as the net-front guy, being on the 1st/2nd lines at even-strength, PK time, all these premiere roles where he struggled hard to produce. I think I even wrote in one of my recaps that I found it surprising that he was called-up given how he has essentially earned all of his points in a three-game stretch, and that was it.
At even-strength, I don’t know if he ever really gelled with his most frequent linemate, Justin Bailey, as both guys tend to try and split the D on their own to try and generate offense. Two guys trying to do everything on their own is never a good thing, and Zack’s production suffered from having to steer away from that kind of gameplay that got him so much success last season.
Plus, he might be dealing with a nagging wrist issue, so there might be more to the “why is Zack MacEwen not shooting” thing.
Defense: Defensively is where Zack has shined the most this season. Last year the girthy guy pretty much relied just on that…being big. This season saw a much more concerted effort while defending in his end at even-strength that didn’t just rely on wading towards opponents holding his stick in front of them. He still tends to screen his own goalie, but at 6’4″ 205 lbs, that’s almost impossible to avoid.
Zacks 5-on-5 goal-differential of +6 is third-highest amongst Comets forwards. Just behind Lukas Jasek and Sven Baertschi. A fantastic turnaround from Zack, considering last season, he ended the year with an abysmal -11 5-on-5 goal-differential.
Powerplay/Penalty-Kill: As earlier described, Zacks offensive production had not been great. As a penalty-killer, he was on the ice for three powerplay goals-against due to his tendency to screen his tendy.
Overall, a dramatic improvement to the weakest face of his game last season means he holds steady in the B-range. He got his first NHL goal the other night, so that makes it a B+. Should he be returned to the Comets with all the bodies returning off IR, I hope he can use that confidence gained at the NHL level to get his offensive game to return to form.
Offense: In hindsight, I’m still kind of blown away that the Sharks gave away their second-highest scorer on the Barracuda for a contract dump in Tom Pyatt and a 6th round draft pick. And shiiiiiiiiet, it hasn’t worked out for the Barracuda at all. The San Jose spookyfish sit dead last in the AHL with an astonishingly bad, 15 points out of 19 games played.
Perron’s been a sneaky good contributor for the Comets. Out of the 21 goals scored with Perron on the ice. Perron earned points on 71% of them. A pretty remarkable tally given that 1/3rd of those goals scored came at even-strength.
Perron has fantastic work-ethic on the ice, and occasionally eclipses “2018-19 Zack MacEwen” when it comes to footspeed.
Defense: He does fall into the Goldobin category of looking lost in the defensive end, but he is relentless in his attempts to deny his opponents from getting off shot-attempts. He is continuously trying to create chances out of thin air from his puck-retrieval game — not a bad pickup by the org for essentially nothing.
Powerplay/Penalty Kill: With MacEwen up with the Canucks, and Wacey Hamilton on IR, Perron has found himself as a regular on the Comets penalty kill, and his previously mentioned tenacity on the puck has held opponents to zero powerplay goals with him on the ice.
Consistency has been Perron’s issue all season, as he can go from being the most noticeable guy on the ice one game to being completely invisible the next. Would like to see more consistency in his offensive output and for him to stand out a bit more on a night-to-night basis.
Offense: Easily one of the Comets’ most frustrating forwards to watch on a nightly basis. Big body with NHL caliber speed who just cannot for the life of him put himself in a position to score with his skating.
Think I’m hyperbolic?
Bailey currently sits second on the team for shots on goal; he also leads the team on shots that missed the net, with 31 total sent wide of the net.
Watching Bailey strip the puck off an opponent in the defensive-zone to then wheel himself past the goal line for a shot off the shoulder-blade of the goaltender is the equivalent of the “Master Wayne/Pushups” meme. Its as if he cannot help but skate himself into low% scoring areas. It’s the weirdest thing, and its the most frustrating thing to watch with such frequency.
Defense: I can’t say that Bailey is a stellar defender. I think he’s got great speed for backchecking, but he sits fourth on the team for unblocked shot-attempts against at even-strength. Considering how fast he can wheel and position himself to deny those attempts, it’s pretty shocking how high up that list he is.
Powerplay: Since MacEwen’s call-up to the Canucks, Bailey has taken on the role of net-front big-boi, and has done admirably in that role. He doesn’t block his peeper-unit’s shooting lanes, and he knows when to slide out for redirect attempts. MacEwen was struggling in that role earlier this season, and Bailey’s been a decent side-grade for them there.
