NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 27: Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators celebrates a goal by teammate Mike Fisher #12 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Bridgestone Arena on October 27, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
We've covered the goaltenders and the defense, so now it's time to move up the middle and examine the Nashville Predators centers, now that the team has passed the 30-Game mark. Which guys are getting it done, and which ones aren't? Just follow after the jump for the latest grades...
First up, the advanced stats from Behind the Net, including a little extra prestidigitation on my part (legend at bottom). The grades, as with the others in this series, are relative to reasonable expectations for that player heading into this season.
|Name||GP||TOI||CORSI||CORSI REL||Net ZS||Adj Corsi||SPCT||SVPCT||PDO||G/60||A/60||Pts/60||CORSI Rel QoC||CORSI Rel QoT|
#12 / Center / Nashville Predators
Jun 05, 1980
Expectation: 1st/2nd line center, two-way contributor
|2011 - Mike Fisher||22||6||7||13||-1||11||1||0||1||52.6||49||12.2|
Much like Legwand in years past, Fisher's presence in the lineup isn't so much about putting up eye-popping numbers as it is shoring up the team's depth chart and pushing less experienced or talented players back down to the 3rd or 4th lines. He hasn't done much on the power play yet despite getting more than 2 minutes per game there, and his 5-on-5 possession numbers could stand quite a bit of improvement.
The biggest question going forward with Fisher is whether his surgically repaired shoulder continues to strengthen, along with his overall game, or whether other injuries undermine his performance as they've done in the past.
|2011 - Blake Geoffrion||19||0||2||2||0||13||0||0||0||46.2||7||0|
This season just never got rolling for Geoffrion offensively, but I will say in his defense that he got stuck with a difficult workload (look at those Zone Starts), and handled that burden relatively well. He has to find a way to drive the play more aggressively, however, as 7 shots on goal in 19 games makes even Sergei Kostitsyn look shot-happy. That team on-ice shooting percentage of 5.2 looks more like poor puck luck than anything else (although of course he rarely had gifted offensive linemates to work with). In a secondary role on the penalty kill, he also managed to go 19 games without a goal being scored against him in 4-on-5 play.
So I'll hold out hope that after a few weeks in Milwaukee, he gets another chance with the big club, as I'd like to see what he could do with higher-quality linemates.
#11 / Center / Nashville Predators
Aug 17, 1980
Expectation: 1st/2nd line center, two-way contributor
|2011 - David Legwand||26||7||13||20||0||6||2||0||1||46.9||57||12.2|
Leggy is getting the job done as a true two-way center, pushing the flow positively in 5-on-5 (once you adjust for those negative Zone Starts) and leading the surge on the Predators' power play, too. The only negatives so far are some poor PK results in the early going.
|2011 - Craig Smith||30||8||15||23||0||20||4||0||0||43.5||84||9.5|
Offensively, the Honey Badger has been a revelation. He leads the Nashville forwards in shots on goal, and seems to add some zip to whichever line he plays with on a given night. As a rookie, however, he still has aspects of his game that will take a while to round into shape. There are some adventures in the defensive zone when he's out there, but the offensive contributions are too great to be ignored. If he didn't come out of nowhere to lead this team in scoring, just imagine how things would look.
Yes, I know he's been moved around quite a bit, but I included him with the centers for this piece.
#25 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators
Feb 04, 1979
Expectation: Penalty killer & faceoff specialist
|2011 - Jerred Smithson||30||1||1||2||-5||22||0||0||0||53.2||19||5.2|
Smitty's doing what he always does - winning faceoffs, killing penalties, and blocking shots. I have to wonder if some of those thumpers are taking their toll, however, as there have been times that he looks like he's laboring out there.
#13 / Center / Nashville Predators
Sep 19, 1988
Expectation: Two-way forward, possible Top 6
|2011 - Nick Spaling||25||4||5||9||-3||6||0||0||2||50.6||33||12.1|
I know there was talk from Preds management about Spaling developing into a Top 6 forward this season, but I just don't see it happening any time soon. The penalty killing isn't there yet this season, and he's not faring well in 5-on-5, either. He could have a fine career as a 3rd- or 4th-liner, so this grade is a particularly tricky one. Where does one set the expectation here?
|CORSI||The balance of Total Shots For & Against per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 while this player is on the ice.|
|CORSI REL||The difference between the team's Corsi when this player is on the ice, and when he's on the bench.|
|Net ZS||How often a player's shift starts in the Offensive Zone minus the Defensive.|
|Adj Corsi||Corsi adjusted for Zone Starts. Each marginal start at either end of the ice is adjusted by 1.1 Corsi events.|
|SPCT||Team Shooting Percentage while this player is on the ice in 5-on-5.|
|SVPCT||Team Save Percentage while this player is on the ice in 5-on-5.|
|PDO||SPCT + SVPCT, this trends strongly towards 1000. Extreme values are typically signs of "puck luck".|
|G/60||Goals scored by this player per 60 minutes of 5-on-5.|
|A/60||Assists by this player per 60 minutes of 5-on-5.|
|Pts/60||Points by this player per 60 minutes of 5-on-5.|
|CORSI Rel QoC||Quality of Competition calculated using Relative Corsi.|
|CORSI Rel QoT||Quality of Teammates calculated using Relative Corsi.|