WOWYs (look down vertically to see a player’s influence)
I know these can be very hard to read, so I’m going to point out a few high-level observations.
Nantel the perfect 4th Line Center
Earl from Mile High asked me last week if the 4th line’s collapse showed that Nantel was a possession driver. There is a lot of evidence for that in the WOWYs. Everyone is better with Nantel except for Grimaldi (only one shift) and Henley (they are 55.9% together). Therefore, I’m willing to say “Yes, Nantel is driving possession for the Rampage”. On a personal note, I’m falling in love with Nantel’s game. Dominc Moore has always been to me, the perfect 4th line center. Moore is good at faceoffs, has decent speed, is very smart, plays good defense and drives possession. Nantel is very Dominic Moore-ish.
I don’t know what to make of the defense
For starters, the defense has been very good overall defensively. The Rampage are allowing the 5th fewest shots per game in the AHL, which is fantastic and they deserve a lot of praise for that. The scary thing about the defense is that combined they have only 1 primary point at 5on5 this year. You can’t win in modern hockey without your defense chipping in at all.
Jardine is above 50% Corsi in the tracked games, however, that is entirely due to the time paired with Boikov (32.4% without). Have I mentioned that I really don’t get why Boikov is in the ECHL?
Meanwhile, Lindholm has not continued his strong preseason play and is just a mess right now. He was at 47.6% possession with Bigras. I was on team “Break up Lindholm and Bigras.” However, they are totally a disaster without each other as Lindholm is at 37.1% without Bigras and Bigras is at 33.3% without Lindholm.
JT Compher is the Rampage’s best player
Avs fans are absolutely fawning over AJ Greer right now and he’s been great (especially on the PP). However, my “eye test” thoughts were that he wasn’t having a big influence on Even Strength play and that Compher and to a lesser extent Grimaldi drove that line.
The WOWYs really spell that out – everyone who has played with Compher this year is better with Compher (except for the 1 shift he shared with Henley) than without Compher. It’s a mixed bag with Greer. Compher and Greer have spent around half their tracked time together, so WOWYs are perfect to show their influence on each other. Compher and Greer are 60% when they are together (21+/14-). Greer without Compher is a 51.5 CF% player (17+/16-). Meanwhile, when he isn’t with Greer, Compher is a feverish 64 CF% (32+/18-). Based on their without numbers, it’s pretty clear to me that Compher is having more of a positive effect on Greer than Greer is having on Compher.
In previous Points/60 articles, I’ve mentioned that secondary assists are not a repeatable skill, so I prefer to use Primary Points. Compher has the most even strength primary points on the Rampage so far this season. Based on the Primary Points per 60 metric, Compher is the best Even Strength rate scorer on the Rampage so far this year. The only pause that I have from this is that Compher is shooting 35.7% which I guarantee will not last, however, the positive points/60 impact of his shooting% is also reflected in Greer’s Assists per 60, so that impacts both players pretty equally. Even if you take a bit from Compher for that, they are very close in rate scoring. In baseball, a tie goes to the runner and in my opinion, a tie goes to the Center over the Winger.
Another important factor is penalties taken. Greer has taken 5 minor penalties in 11 games. Compher has only taken 1. That might not seem like a lot, but for a full season, Greer is on pace to give away 35 power plays to only 13 for Compher.
Since he has been the Rampage’s best overall possession player, has had exclusively positive effects on his teammates, doesn’t take penalties and is the team’s best even strength scorer, I feel confident in saying that the Rampage’s best player has been JT Compher.