Penalty Kill: Bailey is up there with Boucher in terms of being the most offensively threatening member of the Comets penalty-killing groups. He’s tied with Lukas Jasek for second amongst forwards for short-handed scoring chances with 13 total. Again, that lightning speed comes into play here. A majority of Bailey’s short-handed rushes have resulted in much-needed line-changes, or offensive-zone draws. Amongst the mainstay Penalty-Killers, Bailey leads with an impressive 19.4% short-handed CORSI-FOR.
Although frustrating, the failures of his end-to-end blitzes usually result in sustained pressure for the Comets afterward. And because he’s holding his own at 5-on-5, I can’t critique him too hard.
Offense: Last season, I went on a pretty lengthy rant about how I had an unabashed admiration for Arseneau’s contribution to the Comets. That feeling has not changed, and it has grown this season alongside Arseneau’s ability to control the pace of play.
Arseneau embodies the archetype of a fourth-line “goon.” However, his skill set and contributions to this club have proved that he is so much more than that. I’m sure most people gloss over anything I write about Big Vinny’s efforts night-in and night-out. But they shouldn’t! The guy is out there defending the Canucks rookies from goonery; he hits like a mac-truck, he has an underrated shot, decent playmaking, forechecking, the works. He is the embodiment of what this management group wants from their fourth-line guys whom they signed to be “role-models” for the kids in terms of work ethic.
Arseneau isn’t third on the team for CORSI-FOR because he takes shifts off. The guy hustles his ass off, and his effort level has rubbed off on his linemates, the likes of Seamus Malone, Jonah Gadjovich, and Dyson Stevenson, who’ve all seen tremendous improvements this season since playing on a line with the Big Frenchman.
Apologies, maybe its all the “undrafted ECHL’er to Canuck-legend, Alex Burrows” talk that’s got me feeling sentimental towards guys like Arseneau who’ve worked their butts off to get where they are.
Defense/Powerplay/PK: see above. Guy was given 2nd unit powerplay time and put on a line with Francis Perron, several times after I had called for it in my Harvests. Trent Cull, if you’re reading this, get Arseneau in the Boucher spot for the second unit. He can do it.
Offense/Defense/Powerplay/Penalty-Kill: Going to just roll all of my thoughts on Jasek’s first quarter of the season in one write-up.
The bad: Jasek’s offensive production has cratered, and he has the worst CORSI differential on the team at -80. Jasek is controlling shot-attempts worse than any other Comet forward currently in the lineup.
The good: Despite giving up the most amount of shot-attempts at even-strength, Jasek is third on the team (2nd amongst forwards) for 5-on-5 On-Ice Goal Differential, with a +7 differential. The teams save percentage at even-strength is at its highest with Jasek on the ice, at 98.2%.
Overall, Jasek’s move to center has been nothing short of a disaster. The team has sacrificed Jasek’s playmaking and offensive capability as a winger in exchange for a mildly adequate defensive center. Czech players are renowned for their two-way games, but this move is absolutely baffling. The kid has done like four interviews with various media talking about how learning English is fucking hard. Why add a role-change to his plate? Was finding non-veteran AHL centers to play on AHL deals that difficult for the management team? Isn’t that literally Ryan Johnson’s job, to fill the roster with AHL depth in the event of injuries?
As someone who was a big fan of Jasek’s two-way game last season, seeing him struggle in this nonsense move to center to make up for management shortcomings is just a piss-off. In my lone, embarrassing radio hit with TSN 1040, I elected to speak about Jasek being one of the team’s most underrated prospects in the system. And here they are just throwing his development in the trash. His grade won’t be reflective of the situation he’s been forced into.
Jasek’s Grade: C+
Offense: At some point during the first quarter of the season, Trent Cull realized that he couldn’t trust Olli Juolevi as the powerplay quarterback. He changed it up by throwing both OJ48 and Brogan Rafferty out on the powerplay. It was bold, it was brash, and it was no good. Eventually, OJ got injured, and Rafferty found himself as the Comets powerplay QB. Once Rafferty transitioned to the Peeper QB, the team saw a drastic change to his playstyle in which Raff stepped up his offensive game in a significant way. He currently leads all Comets defensemen, and it’s legit, not even remotely close. His 16 points are double the second-leading defenseman, Guillaume Brisebois. Incredibly, Rafferty is only shooting at a 5% clip, so in theory, his production could ramp up as he gets more comfortable with his shot from the blue line.
