Addressing the Thrashers GPD (Goal Production Deficit)

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.

Forwards:

Nic Antropov – 24g / 43a

Nic Antropov scored 24 goals and 34 assists for the Thrashers last season (AP photo)

Nic Antropov scored 24 goals and 43 assists for the Thrashers last season (AP photo)

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)

Defense:

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.

Evander Kane accounted for 14 goals and 12 assists in his rookie season last year (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Evander Kane accounted for 14 goals and 12 assists in his rookie season last year (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

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?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Hey, do you think maybe …possibly… conceivably… theoretically… we could get someone like, say, Todd White to up his production by 8?

shrugs…

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.

150 comments Add your comment

Alan R.

July 22nd, 2010
1:55 pm

WELCOME TO TWITTER, MR. BILL TILLER!!

R. Stroz

July 22nd, 2010
1:58 pm

Rawhide is now officially part of the twitter Borg.

Tony C.

July 22nd, 2010
2:01 pm

Eh. you’re more likely to get quoted in national media-hey maybe now you can have fun making up rumors like “Kane, Byfuglien & 2nd-round pick in 2012 to San Jose for Thorton, 3rd round pick in 2011″….

And we all know how much that’ll drive up your numbers-heck you might even get a check out of this gig yet Mr. T!

Mikey

July 22nd, 2010
2:03 pm

Rawhide is now a ‘twit’ like the rest of us LOL!

Got to get some more scoring in the line up.

Hokey Clisters

July 22nd, 2010
2:06 pm

How many tweets could a person tweet if a person could tweet?

BG33Brown

July 22nd, 2010
2:08 pm

et tu rawhide?

World Be Free

July 22nd, 2010
2:09 pm

Rawhide, if you want more out of Todd white, you have to put him on the carton as you did last year to get him going. How about a Todd White billboard? As you come off the 75 (in both directions) so he can see it when he drives to the games and get ticked off!

Todd White with an edge- ooohhh, that’s scary!

frenchy

July 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

Well, if you consider that we were rumored to be in the sweepstake for Kovy, that means more money is available for an additional goal scorer… that should take care of our GPD and APD (get it?) The real question is, who will be this goal scorer and when will Duds sign him?

Always enjoy reading you, Iceman… not always providing my 2 cents but still…

Rawhide

July 22nd, 2010
2:15 pm

Rawhide is now officially part of the twitter Borg.

RStroz - resistance is futile.

Rawhide is now a ‘twit’ like the rest of us LOL!

Mikey – The Divine Mrs. R would argue I have been one for many years now.

And we all know how much that’ll drive up your numbers-heck you might even get a check out of this gig yet Mr. T!

Tony C. – Actually, I’d like to just break even. I still have to deliver papers in the morning to keep the right to host this blog.

et tu rawhide?

BG33Brown – Yes…me too.

Rawhide, if you want more out of Todd white, you have to put him on the carton as you did last year to get him going.

WBF - Should we just start the year off with him on the carton? I mean, why wait 2 month in?

Always enjoy reading you, Iceman… not always providing my 2 cents but still…

frenchy – Thank youuuuuuuu

Darren

July 22nd, 2010
2:18 pm

Don’t forget the start Bogosian got off to before the injury hurt his production the rest of the year. If he gets/stays healthy, I don’t think 15 or so goals is unreasonable to expect, given his talent.

Looking at teams like Nashville that don’t really have *uh* primary scorer, but rely on goals by committee, you can expect collectively the slack to be picked up.

Telfo

July 22nd, 2010
2:22 pm

due to increased ice time and players improving, we should get close to last years goal total, or at least to 220 or so. The goals against has to go down a bunch tho

Tony C.

July 22nd, 2010
2:25 pm

I’d still feel better with another proven 20+ goal-scorer on that roster! I mean who says Esposito does the improbable and nhas a breakout season for us? but realistically, I’d like to see us land Afinegenov, Stepniak or Ponikarovsky (in that order)in order to bolster our “O”.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to look for 20g+ from Kane or Little, but 25+ seems a bit much. To me, the question of the season is:

“Which Byfuglien did we get?”

If that question is answered “Spring 2010″ then I feel lots and lots better about standing pat with our current set of forwards.

But I’m very leery of counting on the big guy to deliver similar results over a full season.

thebigharybeast

July 22nd, 2010
2:26 pm

I still refuse to twit, Rawhide I bite my thumb at you!

I still wish we would resign Max. Im not too worried about goals. With more ice time we can pick up that number. But the assists lost between Max and Kubina . . . ouch!

Matt in Maine

July 22nd, 2010
2:34 pm

I think Little will be good for 25, as I have outlined in my blog: thrashcompactor.blogspot.com

Shameless advertisement, yes, but I’ve outlined in much more detail than I can post on here why I think he’s better than 13 goals.

Cal

July 22nd, 2010
2:39 pm

How about giving up less goals? That would negate having to score as many goals as we did last year. I think Ramsey will (hopefully) use a more defensively sound ’system’ to that of Anderson.
Better defense and consistently decent goaltending will be the path to the playoffs.
Like Darren said – look at Nashville.

Rawhide

July 22nd, 2010
2:41 pm

Matt in Maine – No worries on the “shameless plug”. I’ve added you to my blog roll.

I think you are correct about Littel improving on last year’s production. He’s got to be one of the main players to step it up to replace the loss of Kovalchuk’s 40+ goals.

BTW…Maine is beautiful. Spend some time vacationing in the southern part of the state, Kennebunkport. President Bush 41 has a great pad there.

How about giving up less goals?

Cal – Now there’s a novel idea :grin:

AThrashrfan13

July 22nd, 2010
2:43 pm

Good analysis. Any consideration given to how a Ramsey offensive and defensive gameplan will fit in as compared to the dump and chase system run by Anderson last year? I would think that more aggressive styles by the O and D lines will make up some of the shortfall. What about the effect of having forwards that will get their hands dirty in and arround the net as opposed to the hang back and hang out game played by Kovy last year?

J.B.

July 22nd, 2010
2:54 pm

Reasoner has been traded back into the division. Panthers

Jack

July 22nd, 2010
3:04 pm

Rawhide I feel your pain, I just gave in to the Twit society a ocuple weeks ago. Defintely no twiting during the game

Brendan

July 22nd, 2010
3:05 pm

If we got our GF to 237 and our GA to 226, then we’d be a threat to make the playoffs, and do something once there. Make it happen, Craig Ramsay. I wish Ramsay could bring in Luce as an assistant coach. The two of them were an amazing shutdown pair, on Buffalo’s checking line in the 1970’s, when hockey was ‘wide-open.’

Rawhide

July 22nd, 2010
3:08 pm

Good analysis. Any consideration given to how a Ramsey offensive and defensive gameplan will fit in as compared to the dump and chase system run by Anderson last year?

AThrashrfan13 – I can’t really answer that question right now…but I hope to gain an audience with CR soon. I’ll see if I can get an answer then.

Jack – As I tweeted not too long ago, there will be absolutely no tweeting during games. Eyes and attention on the ice.

Adam

July 22nd, 2010
3:09 pm

You also have to remember that for more than 2/3 of the season whenever Kovy was on the ice, 5 on 5 or PP, it was all about getting him the puck. Yes he put up some goals but how many times did we watch ill advised shots go wide or hit the glass.

A more balanced attack that isn’t so 1 dimensional should equal more goals.
It’s pretty hard to make comparisons as so much has changed and we haven’t even see game 1 under Ramsey yet.

Sara

July 22nd, 2010
3:10 pm

I’m just not seeing it. We lost 97 goals from last year’s team total: Max – 24, Kovy – 31, Kubina – 6, Army – 15, Slava – 8, MacArthur – 3, Artyukhin – 5, Salmela – 1, Popovic – 2, Stapleton -2.

Now, add the 13 Bergie scored in NJ, 17 for Ladd, 17 for Buff, 7 from Eager, 1 from Sopel, 2 from Oduya. That’s 57 goals – still leaving a deficit of 40 goals. Can you get enough improvement from Bergie, Kane, and Little to make up for that? How much can Cormier contribute (or whoever it is who now replaces MacArthur’s spot)? Can Kulda put it in the net?

40 isn’t insurmountable but it isn’t exactly chump change either. Not too mention we’d be one significant player injury away from potential disaster.

I gotta be honest – I’m missing Kovy more by the minute. It’d be nice having one guy that could pick up that slack, making everything else contributed gravy.

kracker

July 22nd, 2010
3:17 pm

Bill, whether it’s number one, number two or some combination I surely don’t want to think about, please leave it out of my twitter feed.

ChippersLoveChild

July 22nd, 2010
3:22 pm

Feel bad for Marty… he thought he was finally moving to a Cup contending team… I’ll be happy to see him in Phillips more frequently though. Always liked Reasoner.

Mikey

July 22nd, 2010
3:31 pm

Rawhide, it looks like you got timmyf over at BWA all in a tizzy with today’s topic.

http://www.birdwatchersanonymous.com/2010/7/22/1582623/dear-thrashers-bloggers-please-stop

Jack

July 22nd, 2010
3:36 pm

What did Chicago receive for Marty?

Buzilla in CT

July 22nd, 2010
3:38 pm

Bill, you could have still used GDP (Goal Deficit Problem)

J.B.

July 22nd, 2010
3:41 pm

C Jeff Taffe

The Real Thrash

July 22nd, 2010
3:42 pm

Does not look like we will sign Afinogenov so we have got to pay another 20 goal scorer.
Defense will not make up for the GPD. New system takes a while to gel.

Jack

July 22nd, 2010
3:59 pm

Sorry meant its a gread idea not to Twit during the game, and you will not be seeing me do it at any venue.

Flames- any news that you can report?.

Rawhide

July 22nd, 2010
4:00 pm

Bill, whether it’s number one, number two or some combination I surely don’t want to think about, please leave it out of my twitter feed.

kracker – I make it my personal pledge to you and all of twiiter-nation that I will never do so.

Rawhide, it looks like you got timmyf over at BWA all in a tizzy with today’s topic.

Mikey – Wow….that’s quite a writeup. But I like timmyf and what he does over at BWA…and I actually think he makes very valid points in his post. But I’m just setting the table of converstation here so that the masses can gather around, adding their comments as side dishes….which you all do my the hundreds each week.

Bill, you could have still used GDP (Goal Deficit Problem)

Zillanator – Ya know, I actually used “Goal Deficit Problem” originally…exactly as you mentioned. But I didn’t want the blog to be linked to and confused by some as a story about the economy. That, plus…I didn’t want people around here going off in that direction either. Know what I mean?

Dwayne

July 22nd, 2010
4:12 pm

Twittin Tiller….Slater will pot 4 more goals than last year. There is half of the 8 you requested.

World Be Free

July 22nd, 2010
4:23 pm

Brendan-Don Luce would be able to teach our centerman how to win faceoffs-hands down.

BlueSpark

July 22nd, 2010
4:35 pm

Stempniak – should be good for another 20, right?

Joe Friday

July 22nd, 2010
4:53 pm

I don’t know why they don’t just sign Frolov and be done with it, are they that afraid of what Ladd’s going to be awarded? Frolov solves the problem and can probably be signed for $4m. Still would leave budget open to make a deadline move for more help if they’re in it

Russ

July 22nd, 2010
5:08 pm

I still say the main problem is the blueline. With the roster as it is right now I would be willing to bet the Thrashers would rank higher among the 30 teams in GF than they would in GA. Should have upped the ante for Kubina, and now there are no suitable replacements left out there in free agency.

Smoothie

July 22nd, 2010
5:09 pm

Fellas, now that I think about it, I think Duds is shrewdly waiting things out to see which of the following players out of Stempniak, Poni, Frolov and Torres get left holding their jock after every team they would prefer to play for says “no thank you”. Somebody will be left and will have to come groveling at the feet of Dudley for a bone to be tossed their way. We’ll get a 15-20 goal scorer on the cheap after another couple weeks…you watch.

R. Stroztradamus

July 22nd, 2010
5:58 pm

If the Thrashers consistently score more goals than their opponent, they will have more wins than loses.

Teams that consistently score less goals than their opponent, usually end up in the lottery draft.

Therefore, a goal production deficit is un-good.

The moral of the story: the three keys to the season are

1) Score more goals than your opponent

2) Score more goals than your opponent

3) Score more goals than your opponent

AThrashrfan13

July 22nd, 2010
6:06 pm

And Slates only played about the 2nd half of the season with any regularity. I have to think he could grind out another 8 or 10 nets. He plays into the agressive system that the Thrashers appear, on the surfacr, o he heading in.

Just Curious

July 22nd, 2010
6:07 pm

Isn’t timmyf the same tool who posted the “Andrew Ladd trade” recently? Maybe he should stick to being an eklund copycat.

Badger Bob

July 22nd, 2010
6:17 pm

Sara, Kovy was not the answer, here or in NJ. We’ll be a better team without him.

Smoothie’s probably right about the signing strategy, but my wild card speculation for the other 20 goals (that we NEED, much more than we need another $3M Dman) are named Wheeler or Bergeron. Boston will have cap issues after Wheeler’s arbitration award (July 27) or contract.

Tool

July 22nd, 2010
6:18 pm

I’m offended by your comparison. Tools have a purpose.

World Be Free

July 22nd, 2010
6:24 pm

I would take Frolov over any of the guys available, even Max.
He has the best offensive tools of any player still available.
Stepmniak was hot late last season, but other than that, his numbers were pretty mediocre for the last 2.5 seasons.

