Saturday, May 7, 2011

2010-11 Season Review: Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson & Mattias Ritola
Jack Johnson
2010-11 Stats: 82 GP, 5 G, 37 A, 42 PTS, -21, 28 PPP, 44 PIM 
Signed through 2017-18; $4.35 million

On the surface, Jack Johnson had himself a career year.  He appeared in all 82 games for the first time.  His 42 points were a career-high.  His 28 points on the man-advantage put him in the top-5 among blueliners.  But just a little bit of digging and you realize that Jack Johnson was absolutely brutal this year.  Fans calling Drew Doughty the biggest disappointment of the season are letting JJ off the hook way too easy.  JJ recorded a career low and team worst +/- rating of -21 following seasons of: -19, -18, -15.  Among Kings blueliners Rob Scuderi had the next worst +/- rating +1.  Only SIX NHL defenseman out of the 303 that qualified had a worse +/- and three of those defenseman were from the Ottawa Senators.

Now, for those fans that don't believe in the +/- statistic; let's take a look at JJ's CORSI # of -2.39 and a REL CORSI # of -8.7.  CORSI is a fairly simple formula: On-Ice Shot Differential (goals + saves + missed shots + blocks).  The idea is simple: more shots attempted on the opposition's net equals greater offensive output.  The most disturbing stat here are JJ's shot and missed shot totals.  He recorded a career-high 153 shots but also missed the net a career-high 105 times (3rd most in the NHL among defenseman) for a total of 258 shot attempts at the net.  Simple division tells us that JJ hit the net only 59% of the time.  During the previous three seasons JJ recorded percentages of: 61% (212 shot attempts), 75% (67 shot attempts), 72% (113 shot attempts).  Alec Martinez led all Kings blueliners getting the puck thru 66% of the time on his shot attempts.

To put these numbers into a bit of perspective, only Dustin Byfuglien and Shea Weber missed the net more among defensemen.  Byfuglien missed the net 144 times but led all defensemen with 347 shots for 71%.  Shea Weber missed the net 120 times but hit the net with 254 shots (3rd) for 68%.  Byfuglien scored 20 goals.  Weber scored 16 goals.  Johnson scored 5.

At first glance, JJ's defensive counting stats lead us to believe that he's improved his positioning in the defensive zone.  His hits dropped from 144 to 84 but his blocked shots rose from 86 to 133.  But his end-to-end offense affected his giveaway totals which also rose from 42 to 59.  Johnson's 2010-11 stats look very similar to his first full season in L.A: 84 hits, 136 blocked shots, 62 giveaways.  Which has me asking the question: Is Jack Johnson is the same player defensively that he was four years ago?

FINAL GRADE: C; Don't let the career-high point total fool you.  His -21 rating in addition to his disappearing act in the second half of the season made for a disappointing 2010-11 season.  His 33 points (4G, 29A, -6, 21 power play points) in the first 50 games prior to the All-Star break were great.  He emerged as the only consistent threat on the man-advantage but his 9 points (1G, 8A, -15, 7 power play points) in the final 32 games down the stretch were pitiful.  Why hasn't anyone started questioning his conditioning yet?

At 24, Johnson is still young.  But with each season that passes, Kings fans still wonder when JMFJ is going to show up.  Where's the high-octane player that dominates both sides of the puck?  Will he ever live up to the hype?  Johnson signed a massive seven-year contract early in the season that will take him into the 2017-18 season at a cap hit of $4.35 million.  With blueline prospects like Muzzin, Voynov, and Hickey all considered offensive defensemen; JJ will need to improve all aspects of his game because with each ill-timed pinch in the offensive zone, JJ's name and 'cap-friendly' $4.35M are inching closer and closer to the rumor mill.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2010-11 Season Review: Peter Harrold

Peter Harrold
Peter Harrold
2010-11 Stats: 19 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 PTS, +3, 0 PPP, 4 PIM
Unrestricted Free Agent

There were only a few guarantees from the Kings in the new calendar year: If the Kings went to a shootout; they were going to win.  If the Kings scored first; they'd give up a goal within the next three minutes.  And Peter Harrold was probably going to be a healthy scratch.  By no fault of his own; Harrold just couldn't crack TM's lineup whether it be as 6th defenseman or the 4th line right-wing.  He ended up being the Kings utility player all season long.

Stats obviously don't tell the whole story but if you're a stat geek and know what CORSI isPeter Harrold led all Kings defenseman with a Relative CORSI number of 14.2.  Now obviously, Harrold's sample size is smaller than any other Kings blueliner this season and his numbers could be skewed a bit by his time as a Kings 4th line winger but he did still appear in 19 games.  Much like Drewiske, Harrold's role on the team was effected by the emergence of Alec Martinez and the current makeup of the blueline.

Listed at 6'0, he looks smaller on the ice and lacks the strength to win battles against most NHL forwards.  At 27, he still has a chance to develop that part of his game much in the same way Mike Weaver has since leaving the Kings but I keep thinking an undersized d-man with offensive upside...he may be the next Kevin Dallman.

FINAL GRADE: B-; I really should have grouped Harrold and Drewiske together but I give a slight nod to Harrold because he showed more versatility as a forward than DD did.  Harrold made his season debut on October 21st vs. Phoenix playing over 20 minutes in all situations while filling in for Doughty.  His season went down hill from there; only appearing in 18 games after that.  Harry will be a UFA in the summer and won't be back.

2010-11 Season Review: Matt Greene

Matt Greene
Matt Greene
2010-11 Stats: 71 GP, 2 G, 9 A, 11 PTS, +3, 0 PPP, 70 PIM 
Signed through 2012-13; $2.95M

I love Matt Greene.  One of the only Kings that plays a truly physical game.  He's well aware of his responsibilities on the ice: play physical, play strong defensively, and protect teammates.  He knows his game well and is aware of his limitations and makes the most of his skill set.  He's not the best skater but makes up for it with sound positioning.  The arrival of veterans Rob Scuderi and Willie Mitchell have helped Greene more than anything.  When he arrived in L.A., Greene played nearly 20 minutes a night but over the past two seasons, his time-on-ice has dropped to 17:29 (2009-10) to 16:59 (2010-11).  The decrease in ice-time has actually helped Greener's effectiveness on most nights not always having to face a team's top-line or power play unit.  Always among the NHL's hit leaders; Greene laid out 243 hits on the season. 

FINAL GRADE: B; Greene is signed to a relatively friendly cap-hit of $2.95M thru 2013-14.  His role on the team goes beyond his production on the ice.  While his aggressiveness and physical play often toe the line of what's a penalty; Greener's heart and effort will never be questioned.  The Kings have alot of defensive prospects in the system but almost all of them are considered offensive defensemen; Greene should be here for the long haul.