Goldipucks and the Three Skaters: Clayton Keller, Troy Terry & Brock Nelson

Rick Roos

2022-05-04

Welcome back to Goldipucks and the Three Skaters, a play on words of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Instead of there being three bowls of porridge though, I cover three skaters and declare one too hot (i.e., doing unsustainably better than he should), another too cold (i.e., doing unsustainably worse), and a third “just right” (i.e., producing where he should be). In addition, I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.

Now that the 2021-22 regular season has ended, the temptation is for poolies to ease off the gas pedal and not think about hockey for a while, like what some NHLers on non-playoff teams are likely doing. Speaking of teams not competing for the Cup, the three skaters being covered here (Clayton Keller, Troy Terry, Brock Nelson) are on such squads, making their data all the more crucial to note since come next season it'll have been longer since you've seen them play than those who are still lacing up their skates. Stop now to consider which one had a 2021-22 that was too hot, versus too cold or just right. Then lock in your choices to see if you're on your A game by correctly guessing all three.

Clayton Keller (67 games, 28G, 35A, 177 SOG, 11 PPPts, 20:08 TOI, 2:53 PP, 67.9% PP%)

A season after being picked seventh overall, Keller scored 65 points for a team that tallied a mere 208 goals, second worst in the NHL. Keller's next three campaigns saw him post less impressive scoring rates in the 47- to 52-point range, leading some to wonder if he'd be able to fulfill his immense talent while stuck in the hockey wasteland that is Arizona. Just when folks might've resigned themselves to Keller disappointing, he awoke this season to the tune of 63 points in 67 games. Was it just a desert mirage? No; in fact signs point to Keller being able to use 2021-22 as a stepping-stone to even better seasons to come.

First off, Keller emerged with just four points in his first 11 games, meaning he went on to tally 59 points in his next 56 contests, which would've translated to a full season pace of 86. Also, in the 15 games Keller missed, Arizona managed just 33 goals, for 2.2 per game, versus 2.58 in the contests in which he appeared. That underscores how integral he is, plus how well he produced despite his team's woeful offense, which was the worst in the league (2.51 goals per game overall). Yes, Arizona isn't likely to get much better next season or perhaps in the near term. Even still, things shouldn't