What’s Gone Wrong for Johnny Gaudreau?

by Cam Robinson on January 27, 2017

Digging into the numbers to see what's gone wrong for Johnny Gaudreau.

 

It’s rare that we see a 22-year-old rocket up the scoring lists the way Johnny Gaudreau did a season ago. He avoided the dreaded sophomore slump to improve on a wildly successful rookie season in which he popped 64 points and formed immediate chemistry with Sean Monahan. Together the two looked as if the marriage was all sweatpants and morning coffees – re: comfortable as hell.

 

His 78 points in 2015-16 ranked him seventh in the league and his brilliance was on full display during the World Cup of Hockey last fall. The now-23-year-old held a career 0.89 point-per-game output and looked every bit the part of a fantasy lock.

 

Fast forward to the 2016-17 campaign and things have not gone as smoothly for the diminutive left-winger. So, what’s going on with Johnny Hockey?

 

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With just 11 points in his first 17 games before suffering a finger injury, Gaudreau was way off his career pace. Since returning from that absence, he remains a reason for some fantasy GM hair-pulling with just 18 points in 24 games while sporting a putrid minus-19 rating overall.

 

Time Off…

 

We’ve heard it all before; it is terribly difficult to miss early season games and attempt to play catch up with the rest of the league as they start to kick it into overdrive. Gaudreau may have missed training camp and pre-season action but he was out there flying around with Connor McDavid and co. on Team North America; however, the broken finger caused by continuous slashes to the quick-mitted former Hobey Baker winner did cost him three weeks’ worth of games in mid-November and can be one explanation to why this has been a challenging season thus far. But it doesn’t paint the whole picture.

 

NHL Stats – Last 5 Years

SEASON

GP

G

A

P

PntPG

+/-

PIM

Shots

SH%

HITS

PPG

PPP

SHG

BLKS

FOW

FO%

PPTOI

%PP

%SH

TOI/G

%TOI

2016-2017

41

10

19

29

0.71

-19

0

113

8.8

5

2

10

0

8

0

 

03:36

60.5

0.5

19:08

31.7

2015-2016

79

30

48

78

0.99

4

20

217

13.8

26

6

21

0

10

2

40.0

03:36

64.1

1.5

19:56

32.8

2014-2015

81

24

40

64

0.79

12

14

168

14.3

14

8

21

0

26

3

37.5

02:46

52.6

0.1

17:38

29.1

2013-2014

1

1

0

1

1.00

1

0

1

100.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

01:31

55.5

0.0

15:11

25.3

Average

82

26

43

70

0.85

-1

14

203

13.0

18

6

21

0

18

2

38.5

03:15

58.9

0.8

18:50

31.1

 

 

The Power Play…

 

Despite seeing some of the most power play minutes of his young career and playing on a Flames’ team that boasts the 13th most efficient man-advantage unit, Gaudreau has recorded just one power-play point since the calendar flipped over to 2017 and just two power play points in his last 17 contests. This despite averaging 21 man-advantage points the last two seasons and with the expectations of him leaping into the mix amongst the league leaders in that category.

 

Finding a way to get him more involved in all aspects of their top unit is necessary to spark some further production and help get some confidence back. However, the way in which Calgary’s second line has been producing at both five-on-five and on the man-advantage has begun to cut into the opportunities for Gaudreau and should be a cause for slight concern.

 

 

Underlying Numbers…

 

Let’s be frank here, the former fourth-round pick from 2011 has been the recipient of some poor luck thus far.

 

Gaudreau is currently receiving five-on-five conversion rates on nearly half as many opportunities than a season ago, while his personal shooting percentage has dipped over five percent below his career average. Coupled with some sub-par even-strength save percentages while he is on the ice, explains his ghastly PDO of 956.

 

The good news here is that these numbers are bound to see some positive regression as the season wears on. Especially as he continues to fire nearly three shots on net per contest (2.76) while also seeing an increase in his offensive zone start times by over 11 percent this season.

 

 

Advanced Stats

Year

PDO

5 on 5 SH%

Off. Zone Start %

PTS/60

IPP

2016-17

956

5.48

66.75

2.2

78.4

2015-16

1007

9.6

55.3

3.0

76.5

2014-15

1025

10.62

55.97

2.7

76.5

2013-14

1250

25

28.57

4.0

64.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Change in Company…

 

We mentioned earlier of the quick and productive marriage that Gaudreau and Monahan had eloped into, but so far this season, that magic has been somewhat of a disappearing act. The two played virtually every even-strength shift together in 2015-16 and their success fed off on another – Gaudreau the sublime puck-distributing winger and Monahan the sharp shooting, heavy centre.

 

So far in 2016-17, they’ve played ‘just’ 65 percent of their even-strength shifts together and at times have looked discombobulated. This has led to Gaudreau seeing time on the team’s de facto third line next to struggling sophomore Sam Bennet and Alex Chiasson

 

 

Even Strength Line Combinations – 2015-16

Freq

Line Combination

49.7%

GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – HUDLER,JIRI – MONAHAN,SEAN

19.6%

FERLAND,MICHEAL – GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – MONAHAN,SEAN

15.5%

GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – JONES,DAVID – MONAHAN,SEAN

8%

GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – JOORIS,JOSH – MONAHAN,SEAN

7.2%

FROLIK,MICHAEL – GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – MONAHAN,SEAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even Strength Line Combinations – 2016-17

Freq

Line Combination

42.2%

CHIASSON,ALEX – GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – MONAHAN,SEAN

28.7%

BENNETT,SAM – CHIASSON,ALEX – GAUDREAU,JOHNNY

13.8%

BROUWER,TROY – GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – MONAHAN,SEAN

10.7%

GAUDREAU,JOHNNY – MONAHAN,SEAN – VERSTEEG,KRIS

4.7%

BENNETT,SAM – BROUWER,TROY – GAUDREAU,JOHNNY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two were back together for Calgary’s most recent contest and with a combined $13 million committed to the two young stars, making sure they are producing for their team is paramount; and as history has shown, they seem to play their best when they’re together.

 

The Flames would be well suited to continue to let Gaudreau and Monahan fight through this slump and when it’s finally broken, Calgary will boast one of the more dangerous top six forward groups in the NHL.

 

 

Conclusions…

 

The moral of the story here is that the trademarked, Johnny Hockey is receiving opportune deployment, he continues to shoot the puck with consistency and there’s no reason to think he’s simply lost his magical hands and exceptional hockey IQ. So far in 2016-17, he’s been saddled with some changes in line mates, poor puck luck, inopportune goaltending and the misfortune of an early season injury. All these factors have combined to produce just a 58-point pace over the course of a full season.  Yet through it all, he remains a positive corsi player and bears the brunt of opposition game-structuring.

 

 

 

The conclusion is simple: If you own Gaudreau in a keeper league, hold on and wait for brighter days and if you don’t own him, now may be the most opportune time to try and snake the superstar from an impatient owner who has lost sight of what is truly going on.  

 

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Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I often give unsolicited fantasy advice that I’m sure at least someone is listening to.