Despite being shut down by the Calgary Flames on Saturday night, the Montreal team topped the NHL after losing the game, averaging 4.13 goals per game. This offensive punch, which caused the depth to form, helped the Canadian to set the following record compared to last season:
2020-2021: 5-1-2 (12 points) (, 750) record; 33 bp (4.13 per game); 21 BC (2.63 per game); AN 25.8%; DN 79%.
2019-2020: 4-2-2 record (10 points), (, 625); 30 bp (3.75 per game); 25 BC (3.13 per game); AN 25.8%; DN 73.1%.
The pattern is still thin, and everyone knows that it is impossible to fill nets at this rate throughout the season. In the last 20 years, only 10 teams (out of 573) have scored more than 3.5 goals per game throughout the season. However, if the CH goals can be kept consistent and their goal difference over the allowed goals increases, it will be an extraordinary transformation compared to the last three seasons.
The analysis you are reading at the moment is the result of a harmless question we ask ourselves among colleagues for certain games: What is going on with Philip Donald?
The Quebec Center, CH’s first trio in several seasons, approved its final year contract and will have the right of autonomy at the end of the campaign. So we expected him to enter the season with a knife between his teeth. Although he has worked as hard as ever, his statistics are declining (see below).
Like some of his colleagues, Donald has not been used in the same way by Claude Julian since the beginning of the calendar. And since time has a direct impact on player performance, I compared this data for all forwards against last season.
It gives an interesting light on training management.
First trio: Tatar-Donald-Gallagher
First observation: Tatar, Donald and Gallagher should no longer consider setting up the first unit of CH, depending on the usage time allotted to them. Both of them are not the most used player on the team in their place. Their playing time dropped to almost two minutes per game, but it was in the power play, which hurts particularly: Tatar (who is running out of his final year contract and also deserves autonomy) saw his minutes dominated by 34.4%, Gallagher 24%, Donald 76.5%.
Under these circumstances, they are fortunate to score only two more goals than last year. But can they keep up the pace? The number of scoring opportunities they enjoy has dropped significantly. We are talking about a fall of more than 62%, especially in the case of Danault. On Saturday night, there was a second chance to score against the Flames. He has not played a single game in the previous six games.
Second trio: Droin-Suzuki-Anderson
Used for almost 18 minutes per game, Nick Suzuki is now the team’s most coveted center. He still spins the first power play unit, where his time is the same. However, it is less commonly used with negativity. His figures are similar to those of Max Domi at the start of last season (3-5-8, +1), but he is more reliably defensive and feeds his winger better.
Jonathan Droin has been enjoying similar usage time over the past year, at 5 on 5 and in Powerplay.
On the right, Josh Anderson plays almost 14 minutes into the game. Coaches give Gallagher and Topoli more time on special teams, but Anderson increases the time given to him.
Le trocium trio: Army-Cotkonimi-Topoli
Tofoli has taken up a lot of space since joining the team. He was the second most used of the roster and the power-play ahead. In addition, Julian uses it very often in inferiority complex. For many years, Brendan Gallagher was a real machine for gaining scoring opportunities at CH. He was far ahead of all his teammates. But Tofoli (23 chances against Gallagher 17) has been stealing the title from him since the start of the season.
Jesperi Kotkamini (13:59) only played 30 seconds per game than last season, unless his power play time doubled. His stats are improving.
Of these three, Joel Armia suffers the most. Armia, (he ends his last year contract and qualifies for autonomy) His playing time is reduced by 4 minutes per game compared to last year. Not to mention the fact that his power play usage went from 2:30 to the game … to zero.
The 4 points he collected in his last game in Vancouver, allowing the Army to stay ahead of its production since last season.
Le Quatrium trio: Lehkonen-Evans-Byron
Arthuri Lehkonen (who ended his last-year contract and who is eligible for mediation) has been relegated to the fourth tier this year. As a result, its usage time is reduced by almost two minutes. Its hazardous production, which was already limited, declined during the same period last year.
Jack Evans is playing less than the 13:40 he gave to Nate Thompson last year, but he created a lot more offense.
Paul Byron was one of the players whose use time was reduced. He is now ranked 12th in CH in terms of 5v5 usage. Yet his great strength in the face of this game was not long ago.
Between October 2016 and March 26, 2019, Paul Byron scored 51 equal goals, ahead of famous forwards such as Claude Giroix (Flyers), Patrice Bergeron (Bruins) and Phil Kessel (then Penguins). For Canadians, Brendan Gallagher alone with 60 men during this period had more power than Byron.
Since March 26, 2019 (when Byron suffered a concussion while throwing gloves against the Florida Panthers), he has scored only 4 goals in 50 games (including playoffs) on a level playing field.
Although his usage time is reduced, Byron fights hard for his improvement. He has had 6 quality scoring chances since the start of this season, 3 more than Philip Donald and 2 less than Thomas Tatar.
When we look at the picture as a whole, if the trend continues, four forwards from CH whose contracts will end
It is very difficult to present statistics like in recent seasons. And it certainly reflects on the value of the contracts called for negotiations.
So it will be interesting to see if this situation motivates some of them to make quick business decisions about their future (before the end of the season). If CH wants to keep some of these four players, the situation is definitely in favor of it.
Jesperi Kotkanimi’s contract also expires at the end of this season, but he is not yet eligible for mediation and his power balance will be thinner during negotiations.