Monday, April 30, 2012

Leblanc Gained Confidence as Season Progressed

Young prospect's offensive-zone numbers improved significantly

Louis Leblanc started the season injured, before joining the Hamilton Bulldogs. He played 31 games with Hamilton, scoring 11 goals and adding 11 assists. In 42 games with the Canadiens, he scored 5 goals and added 5 assists. He also posted a traditional plus/minus of plus-3. He averaged 1.38 shots per-game, and ended the season with a shooting percentage of 8.6%.


Even-strength ratio is the number of successful plays a player makes for every 1 unsuccessful play; the higher the number, the better a player performed. Leblanc ended the season with an even-strength ratio of 1.72 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. This places him 18th among forwards who played for the Habs last season. Overall, the top ES ratio was earned by Josh Gorges at 2.62 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play.

Leblanc's ratio took a big dip mid-season. That said, it began to recover toward the end of the season; particularly over the course of the last 25 games.  It was inconsistency that hurt him through most of the season, as a ratio above 3.0 would be followed by one below 1.0. That said, he did not produce a sub-1.0 ratio over the season`s last 19 games.


Leblanc ended  the season with an offensive-zone risk/reward rating of 0.40. He had the seventh-best o-zone rating among forwards who have played for the Habs this season. The top offensive-zone rating belonged to Max Pacioretty at 0.55.

As with his even-strength ratio, Leblanc`s offensive-zone risk/reward also took a dip at the mid-point of the season. That said, it began to improve as the season came to an end. Inconsistency was his biggest problem, as he would follow an o-zone rating above 0.40, with a rating below 0.  Overall, he earned 12 o-zone ratings above 0.60, and 11 o-zone ratings below 0.20.


Leblanc ended the season with an offensive-zone passing success-rate of 60%. Ninth-best among forwards who played with the Habs last season. The top success-rate belonged to David Desharnais at 65%.  Experience brought Leblanc confidence; as made apparent by his dramatically improved o-zone passing-percentage near the end of the season.


Leblanc also improved his ability to get shots on net. As he was able to get substantially more shots through to the net toward the end of the season.


As with his other ratings, Leblanc's defensive-zone rating took a dip in the middle of the season. He ended a defensive-zone risk/reward rating of 0.23; placing him 17th among forwards who played with the Habs during the 2011-12 season. Lars Eller earned the top d-zone rating among forwards at 0.67.

Leblanc produced a negative d-zone rating on 10 separate occasions. Expressed differently, a d-zone rating below 0 indicates that a player made more unsuccessful plays than successful plays in the defensive-zone during the game. The biggest improvement came over the course of the season's last 10 games, as Leblanc kept his rating in the positive during each of those last 10 games.

Improved consistency is all any team can really ask from a 21 year-old playing his rookie season in the NHL. Over the final 10 games of the 2011-12 season, Louis Leblanc not only improved his consistency, he also improved his play in the offensive-zone.

His preseason performance, combined with the Habs depth next year will dictate where Leblanc starts the 2011-12 season.

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