We're through 4 games of the 2017/2018 NHL season, and while it's still early, I think there's an elephant in the room we need to be talking about.
The Marner/Bozak/JVR line (henceforth referred to as JBM) seems to be developing into something of a problem early on.
Only 5 forwards on the team are a minus through the opening 4 games. 2 guys on the 4th line are -1 (Martin and Brown). The JBM line -12. Bozak is -3, JVR is -4, and Marner is a -5.
Now; don't get me wrong, I know +/- is an imperfect stat, but when you consider they are seemingly the most victimized line through 4 games, it's a little jarring.
The JBM line has a combined 13 points through the opening 4 games as well. Bozak and Marner have 4 each, and JVR has 5. Interestingly, over half their points are on the PP, with Marner and Bozak each having 2 PP points, and JVR has 4.
Unfortunately; I'm completely inept when it comes to studying usage and finding the resources to get the information, but I'd really like to see what advanced stats are telling us about these three, because the eye-test thus far hasn't been very good.
One other interesting thing to note is that Bozak's TOI has gone down steadily over the last few seasons as well. In 14/15 he averaged 19:08 a night. It's basically fallen like a shit from heaven every year since. In 15/16 it was 17:20. In 16/17 it was 16:25, and through 4 games this year he's averaged 15:21.
Is it time we start talking about breaking up this trio? Maybe it's time to consider shuffling guys around and giving Bozak a more defensively responsible winger (like Komarov, or Brown)?
Or am I just being Chicken Little?