Defense: The only thing holding back Brogan’s defensive game is his vision. And not like, playmaking vision, but literally his vision. There have been many occasions this season where Rafferty has thrown the puck directly onto an opponents stick, and not because of speed, but because the opponent was in his blind spot. He’s got a great quote in the above article about his vision impairment, requiring him to think more on the ice instead of take things for granted. His defensive game besides these giveaways has been pretty spectacular. He leads all Comets defenseman in 5-on-5 goal differential with +9.
Powerplay: See above, the guy has been dynamite on the powerplay. Since taking over as the QB, at the start of November, Rafferty has been on the ice for 50% of the Comets powerplay goals.
Penalty Kill: See above regarding the vision thing, Rafferty has seen some time recently on the penalty kill due to the absence of Jalen Chatfield. For a guy with visual impairment in one eye, he hasn’t been a liability on the PK, and in his short time as a penalty-killer, has managed a 29.4% short-handed CORSI-FOR.
I’m super hyped for this guy’s potential as a mid to late-season call-up. His puck handling, smooth skating, and puck control are quite impressive for a player making his pro-hockey debut.
Offense: Brisebois’ has almost matched his last season’s point totals in just 22 games played. An impressive stat given his shooting percentage is at a paltry 3%. Brisebois is Cull’s go-to guy and see’s a crap-ton of minutes, evident by his high event presence. His shot this season has left a lot to be desired. 25% of his shots have missed the net, 30% are blocked or deflected wide. With the rest of his shots being easy saves by the goaltender. He keeps shooting the puck into goaltenders chest protectors. It’s insane. It’s gotten so bad that Brisebois has seen practically no powerplay time. Mitch Eliot has supplanted him on the second unit.
Defense: Brise is a huge minute chewer for the Comets, he has many giveaways and errant passes in his own zone, but he’s otherwise a responsible puck mover who, for the most part, does well to defend in the Comets zone. He’s been on the ice for the second-highest number of goals-against on the Comets. However, that’s bound to happen given how much ice-time he’s been getting.
Powerplay: If Brise fixes his shot, he might find his way back onto the second powerplay unit, but right now, Mitch Eliot is a better puck mover and has displayed a much better shot from the point.
Penalty Kill: Brise was up there with Olli Juolevi as Cull’s go-to PK guys. Brise has a decent short-handed COSRI-FOR at 17.6%. He has, however, taken the most minor-penalties amongst defensemen.
Brise is getting outshined offensively by the rookies on the squad and might be seeing himself slip down the depth charts. He’s still a decent call-up option for the Canucks on the left-side. But for how long?
Offense/Powerplay: As previously discussed with Brogan Rafferty, Olli Juolevi needed a babysitter on the powerplay because his footspeed was allowing opponents way too many short-handed scoring opportunities. Juolevi’s offense this season has generally been quite lackluster, just 36% of his shot attempts found their way on net. At even-strength, only seven of his 26 shot-attempts made it to the net. Given what we know now about his hip problems, perhaps this has been what’s holding his shot back from being as successful as it was last season. Last season, in 18 games played, Juolevi rattled off 34 shots on goal. This season he barely cracked a shot per-game.
Defense/Penalty Kill: I’ve written about Juolevi’s skating concerns ad nauseam. Frankly, there isn’t much more I can elaborate on with his stats. Juolevi’s ability to transition the puck through the neutral zone with crisp-passing led him to a pretty decent positive shot-attempt differential at even-strength. His ultra-low on-ice shooting % of 2.94% could indicate that he was due for some puck luck to go his way eventually.
Had he not been overplayed to the extent he was, OJ might have found his footing. Being used in premiere roles on the powerplay, penalty kill, while being the team’s 1st pairing/match-up guy was a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t know how, Ryan Johnson, a man who spent the last seven seasons in a “player development” role with the Canucks, could possibly think that a kid coming off a full knee reconstruction, should be given that kind of work-load.
Honestly, OJ’s grade could likely be higher if his recovery had been managed better.
