Eastern Edge: First Seasons In New Locales, Including Dvorak and Hamilton

Brennan Des

2022-06-14

This week's Eastern Edge is the fourth part of a series looking at how players performed in new surroundings this season. We'll discuss players that joined new teams ahead of the 2021-2022 regular season, as well as those that were traded during the campaign. The earlier parts of the series can be viewed here.

Christian Dvorak

In his first season with the Canadiens, Dvorak posted 33 points in 56 games – a 48-point pace. He scored at a similar rate in each of his final two seasons as a Coyote, so this year's offensive output wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Although Dvorak met expectations in terms of point production, Habs fans would likely classify his first season with the team as a disappointment. He was brought in to replace one of the league's best two-way centers in Phillip Danault, who left Montreal during the offseason and took his elite defensive talent to LA, managing a career-high 27 goals with the Kings this year. Dvorak was never going to fill the void that Danault left, but it was disappointing to see the former Coyote skating slow and looking lost at many points this season.

In hindsight, it's possible that Dvorak looked out of place early on because he started the season under coach Dominique Ducharme, who implemented overcomplicated strategies that most of the team didn't really understand. Dvorak looked much more comfortable and managed to produce more offense once Martin St. Louis took over as bench boss. Under Ducharme, Dvorak posted 16 points in 34 games (0.47 points per game), but under St. Louis, Dvorak tallied 17 points in 22 games (0.77 points per game). It's interesting that Dvorak's offensive game took off under St. Louis, who gave him more of a defensive role at even strength. Under Ducharme, Dvorak started 47% of his shifts in the offensive zone (via NaturalStatTrick), but under St. Louis, Dvorak's offensive zone start percentage was just 35% (