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Old
10-04-2013, 05:28 PM
  #1
Appleyard
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Couturier Expectations

Through pre season and the first few days of the season I have noticed a growing trend , where posters talk about Couturier, and seemingly put 40+ points as what they expect this season in his development.

I am going to disappoint you all and lower your expectations of what should be considered a good year for him. I figured it would be best to do it early on.

If he continues in his current role and gets 35 points it will be a great year for him.

Why? Do people realise how many points NHL 3rd liners score, not 2nd liners who drop down for 15 games, or 3rd liners who play 30 games a year on the 2nd line, but guys who will play 90% of the year on the third line? (ie NOT Dubinsky, Brodziak in 11-12, Staal, who was really the 2nd centre at Pitt playing 20 mins a night after his first season.)

2011-12 third line centres top scorers: (factored for 82 games)

Kelly: 39 points
Arnott: 39 points
Bolland: 39 points
Horcoff: 34 points
Bailey: 33 points
Sutter: 32 points
Helm: 31 points
Couturier: 29 points
Handzus: 29 points
Bonino: 29 points

So only 7 third line centres cracked 30 points in 2011-12. No-one hit 40 even.

However, once you take away Power play points : (I factored points over 82 games, minus factored PP points over 82 games, so effectively their even and SH production if they had played a full season, it is easier than PPG, which is more abstract.)

Chris Kelly: 38 points
Darren Helm: 31 points
Brandon Sutter: 29 points
Josh Bailey: 29 points
Sean Couturier: 28 points
Nick Bonino: 27 points
Zack Smith: 26 points
Dave Bolland: 26 points
Lars Eller: 26 points
Boyd Gordon: 25 points
Dominic Moore: 24 points
Michael Handzus: 23 points
Shawn Matthias: 23 points
Jason Arnott: 23 points
Shane Horcoff: 21 points
Matt Stajan: 21 points
Vernon Fiddler: 21 points
Jacob Josefson: 18 points
Joe Vitale: 17 points
Jay McClement: 17 points
Samuel Pahlsson: 17 points
Jarrett Stoll: 14 points

As you can see, without power play time only 2 third line centres in the entire NHL cracked 30 points. Chris Kelly is a Bruin, so due to their depth his minutes are not 3rd line mins in terms of QoC, more like a 2nd liner, though he is a third liner and a very good one.

Third line centres do not get 40 points very often, maybe 1-2 a year crack that mark, and those guys who do do not play top 10 toughest minutes for a centre, with little power play time and as the main Pker.

We have to start using him more like Pitt did Staal after his first year if we want him to get 40-50 points.

Sharing harder mins with the 2nd and 4th line instead of the 3rd taking all of them, especially in regard to zone starts, Couts QoC is bad for him, but the zone starts honestly cost far more. Most 3rd liners get one or the other, not both in the top 10 worst in the NHL. He needs to be at 45% instead of 32%... Staal was at 48-50%.

It is pretty mathematically improbable he will even get close otherwise.

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10-04-2013, 05:35 PM
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Garbage Goal
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This lacks context. Such as the context of this team, how it's not just about point totals in regards to Couturier, and I'm also just curious how you determined who the "official" third line centers are for each NHL team and how they all relate to Couturier.

EDIT: To be a bit clearer, you stretched and compared Couturier to 29 other teams in the NHL (without clearly defining what a third line center is or how you figured out who all the third line centers were) as if all 29 other teams are built similarly, are in similar positions, and have similar players at third line center.

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10-04-2013, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garbage Goal View Post
This lacks context. Such as the context of this team, how it's not just about point totals in regards to Couturier, and I'm also just curious how you determined who the "official" third line centers are for each NHL team and how they all relate to Couturier.

EDIT: To be a bit clearer, you stretched and compared Couturier to 29 other teams in the NHL (without clearly defining what a third line center is or how you figured out who all the third line centers were) as if all 29 other teams are built similarly, are in similar positions, and have similar players at third line center.
I was simply showing how the expectation that he should get ~40 points this season to be considered to be 'developing' correctly is ill founded and unrealistic. It was not really about the team, but the individual and the situation he is in. Effectively that no-one playing even a slightly similar role in the NHL got 40 points in the last full season. Therefore it is unlikely he will. And therefore people should understand that before thinking he should get 40 or even 50 points! Both suggestions I have seen quite regularly as a benchmark of his success this season. (the second less so.)

