01 July 2012
(*Matt Carkner excepted)
Let's start with some basics and work our way into the advanced stuff. Zanon's a difficult one to profile, since he was on two teams, sites like Behindthenet.ca don't do as well with players who played for 2 teams. Zanon's career high in points is 15, so I hope no one is looking for scoring from him. But, he also plays a defensive role. Last season he was at a low for TOI/game, and he looks to have been recovering from injuries. On the whole though, he normally hits about 18:00/game.
Last season he was good for 1:46 PK TOI/game, which is usually reserved for defensemen on the second unit. However, the previous 3 seasons he averaged 3:02, 3:10, & 3:54. More along the lines of a #2 or #3 defensive defenseman. He only had 18 PIM last season, and in the last three seasons, he never cracked (48, 36, 38). So we know he's pretty well disciplined (that's good) but he's probably more in the Hejda mold of being positionally sound, and not a physical punishing guy. And he blocks shots, a lot of them. The 3 seasons prior to last season; 212, 196, 237 For a Defensive Defenseman, those are really traditional stats that can give any kind of insight into how he's used. He's a positionally sound defenseman who is unafraid of the puck, coming off an injury riddled season.
So let's go to the Advanced Stats. Last season in 39 games played for the Wild, he had a Shots, Fenwick, Corsi% of .493/.475/.459. That's not very good, but putting that into Wild perspective, that's better than every other Wild defenseman, and every Wild player other than Pierre Marc Bouchard (and very close, but slightly better) to Matt Cullen). On the other hand, he was pretty protected last season (on the Wild), as he got 60.3% OZone starts.
But last season was an injury plagued year, how were his stats the previous 3 or so?
2010-11: .414/.407/.410 (Very poor, even for MIN)
2009-10: .457/.470/.452 (marginally below average)
2008-09: .489/.484.464 (Nearly Average for the team)
2010-11: 39.36% (Heavily used in the Defensive zone)
2009-10: 41.0% (Lowest on team, Heavily used in the D-zone)
2008-09: 42.0% (Lowest on Team, heavily used in D-zone)
The good: Greg Zanon is an upgrade to the Avs defense. He's a defensive zone and PK specialist that will, at the very least, take some pressure off of Ryan O'Byrne and Jan Hejda. I think he could be a slight upgrade over O'Byrne. Even if he's not, the Avs now have 3 solid, but unspectacular, defensive defensemen.
The bad: He's coming off his worst year, and if you look at those stats, he's slightly degraded every season for the last 4. a 31 year old slowly degrading isn't always the best bet.
Verdict: Overall a low-risk moderate-reward signing for the Avs. He upgrades the Avs defense, and likely their PK. Not quite the Quincey replacement, but an upgrade nonetheless. I'm not really sure why the Avs are collecting defensemen and I have no idea if Barrie or Elliott are getting another chance this season. And this signing probably gives Guance at least another full season of Lake Erie. A solid, if unspectacular, signing, that makes some of the Avs previous signings (Wilson, O'Brien, Hunwick) a little peculiar.