Frozen Pool Forensics: A Look Back

by Cam Robinson on April 15, 2016

Frozen Forensics revisits prognostications made in this column throughout the season. 

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Projections, predictions, forecasts… whatever you want to call it, looking deep within the crystal ball is a challenging task. Putting yourself out there in an attempt to display vast knowledge and all-seeing omnipotence is fraught with pitfalls. While it’s never going to be all first-round sweeps and overtime winners, you have take the good with the bad.

With that in mind, this week on Frozen Pool Forensics, we’re going to take a look back at some of the players featured this season, compare their numbers from before and after the article, and see just how well the projected point paces ended up.

The Underperformers

Not cool, bro.

Max Domi

Back on November 27th when Domi was featured on Forensics, he was off to a terrific start to his NHL career. The former London Knight had accumulated 18 points through 21 games, the Coyotes looked like they may challenge for a Wild Card spot, and Don Maloney still had a job. Well, none of those things kept happening. Domi’s season has to be considered a success, but he fell well off the pace of the top freshman scorers, and the Coyotes slipped down the standings. Domi finished with 52 points in 81 games and will be looked at as a potential breakout candidate for next season.

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.7-0.85 (42-51 more points in 61 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 0.58 (34 points in 60 games)

Shayne Gostisbehere

And the winner of the best waiver-wire pickup goes to… Every GM who grabbed Gostisbehere!

The man affectionately known as Ghost Bear has been a revelation for the Flyers, and anyone lucky enough to have plucked him off the wire in early November. At the time of writing his feature on February 19th, Gostisbehere was in the midst of his NHL record setting point streak for rookie defensemen; he was scoring overtime winners like Raffi eats pocket-dogs, and was making a very noisy case for Calder Trophy honours.

Gositsbehere's impact this season should not be understated. He rewrote the NHL record book as well as the Flyers’ season, propelling them into the playoffs as one of the league’s hottest teams. While he appears to be a virtual lock for a Calder finalist nod, his projected pace for the remaining schedule was sadly overestimated.

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.7-0.8 (18-20 more points in 26 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 0.50 (13 points in 26 games)

Tyler Toffoli

Back when Tyler Toffoli was featured in early January, he was living the high life next to Selke-favourite, and top-15 scorer, Anze Kopitar. The two were making some sweet music together. But since this is the LA Kings we’re talking about, of course it didn’t make sense to keep your two best offensive players together for the long haul. Coach Darryl Sutter saw fit to mix and match his lines, and Toffoli’s production was the price paid.

Here’s a look at Toffoli’s fourth quarter line production, found on Dobber’s Player Profile Page:

                           

While Toffoli did finish his season on a nice run of nine points in eight games, and broke the 30 goal barrier for the first time in his career, his 31 goals and 58 points were shy of the estimated production that was made on this column. One should know better than to predict consistent production from any Kings player not named Kopitar. Live and learn.

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.7-0.85 (30-36 more points in 43 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 0.63 (27 points in 43 games)

The Overachievers

That’s okay, we like extra points.

Artemi Panarin

What more can we say about ‘The Breadman’? He’s the odds on favourite to take home the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, he’s been credited with helping Patrick Kane go from perennial all-star to the league’s top scorer – and most valuable player – and he’s produced a ton of points for the Blackhawks – the second-most ever by a Blackhawks rookie.

Way back on November 20th, he was profiled on this column. That write-up was quite flattering for the young Russian winger. He was cruising along at a point-per-game pace, totalling 21 points through 21 games. However, I wasn’t going to be blinded by the early season magic… the NHL is a long and grueling test of attrition, longer than any he’s every seen before, and that grinding schedule was sure to catch up. As such, it was easy to shy away from forecasting a point-per-game pace for the remaining 61 games… Of course, Panarin nearly did just about that, settling for 56 points down the stretch, and solidifying himself and Kane as one of the league’s most dynamic duos.

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.75-0.85 (45-51 more points in 61 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 0.92 (56 points in 61 games)

Vincent Trocheck

Trocheck was featured on February 12th and at the time he was performing admirably as the Panthers’ second line centre. His 35 points in 54 games wasn’t necessarily indicative of how strong he’d been of late, but still, expectations needed to be tempered. Here was a second-year player with a high shooting percentage who was scoring most of his points at even-strength. This looked like a classic case of a young guy on a heater that was going to cool off soon.

Not so, says Vinny. Despite missing the final six games of the season, Trocheck continued to be the straw that stirred the drink for Panthers. He recorded 19 points in his final 22 games, and finished up his season with a tidy 53 points in 76 games. Sure, his shooting percentage remained at a likely unsustainably high 14.4 percent, and his 40 even-strength points will be difficult to replicate, but Trocheck proved myself and many others wrong this year. He has an extra gear that I wasn’t so sure about.

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.6-0.7 (16-19 more points in 28 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 0.86 (19 points in 22 games)

Filip Forsberg

Nashville still has an aura of a defensive team first and foremost, but they’ve got some sneaky good offensive players, not the least of which is Filip Forsberg. When the sophomore winger was profiled in late February, he was in the midst of a torrid goal scoring streak, and had accumulated 43 points through 61 games. Good for a 0.70 point-per-game pace.