Offense: The comeback of the year for Canucks 2017 2nd round draft picks only seems to talk about Kole Lind. Y’all must’ve forgot ’bout the manchild himself. JG’s quietly posted a 55 CF%, a 53.7 FF%, 0.63 points-per-game, all while earning points on 71% of the goals scored while he was on the ice. Not bad for a guy whom most people wrote off the second he hit the ice last season. His skating has vastly improved, and his playmaking ability is pretty underrated for a guy expected to max out as a fourth-line grinder. His shooting% is pretty high, and his even-strength scoring doesn’t quite lineup with his CF%, but I think he’s got the work ethic to avoid being a liability on the ice.
Defense: JG’s tenacity on the puck and improved skating has led to much fewer goals against through his first eight games of the year. Ironically, he’s currently rocking a -4 even-strength goal differential, after getting caught on the ice for four of the Marlies eight goals against the Comets this past weekend.
Still needs more games under his belt to rate fairly, but relative to last season, I think his first-quarter showing has seen a marked improvement as a whole to his game.
Offense/Defense: Josh Teves is a bit of an anomaly on the stat sheet. Despite posting just one point in 16 games played, he’s rocking the team lead in even-strength goal differential.
Teves doesn’t have a great shot, and he doesn’t impress defensively. His best attribute is his ability to skate and to carry the puck from one end of the ice to the other. His zone-entires are quite good. He can’t do much when he gains them, however. The most impressive offense I saw from him recently, was when he put himself offside trying to walk the blue line for a shot, only to then draw a tripping call on a Marlies forward who pushed him over.
Teves currently sits with the third-highest even-strength on-ice shooting percentage, at 8.8%. As well as the sixth-best even-strength on-ice save percentage, at 96.9%. His low involvement percentage indicates what the eye test says, and that his game primarily revolves around moving the puck up ice and holding the blue line. What his linemates do to score, however, is usually independent of Teves play.
Offense: The stat line doesn’t look too great for Seamus Malone when it comes to points-production. Don’t let that fool you, though, as Seamus Malone has had a sneaky good game for the Comets this season. After missing his entire summer offseason training due to arm injury, Malone was thrown into the ringer to start the season by being moved to center full-time. His low involvement rate and shooting percentage indicates that he’s not much of a playmaker, but watching him play you can tell that his speed and puck control * does* lead to many shot-attempts for his linemates. Luck truly hasn’t been on his side this season. Malone has the second-lowest on-ice shooting percentage of all Comets players at 2.04%. Malone posted three goals in six games last season and has displayed a decent shot at the AHL level; the bounces, unfortunately, have not gone his way. Perhaps the tide will turn playing alongside Sven Baertschi and Reid Boucher? So long as he maintains his speed in transition, then eventually the point-production will come.
Defense: Malone isn’t the biggest guy, but he doesn’t shy away from puck battles in the defensive zone. Spends a bit too much time chasing the puck out of position, but otherwise, he’s fine defensively.
Powerplay/Penalty Kill: Malone hasn’t seen much time on either special teams. He was put out on the PK briefly and was doing fine, unfortunately in his limited time on the PK, his opponents did score once, leading him to have a pretty low powerplay suppression percentage.
Overall, I think Malone has taken great strides in his game to start this season and has looked his most impressive in his last three games. Since getting moved to the 1st line center position Malone has elevated his game quite considerably, and his impressive shot-attempt differential is evidence of his skill. Fingers crossed the bounces start going his way.
Offense/Defense: When I think back to last seasons’ ECHL call-up epidemic, I don’t recall a single forward call-up who impressed or who made a difference. After a pretty unimpressive pre-season showing, I was ready to write Stevenson off as just another one of those guys. He’s since turned his game on its head, and been a quality addition to the Comets fourth-line this season.
Stevenson has consistently been an aggressive forechecker, engaged on every shift, and finding a way to the net where he’s generated shot-attempts for his line. Chalk it up to being the result of playing with Vincent Arseneau.
His defensive game obviously isn’t much more than bully guys off the puck, steal, and get it to the other end. But it works, and he’s not actively hurting the Comets when he’s on the ice. Certainly is nice to have a fourth-line who can consistently hem opponents into their own zone with sustained shot pressure.
Chatfield leads the Comets in a lot of categories, unfortunately, none for the positive.
