Something In The Way: C.I.’s ’15-’16 Season Preview – Trevor Daley

Oh you’ve probably been waiting for this one.

If earlier today we previewed the Hawks player with the least amount of questions about his upcoming season, this would be the one that quite possibly would have the most. The d-man taking Johnny Oduya’s place, without having really any of Oduya’s game (though some people still seem to think he does, which I can only assume is because they’re both black). The biggest piece gotten in return for Patrick Sharp (unless you think CatButt can do a whole lot from the 4th line). But if the defense allergic Stars were so happy to include Daley in this deal, doesn’t that give one pause?

Last Season (with Dallas): 68 games, 16 goals, 22 assists, 38 points, -13, 34 PIM, 46.1% Corsi Percentage (-9.1% Relative), 50.3% Corsi Competition

The first thing that’s going to jump out at people is the 16 goals from the blue line. Needless to say, the Hawks haven’t had anyone really capable of those kinds of fireworks from the blue line in forever. However, Trevor Daley isn’t really capable of it either, at least not again. It was seven goals over his career high, and nine of those goals came on the power play. At even-strength, Daley had a 10.1% shooting-percentage, which is simply unheard of from a d-man. His overall shooting percentage was 14.1%, which is probably beyond unheard of from a position where almost all shots come from the blue line. It’s more than double his career average of 6.5%. So yeah, expecting him to do double that up again is pure folly. The 22 assists were also a career high, though only by one from his previous. That he might be able to manage again as there’s deeper scoring talent on the Hawks than the one-line Stars last year.

But the offensive end isn’t the worry, is it? Daley simply got clocked in possession, as the Stars weren’t a bad possession team last year. And that’s been most years with Daley in reality, save for the ’13-’14 season where he was actually above water for once.

There are a couple caveats, though how big they are I can’t really tell you. One, Daley was playing top pairing minutes against the stiffest competition the Stars saw from night to night, and in no world should that ever, ever happen. Secondly, he was paired with Alex Goligoski, who really is nothing more than a second pairing possession driver who plays something of a similar game to what Daley would also like to do. Needless to say it wasn’t hard to get behind these two when they were both caught up the ice.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Goligoski was markedly better when he was moved away from Daley, by some 10% in Corsi in fact. So was just about every player who spent significant time with Daley at all, seeing their possession numbers rise anywhere from 6-10 percent when they can escape his ball-and-chain form.

Outlook: Hoo boy. In an ideal world, Daley could be the pusher on a third pairing, become a pretty good bum-slayer if he’s got a solid center fielder behind him. I’m not convinced the Hawks think that though. If you squint you could see where he and Jan-Hejda or even Svedberg could form that. But I fear there’s going to be a desperation to justify his acquisition for fan favorite Sharp and he’s going to see second pairing minutes. And that would be a big problem.

Daley is really only just this side of a disaster in his own zone. If you didn’t like Nick Leddy’s defensive game…


He’s easily knocked off the puck. His positioning at times can look reminiscent of a drunken bro searching for a cab on Clark St. at 3am. His pinches at the other blue line can get ill-advised. There’s going to be a lot of odd-man rushes the other way if Daley is asked to do too much.

I can see a scenario where Daley thrives, if the pairings are laid out something like 2-57, 4-7, 6-Hejda. But that’s going to involve TVR proving he can handle even second pairing minutes and isn’t a construction horse out there after two major leg injuries in the span of one year. It’s going to involve Hejda making the team. It’s going to involve Q not shooting David Rundblad in the face.

That’s a lot of things that need to happen. Prepare to duck.

  • juniorgilb

    I don’t get it. Why trade Oduya for Daley? It should have been easy to take back a draft choice from the Stars instead of Daley. Then re-sign Oduya for a couple hundy more per annum than Daley makes. Why didn’t Stan do this instead of taking on a serious defensive liability?

    • WookRN

      I’m GUESSING that picking up Oduya and Sharp, they wanted a salary dump back at us? But that’s a guess.

      • Bannerman

        Those were two separate transactions. They traded Sharp but Oduya signed as a FA. Perhaps Stan sees something in Daley that no one else does. Oduya wound up being a much better acquisition than most everyone thought at the time. On the other hand, Stan saw something in Rundblad and we’re more or less still waiting to see exactly what that could be.

    • Jane Doe

      The Stars had the leverage in the Sharp trade and you would have to guess they didn’t see Daley getting any better the next two years since he’s 32 already. StanBo gave up all the leverage he had with Sharp by not moving him draft weekend *and* waiting ten days after free agency opened.

      Don’t get me wrong, Stan has done some good work since taking over but he’s really screwed the pooch maximizing trades that have had to happen to get under the cap (i.e., not trading Leddy until *less than a week* before the start of a season you’re heading in to and you’re already over the cap).

    • SuperHawk27

      Getting rid of Sharp’s salary was the main objective. The problem was that a 5.9 mil cap hit is hard to get rid of without taking some salary back. It was so hard that the Hawks had to give up Johns to get rid of it, along with taking on Dailey and Garbutt salaries. They could have traded for prospects or picks, but that doesn’t help the Hawks win now. Stan made the best of a bad situation. Oduya probably wanted too much money to sign, or the Hawks thought that Dailey can replace Oduya’s role on the team.

  • seabsrat

    Think he’ll get some time on the first PP unit?

    • Bannerman

      He’ll QB the second unit and that will be the one that scores the goals.

      • Sopel the catfish

        Hopefully Tivo gets some more time on out there too.

      • Sarcastic Mike

        Hmm. thoughts on the PP lineups?