According to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to move veteran left winger Ryan Malone; if they can’t, they will likely choose to buy him out of his contract.
Here’s the comment, from Friedman’s 30 Thoughts column:
I’m hearing Yzerman is trying to trade Ryan Malone. Tampa Bay would prefer to avoid a buyout payout and the Lightning are offering a draft pick as an enticement. Malone has a no-move clause in his contract until July 1, which gives him some control of the situation. It is a limited no-trade after then.
Malone missed 24 games last season with a variety of ailments, scoring just six goals and two assists in the 24 games he did play. He averaged just over 20 goals per season in the four years preceding 2013 despite missing time each year. He has one year remaining on his contract, a deal with two years remaining at a $4.5 million cap hit and only a combined total of $5 million over both season in actual salary.
Here (in part) is McKeen’s Hockey writing on Malone in their 2012-13 Yearbook:
[B]ig, tough forward blessed with soft hands, strong arms, and deceptive quickness .. propelled by a smooth comfortable stride that is long and powerful .. not the most intuitive player – and still suffers lapses in energy and focus .. puts out a good effort most nights now however .. determined and courageous driving to the net and creating space for linemates .. deployed successfully as a net presence on the power play .. excels making plays in traffic and along the boards and is adept at tips and deflections, aided by solid body control .. generates impressive shooting velocity from a minimal windup .. provides a strategic size and power component to Tampa’s mix .. always best to budget for downtime given his brash approach.
The latter line is one of the primary concerns with respect to Malone; the 33 year old has missed just over one-quarter of Tampa Bay’s games over the last four seasons.
A Statistical Lens
What I’d like to do is look at a number of performance-related statistics. I’m going to look, year by year, at four categories, which are as follow:
- CorsiRel. "Corsi" is shorthand for shot attempts plus/minus – all the shots, missed shots, and blocked shots that a player was on the ice for 5-on-5 over an average one-hour period. The "Rel" part stands for relative – what we’re doing there is adjusting for team strength.
- 5-on-5 Points/60. Just like regular points, only adjusted for an average hour of ice-time.
- ZoneStarts. Taking offensive zone and defensive zone faceoffs, and expressing them as a percentage. If a player was on the ice for 70 offensive zone faceoffs and 30 defensive zone faceoffs, he would have a 70% offensive zone start, and we’d expect him to do better than a player with 30 offensive zone and 70 defensive zone faceoffs (30% zone start).
- Quality of Competition rank. The player’s rank among active forwards on his team in Behind the Net’s Quality of Competition (we’re using the Corsi-based one, though the site also offers a goal-based one and the difference between the two is small). This gives us an idea of the kind of opponents Malone typically played against.
|Season||Team||CorsiRel||5v5 Points/60||ZoneStart||QC Rank.|
Aside from this most recent season, we get an interesting picture of Malone. Obviously, he’s a capable scorer – a good scoring line option will manage 2.00 points per hour 5-on-5, and Malone is generally just a hair below that. The interesting thing is that he only has really excelled in his NHL career in years where he hasn’t played the tough minutes – we see three seasons where his team really out-shot the opposition with him on the ice, and in all three cases he wasn’t playing against power. When he played second-tier opposition, his team was more likely to hover around the break-even mark in terms of shot attempts for and against.
Not listed here, but also of interest: Malone has been a significant power play performer on the team’s he has played for and can reasonably be seen as a value-added player with the man advantage. He’s also capable of filling in on the penalty kill, though it’s been a few years since he played regular minutes.
The cost of Malone isn’t really in the acquisition – Tampa Bay sounds willing to sweeten the deal, after all. It’s two more years at a cap hit of $4.5 million for a guy closing in on 34 with an ugly history of injury and a style that will continue putting him in harm’s way.
If he rebounds, Ryan Malone is an awfully useful player; if he doesn’t, that’s a hard contract to take on.
Recently around the Nation Network
At NHL Numbers, Derek Zona presents the Final Consensus Rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft. Who is number one, and perhaps more importantly for this site, who is number seven?
Click the link to find out, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here: