As we have moved through this summer’s offseason, we’ve periodically paused to take a look at where the Thrashers roster was at that time. In the past we have use the exercise to discuss where the team was in the terms of the salary cap, but today I’d like to focus our attention to what could be the on-ice production of the players who could currently make up the Thrashers’ lineup.
Specifically speaking…goals scored.
For this exercise, I’m going to use last year’s offensive output from the players and compare those stats to last year’s overall Thrashers goal production. The record shows that Atlanta netted 234 goals in last year’s campaign, but in reality they really scored 230 times…4 were gimmick goals awarded by way of shootout wins. So for the sake of today’s discussion, I’m going use 230 goals as the comparison.
Also, I’m including in the proposed lineup the remaining Thrashers RFAs that are still likely to return. In the case of a players like Nic Bergfors and Johnny Oduya, I’m taking into consideration their entire season goal productions…both with New Jersey and Atlanta. Plus, I’m placing Patrice Cormier on the roster to bring the total number of forwards to 13. I’m doing the same on defense with Arturs Kulda.
Nic Antropov – 24g / 43a
Rich Peverley – 22g / 33a
Nic Bergfors – 21g / 23a
Dustin Byfuglien – 17g /17a
Andrew Ladd – 17g / 21a
Evander Kane – 14g / 12a
Bryan Little – 13g / 21a
Jim Slater – 11g / 7a
Todd White – 7g/19a
Ben Eager – 7g / 9a
Chris Thorburn – 4g / 9a
Eric Boulton – 2g / 6a
Patrice Cormier – 0g / 0a (No prior NHL experience)
Zach Bogosian – 10g / 13a
Toby Enstrom – 6g / 44a
Ron Hainsey – 5g /21a
Johnny Oduya – 3g / 10a
Brent Sopel – 1g / 7a
Boris Valabik – 0g / 2a
Arturs Kulda – 0g / 2a
Obviously past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance, but if you add up the goals scored last season by the players listed, you wind up with a grand total of 184 …falling 46 shy of last year’s mark. This is what I refer to as the Thrashers’ Goal Production Deficit, (GPD). This GPD can be pinned on the scoring vacancy left in the wake of Ilya Kovalchuk decade-long presence in the Thrashers lineup. But we are now officially in the post-Kovy era in Thrasherville and must find other ways to plant the puck in the net on a regular basis.
So, just where the Thrashers to find the 46 extra goals to make up the difference?
First off, if Dudley and Co. were able to bring back Maxim Afinogenov that could conceivable reduce the GPD by over half, 24. Again, this assumes a repeat of last year’s showing by the Russian winger. If so, that would leave the theoretical deficit down to a more manageable -22.
Also, as a side note, you would be looking at a team built around the concept of “balanced” scoring. Not one of those players put in more than 24 goals last year.
But even if Max does return…and does turn in another performance as he did in 2009-10…where do you find the other 22 goals? A couple places come to mind here.
First, if you believe as I do that Bryan Little is good for 20 goals a year, then you’re no doubt expecting him to shake off last season’s sophomore slump and increase last year’s 13 goals production by at least 7.
Also, if Evander Kane can find a way to avoid that dreaded sophomore slump, then I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to see him improve on the 14 he netted in his rookie season. Let’s say he too can improve to 20 goals…6 more than last season.
That leaves us 8 goals short of last year’s total. Where do you find ten more goals?
Hey, do you think maybe …possibly… conceivably… theoretically… we could get someone like, say, Todd White to up his production by 8?
More than likely, 8 more goals would come by way of a 2 here, 1 there scenario from multiple players. But that’s what you need to happen in a post-Kovalchuk era…everyone else picking up the slack to close the GPD.
But What…There’s More Deficits To Discuss
While we’re at it, let’s also recognize the other deficit issue with this current crop of Thrashers…the assist totals. Last year Thrashers skaters earned a total of 411 assists, which was the 8th highest total in the NHL.
But the players listed above accounted for just 319. This produces an assists deficit disorder, (ADD), of 92. 32 of that total went with Pavel Kubina when he departed for Tampa Bay.
Returning to Afinogenov, he netted 37 assists last season…so even if the Thrashers re-signed Max, the ADP is –55. You’re gonna have to look all over the roster to address that deficit.
And Finally… I Tweet, Therefore, I Am
Those of you who know me well understand that I have been reluctant to join the twitterverse. Personally, I don’t think people need to know my every move or every thought.
However, Big Shooter of The Blueland Chronicle recently took on the task of proselytizing me into the twitter collective. Apparently he insists on knowing my every move, every thought and every idea in order to make it through the day. When I’m on my back deck, he needs a tweet from me saying so. When I am preparing dinner, he must read what I’m dishing up. When I make my way to the water closet…he must be number one or number two to know.
I resisted, of course, but when he informed me that he could not guarantee my personal safety…or that certain juicy bits of dirty laundry might make it’s way to the blogosphere…I reconsidered.
I guess that’s what I get for spending a weeking in Nashville with The Blueland Chronicle boys last winter. Ya know, Tennessee police detectives and strange women still show up at my door with pictures of BS asking if I know who this man is.
But you know what they say…what happens in Nashvegas, stays in Nashvegas.
Anywway, upon further reconsideration, I have relented…even though quite reluctantly…and have allowed myself to be assimilated into the twitter fold.
Obviously, this made Big Shooter very happy indeed.