In a lovely bit of serendipity, the guys at NHL Numbers have decided to go on a league wide blitz, providing team breakdowns for forwards and defensemen in both conferences based on last season’s numbers.
When you look at the team’s defense by the numbers, it’s interesting to see how Nikita Nikitin was OK (not spectacular, the way he was in 2011-12, but OK), compared to the perception in Columbus that he showing himself the door. Despite that, the message is pretty clear that the team’s defense relied a lot on Bob to cover mistakes, and fortunately for all of us he was up for the challenge. If Ryan Murray does break into the d-corps, it’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts, and who he ends up paired with.
Meanwhile, in terms of forwards, the club was very consistent, as you’d expect for a team that was trying to work by committee, but the lack of a defined offensive threat meant that opponents had the ability to beat them up fairly equally, too. I’m very interested to see how a full season of Marian Gaborik and (eventually) adding Nathan Horton change this, but I would not be shocked if Jarmo eventually makes a decision to pull the trigger on shaking up the forwards if we don’t see some improvement. (Not surprisingly, you see a team with similar designs in St. Louis, but the overall performance from all four lines is much higher. That’s a goal this team can and should meet.)
Finally, just for a bonus, Travis Yost decided to see how a team's "enforcer" winning a fight affected their goal scoring. What we learned there was that Jared Boll should keep his damn gloves on – in four of his six recorded "wins" last season, the Jackets surrendered the next goal. (Interestingly, Columbus scored after each of Derek Dorsett’s wins. Maybe we can try to talk Sather into sending him back in exchange for Boll. Surely Alain Vigneault wants a big enforcer to protect Rick Nash, right?)
Is any of this shocking or revelatory? Not incredibly, but it’s still interesting.
Besides, it’s still better than no hockey at all, right?