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2018-2019 Player Reviews: Colton Sissons

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The forward turned in another solid defensive performance this season, while setting some other personal bests.

Dallas Stars v Nashville Predators - Game Five Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Colton Sissons quietly turned in career highs in goals (15, reaching double digits for the first time) and points (30) this season, while maintaining the solid defensive play that’s earned Nashville Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette’s trust.

The Report Card:

Colton Sissons relative to the rest of the NHL.
Data: evolving-hockey.com | Viz: Bryan Bastin

Season in Review:

Sissons had another solid season in gold, performing very well in the icetime he was given. He moved around considerably, never really settling with one line—the closest he came was the time spent with Nick Bonino and Austin Watson as a shutdown third line. As Bryan discussed in Bonino’s report card, the forwards benefited from the defensive acumen of Mattias Ekholm. Still, starting thrice as many shifts in the defensive zone as the offensive zone, Sissons & co. managed to outshoot, outchance, and outscore the opposition more often than not:

This shows what the Predators accomplished on the attack with the 10-13-51 line. Red shows more shots than league average from that location; they got to the front of the net.
Micah Blake McCurdy, hockeyviz.com
This shows the Predators’ defense with 10-13-51. Blue means fewer shots than league average were taken from that location, i.e. nearly the entire defensive zone.
Micah Blake McCurdy, hockeyviz.com

Note also that they did this against some relatively tough competition, though they got some help from their teammates as well, especially Ekholm. Sissons himself was no slouch in this respect, though; his awareness continues to improve.

He matched the defensive improvement with some good luck at the other end of the ice. While Sissons has been improving his offensive skills a little, the results still aren’t entirely there—it’s his defense that adds value to the team, not his playmaking. The emergency backup 1C we hoped for during the Stanley Cup Final run of 2017 never materialized.

Colton Sissons over the last three years (left: 2016-18; right: 2017-19) as compared to the rest of the NHL; numbers shown are percentiles.
Data: Corey Sznajder. Viz: CJ Turtoro.

Sissons has been making improvements to his game; the most recent year was his best yet in terms of the component parts of his game, and the work he’s put in to get the puck out of the defensive zone has been huge in terms of improving the chances the Preds give up with him on the ice.

Still, there’s nothing that really suggests he should have shot almost 14% this season, as he did. The results were great, but I’m hesitant to count on his being able to duplicate that effort. He’s had much better sh% years in the past, but on fewer than 50 shots each year, and his last couple of seasons Sissons has been moving toward taking more shots even if they don’t go in.

One other thing he definitely did well this year was getting his penalty-taking back under control. He had a considerably less disciplined 2017-18 (42 PIM) than he did 2018-19 (23 PIM). If you’re relying on a player to shut down the opposition, they need to stay out of the box; Sissons, for the most part, did just that.

Best Moment:

That November 7th hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche was pretty sweet.

Worst Moment:

Sissons got hurt in December during that brutal road losing streak, suffering a lower-body injury on December 18th against the Blackhawks that kept him out of the lineup until January 5th.

2019-2020 Outlook:

At almost 26 Sissons probably is what he is, but he shows just enough flashes of something that I haven’t completely given up on him yet. The Preds have a surplus of centers, four of whom are paid better than Sissons, but he could be an incredibly dangerous 4C if given the chance...and the wingers.

The Letter Grade: B+

Mr. Sissons has worked hard to improve areas of weakness, and exceeded prior expectations.

I would really like to see Sissons getting a little more going in the offensive zone, instead of relying on shooting luck and great defense to tip the balance in the Predators’ favor, but this was a good season from him.

He converted that into a seven-year, $20M contract this summer, which was a great move for Sissons himself and a dubious one for David Poile. Expectations are going to be higher for him heading into next year, and might get higher yet if he’s protected in the upcoming Seattle expansion draft the way that Calle Järnkrok and his similar long-term contract were in the Vegas expansion draft.

Still, that’s a problem for Future Colton Sissons. For right now, I’m happy with the way his season went. To push him to an A I would have liked to have seen him elevating his linemates’ play in the OZ more, but on his own he did pretty darn well.

The Fan Grade:

Poll

How would you grade Colton Sissons’s season?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    A
    (18 votes)
  • 61%
    B
    (34 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    The only way this season was an F is if you were expecting #10 to be 2008 Martin Erat
    (1 vote)
55 votes total Vote Now

Statistics referenced from Micah Blake McCurdy, Corey Sznajder, and hockey-reference.com. Contract information from capfriendly.com.