A week off between Maple Leafs games to start the season - while probably good for the recovery of the injured players - is hell for the fans. Hopefully some charts can ease the pain.
One surgery turned into two, followed by a bone infection that required six weeks of antibiotics. When it finally looked like the infection was gone, Lupul started to rehab and was hopeful of returning and reaching the 20-goal mark again. But the infection roared back, costing him another eight weeks.
Tomas Fleischmann was the 63rd overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the same 2002 draft. Before he could be signed by DET, his rights were traded along with a 1st and 4th round picks to the Capitals for Robert Lang, where he played between Hershey and Washington for 5 seasons before being traded again to Colorado for Scott Hannan. After going on a near point-per-game clip for Colorado, doctors discovered he had a blood clot in both of his lungs:
Both players have had their careers interrupted by fairly unusual injury setbacks - but now they are getting another chance to prove they can be Top 6 forwards on their respective teams. Which one will outperform in 2011/2012?
How they compare over their last 200 games played:
After signing with the Florida Panthers in the offseason, Fleischmann's cap hit is now very comparable to Lupul's and over their last 200 games played they have similar offensive and TOI stats. Let's dig a little deeper into each stat over this stretch of play.
Average Time-on-Ice per game:
Once we get past the first 50 games charted above, the TOI similarities (shown above by a 30 game moving average) get a bit spooky. Both saw a decent amount of ice-time for a 2nd line/3rd line tweener, followed by steady decline and then a sharp ascent post-trade. Both were traded from offense-heavy teams (WSH, ANA) to offense-starved teams (COL,TOR) for defensemen (Hannan, Beauchemin) in a push towards a Cup run. While Fleischmann didn't re-sign in Colorado, it is likely that he will see plenty of Top 6 ice-time with Florida.
Shots on Goal per 60 minutes:
Not much to say here - I would hardly call it a "dominating" edge, but Lupul clearly likes to shoot the puck more often than Fleischmann, no matter the amount of ice-time played. More recently however (the last 40 games played or so), the gap seems to be narrowing.
Goals per 60 minutes:
Here's a great example of shooting more not necessarily leading to greater goal-scoring success. While as we saw before Lupul clearly shoots more than Fleischmann, it hasn't lead to a terrible amount more of goals per sixty minutes of ice.
Points per 60 minutes:
Here Fleischmann gets the slight edge, but as we can see above the consistency is a bit of an issue - he had several games on a torrid point-scoring pace, only to spend a lengthy period of time with subpar production.