Offensively, Chatfield is a complete nonfactor. He misses the net just as many times as he hits it. He is eclipsed only by Wacey Hamilton for the team-worst on-ice goal differential, holding steady at -9 in all-situations, and -6 at even strength. Like Josh Teves before him, Chatfield has a spectacularly low contribution percentage, having only earned one point out of the 15 goals scored with him on the ice. He leads all Comets defensemen holding the team’s 2nd worst even-strength shot-attempt differential at -46.
His physical play, speed, and tenacity on the puck makes him an “intangibles” dream. Statistically speaking, Chatfield lags behind all when it comes to negating shot-attempts and creating shot-attempts for his team when he’s on the ice. Cull has moved Chatfield around the pairings the most of any Comets defender, and I think that’s because most guys can’t make up for Chatfield’s lack of offensive instincts or his defensive lapses. Only Josh Teves posted a positive CF% while paired alongside Chatfield, and it was only by the slimmest margin. Every other defender saw their CF% drop dramatically while paired with Chatfield.
I’ll stop because there’s no point in going so hard on one guy for his shortcomings because, as I joked before, those intangibles are what make him a unique prospect in the pipeline. Likely, that grit factor and physical-play are why he’s being called up over a guy like Rafferty.
Literally, no other defensive prospect in the Canuck’s pipeline plays a hard-nosed, physical game like Chatfield. His skate speed and effort on a shift-to-shift basis will always make him a reliable guy for Cull on the penalty kill, but at even-strength, it’s just not working. He’s like the Jake Virtanen of defense in that he has all the tools that makes for a successful hockey player but no toolbox to match.
Yes, I’m aware he was called up to the Canucks. Like I said, the intangibles are hard to pass up. A guy who sacrifices the body and hustles on every shift? Of course, they’ll give him a look. I’ll never be the type who says a player on the Comets doesn’t deserve a call-up. A player is worth exactly what a team thinks he is, and if he can hustle his way to the NHL for that sweet, juicy paycheque, then props to them for doing so!
Offense: Despite his rotating slate of d-partners, Eliot has proven to be a considerable asset to the Comets third pairing. In his eleven game stint this season, Eliot has posted the third-best CF% amongst defensemen. He just needs to work on his aim. 21% of his shots this season have missed the net, 21% have been blocked, with the remaining 58% finding their way to the net. At a mere 2.65%, The Comets even-strength shooting percentage is fourth-lowest with Eliot on the ice. Going in his favor is his Goals-For %, which sits tied for first on the squad, having earned a point on all five goals scored with him present on the ice. He’s still green, but he’s been impressive in his limited showings this season.
Defense: Defensively, Eliot looks to be running into the same problem that the Comets rookies ran into last year. Dealing with the size and speed of opponents appears to be Eliot’s biggest weakness. Many times this season, Eliot has engaged in battles along the boards or in the crease only to get easily pushed aside by his opponents. The kid has great hustle and effort to get to those battles and engage in them, but he isn’t quite strong on his skates yet to be successful in that department. Eliot ranks 12th on the team for even-strength save-percentage with him present on the ice.
Need Eliot to stand out a bit more in the defensive zone, and look a little stronger on his skates. Otherwise, his offensive contributions as a rookie have been terrific. Hopefully, he retains his role on the 2nd powerplay unit in spite of their lack of scoring with him at the helm. He’s got a decent shot from the point; it just needs more ice-time to get refined.
Offense: In just 18 games, Carter Bancks is already on track to double his previous seasons point-totals. The Comets Captain hasn’t lost a step and has been a valuable asset to this Comets team as their premier penalty killer. Bancks’ best success this season has come playing with Vincent Arseneau, Francis Perron, and Dyson Stevenson.
Considering how hard I complained last season about the Comets signing Bancks to a two-year deal, I have to eat my own words given his relatively solid start to the season. Given his role on the team as a fourth line minute chewer, who wasn’t expected to produce much. Bancks eight points, five of which tied the game or broke the tie, have come as a great surprise. I do think that playing alongside someone as tenacious as Vincent Arseneau has lead to Bancks having a positive CORSI-FOR, but we certainly can’t blame him for who he’s paired alongside!
Bancks’ sky-high shooting percentage of 27%, is also a significant contributor to Bancks’ early-season success. So long as he’s getting paired with guys like Arseneau/Perron/Bailey/Stevenson who can set him up, then he’s going to keep scoring. Bancks has a lowkey decent snap-shot, and I think it’s caught many teams by surprise this season.
Defense/Penalty-Kill: Bancks tenacity and ferociousness to hound on loose pucks is what makes him such a great penalty-killer. Unlike his usual PK partner, Wacey Hamilton, Bancks has managed to stay disciplined for the most part. His 10 PIM’s ranks 13th on the squad.
He won’t be anything more than a PK specialist who can teach the kids a thing or two about hard work on every shift. And he’s slowed down a bit on his production. But he’s been a serviceable bottom of the lineup/PK specialist.
Offense: After three points in Blujus’ first three games, Blujus cooled off quite considerably. He currently rocks a 23% shooting percentage after his three goals on 13 shots. His early goals also came in games where the Comets were running up the score. His most recent goal was a pretty flukey knuckler from the blue line. Blujus isn’t exactly a potent goalscorer at the AHL level, but his three tallies lead all Comets defensemen.
Defense: Season hasn’t been too impressive defensively from Blujus so far. Compared to his most frequent linemates as well, it would appear that Blujus isn’t doing much to contribute shot-attempts either. With Josh Teves, they share a measly 40.2 CF%, and with Mitch Eliot, Blujus shares a much more positive 47.1 CF%. Without Eliot, Blujus CF% drops to 40.7%.
On the penalty kill, Blujus has been solid, however. Blujus has stepped up as the team’s premier PK-defenseman, posting a 14.5 short-handed CF%, while registering 11 blocked shots.
Blujus had been away for quite a while with a family matter, so perhaps his mediocre defensive play has something to do with that? Fingers crossed, it was nothing serious. But if it was, it might explain how a veteran d-man such as himself is getting carried by a rookie like Mitch Eliot.
He still has a lot of utility as a very stable puck mover from the back-end. An ability that doesn’t show up in my tracking. Many games without Blujus in the lineup showed how prone the young Comets d-corps could be to collapse when facing sustained pressure. Blujus is a solid calming presence on any D-pairing when he gets control of the puck under pressure.
Offense: It’s no coincidence that the Comets November losing slump coincided with Camper going down with injury. He’s quietly been one of the teams best players, albeit not exciting offensively. He’s like your anti-virus, you forget it’s there when it’s doing its job correctly, but when it drops the ball, you notice and get cheesed about it. In his 14 games played, he’s shown a consistent ability to control shot-attempts for the Comets no matter who he’s playing alongside. In his last two games against the Marlies, Camper posted CORSI-FOR percentages of 72.2% and 71.4%.
Defense: Kind of like his offensive abilities, he’s pretty invisible defensively. Not in a bad way, however. Camper has only been on-ice for five goals-against, good for third-lowest on the team.
Powerplay/Penalty Kill: Campers been used sparingly on the second powerplay unit and the penalty kill. Despite his decent playmaking ability at 5-on-5, he hasn’t been much of a factor on the powerplay.
Camper is a perfectly serviceable AHL centerman who has just the right combination of speed, playmaking, and defensive chops to elevate his teammates. Would like to see him contribute a bit more on the powerplay; otherwise, he’s had a great start as a Comet.
Offense: I can’t count the number of two-on-one tap-in opportunities that have rolled over Hamilton’s stick the past two seasons. Hamilton has been on for five even-strength goals-for and 14 goals-against. The guy has a decent hustle, but once he’s in the defensive end, his brain freezes, and he watches opponents score.
Defense/Penalty Kill: Like Carter Bancks before him, Hamilton is Cull’s go-to PK guy, the only problem is, Hamilton takes a shit-ton of stupid penalties. Hamilton is currently fourth on the team in PIM’s, and not a single one of them is a fighting major or a game misconduct. Same thing with his even-strength game, even on the penalty kill, he completely freezes when the puck is around the crease, and he consistently watches play unfold around his goaltender. Powerplay suppression is down to 96% when Hamilton is on the ice.
Offense: Offense yet to be seen. Sautner, despite all of his ice-time, has only been on the ice for eight goals-for. His overall goal differential is tied with Wacey Hamilton for the worst on the team with -11. I’ve never been one to expect much offense out of Sautner, but this is a pretty brutal season for him, offense wise. If his pace keeps up, it will be the third straight season where his AHL production has dipped.
Defense: Still a perfectly responsible d-man in his own end, unexciting, but accountable. Them goals-against though, oof.