I took third line centre as being, simply, the person who played the 3rd line centre position on a regular basis, ie being behind two other centres on the depth chart continually, everyone on that list played the vast majority of their games in that position. I went through old game threads, depth charts and team releases on lines to divulge exactly who was in that group.

If you can find anyone else who belongs in that group that season (played majority of time at 3rd line centre) or any of those players who did not play 3rd line centre almost exclusively when they were in the line up I would be pleasantly surprised.

If you narrow the scope to guys who play similar minutes to Couturier there is McClement and Gordon left, which is absurd in order to project or compare, as it is statistically irrelevant due to the lack of data sets.

It is better to widen the scope to all of the players who played 'third line' centre regularly, as then you get a complete range of all the different roles that 'slot' can be, and a top and bottom end projection for what is realistic in terms of production.

The top player with the wide scope of '3rd line' centre duties had 39 points... and people think Couts should get 40 in his current role. He would really have to be the best point producing third line centre, and play on the powerplay more, to get that, or have his role changed.

It is the same as saying that because no 1st line player in the NHL got over 115 points in the last few years it is unlikely anyone hits 120 this year. The role of all 1st liners is not the same, but they are similar.


Last edited by Appleyard: 10-04-2013 at 07:26 PM.
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10-04-2013, 07:46 PM
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Very good points. I'd like to see him get more Offensive zone starts and let Hall or Giroux pick up some of his defensive zone draws. He's never going to be worth that 8th overall pick we used on him if Lavi keeps using him as strictly a checking center.

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10-05-2013, 12:38 AM
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I commend you for taking the time to research everything, makes for great points and discussions. Much respect man. Interesting thread.

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10-05-2013, 12:59 AM
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Good thread but i do not think it is as black and white as you are making it.

Garbage goal makes a very realistic point. Linemates and type of system plays about a 90% of point. For instance would you expect a defensive minded team like the Blues their 3rd line center to outproduce a high octane offense 3rd line center?

What about linemates? Who played with who? Are they offensive players? Defensive? Is that 3rd line soley shutdown? For instance wouldnt you expect Couturier to produce more points with Voracek or Read than guys like Talbot or Powe or Asham?

How about moving up snd around the lineups? Injuries occur so players get shuffled. He might be on the 2nd line for awhile then get put down again.

Overall I dont have the hifhest expecations with just points but I dont agree how black and white you are making it.

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10-05-2013, 03:01 AM
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Right now Couturier is with a first line wing (Voracek) and a fourth line player (Talbot) and is not getting PP time. Together, Couturier's even strength point production should benefit from Voracek and Voracek's even strength point production should be seriously hampered (what the hell is Lavy thinking?). So while I agree with your points in general, it is hard to classify Couturier's role at the moment or what they expect from him (is the line a defensive one or another offensive one?).

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10-05-2013, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sa cyred View Post
Good thread but i do not think it is as black and white as you are making it.

Garbage goal makes a very realistic point. Linemates and type of system plays about a 90% of point. For instance would you expect a defensive minded team like the Blues their 3rd line center to outproduce a high octane offense 3rd line center?

What about linemates? Who played with who? Are they offensive players? Defensive? Is that 3rd line soley shutdown? For instance wouldnt you expect Couturier to produce more points with Voracek or Read than guys like Talbot or Powe or Asham?

How about moving up snd around the lineups? Injuries occur so players get shuffled. He might be on the 2nd line for awhile then get put down again.

Overall I dont have the hifhest expecations with just points but I dont agree how black and white you are making it.
They do make a big difference. That is why I included all of the teams in the NHL when I looked at it, and everyone who played a majority of their games a 3C, regardless of who they played with over the year, their role etc,

As can be seen the points (overall, not just even strength) vary from 39 at the top with Kelly and Bolland (high octane 3rd line centres on very deep teams with handy linemates) and at the bottom end I believe was about 17 (Pahlsson I believe, shut down 3C) I did the full list on a different PC.)

