2013-14 Season In Review: Craig Adams

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

We start our series looking back on the individual performances of each of the Pittsburgh Penguins players. First up: Craig Adams

Age: 37 (April 26, 1977)

Contract Status: Signed through 2014-15; $700,000; "35+" contract

Buyout Status: Not eligible for compliance buyout

2013-14 Stats

GP

TOI/GP

Goals

Assists

Points

82

12:27

5

6

11

Corsi For %

Corsi Rel %

Quality of Comp. (TOI%)

Zone Start %

PDO

40.8% (13)

-9.4% (12)

27.4% (12)

38.9% (12)

95.4% (13)

(Numbers in parentheses indicate descending rank among regular Penguins players at his position, i.e. one of the team's top nine defensemen or top 14 forwards.)

Most frequent forward linemates

Linemates

Goals For%

Corsi For%

Total 5v5 time (758:40 for Adams)

Tanner Glass

40.0%

39.0%

305:28

Joe Vitale

33.3%

46.8%

189:52

Brandon Sutter

20.0%

37.4%

155:51

Due to all the injuries, the Penguins didn't have a constant 4th line, although Glass and Adams were together for 40% of all of Adams time on the ice. Predictably, it was an anchor in Corsi.

Playing with Vitale was a bit better Corsi wise, but definitely not for seeing the goals go in the right net, with two of every three going in the Pens net. And just don't bother looking at the Sutter numbers, those are awful.


The old warhorse

Craig Adams is probably one of his embattled coach’s and former GM’s favorite players. Adams is the prototypical reliable old warhorse that would put his face in front of a shot if he had to. Three times Craig Adams has come close to being a free agent since the Penguins claimed him in early 2009, and three times ex-GM Ray Shero gave him a two-year contract. Granted, for not much money, but that’s excellent financial security for a borderline, aging NHL player to continue to earn management’s trust and get a multi-year deal.

Craig Adams is a "heart and soul" type player. He’s a guy that old-school fans love, but many more would pick apart for limited tangible contributions. He’s got almost no utility at even strength (as evidenced by playing just 6:30 per game in the playoffs at ES) because he has very limited skills. Adams only had 73 shots on goal all season and not having the speed or passing ability to generate many (if any) scoring chances for his teammates.

On the plus side, Adams did "bring his lunch pail" and perform the dirty work that he is expected to every night. He was 3rd on the team in hits (190) and he led all forwards in blocked shots (59) on the season. There’s no doubting the effort or will of Craig Adams, and as a veteran leader, he definitely is a player willing to do whatever he can to help, one hard-earned reason that he is a coach’s favorite.

Bad PK Stats, Worse ES ones

Adams is supposed to be good on the PK, but he was on the ice for a team-high 22 goals against while playing 4v5. Some of this could be usage related- Adams played a team high 3:02 per game on the PK, and almost always started on PK’s. That’s a tough defensive zone draw against the top PP unit, which can result in goals against that possibly aren’t even his fault- especially since he usually isn’t called on to take faceoffs anymore.

Still, Adams GA/60 while short-handed (5.50) was significantly higher than the Pens other top PK’ing forwards Brandon Sutter (5.03), Pascal Dupuis (4.03) and Tanner Glass (3.32). That’s troubling for a 4th line winger who’s bread and butter is supposed to be his play on the penalty kill. Adams also took five more minor penalties then he drew over the course of the year, which does no favors to the team either.

When Adams wasn’t on the PK, it was even more brutal. As you might have heard, the Penguins bottom six sucked this year and Adams, unfortunately, was a big part of that. He was on the ice for 17 goals for and 34 goals against at 5-on-5 play during the regular season, which resulted in brutal numbers in advanced metrics.

Any way that it gets sliced up, the data always ends up at the same point: the Pittsburgh Penguins were a better team with Craig Adams on the bench than on the ice.

GIF of the Year

Adams_medium


Look at this shot on opening night. Oh, ho hum just Evgeni Malkin passing it to Craig Adams for a perfectly placed shot on the rush.

Believe it or not, Adams scored 3 goals in the first 4 games of the season before going on a 64-game goal drought (not a typo).

Preseason expectations

For a player like Craig Adams, you’d expect an honest effort on the penalty kill, and hopefully he keeps as close to treading water as possible at 5-on-5 play and doesn’t see too many goals go into his net, since he isn’t going to be creating a lot of offense on his own. The blocked shots, hits and effort are always going to be there and have to for such a player with limited ability, as well.

Verdict

Individually, Adams performed about as expected in 2013-14. His game isn’t going to experience any revelations and at 37 years old the end is much closer than the beginning. To his credit, Adams was able to answer the bell and suit up for every single game the Penguins played, and he played the most PK minutes (by far) of any forward on what ended up being the #5 ranked unit in the NHL.

But he also bled shots and goals against in every situation and was a major reason that the Penguins bottom six played so poorly. He was on the ice for twice the number of goals against than goals for at even strength. HIs PK stats, be it his fault or coincidental, were the worst among the regular PK'ing forwards.

Now the question remains, will the new general manager and possible new head coach be as in love with Adams as the previous regime? Craig Adams has never, ever been a healthy scratch in his Pittsburgh Penguins career- will he continue to get a jersey every night? If the Penguins can’t find 12 better forwards to play every night than Craig Adams, it might be a long season with another unsatisfying result.

***

Feel free to vote in the poll below to grade Craig Adams’ season on a scale from 1 to 10. Vote based on your expectations for him coming into the season -- i.e. 1 being "he was incredibly disappointing and I want him out now", 10 being "he was outstanding even beyond my craziest expectations".

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