Craig MacTavish went to market with a long shopping list and acquired Boyd Gordon as the de facto 3 line C to replace Shawn Horcoff. Is Gordon the better bet?
BOYD GORDON REPLACING SHAWN HORCOFF
Last year, Shawn Horcoff played 11:50 a night at evens, 2:29 on the PK and 2:31 on the PP. Gordon played 12:00 a night at evens, 2:51 on the PK and didn’t play PP. Gordon played the same role and minutes as Horcoff save for the PP. We should expect him to play the same EV and PK minutes as #10, with the PP minutes headed elsewhere.
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.34 (9th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.13 (8th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 8th toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 8th best available teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -4.4 (10th best among regular forwards) (-13.77 CorsiON)
- Zone Start: 42.1% (4th toughest, 12th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 45.2% (14th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 41/17.07% (2nd among F’s>40 shots)
- Boxcars: 31gp, 7-5-12
- Faceoff percentage: 49, 51st best in the NHL
- Most Common Linemates: Yakupov, Hall, Jones,Hemsky
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.18 (9th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 16.51 (1st among regular forwards, but small sample size)
- Qual Comp: 6th toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: best available teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 0.6 (6th best among regular forwards) (1.61 CorsiON)
- Zone Start: 32.6% (toughest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 41.4% (10th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 59/6.78%
- Boxcars: 48, 4-10-14
- Faceoff percentage: 57.3, 8th best in the NHL
- Most Common Linemates: Moss, Klinkhammer, Korpikoski
The big differences between these players are:
- Quality of Linemates: Horcoff’s were clearly superior
- Age: Horcoff (34) is the older player (Gordon is 29)
- Cap hit: Horcoff’s (5.5) is more than Gordon’s (3)
- Zone start: Both were severe, Gordon’s moreso
- Faceoff percentage: Gordon is one of the best in the NHL
- Shawn Horcoff was deployed on the PP
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Gordon’s defensive coverage looks a little more impressive to me (zone start, faceoffs, he’s terrific on the PK), and the offense appears about equal despite Horc’s clearly superior linemates. Given a year of Hall and Yakupov (which will never happen, of course) I imagine Gordon might be looking at a far superior number.
I think you can make the argument that the Oilers would have been just fine with Horcoff in the 3line role–in fact I have, all offseason. Having said that, Gordon would appear to be a younger, better and less expensive replacement.