This accounts for different teams, linemates and systems, even with this accounted for no centre got more than 39 points when behind two others regularly. If Boston and Chicagos 3C's are only getting 39 points in their system, where the top line takes a lot of the hard mins off them I would not expect much more in any system.

As I also stated I excluded players who were up and down the lineup on a regular basis, as this is simply about if Couts stays in the same role as an exclusive 3rd line centre. Ofc if Couts role changes he gets more points, as I stated.

But the only players I excluded due to this (role change) were Dubinksy (36 points, 34 EV & SH), Cullen (39 points, 30 EV & SH) and Brodziak (44 points, 33 EV & SH) as these three guys Dubinsky played 35 games at 2LW, Cullen played about 20 games 1C, 30 games 2C and Brodziak played 20 games 1C and 20 games 2C.

So even if you include guys who played ~50% of the time at 3C and the rest up the lineup on 1st and 2nd only 1 hit 40, and he had massive PP contribution. Kelly remains the most in EV&SH points as well.

People may say, what about Fisher and Staal, and all the other 3C's people list as the 'best' in the NHL, and the fact is these guys played about 70 games at 2C or even at 1C in Fishers case, they are not 3C's.

Hanzal plays at 2C, Ryan O'Reilly played 1C, 2C and 10 games at 3C in 11-12 and 2C in 12-13, and now 1LW. Pavelski played 1RW a lot, or wing on 2nd line, about 10-20 games at 3C. Richards plays 2C as well all know.

Even the 09-10 Flyers, looking at recent 'stacked' forward groups where our supposed 3C (Giroux) got 47 points... he played over half the year on the 1st line, Betts and Powe played the most at 3C, with Pyorala as well. Van Riemsdyk was our top 3rd line scorer, with 37 factored (with 30 EV and SH.)

The black and white of it is that if he plays almost exclusively at 3C (~65 games +), with limited PP time he is very unlikely to hit 40 points. Why? Well no-one off any other team did in the last full season, and some of them played regularly on the PP and had far easier minutes.

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10-05-2013, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDineen View Post
Right now Couturier is with a first line wing (Voracek) and a fourth line player (Talbot) and is not getting PP time. Together, Couturier's even strength point production should benefit from Voracek and Voracek's even strength point production should be seriously hampered (what the hell is Lavy thinking?). So while I agree with your points in general, it is hard to classify Couturier's role at the moment or what they expect from him (is the line a defensive one or another offensive one?).
I think Voracek moves back to 1LW tonight.

If he stayed at 3LW for the foreseeable future (god forbid)it should be interesting to see how that influences points on the 3rd line.

Looking back through previous seasons I honestly cannot find an instance of a PPG player from the previous season playing on the 3rd line.

Some 2nd liners dropping down to 3rd line...

ie Kulemin in 10-11, went from 57 to 33, Grabovski went from 55 points to 25~ last years, Bolland in 09-10 went from 47 to 33,

So going off those limited figures (which I can no way make a relevant prediction from, if I found 15-20 guys in that situation maybe I could) you would possibly expect Jake to lose maybe 35-45% of his production, so go from 82 point pace to between maybe 45 and 55 points. It would be interesting to see how it counteracted with Couts, I imagine he would get 40 then though!

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10-05-2013, 09:18 AM
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We've seen in the past how one player can sink a line. I don't expect much out of Couturier's line so long as 4th liners are being bumped onto it. The best players he's played with are Read coming off a rib injury and Voracek being eased back into the lineup.

Last season during the 6 games where he took 2C duties because of Briere missing games, he produced at nearly twice the rate; even while the rest of the team was in disarray during that period. I know it's a small sample size, but it seems interesting to me.

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10-05-2013, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Beef Invictus View Post
We've seen in the past how one player can sink a line. I don't expect much out of Couturier's line so long as 4th liners are being bumped onto it. The best players he's played with are Read coming off a rib injury and Voracek being eased back into the lineup.

Last season during the 6 games where he took 2C duties because of Briere missing games, he produced at nearly twice the rate; even while the rest of the team was in disarray during that period. I know it's a small sample size, but it seems interesting to me.
Definitely. Also, people need to stop thinking this team plays a run and gun style still, and that point totals will be inflated because of it. If anything, Lavy is more conservative now than he's ever been. A lot of it is because personnel issues fitting into that style.

