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Let’s Appreciate Pierre-Luc Dubois

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The rookie has been great so far

NHL: Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois stripped the puck from veteran defenseman P.K. Subban and broke loose for a game-tying goal:

I did not initially plan on writing about PLD for this article, but even before that goal I had come across some information that revealed him as one of the better CBJ forwards this season.

First, let’s look at the fancy stats. PLD’s 5v5 CF% (that’s Corsi For Percentage, i.e. of the shots taken when a player is on the ice, what percentage was taken by his team) is 59.06. That is third on the team behind Zach Werenski and Artemi Panarin. That’s the 2017 Calder Trophy finalist and 2016 Calder Trophy winner. Among all rookie skaters with at least 10 games played, PLD leads in this stat, nearly 2 percentage points ahead of Mathew Barzal of the Islanders (for what it’s worth, Sonny Milano is 6th).

Entering last night’s game, PLD was on ice for 7 goals for and 7 goals against. However, according to Corsica.Hockey by xG (that’s expected goals, which takes into account both quality and quantity of shots) he would be on ice for 8.86 goals for and 5.1 goals against.

By more traditional metrics, PLD is 4th on the team in hits, with 25 through the first 15 games. This should not surprise anyone who has watched him play. He is a big kid and he has not been afraid to use every inch of his 6’3” 207 lbs frame. He also has 3 blocks, 0 giveaways and 1 takeaway (again, not counting last night’s Subban swipe).

Where does he need improvement? Faceoffs. He has only won 7 of 28 faceoffs.

For those that are more graphically inclined, take a look at this chart which shows how each player performs with and without PLD:

hockeyviz.com

As you can see, each skater is better with PLD than without (with the usual small sample size caveat taken into account). Based on this chart, if PLD gets an extended tryout at center, I would like to see him with Milano and BJORKSTRAND on his wings.

I still expect some rookie growing pains along the way, but so far I think we’re seeing flashes of the kind of player the front office hoped for when they shocked the hockey world by drafting him 3rd overall in 2016.

So, what’s your favorite part of PLD’s game? What do you want to see him improve? Which linemates and roles do you feel he is best suited for?