Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Optimism about the Ducks' forwards

Alternate title: Sleek learns to use table tags in HTML!

A week ago, I put together a post called “Pessimism about the Ducks’ forwards”, which looked back at the 2003-04 stats for our projected lineup and noted that nobody had scored more NHL goals that year than Teemu Selanne’s paltry 16.

Today I am going to turn a little more optimistic. For this post, I want to look at a particular segment of the Ducks’ past season, the games played after the Olympic Break. In Anaheim’s instance, that includes 25 regular season games and 16 playoff games, for a nice ‘half-season’ 41-game sample.

  1. From the Ducks’ perspective, this is the segment of games most predictive for the coming year. That is, these games mostly took place after the departures of Fedorov, Sykora, Ozolinsh, and Carney, and the promotions of Getzlaf, Perry, and sometimes Penner.
  2. From a sampling perspective, these 41 games actually are a bit tougher than what one might expect in an 82-game regular season. 30 of the 41 games were played against playoff teams, including 15 against top-3 seeds Detroit, Dallas, and Calgary. There were 20 home games and 21 road games in the sample.
  3. This segment was a particularly successful run for the Ducks, having gone 13-6-1 at home and 12-8-1 on the road and outscoring opponents 3.20 - 2.56.

So how'd we do it? Here are the top-dozen leading scorers for the Ducks over those 41 games; note that all except Joffrey Lupul will be back next year:

PlayerGamesG-A-PtsATOIPower PlayWithin 1 Goal

T. Selanne

41

20-30-50

17:44

8-13-21

15-19-34

A. McDonald

41

17-24-41

17:09

6-14-20

12-16-28

R. Getzlaf

41

9-23-32

14:09

6-14-20

5-15-20

S. Niedermayer

41

6-26-32

26:47

4-16-20

4-18-22

C. Kunitz

40

8-19-27

13:10

3-3-6

6-14-20

J. Lupul

41

16-7-23

15:40

5-4-9

9-4-13

F. Beauchemin

41

7-13-20

25:28

5-6-11

6-8-14

T. Marchant

41

4-15-19

16:31

0-0-0

1-12-13

R. Niedermayer

41

6-11-17

18:08

1-3-4

5-8-13

S. Pahlsson

41

10-5-15

16:54

0-1-1

8-2-10

C. Perry

36

8-7-15

10:36

3-5-8

6-5-11

D. Penner

17

3-6-9

12:41

0-0-0

3-4-7

The last two columns describe scoring in two different types of situations. Power Play describes scoring on a man-advantage, whereas Within 1 Goal only captures scoring in situations where the game was either tied or was a 1-goal game.

The first thing to notice (other than the nice layout of the table) is how dominant Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald were over that stretch, and generally how decently-spread the rest of the scoring was. The point I really want to emphasize, though, is that even with his 4-goal outburst in G3 at Colorado, Joffrey Lupul wasn't a huge piece of point-scoring puzzle during this winning stretch.

That is not to say that Lupul's goal totals won't be missed; the Ducks won't be able to generate points on assists alone. However, there seems to be good evidence that a healthy Corey Perry (who sustained an injury in the playoffs) or a full-time Dustin Penner (who spent much time in the AHL) have the ability to pick up some of that slack, especially since both will be a year older and wiser.

41 games isn't really a lot to base expectations on, but it's not exactly chump change either. Sure, our forwards don't have a lot of pre-lockout success, but there is evidence that this mostly-intact squad (plus a guy named Pronger) can collectively generate the goals (and wins) needed to succeed in the coming year.

Now we just need to figure out who our best goaltender is...

1 comment:

Andy said...

Thanks for reminding me how little the Oilers got for Pronger. A couple of picks, some hopeful and a guy who didn't make a difference in his former teams succes. Hope this Lupul kid can at least put up 20g and maybe 20a, maybe?