USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS
BU took on Providence College in the NCAA Championship game, so I took the opportunity to get one last look at Jack Eichel and co. before the summer.
I kept my eye on a pair of draft eligible forwards – Jack Eichel and A.J. Greer – for BU, while I tracked a couple drafted forwards on Providence in Mark Jankowski (Calgary) and Brian Pinho (Washington).
BU carried play for much of the first two periods so that likely factored in, but even when it was all Providence in the 3rd both Jankowski and Pinho saw a very limited amount of zone starts in the offensive zone. As NHL prospects that are both capable of playing 200-foot games, it was clear that Providence trusted them and relied heavily on them for defensive minutes. They did take some shifts together, but despite similar zone starts the majority of the time they played on different lines.
Jack Eichel is the best player in college hockey, but he wasn’t given a ton of offensive zone starts. One reason for that is likely his ability to dominate the neutral zone and drive play up ice, which you’ll see below.
A.J. Greer’s line was BU’s best offensive line in his game and he’s one of the younger players on the team, so he saw plenty of offensive zone starts as a result.
Given the amount of shifts Jankowski and Pinho started outside of the offensive zone it was surprising they only combined for one entry attempt. Providence plays a structured defensive pro-style system and they dump and chase a lot, so that’s probably a big reason why.
Eichel once again dominated through the neutral zone. He’s a dynamic skater, strong on the puck, and is an excellent puck handler so whether Providence attacked him at the line or not he was carrying it in.
Greer is your proto-typical power forward – he likes to dump it in, forecheck, cycle, etc. – so it wasn’t surprising he only had one entry. Most times when he gained center he’d just dump it in.
Given the amount of defensive zone starts Jankowski and Pinho had, their numbers are impressive. Pinho’s vary a little bit more because he had a couple shifts where Providence was able to sustain offensive zone time and generated multi-shot attempt shifts.
Eichel played relatively heavy defensive minutes, and was up against a very structured team loaded with players in their early-to-mid 20’s so his numbers weren’t as dominant as usual. Still, he was excellent through the neutral zone, picked up an assist, and came out almost even in possession so it was still a solid effort.
Greer’s line was clicking on all cylinders and he was given a good chunk of offensive zone starts – he didn’t really start in the defensive zone until Providence was carrying play late and he had to in order to get on the ice – so his numbers weren’t entirely surprising. It was an impressive showing, though.
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