FanPost

Bozak bad, Grabbo good

Some people like to ignore the "fancy stats" because they are afraid that they involve alchemy and/or witchcraft. But when everything you see matches what you watch on the ice, to ignore a holistic body of evidence is just plain foolish.

Case in point: Tyler Bozak being regarded as anything but a pretty good faceoff man.

To illustrate this point once and for all, I will only use the most basic and regular of all statistics - Goals, Assists, and Points.

To begin our comparison, let us regard a truly under-appreciated player: Mikhail Grabovski.

Below are his career statistics for 5on5 play, showing G/A/P production per 60 minutes of play time (source: http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/)

Season

G/60

A/60

P/60

2008/09

0.706

1.06

1.766

2009/10

0.46

1.458

1.918

2010/11

0.924

1.188

2.112

2011/12

0.895

1.231

2.126

2012/13

0.857

0.285

1.142

0.768

1.044

1.812

At 20 min per game, his career average suggest he would score 21 G, 28.5 A, 49.5 Pts per season. Year over year, 20 goals will put you in about the top-90 for forwards, as will 49-50 pts.

Aside: Although there are 3x30=90 "First Line" players in the NHL, I think over half the teams in the NHL don't have 3 top players on their top lines. Typically you see a pair of good players, with the third guy basically a 2nd-liner that has some chemistry or other abilities (i.e. forechecking) and gets bumped up. Ditto for 2nd lines, they are usually two true 2nd-liners with a 3rd liner bumped up.

So when I evaluate rankings, I take these harsher cuts: Top-60 is 1st line potential (or excellent 2nd liner) and Top-120 is 2nd line potential (or excellent 3rd liner).

However, if we look at just the bold values (which I believe reflect Grabbo's true talent level), then the numbers per 60 become 0.892 – 1.234 – 2.126.

This projects him, again with 20/min per game, to produce at 24 G, 34 A, 58 Pts; this is now in the top-60 ranking for both Goals and Pts for forwards. We are now crossing over from merely a good 2nd-liner to excellent 2nd-line player, and a serviceable 1st liner.

Now, let's compare Tyler Bozak's career 5v5 production in the same period:

Season

G/60

A/60

P/60

2008/09

2009/10

2010/11

0.426

0.586

1.012

2011/12

0.678

0.905

1.583

2012/13

0.62

0.886

1.506

0.575

0.792

1.367

This is from a guy who has been playing top line minutes with one of the NHL's top-10 offensive threats (Phil Kessel). How do his numbers project? If given 20 min per game, he would get 16 G, 21 A, 37 Pts.

If we look at just the past 2 seasons (which are fairly consistent), then we get new per-60 averages of 0.649 – 0.896 – 1.545. At 20 min per game, he would get 18 G, 24 A, 42 Pts.

Just from looking at Goals, Assists, and Points, we can see that Tyler Bozak is not good enough and should not be a first line player on this team.

Since his mere presence on the roster would surely tempt Randy to play him on the first line, then the only logical approach is to remove Tyler Bozak from the roster and wish him luck elsewhere in the NHL.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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