Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Hockey News: Power Play Analysis
By Darryl Dobbs
Special to ESPN.com
There may have been seven players ahead of San Jose's Joe Thornton in the NHL scoring race, but heading into Tuesday's action there was nobody ahead of him in power play production.
His 37 power play points were two ahead of the second-highest player, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, and those points constitute 59.7 per cent of Thornton's overall production -- also tops in the league.
Needless to say, you can look at this stat in two ways. Those fantasy pools that reward points on the power play will look at this number very favorably. Those pools that don't -- won't.
Why? Because a player's otherwise weak season is being salvaged by his production on the power play. What if the team's power play hits a slump? What if the team's power play quarterback sustains an injury? If a player such as Thornton is relying on the man-advantage for a larger-than-normal percentage of his points, there are too many things that could go wrong that can put a stop to it.
On the flip side of the coin, a player among the scoring leaders with a lower-than-average percentage of power play points could be looked upon as having excellent potential for improvement. After all, he may not be getting the PP time right now, but if he keeps on producing at even strength his PP time will come. When that happens, his production will increase even more.
The player with 42 points or more who has the lowest percentage of power play points is David Legwand. Of his 42 points, just seven have come on the power play. If he ever gets quality time with the man advantage, his numbers could really pop.
The following table is a list of the top 10 players (with 42 points or more) in terms of power play points percentage (ESP = Even Strength Points; PwPP = Power Play Points):
The following table is a list of the bottom 10 players (with 42 points or more) in terms of power play points percentage:
Farm Report: Buffalo prospect Marek Zagrapan has had a tough go of things in his rookie-pro year with Rochester. For one thing, the Americans share affiliation with both Buffalo and Florida. As such, his ice time is reduced dramatically, since there are more players to choose from. The high-scoring winger had just 10 points in his first 28 games. Things are turning around, however, as the Slovak has tallied 10 points in his past eight games, seizing a prominent role with the squad.
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