Last season, Marc Pouliot average 10.24 minutes of five on five ice-time per game. Despite that meager role, many Oilers fans complain that MacTavish overused him and he shouldn’t even have been on the team. I believe that isn’t the case.
With that in mind, I decided to compare Marc Pouliot to other players stuck in a fourth-line role. To make it fair, I only included players who averaged within thirty seconds per game of what Pouliot did. It turns out that there are 55 such players in the NHL, almost two per team (Brodziak is the other one in Edmonton). Since this study uses Pouliot as a midpoint, it’s a little unfair to Brodziak, but I’m going to throw him in to since I imagine there’s some interest in his results.
Vs. The Average
For starters, here they are against the average player in their category:
NAME | GP | 5V5 TOI/G | PTS/60 | GFON/60 | GAON/60 |+/- 60
- Marc Pouliot | 63 | 10.24 | 1.67 |2.32 | 2.42 | -.010
- Kyle Brodziak | 79 | 9.82 | 1.62 | 2.48 | 2.48 | +0.00
- Average | 60 | 10.09 | 1.32 | 1.96 | 2.40 | -0.44
Interesting stuff there. Both Brodziak and Pouliot were significantly better at scoring and saw significantly better on-ice goal totals than the average. Not only that, but they did this without allowing more goals against, finishing right near the average mark. In other words, by the raw numbers, both Brodziak and Pouliot were significantly better than players on other teams in similar roles.
More noteworthy is the fact that they managed this on a below-average team; with team strength taken into account, they likely would have finished higher.
Rankings vs. The Whole
All numbers out of 55.
- PTS/60: Pouliot – 8th, Brodziak – 11th
- GFON/60: Brodziak – 7th, Pouliot – 10th
- GAON/60: Pouliot – 31st, Brodziak – 33rd
- +/-: Brodziak – 12th, Pouliot – 17th
Fun stuff here. In the plus/minus category, it’s interesting to note that the vast majority of players ahead of Brodziak and Pouliot were from playoff teams, and only three of the players ahead of them (Ben Guite, Evgeni Artyukhin and Jesse Winchester) came from teams below the Oilers in the standings.
What am I getting at here? Simply this: the Oilers had a lot of problems last year, but fourth-liners Kyle Brodziak and Marc Pouliot don’t qualify as such.