Frozen Pool Forensics: Bounce-Back Candidates Part 1

by Cam Robinson on August 5, 2016
Claude Giroux - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

This week's Frozen Pool Forensics looks at Claude Giroux, Rick Nash, Sergei Bobrovsky and Tyler Johnson

 

As the long summer slowly but surely creeps towards puck drop, Frozen Pool Forensics will be taking a look at a number of players who could be in line for resurgences back to former glory.

First up…

 

Claude Giroux

Average point-per-game output the last three seasons: 0.94

If you haven’t heard this stat by now, you’re probably living under a rock. Since the 2010-11 season, Claude Giroux leads all scorers with 443 points in 448 games. His point-per-game output of 0.989 places him fifth overall in that span, but health counts, and he’s been workhorse for the Flyers. He’s only missed nine games since the turn of the decade, however, he has seen his offensive numbers dwindle in each of the last two campaigns.

In 2015-16, the Philadelphia captain recorded 22 goals and 67 points in 78 games. That total was good for 19th overall in the league, but for a player normally selected in the first round of fantasy drafts, it was surely considered a disappointment.

 

What Went Wrong in 2015-16?

Giroux finished the season with a 9.1 shooting percentage which is two points below his career average of 11.0. At five-on-five, his conversion rate was just 6.8 percent – the lowest he’s produced since becoming a legitimate offensive force during the 2010-11 campaign.

 

Claude Giroux – Advanced Stats

Year

PDO

5 on 5 SH%

Off. Zone Start %

2015-16

996

6.8

51.38

2014-15

998

7.01

52.25

2013-14

1011

8.89

54.42

2012-13

987

8.59

47.66

2011-12

1014

9.37

48.44

2010-11

1016

8.96

50.61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On top of that dip in goal scoring, the former Gatineau Olympiques star witnessed his power-play numbers take a tumble as well, as he tallied just 27 points with the man advantage. This result comes on the heels of a league leading 38 power play points in 2014-15 and 37 the year before that.

With a little puck luck, and some better finishing by another bounce-back candidate and running-mate, Jakob Voracek, the 28-year-old centre is due to jump back into the 70-plus point range in

2016-17.  

 

2015-16 Line Combinations

Freq

Line Combination

28.3%

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – SIMMONDS,WAYNE

25.9%

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SIMMONDS,WAYNE – VORACEK,JAKUB

19.8%

GIROUX,CLAUDE – RAFFL,MICHAEL – VORACEK,JAKUB

18.7%

GIROUX,CLAUDE – RAFFL,MICHAEL – SCHENN,BRAYDEN

7.2%

GIROUX,CLAUDE – SCHENN,BRAYDEN – VORACEK,JAKUB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why He May Not Bounce Back: There aren’t too many people who believe Giroux doesn’t have the skills to rejoin the league’s top-10 scorers. However, health will be the main concern. Following a sluggish final stretch and recording just one assist in six playoff games, it was revealed that Giroux needed surgery for hip and abdominal injuries. A three-month timetable was set before he could return to full activities, so he may fall victim to a slow start.

 

 

Rick Nash

Average point-per-game output the last three seasons: 0.69

If you’re looking for consistency, look no further than Rick Nash. That might sound off, but take a look at the numbers. The last six seasons have seen the former first overall pick produce point-per-game results of:

Year            PPG    Missed Games

2010-2011:  0.88         (7)

2011-2012:  0.72         (0)

2012-2013:  0.95         (4)

2013-2014:  0.60         (17)

2014-2015:  0.87         (3)

2015-2016:  0.60         (22)

 

See a pattern here? Nash has shown a propensity for showing up on alternating years and if the sequence holds true, you can expect the power forward to jump return to the 0.8 point-per-game mark in 2016-17. Don’t forget, this is a player who scored 42 goals two seasons ago as a 30 year old.

Another major sticking point with the Rangers’ winger is his health. After remaining mostly healthy through the first portion of his career, the 32 year old has found himself a frequent flyer on the IR of late. While some of that has been bad luck, with his age and history, counting on Nash for more than 65 games could be trouble. 

