In honour of Bell Lets Talk, I had a brilliant idea to help get some tweets and retweets!
Kris Russell has 123 blocked shots this season. If this hits 123 RTs, we’ll write a full feature in favour of trading for him. #BellLetsTalk pic.twitter.com/ugZARR1GM5— Pension Plan Puppets (@PPPLeafs) January 25, 2017
And then 223 of you decided it was a good idea. And then the rest of the PPP masthead said since it was my idea I should write it, and then I got stuck at work until past 7 pm with more work to do for my side job after that, and suddenly it didn’t seem like such a great idea. Oh well... let’s have some fun!
I’m going to try to make a sincere attempt to list all the possible reasons why it would be a good idea for the Leafs to trade for Kris Russell. Based on my expert analytics analysis, Kris Russell is a better defenseman than Hunwick and Polak. Low hurdle to clear, I know, but let’s take a look. Since we all know that bigger sample sizes are more satiating, I’m looking at career numbers rather than just this season.
(Side Note: Katya, if you’re reading this, you might want to just skip to #2 to avoid my butchered attempts at crunching numbers for your own sanity)
#1 | Analytics
First, let’s look at offensive production. Russell and Hunwick are basically the same as far as point production overall, with Polak lagging badly on the powerplay but the same at even strength.
- Russell - 0.63 P/60 at 5 on 5, 2.63 P/60 on the PP
- Hunwick - 0.65 P/60 at 5 on 5, 2.30 P/60 on the PP
- Polak - 0.63 P/60 at 5 on 5, 0.92 P/60 on the PP
However, according to my cherry-picked research, on the powerplay Russell has a better primary point rate than Hunwick: 1.41 P1/60 vs 1.22 P1/60. So tie goes to Russell.
(Side Note: Yes I know Polak scored in last night’s game shut up it doesn’t count if I can’t see that in Corsica’s database yet!)
What about on the penalty kill? One of the main reasons Hunlack defenders state is that they are necessary for the Leafs to have a good penalty kill. Well, if that’s the case then Russell is the man for you! Here’s their respective stats on the penalty kill:
- Russell - 78.5 CA/60, 19.97 SCA/60
- Hunwick - 85.93 CA/60, 21.01 SCA/60
- Polak - 87.49 CA/60, 20.39 SCA/60
As far as limiting shot attempts and scoring chances against on the PK, Russell has a much better track record. I combined all of those numbers together to make one of those complicated charts that we analytics experts love so much:
#2 | The Eye Test
We know how important the eye test is to many people when it comes to evaluating a player, so let’s do so right now:
Oh, yeah, no, Russell definitely beats the other two in this eye test, no question. Now I see what Spector keeps going on about.
#3 | Animals
Lately, we’ve been hearing all about Nazem Kadri’s cat, so we know how important animal handling skills are to a player’s success. It’s not just a dump stat, folks! So let’s compare, first let’s look at Russell:
Here Russell is working with a St Louis animal shelter during his Blues days, cuddling some adorable puppies that he helped rescue. Awwwwwwwwwwww!
(Side Note: notice he’s along with former Leaf Alex Steen. Coincidence? I think not...)
Now let’s look at Hunwick:
Actually, let’s not. Because I can’t find any pictures of Hunwick with any animals to look at. The best I could find was a Toronto Star article talking about the Leaf players’ various pets in lieu of the Nazem Catri trend that’s sweeping the nation. Apparently Hunwick has a Golden Retriever, like Lassie. Probably thinks it can help save his NHL career.
Well, fine then. Let’s look at Roman Polak:
Again, we can’t. There are no pictures of him either, and he isn’t mentioned at all in the same Toronto Star article so he might not have any pets. This is the closest thing I could find
Sorry Polak, hot dogs aren’t sandwiches and they sure don’t count as animals. Russell carries the day again!
#4 | Entertainment
What about the entertainment factor? It’s one thing to have better analytics, better eye test grade, and better animal handling skill modifier, but to be a Leaf that we can all love, you have to be entertaining. We have dancing Papi, we have skip to my Marner, with have Leo the Ultimate Troll. What can Russell bring to the table?
I think we just found Matthews’ dance partner! Nice suit too.
But how does that stack up to Matt Hunwick?
Just like the Animal Pictures, Matt Hunwick has nothing going for him. I searched on Google, on Reddit, on Google Image Search, and the most entertaining thing I could find on Matt Hunwick was a shirt someone made that said “If Found Please Return To Matt Hunwick”, which doesn’t even make sense since as I already proved he’s not even as attractive as Russell (don’t search for any other pictures of him just take my word for it).
So what about Roman Polak? Well, he’s a BIT better than Hunwick. He did that pretty funny eyebrow waggle and finger point celebration, but other than that his calling card is....
I’ll never not be tired of this picture.
#5 | Hockey Twitter
The Hunlack talk has occupied the Leafs hockey twitterverse all season, but imagine how much MORE twitter it could be if the Leafs had Russlak or Hunwell instead. I mean look at Edmonton. If such an insignificant city like that can have such a hissy fit over Russell being a good/bad player, imagine if he’s playing in the center of the hockey universe! The hot takes will flow like molten lava from an erupting Supervolcano.
Just think of the PPP content. The snark. The photoshops. Fulemin might write an article so big it breaks SB Nation’s bandwidth.
I believe I have, without a doubt, proven that Russell has a lot to offer the Leafs, and they would be foolish not to trade for him immediately.