Sunday, December 4, 2011

Early numbers for Louis Leblanc

Typical start for talented first-year pro

Louis Leblanc is a rookie in his first year of pro hockey. As such, he is following a typical path. He came out of the gate with lots of energy; posting an above average overall risk/reward rating in his first NHL game, but falling below average (compared to his teammates being rated within this same system) in the following 2 games.

The below graph is a visual representation of Louis Leblanc's overall risk/reward rating through his first 3 games in the NHL. Each point on the data line is his rating from the game indicated at the bottom of the graph. The grey line is the entire team's average  from each game.

Broken down into its simplest form, Risk/reward is the difference between the number of "good plays" a player produces, and the "bad plays" a player produces for each minute they are on the ice. The higher the number the more a player helps their team maintain puck-possession throughout the game.
Also included are Leblanc's offensive, defensive and neutral-zone risk/reward ratings for each game. These are calculated the same way as overall risk/reward, except in that they only take into account events taking place in each specific zone.

Some of the events that used to determine a player's overall risk/reward include:

  • Successful or unsuccessful passes
  • Successfully or unsuccessfully beating an opponent 1on1 (deke)
  • Successful or unsuccessful shot-attempts (puck on net)
  • Successful or unsuccessful dump-ins
  • Successful or unsuccessful puck-battles
  • Successful or unsuccessful loose-puck recoveries
  • Successful or unsuccessful blocked passes
  • Successful or unsuccessful blocked shots
  • Successful or unsuccessful stick-check 

Leblanc's overall rating seems to follow the same path as his neutral-zone performance. As we can see, his overall trend line and his neutral-zone trend line follow similar paths. His defensive and offensive-zone ratings seem to be relatively consistent, despite falling in each of the last 2 games.

Vs. Anaheim (7:52)

In the game against Anaheim, Leblanc's above average risk/reward rating was produced by some strong, but simplified work in the offensive-zone. Against the Ducks he won all 3 o-zone puck-battles he engaged in, while recouping 1 loose-puck, and completing 2 of 4 attempted passes. He also was able to get 1 shot through to the net.

He was also solid in the defensive-zone; winning each of his 2 d-zone puck-battles, while recouping 2 loose-pucks, and completing each of his 2 d-zone pass-attempts. The only negative for Leblanc in the d-zone against Anaheim, was his failure to block 2 shots; despite doing his best to fill the lane.

He struggled in the neutral-zone against the Ducks, as he lost both his n-zone puck-battles, while losing 1 of 3 races to loose-pucks, and failing in an attempt to beat an opposition player 1on1 (deke).

Vs San Jose (14:25)

In the game against the Sharks, Leblanc's grade continued to be carried by his work in the offensive and defensive-zones; although a solid dip in his neutral-zone rating pulled his overall mark down significantly.

He won only 2 of 5 o-zone puck-battles, but recouped 3 loose-pucks. He completed 5 of 8 o-zone pass-attempts, and successfully beat opposing players 1on1 with 2 of 3 attempted dekes. He blocked 2 opposition passes, while getting 1 of his 2 shot attempts on net.

He recovered 3 loose-pucks in the defensive-zone, while completing 5 of 8 d-zone pass-attempts. He also blocked 1 shot and 1 pass.

As mentioned, his biggest struggles occurred in the neutral-zone. Here,  he lost his only puck-battle, while failing to complete his only pass-attempt. He also mis-handled a pass directed toward him, and caused an offside by failing to slow up at the offensive blue line.

Vs. Los Angeles (11:11)

Leblanc's rating recovered slightly against Los Angeles. He had his first-career assist in the game, despite playing 3 minutes less than he did in San Jose, and producing his lowest offensive-zone rating this season. It was actually an improvement in his neutral-zone rating that allowed an increase in his overall rating.

Leblanc won 1 of 2 o-zone puck-battles, while successfully recovering 4 loose-pucks. He completed 3 of his 5 o-zone passes, and 1 of 2 attempts to beat opposing players 1on1 (dekes). He was only able to get 1 of his 3 attempted shots on net.

He lost both of his d-zone puck-battles, but did recover 2 loose-pucks. He also completed 3 of 4 d-zone pass-attempts, while blocking 1 shot.

Leblanc had fewer neutral-zone events against the Kings, but performed well. He won his only n-zone puck-battle, and recovered 1 loose-puck. He topped off his solid neutral-zone performance with 4 successful dump-ins.

Overall Percentages

Overall Leblanc has won 60% of his offensive-zone puck-battles, compared to a team average of 51%. He's also completed 59% of his o-zone pass-attempts which is equal to the team average.

He has won 50% of his defensive-zone puck-battles, compared to a team overage of 53%. He has also completed 71% of his d-zone passes, which is slightly better than the team average of 70%.

He has won only 25% of his neutral-zone puck-battles, far below the team average of 54%. He has also completed only 50% of his n-zone passes, compared to a 73% mark for the rest of the team.

More information on even-strength ratios available here
More information on success-rates for acquiring and maintaining puck possession available here

Louis Leblanc is off to a typical start. We've seen this scenario play out countless times. He can play in the NHL; of this there is no doubt. The more pressing questions now become; where will his development be best served? And can he help this team right now?

Feel free to email me with any questions or comments