Unconventional Wisdom - New Kids on the Block

Christian Petersen

A look back at the past performance of our mid-season acquisitions through the lens of fancystats.

At the beginning of the 2013-14 season we took a look back at the then current Pittsburgh Penguins players by examining the previous 3 seasons worth of fancystats. In Part 1 we looked at Goals vs Threshold, then in Part 2 looked at Point Shares, and finally in Part 3 looked at Hockey Analysis Rating. We've checked back in on these by looking at the current numbers for this season from time to time, but as of yet we haven't gone back and looked at our new guys to see how they looked in past years before coming to Pittsburgh.

At the beginning of the season we looked at all of the players on the active NHL roster, including newly signed Kobasew. There have been a number of call-ups since then that also have past data we could look at: Conner, Zolnierczyk, Ebbett, Letourneau-Leblond, and Drazenovic. However, they were all slated for the AHL at the time, had spent previous years bouncing back and forth between the NHL and AHL, and even this season have had relatively limited exposure at the NHL level. So we just kind of breezed past them as they didn't actually fit our discussions for trying to decide who belongs where in the lineup.

However, since that time we have gotten three new veterans that do have a lengthy NHL history to work with. Taylor Pyatt isn't quite new any longer as he has been with the team since being claimed off waivers in early January. The other two are our recent Trade Deadline acquisitions Marcel Goc and  Lee Stempniak. So like we did for our other NHL roster players at the start of the year, let's look back over the past 3 seasons of data and see how they looked from 2010-13. I don't actually have the raw numbers I used from our other players at the start of the season, however I can compare them to the team's current performances from this season to see where they stack up.

Offensive Goals vs Threshold

For the 3 year average OGvT it was a clear difference between Stempniak at 4.4 and the lower tier of Goc 1.6 and Pyatt 1.2. If we look at the progressions though, Stempniak was about even in 2010-11 and 2012-13 but took a bit of a dip in 2011-12. Goc improved from a rough 2010-11 to remain more or less stable in the previous two seasons. And lastly Pyatt took an extreme nose dive from a hot 2010-11 season to have at practically 0 the past 2 years. Interestingly, back in 2010-11 Pyatt and Stempniak skated together in Phoenix, and that seems to have been their best year offensively. Which does explain why Bylsma tried playing the two of them together on a line with Sutter that first night.

Next we will go ahead and compare that on a per game basis to the rest of the team's numbers from this year. In OGvT, Stempniak falls in at #7 behind Gibbons and above Dupuis, although all 3 of them are miles below the Top 5 of Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Kunitz, and Jokinen. Goc falls in at #11 behind Sutter and Zolnierczyk, while Pyatt is #13 behind Megna and just ahead of Conner, Glass, and Vitale. The others are all negative, Ebbett, Bennett, Kobasew, Adams, and Sill.

Defensive Goals vs Threshold

For the 3 year average DGvT we have Goc and Stempniak neck and neck at 2.4 with Pyatt a bit further behind at 1.6. Progressively, Stempniak has improved each year. However, Goc saw a pretty steep dropoff last year after maintaining solid numbers and even slightly improving before then. Pyatt had an excellent defensive year in 2010-11, then plummeted drastically in 2011-12, only to came back up slightly in 2012-13.

Again, compared to the numbers from this year, Goc would fall in at #6 behind Dupuis, Adams, Sutter, Kunitz, and Sill. Stempniak is further down at #11 behind Neal, Malkin, Vitale, and Crosby. And then Pyatt is #16 behind Jokinen, Glass, Gibbons, and Megna. Bennett, Kobasew, Zolnierczyk, Conner, and Ebbett bring up the rear.

Goals vs Threshold

Overall GvT over that 3 year span, Stempniak leads the way with a 6.8, followed by Goc at 4.1, and then Pyatt way behind at 2.8. Looking at the progressions again, Stempniak decline a bit in 2011-12, but had a huge comeback last season. Goc maintained 2 equally impressive performances in 2010-11 and 2012-13, but had a much higher total in 2011-12. And Pyatt was on top of the world back in 2010-11 but took a gigantic step backwards in 2011-12, and while he improved last eyar its still not quite good.

