"You can not plough a field by turning it over in your mind." - Author Unknown
Season Stats: 82gp, 0g, 10a, 10p, -5, 72 PIMs
Playoff Stats: 13gp, 2g, 1a, 3p, +2, 15 PIMs
Month-by-month Pensburgh grades:
Contract Status: Signed through 2010-2011 ($550,000 cap hit). Becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2011.
The Good: As the quote alludes to, you can't score goals by beating the goalie in your head. You have to win faceoffs, dig pucks out of the corner, and slam guys along the boards. Enter: Adams. He finished the season third on the team in hits at 197 and 12th among all NHL forwards. His 59 blocked shots were good for 7th on the team and 23rd among all NHL forwards. He was also second among Penguins forwards with 2:43 of shorthanded ice time per game. And he was doing this while leading the team in DeltaQS, which means he played the toughest minutes and took most of his draws in the defensive zone.
While this is impressive, it looks even better when you see that Adams saw just 11 minutes of ice time per game. That he was able to place among the best in hits and blocked shots in such little time demonstrates his commitment to the blue-collar work we need him to do. Coupled with Newton's fourth Law of Motion that Craig Adams always gets better and scores goals in the playoffs, he's a tough guy not to like.
The Not-so-good: Scoring goals. While Adams turns it up in the playoffs, it wouldn't hurt if he found a way to chip in five or six goals during the regular season. But he'd have to get better at keeping the puck in the opponent's zone first because he has the worst relative Corsi rating on the team. It seems that whenever Adams is on the ice, he's usually in his own zone frantically trying to take the puck away from the other team and get it up ice.
Faceoffs are another area he could spend some time working on this summer. His 43.8% winning percentage put him 3rd among the Penguins' four main centermen (only Malkin's woeful 40% kept Adams from being last). Adams was also inconsistent, winning faceoffs at a 45.6% clip at home but dropping to a 41.9% winning percentage on the road. He'll help his Corsi numbers and offensive production if he can bring up those numbers next season.
Final Verdict: Adams fits the role that he's asked to play: do the dirty work. And for only $550,000 a year, it's tough to bemoan his lack of goal scoring in the regular season or his below average faceoff percentage. As both the Penguins and the Hurricanes know, you need guys like Craig Adams on your team if you want to win a Cup. Not everyone loves getting in front of heavy shots or nailing guys along the boards on a nightly basis. But that's Adams' specialty, and he'll be back doing what he does for the Pens for at least another year.
Questions and Discussion: When (if at all) do you think Adams will score his first regular season goal with the Penguins? Do you expect anything new from him next year, or will he continue to just march along doing what he does? Bonus poll below...