Time for that portion of the program where I turn into JenLC from Second City Hockey for a post. Though she definitely wears it better and with much better charisma. But anyway, let’s dig a little deep and see a little light on our beloved Hawks.
The first number is Bryan Bickell’s goal total this year in 48 games. The second number is his total in 48 games last year. What I haven’t included is his paycheck, which apparently has fogged everyone’s lenses when viewing the Pit Bull Hero. But let’s go even deeper. For the most part, Bicks has played on the 3rd line this year with Andrew Shaw at center, just as he did last year. His Corsi-For percentage this year with Shaw is 57.5%, which is quite good and above the team rate actually. Last year? 57.3% with Shaw.
His overall Corsi-percentage is actually better this year, at 57.7% which is 2% above the team-rate, compared to 55.3% last year.
Ah, but some of you will point out that he was +12 last year and a -8 this year. Let me point out his PDO (sum of shooting-percentage and save-percentage while player is on the ice, essentially a measure of luck). It was 102.9 last year, and is kind of an abysmal 94.0 this year. So while Bickell may have been a tad lucky last year, he’s getting the dog’s balls luck this year (I think that term works. Let’s just go with it).
Ok, he’s only got 2 assists this year where he had 14 last year, though I’m not sure he’s supposed to be a playmaker over there. Some of that may have to do with Shaw’s slump in SH% and not having a constant threat on the other wing, which Viktor Stalberg really was during the regular season last year.
What has changed is his ice-time. Bickell has played 93 less minutes in 48 games this year vs. last, or almost exactly two per game. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s more than a little. But with less time, Bickell has scored at a higher rate and driven possession just as much.
Quite frankly, Bickell has been what he’s always been. A solid third-line winger who isn’t as physical as his size would suggest but is hardly a liability. But what has changed is his bank account, which for some reason makes people think (including his coach) that he’s going to morph into someone different at the age of 28 (which would be on the back end of a player’s prime, basically).
Even if we’re judging Bicks through the prism of his paycheck, he earned that contract through his playoff performance. It’s only fair then to only judge him after his playoff performance this year. If it’s as good as his previous three have been (and he’s been good in all of them) everyone screaming “EARN YOUR MONEY HARF HARF BLUE COLLAR HARF HARF I’M CHOKING ON A GRILLED ONION HARF HARF” can kiss his and my ass.
Brandon Saad’s and Jonathan Toews’s Corsi% when played together. Both drop about 7% when not played together. They’ve only played together for a bout 145 minutes on the season. Last season there was a drop of 5-6 % for each when they didn’t play together. Moral of the story is that they should always play together.
This is Ben Smith’s shooting percentage. What’s funny is that it might be a little low for him. In 155 games in Rockford, Smith scored 61 goals on 329 shots for a SH% of 19%. Obviously, it’s not a shock when someone’s percentage drops in the NHL, where the goalies are better and the time and space are less. But a drop of 7% sounds high, and either for the rest of this year or maybe in future years I think we can expect to see Smith’s goal total rise to somewhere between 12-17 as he figures out the NHL game more.