I’ve written about it multiple times this season, but I genuinely think the facial injuries have wrecked Sautner’s confidence on the ice. Many times this season I’ve seen him stop playing hockey to check his face after taking a bump. I absolutely don’t blame him for having a form of PTSD; we all have our tics and issues. But if its actively stopping him from being a good stay-at-home defender, then I’m concerned about his long-term outlook for this team.
I’ve moved the folks who’ve played less-than five games with the Comets this season, to the quick-hitter section. Most of these guys haven’t played enough to warrant a more in-depth critique.
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I said I would make this a quick hit, but I had to touch on Gaudette’s brief back-to-back weekend stint on the farm. His first game was a 5-1 stomp over Binghamton in which the Comets largely controlled the game at even-strength. His second game, however, was an absolute disaster for the Comets, where the Comets registered an abhorrent 34% CORSI-FOR (33% FENWICK-FOR). The Comets managed a win thanks to the impeccable goaltending performance from Michael Di Pietro in which he posted a 0.974 save-percentage and a 0.92 goals-against-average. Gaudette’s Farm numbers don’t really matter; guy’s killing it offensively for the Canucks right now, so on to the next.
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Big surprise, the team controlled unblocked shot-attempts at even-strength slightly better with Roussel on the ice than without him! Roussel featured in two of the Comet’s most impressive performances this season. Ironically, the game immediately following his departure resulted in one of the Comet’s most pathetic performances this season.
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Fantenberg was pretty much miles above his AHL counterparts on D. Fanty spent the entirety of his two-game stint as Olli Juolevi’s crutch. OJ saw his best CF% while he was playing alongside Fantenberg, which honestly, should come as a surprise to no one. Fantenberg ended his Comets stint 2nd on the Comets defense for Thru%, with 56% of his shot-attempts hitting the net. He didn’t wind up on the scoresheet, but he did for the Canucks so, who cares!
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LeBlanc has struggled to find ample ice-time this season. The left side is pretty loaded for NHL contracted LD, so it’s been because of injuries that he’s found his opportunities. Hard to get noticed when you’re primarily known as a stay-at-home D. In limited viewings, LeBlanc has been adequate. Strong on the puck, and relatively physical. He’s been on for two goals-for and four against, and when he’s on the ice, the team does do a better job at controlling shot-attempts. LeBlanc just isn’t one of the ones contributing to his linemates CF. Despite a positive CF% through three games played, LeBlanc himself has only contributed six even-strength shot attempts to the cause. Might not be his style to chip in offensively, but if he wants to usurp someone like Dylan Blujus or Ashton Sautner as the reliable defensive-defenseman on the left-side, he’ll have to at least chip in a bit more.
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Sorenson has been a worthy addition to the Comets fourth line during the Comets current run of injury woes. All anyone can really ask of their AHL fourth-liners is that they chew minutes, battle hard, play physical, and try to avoid getting scored on by their opponents. In Sorenson’s first game with the Comets, he posted a pretty nutty 76.9% CORSI-FOR as he went on to notch his first career AHL point. His second game, however, saw him post a 35.3% CORSI-FOR after he and his linemates got hemmed in by a surging Marlies squad. Can’t fault him for the brutal stats from Sunday, as pretty much every Comet in the lineup played a part in that embarrassing collapse. In two short games, Sorenson’s been a feisty, aggressive forward with a Biega-like worth-ethic on every shift. With bodies returning to the lineup off injury, he’s most likely due for the KWings, but good to know this team has ECHL call-ups who can slide into the lineup effectively, unlike last year.
Throwing Graovac in here because he was spectacularly uninspiring in his six-game run with the Comets. I’m impressed he’s managed two goals with the Canucks because after posting a -5 goal differential, I didn’t expect anything positive. That first game of his he looked like a huge waste of a contract. Good for him for capitalizing on his opportunity! Shame about the injury.
Thanks to anyone who actually read through the entire thing. This was a pretty daunting task to try and accomplish. Hope everyone enjoyed it, or at least came away learning something new about the Canucks players on the farm!
Feel free to use this as a reference tool! Any writers are free to reference the data collected. Just do me a solid and give me credit in your works-cited. I don’t think you can download copies yourselves, but if anyone wants a copy to tinker around with, let me know, and I’ll get a download link to you!