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01-22-2013, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
I notice that a lot of people on these boards think that Eller will never be better than a 3rd line center on the basis that he only got 28 points last year playing with bad linemates against tough opposition and with limited ice time.

I will try and get the conversation started. I believe that the above premise is false, that Eller in fact has the potential to be a good player, a respectable 2nd line center comparable to Plekanec in effectiveness. I'll post some stats and I hope some of the experts post better ones.

23 year-old Lars Eller is improving.:

In 2010-2011, he had 829 minutes of ES time during which he scored 7 goals and 10 assists, and 22 minutes of PP time during which he scored 0 goals and 0 assists.

In 2011-2012, he had 1023 minutes of ES time during which he scored 12 goals and 10 assists, and 52 minutes of PP time during which he scored 2 goals and 1 assists.

His power play production went up by a factor of infinity, I won't comment more as the sample size is too small.
C'mon, you divided by 0. If Eller got 10000000000 min of PP time and 1 point, it would still go up by a factor of infinity.

His ES production is up, from one point every 49 minutes to one point every 46 minutes. It looks like a non-change, but the points are of a higher quality. Before 41% of his points were goals, now it's 54%. Further, he had a tougher time in 2011-2012. His Corsi QoC as defined by rose from -0.219 to +0.429 (huge difference), his "Corsi Rel QoC" went from -0.169 to +0.570 (huge difference again), and his offensive zone start percentage went from 51.6% down to 48.3%.

Basically, his even-strength offensive production went up by 5%, but with a higher goals-to-assists ratio, with slightly fewer offensive zone starts, and against substantially higher competition.

Moreover, his faceoff percentage went from 42.4% to 46.6%, a significant improvement.

His penalty killing also "improved". He played 7 minutes on the PK in 2010-2011, to 134 shorthanded minutes in 2011-2012. I'll talk about it more later.
There's no denying the kid is improving. Solid work ethic and good player. At same time, some of the percentages are minor variances in the big scheme of things. Eller had a 4 goal night. It skews data a bit but even if you remove that one game he'd have 12 goals out of 24 points which is still an increase from 41% to 50% so maybe there is something to be said.

Speaking outside of statistics, I like his shot but I find he takes too long to release it. I wish he'd practice his release timing because he could score even more.

His performance relative to Plekanec and Desharnais is not as bad as people think.

In 2011-2012, Eller had 1023 minutes of ES time during which he scored 12 goals and 10 assists. with an ES Corsi QoC of +0.429, and offensive zone start of 48.3%; and 52 minutes of PP time during which he scored 2 goals and 1 assists.

In 2011-2012, Plekanec had 1170 minutes of ES time during which he scored 9 goals and 19 assists, with an ES Corsi QoC of +0.727, and offensive zone start of 42.8%; and 250 minutes of PP time during which he scored 5 goals and 13 assists.

In 2011-2012, Desharnais had 1186 minutes of ES time during which he scored 13 goals and 27 assists, with an ES Corsi QoC of +0.007, and offensive zone start of 52.2%; and 266 minutes of PP time during which he scored 3 goals and 17 assists.

Eller's PP production is the worst in total points, though the statistical significance is... close to zero. He also has the worst assist production at ES, but he played on a line with Rene Bourque and Travis Moen so this is very hard to evaluate. I don't know how to evaluate assists... Desharnais has more assists, but he plays on a line with Pacioretty. Career shooting percentages:

Pacioretty: 0.100, but 0.120 in the past two seasons.
Cole: 0.129
Moen: 0.800
Bourque: 0.114

On the other hand Plekanec also played with Brad Staubitz, Ryan White, etc. However, we all know that as of right now Plekanec has the superior playmaking abilities of the three, that's no secret.

We can't compare power play time, and we can't compare assists, the only thing we can compare is goals at ES.

Eller scores one goal every 85 minutes, Plekanec scored 1 goal every 130 minutes, and Desharnais scored one goal every 91 minutes.

Eller's situation in terms of linemates, zone starts, and quality of competition is vastly more difficult than Desharnais', and vastly less difficult than Plekanec's; however, he comes out slightly ahead of DD in goal production at ES, with both vastly ahead of Plekanec, who is not given the opportunity to score. Here we can say that Eller is clearly superior to Desharnais, though we cannot make the comparison to Plekanec..
I assume you mean 0.08 for moen. I also am unsure whether to say Plekanec has best playmaking abilities out of the 3. I think Desharnais should be in consideration.

What I don't understand is you can't say "I don't know how to evaluate assists" and then proceed to ignore it. Am I wrong to say your analysis is biased in that respect? I certainly don't blame you as it is a tough thing to evaluate but at same time, what about burrows on a line with the Sedins? Or Taylor Pyatt or Anson Carter before him? Both doubled their average goal output playing with the sedins so the presence of a strong playmaker can skew stats as well.

Of course, Bourque and Moen or whoever aren't elite playmakers or really known for that skill. However, by the same token neither are max or cole. What makes it difficult to evaluate is playing style. I believe Desharnais would have more assists with Bourque and Moen than Eller would simply because of playing styles. So here we're penalizing a playmaker. At same time, Eller would probably have more goals with Cole and max than Desharnais did, simply because of how they play and their respective strengths.

So, perhaps a balanced approach, going for points? Even that is skewed but doesn't hurt right?

In 2011-2012, Eller had 1023.25 minutes of ES time where he made 22 points. He makes an ES point every 46.51 minutes of ES playing time.

In 2011-2012, Desharnais had 1186.43 minutes of ES time where he made 40 points. He makes an ES point every 29.66 minutes of ES playing time.

In 2011-2012, Plekanec had 1169.66 minutes of ES time where he made 28 points. He makes an ES point every 41.77 minutes of ES playing time.

Here, DD comes out on top. Even as a person who likes DD, this may not be fair. It suggests ES he's a much superior player to Eller and Plekanec offensively. It should come as no surprise, he IS an offensive player afterall, dominating every league he's played in but he certainly had a good situation around him.

If we look at another evaluation, how about shooting % in 2011-12 vs career average?

Cole(Last year vs career)

Pacioretty(Last year vs career)

Another evaluation might be how many scoring chances the particular player might get. For instance, a good playmaker would find the open man, increasing his time to get a shot off and in turn likely increasing his shot/goal output.

In terms of goals per 82 games:

Cole(Last year vs career)

Pacioretty(Last year vs career)

Finally, shots taken per 82 games:

Cole(Last year vs career)

Pacioretty(Last year vs career)

That being said, Pacioretty's sample isn't very solid to me. Not enough GP, only one full NHL season and only recently emerged as a top 6 forward. I would not even include it but for sake of discussion, I put the numbers up there incase anyone is curious.

I personally don't like statistics. I do it in my degree all the time but I don't like it. You can remove or add as many variables you like in order to say anything. It's never some linear trend. Not everything will go up in a good year and not everything will go down in a bad year. There's always something you can include or exclude that can change perspective. I'm aware of this and that's why I don't like it.

A point of concern I find though is that Eller takes many bad penalties. He draws 0.8 penalties per 60 minutes... but he takes 1.3 penalties per 60 minutes. That's a difference of 0.5 penalties per 60 minutes. He needs to be either more annoying or more disciplined.

I don't have the penalties drawn stat but subban has a lot of penalties too. In Eller's defense last year was probably extremely frustrating for everyone on that team. They will learn from it and grow from it.

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