Meet the 2012-12 Syracuse Crunch again for the first time: Forwards

Tom Szczerbowski - Getty Images

A by-the-numbers look at the forward corps for the Syracuse Crunch

The NHL may be locked out, but there's still hockey to be had. The Syracuse Crunch, the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate began training camp on Friday, Sept. 28 and will be playing three preseason games against the St. John's Ice Caps (affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets and last season's AHL Eastern Conference Final opponent for the Norfolk Admirals) in Newfoundland on October 4, 5, and 7. Opening day for the Crunch is October 12, when they'll visit the Rochester Americans (affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres).

The last two weeks I’ve been looking at the advanced stats on some of the players who’ll be spending some (or all--who knows at this point?) of the 2012-13 season with the Lightning’s AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch. This week it’s the forwards’ turn. (I dealt with the goalies two weeks ago and the defense last week) As I mentioned last time, I’m concentrating on those players who spent time with the Lightning in 2011-12, because there’s simply more statistical data available on them.


Five forwards on the Crunch’s Training Camp roster had some time with the Lightning last season: Brett Connolly (68gp), J.T. Wyman (40gp), Pierre-Cedric Labrie (14 gp), Mike Angelidis (6gp), and J.T. Brown (5gp). Angelidis and Brown represent special cases in terms of advanced stats because they played so few games with the Lightning, so their stats are subject to sample-size issues.

Name GP G A RQoC RQoT RelC
Connolly 68 4 11 0.356 -0.467 -0.1
Wyman 40 2 9 1.169 -2.535 -8.2
Labrie 14 0 2 -0.204 -0.371 19.1
Angelidis 6 1 0 -1.537 0.882 17.4
Brown 5 0 1 2.283 -0.724 17.3

Note: All advanced stats in this post are drawn from behindthenet.ca and are for 5-on-5 play only.


As with last week’s report, this data includes only their time in the NHL, and, once again, I reviewed some of it at the the end of last season. What the 2011-12 player usage data showed for these players (only 3 are included due to numbers of games played) is that J.T. Wyman was doing some rather heavy lifting for the Lightning. He was used in much the same way as Adam Hall and Nate Thompson and performed about as well as they did.

At the same time, only one of Wyman’s 5 most frequent linemates had a positive Relative Corsi rating (Victor Hedman at 1.8), which puts his -8.2 RelC into perspective. Wyman’s Point-Share (PS) and Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) ratings show that he performed slightly better defensively than offensively, and both ratings indicate that he deserved his Raw Charge Rookie of the Year award, as he contributed considerably more by these measures than any of the other AHLers.

Name

OPS

DPS

PS

OGVT

DGVT

SGVT

GVT

GVT/G

Wyman

0.3

0.4

0.7

0.9

1.1

0

2

0.05

Brown

-0.1

0.1

0.1

-0.1

0.3

0

0.2

0.04

Angelidis

0.1

0

0.1

0.1

0

0

0.1

0.02

Labrie

0

0

0

-0.1

0

0

-0.1

-0.01

Connolly

-0.1

0.3

0.2

-0.7

0.1

0

-0.5

-0.01

See Numbers on Ice: Understanding GVT, Part I and Part II and Hockey-Reference’s Calculating Point Shares for more info.

Brett Connolly tended to be used in more offensive situations, but after a hot start began to falter somewhat. For the season as a whole, he had a middling offensive zone start rate and RQoC rating and his personal RelC was slightly low. One issue Connolly faced was dwindling ice time starting in December (as well as a hiatus in which he was loaned to Team Canada for the World Junior Championships). He tended to play on the "second" line, if Guy Boucher can be said to run traditional lines, playing with Martin St. Louis (RelC 0.9), Tom Pyatt (RelC -11.6), and Vincent Lecavalier (RelC 3.6) more than other forwards. It’s unclear how much Pyatt’s strikingly low shot differential affected Connolly’s numbers or vice versa, but Connolly played with him in 24% of his TOI.

One thing to note about Connolly is that he was in a unique situation last season. At 19, he was unable to play in the AHL, so the team faced the choice of having him play above his head in the NHL or sending him back to juniors. Given the state of the Prince George team, they chose the former. In other words, Connolly is very young, and has substantial room to develop over the next year or so. To some extent, he was expected only to keep his head above water last season, which he managed to do. It will be interesting indeed to see what he does in the AHL this season.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie’s statistics give an excellent indication of the kind of player Crunch fans can expect to see. He played an average of 5.9 minutes per game for 14 games with the Lightning. He played mostly against mediocre to poor competition and never with top linemates, and did okay considering the favorable situations he was handed, although he never scored. The most pertinent stat? In his 86 or so minutes, he had 36 Hits. The AHL doesn’t track Hits, but I’d be fascinated to see what his Hits stats were for Norfolk. In the AHL, Labrie plays more, shoots more, and scores more. And he’s huge fun.

As I stated earlier, advanced stats are a long-term tool only. And 86 minutes is on the very low end of an appropriate sample size for this sort of evaluation. Mike Angelidis and J.T. Brown played even less, and I won’t attempt to analyze their stats today. There’s simply not enough data to do so.

I’ll finish up with the forwards’ AHL stats from the 2011-12 regular season. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you check out BoltProspects.com’s previews with informatin and predictions for each player.


Name GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG Pt/G PIMPG SOG
Richard Panik 64 19 22 41 13 62 7 0 0.64 0.97 108
J.T. Wyman 29 6 6 12 10 6 1 2 0.41 0.21 50
Eric Neilson 47 1 0 1 -2 74 1 0 0.02 1.57 24
Cory Conacher 75 39 41 80 19 114 14 0 1.07 1.52 213
Pierre-Cedric Labrie 56 14 21 35 33 107 0 0 0.62 1.91 121
Ondrej Palat 61 9 21 30 6 10 0 1 0.49 0.16 109
Mike Angelidis 54 14 13 27 14 135 2 1 0.5 2.5 92
Alex Hutchings 12 2 3 5 0 0 1 0 0.42 0 12
Tyler Johnson 75 31 37 68 17 28 10 2 0.91 0.37 222
Philip-Michael Devos 52 7 17 24 16 28 2 0 0.46 0.54 46
Alex Killorn 10 2 4 6 6 2 1 0 0.6 0.2 30


Twenty-eight's a fluke, twenty nine's a streak.

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