Jack

July 22nd, 2010
6:51 pm

BB agreed Kovy was part of the problem not solution. Afterall he is 1 for 9 in playoff games.

ben

July 22nd, 2010
7:06 pm

I have a funny feeling this isn’t the roster we’re going to be looking at in November. As I opined previously I feel that Kovy won’t go to Russia for good. Now that the NHL has told his people that 17 is a hockey number and not a valid year number, perhaps he’ll get more realistic about money. I mean I don’t have a cap number in front of me but this team has got to be below the floor. I, at any rate, feel a trade happening. Something for a scorer. Maybe a few picks to a team like New Jersey. If they do manage to fit Kovy in the cap, they’ll be trading, and not just scrubs and prospects either.

Brendan

July 22nd, 2010
7:14 pm

WBF, bring in Don Luce, too!!

I echoed Joe Friday’s guest blog for the day suggestion of Frolov. But, I also want the guy to WANT to be here. And if he doesn’t, we’ll just have to find someone who is willing to come and play here. Trouble is, his name is Slava Kozlov. Pass!! I’ve seen enough of that. Max would re-sign here, if the deal were 3 years. And we’ve SEEN Max on a 3-year deal. It’s not pretty. You’ll beg for Todd White back. I tease. I kid. I do that, sometimes. Yeah, Andrew Ladd might get paid. But at least Ladd is happy to be here. Ladd wants to be part of the turn-around process. He’s a very “team oriented” type player. I’m glad we got him. I’m sorry Vishnevsky had to go, but hey … that’s the way it goes.

I still say we need to get on the horn to Sweet Lou … to ask about Zajac. I don’t think the NHL will uphold the Kovy deal, as structured. If the Devils are “so sure” and Kovalchuk is “so sure” that he’ll play all the way to 44 years of age, then let Kovy’s ANNUAL SALARY be $6.0 million, for each of his 17 years. And if Kovy retires early, lopping off 4-5 years, then he also lops off $24 to $30 million of the $102 million. That’s fair. And ya know it. Kovalchuk should be plenty motivated to keep himself fit for his 40’s. Etc. If Kovy says, “Well, I don’t see that I should have lose out on that money past age 39,” then that’s your PROOF that the contract is a mockery of the rules. He never intended to play those years. And the NHL was right to question the intent of the contract, which was merely to reduce the amount of the cap hit. Truthfully, I think I’d settle for NJ still having to lose $6 million off its cap hit for all 17 years of the contract. It’s bad business practice to pay out more than you take in. That’s what this Kovalchuk contract does to the NHL’s payroll landscape. It opens the floodgates for all future contracts of marquee players in their 20’s to be these 12 to 15 to 17 year deals, that much no sense, from a business standpoint. The NHL got into trouble because its payscale got horribly out of hand. The NHL must enforce some form of safety-net against excessively front loaded contracts. Again, pay Kovalchuk his $6-a-year for all 17 years, and I think that’s fair. If NJ is okay paying Kovalchuk $6 million a year when he’s 41, 42, 43, and 44, then fine. Great. Can’t argue with it. That’s risky, but nobody put a gun to their head. They made a contract for too many years, like the Islanders with DiPietro, at $4.5 million-a-year, until he turns 40. If Kovalchuk refuses to play out his contract until he’s 44, then the Devils catch a break. His $6 million comes off the books, the moment of his retirement.

Rawhide

July 22nd, 2010
8:09 pm

I have a funny feeling this isn’t the roster we’re going to be looking at in November

ben – Agreed. Dudley and Co. still have a trick or two left before the puck drops this fall. Remember…Afinogenov wasn’t even invited for a pro tryout last year until after camp started.

However, just as with the case when we discuss salary cap issues this is the current roster as I see it. That is why I use it as a snapshot in time as we move forward.
As far as the cap is concerned with the Thrashers, I think once all of the RFAs are signed, we’ll be right above the floor.

World Be Free

July 22nd, 2010
8:47 pm

Get the RFAs signed; I still think the club cap is $50M.
Brendan-Luce, Ramsay and Danny Gare (later Dudley for Gare). One heck of a line at both ends of the rink.

I like Frolov, then Max (2 yr deal) better than any other UFAs out there because they both put pressure on opposing defenses.

goose

July 22nd, 2010
9:16 pm

I know people are hot on Frolov and I would like to see him in thrashers blue as well as he is the is one of the few consistent 20 goal guys out there, but I don’t think that Dudley would sign him unless it was for a song. Frolov is supposed to be a bit of a head case and bad in the locker room. Dudley is trying to build a team with character guys I don’t think that Frolov fits that bill