 

2015-16 Even Strength Line Combinations: Rick Nash

Freq

Line Combination

62.6%

BRASSARD,DERICK – NASH,RICK – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

11.2%

BRASSARD,DERICK – MILLER,J.T. – NASH,RICK

11.1%

NASH,RICK – STEPAN,DEREK – ZUCCARELLO,MATS

8.8%

KREIDER,CHRIS – NASH,RICK – STEPAN,DEREK

6.3%

BRASSARD,DERICK – KREIDER,CHRIS – NASH,RICK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why He May Not Bounce Back: Nash has lost his most common linemate with Derick Brassard heading to Ottawa, and this could cause come chemistry issues and lines being tossed in the blender to begin the year. Additionally, Nash was not the victim of poor luck as his PDO sat at 1034 despite his shot rate dropping down from 3.84 per game in 2014-15 to 3.05 last season.

While he may never again produce the kind of numbers his 2014-15 campaign yielded, he is a good bet to score 25-30 goals and produce close to 60 points.

 

Sergei Bobrovsky

Average save percentage the last three seasons: 0.916

What a disaster of a season for Goalie Bob. After an off-season that featured Columbus as the sexy pick to storm into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets stumbled out of the gate and never got their footing.

Using Dobber’s Golie Calculator we can see that the former Vezina Trophy winner was especially putrid to begin his year, posting just two wins in ten games and sporting a 3.97 GAA and .865 save percentage through the first month of the season. Injuries also plagued the netminder, as his 37 games played and 15 wins represented the lowest totals since being traded from Philadelphia following the 2011-12 season.

Columbus is far from dug out of the cellar with one of the worst cap situations in the league and owning a gaping hole at the top of the centre depth chart. However, if we are to look for signs of life, after the terrible month of October, Bobrovsky actually posted a 2.34 GAA and a 0.922 save percentage the rest of the way. Very strong numbers despite the team in front of him battling for a lottery pick.

Dobber’s Goalie Calculator: 11/01/2015 – 04/09/2016

GP 25
Wins 11
GAA 2.33
SV%0.923

 

What Must Go Right: Columbus desperately needs to come out with a strong start this year and that will hinge almost exclusively on the play of Bobrovsky. The good thing is, head coach John Tortorella is a massive supporter of blocking shots and stifling opposing offenses. These two elements should help keep the high-danger chances down against the Russian netinder and keep Bobrovsky's confidence high.

While wins will still be difficult to come by, a season with 50-60 appearance and a 0.920 save percentage is attainable. You shouldn’t feel comfortable with Bobrovsky as your No. 1 fantasy goaltender, but he’s an adequate No. 2 with boom potential and should have a very appealing average draft position come draft day.

 

Tyler Johnson

Average point-per-game output the last three seasons: 0.70

Johnson had a pretty spectacular start to his NHL career. After signing in Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent, the diminutive centre ended up third in the Calder Trophy voting in 2013-14. He's followed that up with 95 points in 103 combined regular season and playoff contests as a sophomore. Expectations were sky high heading into last season.

However, nagging injuries and slumps were the prevailing themes for the former WHL playoff MVP. His 14 goals and 38 points in 69 games were a sad result for all who selected him around his Yahoo ADP of 39th overall.

 

What Went Wrong in 2015-16?

A big reason for his diminished returns was a drop in his power-play points. After compiling 25 PP points in 2014-15, Johnson managed just three goals and 14 assists with the man advantage last season. Additionally, his personal shooting percentage plummeted to 8.4 percent after converting on 14.1 percent of his career chances prior.

That dip in scoring can likely be attributed to the broken wrist sustained during the Lightning’s 2015 Cup run that lingered into last season.

Heading into 2016-17, Johnson should remain securely tied to one or both of Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. With such high-end talent surrounding him and entering into the all-important fourth full season, Johnson is primed to return to his high-scoring ways.

 

Why He May Not Bounce Back: With Steven Stamkos returning to Tampa Bay, head coach Jon Cooper may look to offer his franchise centre the opportunity to skate alongside the team’s top wingers. If that’s the case, Johnson will have to create his offense next to guys like Alex Killorn, Jonathan Drouin and Ryan Callahan. While he’ll still see top power-play minutes, a bump to the second line would make a return to even the 60-point range challenging.

 

Stats courtesy of:

Dobber’s Frozen Pool

Hockey-Reference

QuantHockey

 

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Check back next week for more potential bounce back candidates. Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3.