After an up-and-down season, it was likely that his excessively high shooting percentage would fall and we would see a downtick in production. Well, Forsberg had other thoughts. In the final 20 games of the season, the former Capitals’ first rounder put up 10 goals and 22 points. He wrapped up his first ever 30-goal season, scored five points in the final three games, and is looking to keep things rolling against Anaheim in round one.

                

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.7 – 0.8 (14-16 more points in 20 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 1.1 (22 points in 20 games)

Spot on.

Ah, this porridge is just right.

Bo Horvat

Boy, did the Canucks ever have a tough year. They finished the regular season with the third-worst record, and owned a league-worst goal differential of minus-52. Bo Horvat struggled right along with his teammates, narrowly missing out on the green jacket for worst plus/minus, sporting a minus-30. At the time of his feature at the end of January, Horvat was in the midst of a nice run of 12 points in 12 games. Together with fellow youngster Sven Baertschi, things seemed to be coming together for the sophomore centre during a dark and challenging season.

As a Canucks fan, I wasn’t going to be blinded by the short-term burst, and projected him to put up roughly a half-point per game for the remaining 32 games. With a nice run of seven points in the final six games, Bo made the prediction true. He finished his season with 18 points in the final 32 games.

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.5-0.6 (16-19 more points in 32 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 0.56 (18 points in 32 games)

Alex Galchenyuk

All it took for Galchenyuk to get a fair crack at playing centre on the top two lines was a Montreal nosedive down the standings and an injury to David Desharnais. When he finally got there, Galchenyuk did not disappoint. Upon being featured on this column in mid-March, the American-born and Russian-raised sniper was terrorizing opposing goaltenders. He had scored 13 goals in his previous 13 games – the most in the league during that span.

While Galchenyuk appeared to be breaking out in the all-important fourth season, his shooting percentage was far too high to maintain and his Montreal Canadiens were playing out the string on a disappointing season. Predicted to score nine or 10 more points in the final 14 games, Galchenyuk did just that, producing five goals and five assists down the stretch for the Habs.

Projected Point-Per-Game Pace: 0.65-0.7 (9-10 more points in 14 remaining games)

Actual Point-Per-Game Results: 0.7 (10 points in 14 games)

Patrick Kane

We’ve saved the best for last.

Not only was Patrick Kane the league’s most dangerous player this season, he was also one of the more difficult players to project. At the time of writing (December 18th), Kane was scorching the league at a pace of nearly 1.5 points-per-game. Kane had typically been a hot starter, and then would slide off that pace as the year moved on, usually ending around the point-per-game mark.

Something felt a little different this season, and it was forecasted that he would split the difference between his magical first-half and his historic point-per-game pace and land somewhere in the 1.2 point-per-game range. The direct quote was,

“There is another possibility here… that this is a career season for Kane and not just a career first half. If that’s the case, then maybe he can sustain something near his 1.43 point-per-game pace. Let’s split the difference and call it a 1.2 point-per-game pace for the remaining 50 games – giving him 60 more points. That would bring him up into the triple-digit club for a total of 106.”

Well I’ll be damned. Kane ended up with exactly 60 points in his final 50 games to end up with… you guessed it, 106 total points. This prognostication thing isn’t so difficult after all!

Here’s a look at all the players featured, their pace at the time of writing, the prediction made, and their actual pace:

Name

Pace at time of article

Prediction

Pace for the remaining schedule

Final results

John Klingberg

0.94

0.75 – 0.9

0.72

0.75

Artemi Panarin

1.0

0.75 – 0.85

0.92

0.96

Max Domi

0.86

0.7 – 0.85

0.58

0.64

Nathan MacKinnon

0.96

0.85 – 0.95

0.6

0.72

Phil Kessel

0.63

0.75 – 0.9

0.76

0.72

Patrick Kane

1.44

1.1 – 1.3

1.2

1.29

Johnny Gaudreau

1.1

0.9 – 1.2

0.93

0.99

Tyler Toffoli

0.8

0.7 – 0.85

0.63

0.71

Evgeny Kuznetsov

1.04

0.9 – 1.0

0.81

0.94

Bo Horvat

0.44

0.5 – 0.7

0.56

0.49

Vincent Trocheck

0.65

0.6 – 0.7

0.86

0.7

Shayne Gostisbehere

0.87

0.7 – 0.8

0.5

0.72

Filip Forsberg

0.7

0.7 – 0.8

1.0

0.79

Joe Thornton

0.97

0.9 – 1.0

1.1

0.99

Alex Galchenyuk

0.67

0.65 – 0.7

0.71

0.68

Brent Burns

0.93

0.85 – 0.95

0.85

0.91

Brayden Schenn

0.73

0.85 – 0.95

0.8

0.74

 

Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I mostly retweet witty comments of others, and occasionally add my own.

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The Norris Debate

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