The Tampa Bay Lightning announced yesterday that they sent Mathieu Joseph to the Syracuse Crunch. He has spent just five days back in Tampa after being recalled probably because Tyler Johnson had been given a day off on Monday. Prior to his recalling, he played two games for the Crunch and scored one goal.
Let’s try to find a reason why this happened behind the numbers, comparing his rookie season and current season. It’s a small sample size, but it will probably give us a little bit more context.
The biggest concern is likely his declining productivity. Last season, after 32 games, he had nine goals and four assists, this season after the same amount of games he has just four goals and three assists. His shooting percentage has also seen a decrease from 16.4% to 12.9%. In addition he had been taking less shots. So less shots and a lower shooting percentage is going to lead to less production.
Speaking of possession numbers, the Lightning have controlled 52.14% of the shots at 5v5 while he’s on the ice during the 2019-20 NHL season, according to data from Natural Stat Trick. Comparing that with his last season’s 54.9% it’s still a good percentage and means that he is able to drive play.
Looking at visualizations from Micah Blake McCurdy’s site, it’s also pretty clear that the team is generating less offence with him playing
It’s also fair to mention that Joseph didn’t have consistent linemates this season. In his rookie season, he played mostly with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn. This season, the Lightning used some new combinations, trying to get back on track after a slow start.
Joseph started the season with Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde and at one point in the season was even promoted to the first line to play with Steven Stamkos, but hasn’t impressed the coaching staff enough to stay there longer. Ahead of Joseph’s latest reassigment, he spent most of the time on the fourth line with Carter Verhaeghe and Mitchell Stephens. Being swapped from line to line has not helped him find his game.
Of course, the reason could be something which is not related with his play. Something we cannot see while being outside of the team. Maybe he just needs time to get regain his confidence and spending time with the Syracuse Crunch will be helpful since he definitely will be getting more ice time in the AHL.
While I was writing this article, information appeared that Mathieu Joseph was scratched for the Syracuse Crunch for their game against the Binghamton Devils. Per Lightning beat writer Erik Erlendsson, Carter Verhaeghe left practice early yesterday and Joseph might be recalled for tonight’s game.
Other Lightning org news
At the World Junior Championships, Team Kazakhstan lost to team Slovakia 1-3 and probably missed their biggest chance to avoid relegation games. Lightning prospect Maxim Cajkovic recorded a secondary assist on Oliver Okuliar’s power play goal
Oliver Okuliar PP— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) December 27, 2019
1-0 SVK pic.twitter.com/bYPUbndTVk
The Syracuse Crunch lost in the shootout against the Binghamton Devils.