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Penguins place Zach Boychuk back on waivers (Claimed by Nashville)
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01-31-2013, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Boychuk may have been completely held off the scoresheet, but one positive thing about his performance this year is that both possession and scoring chances were going in Carolina's favor when he was on the ice. Boychuk actually had the highest Corsi relative rating on the team, which is a stat that measures how many shot attempts a player is creating and preventing at even strength compared to his teammates. This is something the Hurricanes have had trouble with the past couple of years and Boychuk was improving Carolina's territorial game whenever he was on the ice. Granted, this is with a very small sample size but Boychuk was able to at least get the offensive zone and keep it there for most of the time. In addition to that, he was also helping produce scoring chances when he was used in the top-six early in the year.
Boychuk also had another solid season with the Charlotte Checkers, as he led the team in goals with 21 and was third on the team in points with 44. This was a pretty big drop-off from last season but still a solid overall campaign. Those who watch the Checkers have gotten a first hand look at his play-making and goal-scoring skills and know what he can bring to the table, but the fact that he still hasn't been able to take that next step to the NHL has to be frustrating for a lot of people.
Having solid possession metrics are always a good thing but when you don't have any goals to show for it, then they don't mean that much. That is especially true for someone who is more known as a goal-scorer than an energy line-type player. In addition to that, Boychuk received some of the softest minutes on the team. He was regularly deployed in the offensive zone against other teams fourth lines, which is a product of him seeing limited ice-time during his first call-up.
I looked at Boychuk's shifts during the game where he was benched and noted a few problems. The first being that Boychuk was being knocked off the puck way too easily, especially when he was up against bigger opponents. Size was always Boychuk's biggest red flag in junior hockey and it has proven to be an issue with him in the NHL. He also tended to drone off and freelance whenever he didn't have the puck, which probably didn't sit well with Muller. My guess is that Muller let's players have more freedom when they have the puck, but when they don't, they have to stick to the system or they don't play. That could be the case with Boychuk. It leaves a lot of questions for this off-season about Boychuk's future with the organization.
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