August 17 2009 05:30AM
One method occasionally used by prognosticators (and fantasy hockey types) is looking at season splits. Did the player start the season well but cool off? Did the player start the season poorly but turn it on towards the end?
These questions are of particular interest when it comes to young players – and predicting breakout seasons.
The Oilers had a bunch of players 23-or younger last year that played a significant portion of the season. Using the power of Yahoo!’s split stats, we’re going to take a look at their pre- and post- all-star break numbers. I’ve projected the totals over an 82-game season, bolded items that stand out at me, and ranked the players by the difference between the projections.
- Pre-All Star: 82GP – 8G – 25A – 33PTS, EV, 4.9 SH%
- Post-All Star: 82GP – 30G – 30A – 60PTS, -2, 16.2 SH%
- Difference: +27 points
- Pre-All Star: 82GP – 3G – 6A – 9PTS, -9, 325 PIM, 11.1 SH%
- Post-All Star: 82GP – 17G – 10A – 27PTS, EV, 239 PIM, 35.7 SH%
- Difference: +18 points
- Pre-All Star: 82GP – 14G – 16A – 30PTS, -11
- Post-All Star: 82GP – 9G – 38A – 47PTS, +18
- Difference: +17 points
- Pre-All Star: 82GP – 11G – 13A – 24PTS, +4
- Post-All Star: 82GP – 9G – 22A – 31PTS, -4
- Difference: +7 points
- Pre-All Star: 82GP – 0G – 10A – 10PTS, +8, 95 PIM
- Post-All Star: 82GP – 0G – 21A – 21PTS, -26, 59 PIM
- Difference: +11 points
- Pre-All Star: 82GP – 11G – 7A – 18PTS, -11, 15.0 SH%
- Post-All Star: 82GP – 7G – 18A – 25PTS, -11 10.5 SH%
- Difference: +7 points
- Pre-All Star: 82GP – 21G – 23A – 44PTS, -5, 132 shots on goal
- Post-All Star: 82GP – 14G – 16A – 30PTS, -7 96 shots on goal
- Difference: -14 points
What I’m Taking From This
It’s important not to read too much into these numbers. There’s a certain amount of variation from game to game, and the samples here are small so they magnify the differences. With that caveat out of the way:
I see modest progression from Sam Gagner. The huge jump is amplified by a drastic change in shooting percentage, and his true range is probably somewhere in the middle, goal-scoring wise. I could see the increase in assists as a sign of progression, though that’s a guess because these numbers aren’t precise enough to tell us that. Still, by memory his brain-cramps decreased as the season wore on.
Zack Stortini’s incredibly positive numbers are probably an illusion. Pucks were more than 3X as likely to go in for him during the second half of the season, and he already had a pretty killer shooting percentage.
This is a very nice breakdown for Robert Nilsson – and it probably affects our read of him more than any of the other players listed here. Measures are up across the board, with very little change in either shooting percentage (it went down slightly) or total shots taken. I talked about this a little bit back in June, and I think he could come back and have a strong season. I’m not convinced it will be in Edmonton, mind you, but I do think we’ll see at least a return to his 2007-08 form wherever he plays.
Ladislav Smid seemed to slump towards the bottom half of the season, and it’s a little disappointing to see the statistics confirm that. I’m not at all convinced he’s ready for a top-four role at this point in time.
Andrew Cogliano is the only player going the wrong way here. Of note is the way his shot-taking dropped off in the second-half, and that’s a big part of the equation. I think he’ll bounce back; I don’t know this but if memory serves I think the linemates he was going out with decreased in quality in the second half.