Littered in the forums are plenty of questions regarding projections for next season. Does so and so have 65-point upside? Or between these two players who has the higher point potential? For those who have followed my columns in the past year, they would know that I’m a big stats-oriented guy, so this week I’m going to try to rationalize some projections by attaching some numerical values along with them.
First, let's clear up some general misconceptions about projections:
1) Not all players with decent offensive qualities have 80 point potential.
o Only 17 players hit 80 points this past season, and 19 players the year before that, all of which were essentially on their team’s number one top-line, so if you’re projecting for someone that interchanges between second line/top line duties, there is a high chance that they won’t hit 80 points this year.
2) Not all players with decent offensive qualities have point-per-game potential.
o Only 17 players were above the point-per-game mark this past season, and 23 players the year before that. Follow the same guidelines as above when projecting point-per-game numbers.
3) Team depth is vitally important; a player playing on the third line isn’t going to be a candidate for 80 points, or even 60 according to the numbers below.
4) Salary plays a large role in ice-time distribution, generally speaking if a team is forking out six million or higher in salary for a player, they are going to receive optimal ice-time. In the salary cap era of the NHL, teams will be very hard-pressed to stick a player making bucket-loads of cash on a checking line.
o Only exception I can think of is Michael Nylander in Washington.
5) Ice-time plays a huge factor in point production.
o Every forward in the top 50 in scoring garnered over 17 minutes of ice-time. The only exception was David Krejci at 16:51.
o In the top 100, there’s a bit if disparity, but rarely does a player average under 15 minutes of ice-time (three out of 100).
6) The Eastern Conference is the more off