Eastern Edge: Production splits from the last two seasons

by Brennan Des on August 13, 2019
  • Eastern Edge
  • Eastern Edge: Production splits from the last two seasons

 

We’ve all been there. Your league’s trade deadline is quickly approaching and you’re scrambling to find players with a reputation for turning it on in the second half. Now, don’t get me wrong, there may be a few players that consistently perform better at the end of the season than in the beginning. But at what point do we label someone a second-half performer? How many seasons do they have to string together for us to call it a trend? More importantly, what happens when they break free of the pattern? Are they no longer ‘second-half performers’? I feel like sometimes we create trends in our heads in order to fulfill our own narratives.

In this week’s article, I took a look at some players who performed significantly better in one half of the 2018-2019 campaign than the other. I included their performance during the 2017-2018 season as well so you can decide whether to waste your time analyzing ‘half-season performances’. If you really put some hard work and statistical analysis into this, you could probably come up with a few cool conclusions. However, I’m of the belief that player performances don’t consistently differ based on which half of the season it is. It doesn’t seem like something that can be accurately predicted, so why waste the time? With all this being said, the momentum of a strong second half can carry through to the following season. So, while it might be a waste of time to predict future second-half performers, it can be valuable to use strong second-half performances from the previous season as support for a strong showing in the upcoming season.

 

Teuvo Teravainen

 

2017-2018

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

41

11

22

33

2nd Half

41

12

19

31

 

2018-2019

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

41

10

24

34

2nd Half

41

11

31

42

 

Sebastian Aho is starting to get credit for being a superstar in Carolina, but I think it’s time we start paying more attention to his fellow Finn – who happened to outscore Aho in the second half of the season. I’ve written a lot about Teravainen already this summer, so I’ll try to avoid repeating myself too much. All you really need to know is that he’s capitalized on his opportunities and grown into a player you can rely on for 70+ points. You’ll notice he produced more in the second half of last year’s campaign. Interestingly enough, he played with Aho a lot less in the second half compared to the first. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that Aho limits Teravainen’s production, but it does support the belief that Teravainen is capable of producing his own offense – which is always encouraging.

 

Sean Couturier

 

2017-2018

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

41

21

19

40

2nd Half

41

10

26

36

 

2018-2019

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

39

15

14

29

2nd Half

41

18

29

47

 

Sean Couturier failed to register more than 40 points in each of his first six NHL seasons. Since then, he’s put up back-to-back 76-point campaigns. An increase in ice-time and willingness to shoot the puck have helped Couturier develop into a point-per-game player. He went on an absolute tear to close out the 2018-2019 campaign and I think it’s time we recognize his status as a superstar. For some reason, my immediate reaction when I hear ‘Sean Couturier’ is just ‘pretty good’, like a 60-70-point guy. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have a long track record of excellence like a lot of the other stars. Basically, if your innate response is the same as mine, I encourage you to change the way you think. A comment from last week’s article brought about another great point regarding Couturier’s positive impact on his teammates:

 

 

One final thing to keep in mind is that the Flyers’ power-play struggled last year, capitalizing on just 17.1% of opportunities (23rd in the league). They have the personnel to be much more successful with the man advantage, which could ultimately propel Couturier to a career season.

 

Vincent Trocheck

 

2017-2018

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

40

15

22

37

2nd Half

42

16

22

38

 

2018-2019

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

18

3

11

14

2nd Half

37

7

13

20

 

We’re probably going to have to let this one slide because of the brutal injury he suffered last year, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind going in to your draft. Trocheck didn’t appear fully healthy to close out the 2018-2019 campaign and his production suffered as a result. Don’t be surprised if he gets off to a slow start next season as he takes some time to get back into form.

 

Jonathan Drouin

 

2017-2018

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

36

5

13

18

2nd Half

41

8

20

28

 

2018-2019

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

42

13

20

33

2nd Half

39

5

15

20

 

Jonathan Drouin put up 17 points in first 20 games of the 2018-2019 campaign but closed out the season with just seven points in his final 20 contests. Talk about stark contrast. The reason for his dip in production? Ice-time. In those first 20 games, Drouin was seeing about 18 minutes of action a night, with four minutes of power-play time. Those numbers plummeted during the final 20-game stretch, when he played for just 15 minutes a night – seeing less than two minutes of power-play time. While Drouin has shown flashes of offensive brilliance, he has made a quite a few defensive errors as a Montreal Canadien. The Habs were fighting for a playoff spot at the end of last season, so coach Claude Julien couldn’t afford silly defensive mistakes – which resulted in less opportunities to deploy Drouin. I think Coach Claude will give Drouin every opportunity to show that he is a more complete player next season, so don’t think a lack of ice-time will hinder Drouin’s production to open the 2019-2020 campaign. Ultimately, Drouin’s fate will be in his own hands.

 

Kyle Palmieri

 

2017-2018

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

21

6

8

14

2nd Half

41

18

12

30

 

2018-2019

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

41

20

16

36

2nd Half

33

7

7

14

 

Palmieri was amazing in the first half of last season and terrible in the second half. Taylor Hall was healthy for the first half of last season but injured during the second half. Coincidence? I think not. While I’m personally not comfortable drafting players who are dependent on their teammates for production, the Devils have made some great offensive improvements to the roster. Palmieri will definitely have a great deal of support next season, so I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

 

Cam Atkinson

 

2017-2018

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

32

6

7

13

2nd Half

33

18

15

33

 

2018-2019

 

Games Played

Goals

Assists

Points

1st Half

40

24

18

42

2nd Half

40

17

10

27

 

Atkinson is an interesting case because he hasn’t really produced consistently for a full season. During the 2017-2018 campaign he had a poor first half and amazing second half, but last year he had a great start and poor finish. The same was true for teammate Pierre-Luc Dubois, which makes sense as Atkinson and Dubois were deployed together often last year and seem to produce as a duo (we’re going to pretend that Panarin doesn’t exist anymore for the sake of all three Blue Jackets’ fans reading this). Ultimately, Panarin’s departure is a greater cause for concern than any half-season split stats. I personally think Atkinson can still manage 60-65 points next year, especially as Dubois continues to develop.