USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS
Two playoff bound teams in Kitchener and Guelph squared off on Friday Night Hockey, so I took that as an opportunity to track a few under-the-radar draft eligibles, as well as St. Louis Blues prospect Robby Fabbri.
Forwards Gustaf Franzen and the recently acquired David Miller, who came over from SSM in the Justin Bailey trade, are having pretty good seasons, while Pius Suter will very likely be selected this draft as a 2nd year eligible.
Note: The game went past the time the PvR was set for so I didn’t get to track the last four minutes and change.
Final score: 5-3 Kitchener.
Franzen is a pretty good two-way forward, and it certainly didn’t take long to figure out Kitchener wanted him out there in defensive situations. Spending a good portion of his time against Suter, Tyler Bertuzzi (DET) and Jason Dickinson (DAL), Franzen undoubtedly was given the toughest even-strength minutes up front.
David Miller was spoon fed offensive zone starts early, but Guelph started carrying play as the game went on so he was given more defensive zone starts just to get him on the ice.
Robby Fabbri played a good portion of his minutes against Miller’s line, so he was the exact opposite. A lot of defensive zone starts early, a lot of offensive zone starts in the final 30 or so.
Suter is a pretty reliable two-way guy, but he spent most of the game alongside two of Guelph’s best players in Bertuzzi and Dickinson so naturally he was given a lot of offensive zone starts.
As a center who started a lot of shifts outside of the offensive zone, it was somewhat surprising that Franzen only had one entry attempt throughout. I don’t have the numbers but it looked to me like rookie Adam Mascherin was doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of carrying the puck up ice for that line.
David Miller is a skilled player who plays with good pace, and he did a nice job driving wide with speed and backing off the defense.
The same can be said about Robby Fabbri. He’s a very skilled, shifty player and he had plenty of zone starts outside of the zone so naturally he had quite a few zone entries. He’s the catalyst offensively for his line.
As for Suter, he started a fair amount of his shifts in the offensive zone so he didn’t have a ton of entry attempts, but showed the ability to gain the line with possession whenever he had to.
Given the amount of defensive zone starts Franzen had, his possession numbers were very impressive, especially when you factor in a good chunk of his minutes were against the Bertuzzi-Dickinson-Suter line.
Miller played primarily against Fabbri’s line and had an excellent shot attempt differential early, but his numbers started to drop once he was forced to start several shifts in the defensive zone. It was still a solid performance from him nonetheless.
Fabrics numbers were terrible early, and he was on for several goals against as a result. Once Guelph started to drive play a little bit (perhaps due to score effects) his numbers climbed back up over the 50% mark. It wasn’t a banner night for Fabbri, but he was still pretty good. You can do worse than a 54CF% and three points on three goals.
Suter’s numbers weren’t great given his linemates and all of the offensive zone starts, but he chipped in a goal on the power play to help offset his mediocre even-strength performance.
I recently tracked Suter’s game vs London, so I figured I’d throw his combined totals into this post for a larger sample size.
If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!