29 October 2008
1) The way Budaj keeps getting, at best, backhanded compliments and overly harsh criticism from Anti-Budaj central.
2) The utter awfulness that is the Calgary local announcing team. The play-by-play guy can't pronounce (It's Stastny, not Stash-ney) and the color guy may be the whiniest announcer in all of hockey. but the most upsetting thing to me, and I know thousands of other Avs fans, is:
3)The insistence of the Avs brass on keeping Tyler Arnason in the lineup. Avs fans have complained for months now about his reluctance to hit, his seemingly endless supply of turnovers, and his general uselessness on defense.
This kind of play drives Avs fans to pull out their hair, especially when a guy like Ben Guite, a solid defensive forward who occasionally chips in on offense and would have complimented Jones gritty play last night, is not helping since he's sitting in the press box. Even though it's almost blatantly obvious to everyone at this point that Arnason has become a complete liability on the ice so far this season. I tried to do a little statistical analysis to show just how much of a liability he's become.
First his basic stats aren't very good in the first place: Below is a table of your basic stats, sorted by points (I've highlighted the 3rd and 4th liners to highlight the guys he should be judged against):
Tyler Arnason is second to last in offensive production this season, and last among Avs forwards. I'm the first to admit that 9 games is still a small sample size, and it's possible he's going through a little slump. But, when you look a little deeper his slump is much worse than it appears. One of the statistics this blog likes the most is the scoring efficiency stat. This is a measure of how often a player scores, based upon his ice time. I think it's a substantially better measure of how productive a player is on offense. I call this stat Points/20min (P/20) which is how many points a player scores for every 20 minutes of time he is on the ice. Here's a look at the Avs P/20:
First Guite's surprisingly high number is a direct result of a small sample size (he has 2 total points), but Tyler Arnason's numbers are pretty bad. He is surpassing only defenders, and the next lowest forward is more than 2ce as efficient of a scorer this season.
But the case against Arny doesn't stop there. I'll be the first to admit that good hockey players aren't limited to how many points they put on the board. Laperriere has relatively low numbers here as well, but everyone can tell he contributes in other ways. Defensively, and in an agitator (and protector) role. It's easy to see his value despite some low scoring numbers. So i took a loot at some other statistics that I think can be an indicator of how well players are contributing in other areas of the game. The NHL has stats for Hits, Blocked Shots, Giveaways, Takeaways, and shots. Again, I have converted those into an efficiency by making these categories:
H/20 (Hits per 20 minutes of ice time), BlS/20 (Blocked Shots per 20), GvA/20 (give aways per 20), and TkA/20 (Takeaways per 20). Here's how the Avs numbers fare in each of these categories:. (again 3rd and 4th line forwards highlighted for comparison):
If you sort each of those stats individually here's how Arnason ranks:
H/20: Arnason is dead last at 0.19, again it's not even close. The next closest is Milan Hejduk, who is at .32 hits/20. The only other players below 0.5 are: Joe Sakic (0.42), Paul Stastny (0.42), Marek Svatos (0.42) and Milan Hejduk (0.32). Notice anything else about that list... those guys make up for their lack of hitting by putting the puck in the net.
BlS/20: Arnason isn't last in this category.... he's third from the bottom. The only others below him: Hejduk and Svatos. Again two players who score points. Cody McLeod (0.25) and Cody McCormick (0.39) are the only two "close" to Arnason who score at a comparable rate.
GvA/20: Finally a category Arnason ranks near the top in, 2nd. Of course he's second in giveaways at 1.52 GvA per 20. Other players near him: Wojtek Wolski (1.94!) Paul Stastny (1.35), Ian Laperriere (1.34) and Ruslan Salei (1.25).
TkA/20: One of the only stats Arnason is actually good in (1.33). He is still significantly behind Ben Guite (1.69), Ian Laperriere (1.79) and David Jones (1.83), but he still sits ahead of everyone else, including Wolski (1.11) McLeod (0.99) and Ryan Smyth (0.97).
The numbers don't lie folks. The only benefit Arnason brings to the Avs (which is surprisingly his takeaways) is offset by his susceptibility to give it to the opponent. In every other category he is clearly inferior to his fellow 3rd and 4th line mates.
In conclusion, the numbers support what every Avs fan has been griping about for over a year. Tyler Arnason, doesn't play defense, he doesn't hit, he gives the puck away, and worst of all he doesn't score, yet he is getting significant ice time and taking it away from guys who are contributing to the team.
What is it going to take to bench Tyler Arnason?