Looking at their numbers compared to this year's team, Stempniak comes in at #7 behind our initial Top 6 of Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Kunitz, Jokinen, and Dupuis, while also being just barely ahead of Gibbons and Sutter. Goc falls in right behind them at #10. Pyatt is further down at #14 behind Megna, Vitale, and Zolnierczyk and just barely ahead of Glass. Adams, Conner, and Bennett fall behind them while Kobasew, Sill, and Ebbett are negative.

Offensive Point Shares

Once again we see a pretty clean separation in the 3 year averages, with Stempniak leading the way at 2.3, followed by Goc at 1.3, and then Pyatt further behind at 0.9. Stempniak was fairly even in all 3 years, although there was a slight decrease from his hot 2010-11 season. Goc also stayed fairly steady, although there was a small drop off last season. And Pyatt once again saw a huge decrease from his peak in 2010-11 and even managed to continue to decline last year.

Compared to this year's team, Stempniak actually falls in at #6, so behind our current Top 5 of Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Kunitz, and Jokinen while being just barely ahead of Gibbons. Although neither of them comes anywhere close to the Top 5's numbers. Goc is #9 behind Dupuis and just ahead of Conner and Megna. And lastly Pyatt is #12 just a step above Sutter and Zolnierczyk, with Vitale, Glass, and Bennett bringing up the rear. And Ebbett, Adams, Kobasew, and Sill in the negatives.

Defensive Point Shares

As before, we see Goc and Stempniak neck and neck at 1.2, with Pyatt just a touch behind at 1.1. Stempniak maintained steady numbers all 3 years. Goc had steady numbers for two years and saw a bit of a drop last season. and Pyatt had a strong 2010-11 only to fall off the past 2 seasons.

Defensively Goc comes in at #7, behind our Top 6 of Kunitz, Neal, Malkin, Crosby, Dupuis, and Jokinen oddly enough. Stempniak is #9 behind Sutter and just barely ahead of Gibbons, Megna, and Bennett. Then Pyatt falls in at #13 just barely ahead of Kobasew, with Vitale, Zolnierczyk, Glass, Adams, Conner, Sill, and Ebbett.

Point Shares

Stempniak is clearly the better player, coming in at 3.5. Goc is down at 2.4 while Pyatt is just behind him at 2.0. Stempniak has remained more or less stables this past 3 years, although there was a slight drop off from his 2010-11 season. Goc had two solid seasons and then a decent drop off last year. And Pyatt saw a huge drop from his 2010-11 season and continued a gradual decline last year.

Overall we have Stempniak falling in at #7 behind our Top 6 of Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Kunitz, Jokinen, and Dupuis, and once again just barely ahead of Gibbons, although neither of them nor Dupuis are really on the level of the Top 5. Goc comes in at #9 barely behind them, while Pyatt comes in at #11 behind Megna and just barely ahead of Sutter. Then Conner, Zolnierczyk, Bennett, Vitale and Glass bring up the rear. Kobasew, Adams, Ebbett, and Sill are then our negatives.

Hockey Analysis Rating Offense

HARO goes deeper that the other two, it compares the player's performance to that of all of his teammates as well as all of his opponents, all while factoring in differences in ice time. So we see some radically different numbers, since now we aren't only looking at formulae based on raw goals/points totals but rather an algorithm that compares the player based on how well he did in comparison to his teammates and the opponents faced.

So this time we Goc see leading the way at 9.1, with Stempniak behind at 6.9, and Pyatt way below at -4.4.

There is a lot more opportunity for sample size issues to creep up when looking at 1 season or less of data though, so its hard to say how accurate looking at progressions from one season to the next will be. So bearing that in mind I'm not even going to try to analyze their progression from one season to the next nor compare them the the current season's numbers.

Hockey Analysis Rating Defense

HARD we now have the strange distinction of seeing Pyatt creep in at a massive 20.9. Stempniak is a much lower 0.9 while Goc actually falls in at a -1.9.

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