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10-05-2013, 10:51 AM
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Okay so in order for cooter to score 40 pts he needs to maintain all of his defensive strength and up his offensive game to become the best 3rd line center in the league. yeah, thats about where my expectations are. 30 pts leaves him at good and progressing and ill accept that but excellence is the expectation

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10-05-2013, 12:08 PM
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I honestly expect us to trade him for a young good d-man.......I'm not saying I want that but I see it happening with laughton waiting on his time to shine

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10-05-2013, 03:19 PM
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I honestly expect us to trade him for a young good d-man.......I'm not saying I want that but I see it happening with laughton waiting on his time to shine
I see it as well, I think this is finally Couts year to breakout offensively and put up 50-60 points. Playing with Voracek should help as well.

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10-05-2013, 04:01 PM
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I see it as well, I think this is finally Couts year to breakout offensively and put up 50-60 points. Playing with Voracek should help as well.
I would love to see that happen, but don't think it can unless he moves up to 2nd line centre, or our third line effectively becomes a 2nd line with the minutes they play. If he does not play more minutes on PP and EV than the last two years he will not have a shot at those kind of points.

In addition to original post: (adding minutes played, separately from lines, so this factors every forward in the NHL, on every line, not just 3rd line players and their points)

Couts played 13:21 a game last season EV & PP, and 11.25 the year before. (so his OV minutes -SH minutes) and 15.53 overall.

Here is a list of the 20 highest scoring players (factored to 82 games) who played less than 14 minutes at EV strength and PP in 11-12:

Hodgson 13.47: 41 points
Kelly: 12.57: 39 points
Chimera: 13.31: 39 points
Hansen: 12.44: 39 points
Perreault: 12.00: 38 points
Tlusty: 13.55: 37 points
Pouliot: 12.11: 35 points
Stapleton: 10.06: 35 points
Talbot: 12.30: 34 points
Ryan Jones: 12.57: 34 points
Grabner: 12.51: 34 points
Bailey: 13.38: 33 points
Kulemin: 13.59: 33 points
Tootoo: 13.04: 32 points
Neil: 12.47: 32 points
Halischuk: 9.58: 31 points
Couturier: 11.25: 29 points
Eller: 13.36: 29 points
Brunette: 12.32: 28 points
Torres: 11.21: 27 points

So unless his minutes increase at PP or at least EV with more Off zone starts those kind of points (much over 40) seem pretty unfeasible.

Only three players that year who played less than 16 minutes EV & PP (Couts at 13.21) got 50 points (factored):

Dupuis: 14.38: 59 points
Hudler: 15.38: 50 points
Wellwood: 14.53: 50 points

So at a minimum he really needs an extra 1.30 EV and PP minutes to even have a chance at 50. And I don't know who's workload that extra 1.30-2 mins a night comes out of, unless they cut back his SH mins, which are invaluable to the team.

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10-05-2013, 05:46 PM
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Good post Appleyard.

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10-05-2013, 05:56 PM
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To the OP - statistics background?

Love your posts.

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10-05-2013, 06:31 PM
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To the OP - statistics background?

Love your posts.
Law and criminological research, so yeh, there is a lot of statistical manipulation and evaluation involved in the criminology side of it. It helps massively with being able to do them quite quickly as well, as I am pretty used to syphoning through numbers. But I have always liked stats since I looked through soccer match programmes as a 5 year old.

Thanks! My family and friends do as well... it stops me talking to them about sports stats as much if I post them here every now and again!

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10-06-2013, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Appleyard View Post

So at a minimum he really needs an extra 1.30 EV and PP minutes to even have a chance at 50. And I don't know who's workload that extra 1.30-2 mins a night comes out of, unless they cut back his SH mins, which are invaluable to the team.
so he needs to start off hot. if the points are coming the minutes will follow

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10-06-2013, 12:23 AM
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Another factor is this:



He's 20.

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10-06-2013, 12:56 AM
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looking at how far lars eller has come since he entered the league, I say keep letting couturier develop.

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10-06-2013, 06:43 AM
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As Protest mentioned, Couturier is 20 years old (he'll be 21 in December). I'm willing to give the soon to be 21 year old another season or two to put everything together, especially when you consider the mess that's happening in Philadelphia right now.

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