Revisiting Projections

At the beginning of the season, I attempted to project the performance of every regular skater on the team by looking at players similar to them going by their career scoring patterns. The way this method is utilized is that the player’s performance is supposed to mimic those of their comparables and their projected performance of a given year will fall in between a certain set of point. This is essentially what I did for my projections but I also looked at the player’s career performance and took into account what kind of ice time and linemates he would have throughout the year. I also came up with one projection instead of a range of points because I thought it would be a good challenge. 

Some of my projections were accurate while others were completely off and we are going to go through all of them after the jump.

Eric Staal

GP G Pts
Projection 80 32 79
Actual 82 24 70

Staal scored much fewer goals than I thought he would this season and you can partially attribute that to him having a career low shooting percentage of 9.9%. He’s usually in 10.5-12.3% range, but that rate took a huge plunge this year despite him driving possession at around the same rate than last season. He had fewer shots on goal than the last few seasons, so his goal total probably wouldn’t have reached 30 even if he shot closer to his career average, but he would still be closer to his projection. The high assist total helps that.

Jeff Skinner

GP G Pts
Projection 79 28 59
Actual 64 20 44

Skinner missed 18 games with a concussion which definitely hurt his numbers a little bit. He also suffered from a drop in shooting percentage for the second half of the season even though he was driving possession and creating scoring chances at a better rate than he was last year. I was a tad bit optimistic with the point total but I think he could have gotten 50 this season had it not been for the concussion.

Tuomo Ruutu

GP G Pts
Projection 75 17 44
Actual 72 18 34

I was about on point with Ruutu’s goal total but he had much fewer assists than I thought he would. Ruutu is more known as a playmaker than a goal scorer but he had his lowest assist total since 2005-06, which is strange because the team was shooting at around 10% at even strength when he was on the ice.

Jussi Jokinen

GP G Pts
Projection 77 20 46
Actual 79 12 46

I was correct with the amount of points but Jokinen scored much fewer goals than I predicted. Keep in mind, I thought he would be playing on the wing to start the year, which probably would have resulted in him scoring more. He spent pretty much the entire year as a center and was setting up more players instead of scoring, which makes sense. What I did not predict was that he would be our second highest point getting and our second best forward at controlling scoring chances. That was definitely a nice surprise.

Alexei Ponikarovsky

GP G Pts
Projection 70 14 34
Actual 82 14 33

I really nailed this one, eh? Although, I thought Poni would play in fewer games and he didn’t finish the year with the Hurricanes. He was traded to the Devils in late January where he scored half of his goals and 18 of his points in 33 games. I saw Ponikarovsky’s scoring picking up compared to last season but he doesn’t have the finishing ability that he used, which was definitely evident when he was with Carolina.

Chad LaRose

GP G Pts
Projection 74 13 29
Actual 67 19 32

Poor Chad LaRose. It really looked like he would hit the 20 goal plateau this season but a nagging upper body injury (which Tripp Tracy mentioned were vertigo issues) kept him out for about a Month. LaRose exceeded my expectations in just about every department this year and he definitely had his chances to make some noise as he spent a lot of his time playing in the top-six and on the powerplay.

Anthony Stewart

GP G Pts
Projection 73 10 27
Actual 77 9 20

Stewart played on the fourth line for most of the year, and produced about what you’d expect from a fourth liner. I was thinking that he would get some time in the top-six because he had a good season with Atlanta the year before and Carolina’s options at winger are slim. He did get some shots on the top-six and that helped his point total a little bit, but not as much as I thought it would.

Brandon Sutter

GP G Pts
Projection 78 14 33
Actual 82 17 32

Sutter scored a little more than I expected, but his overall scoring totals are about what to expect from a third liner who starts a lot in the defensive zone.

Jiri Tlusty

GP G Pts
Projection 51 5 18
Actual 79 17 36

My thought was that Tlusty would be playing in the bottom-six and scratched on a few nights. He has been our first line winger for the last few months and had a career season. Needless to say, I was way off here.

Patrick Dwyer

GP G Pts
Projection 73 7 16
Actual 73 5 12

Dwyer produced slightly less than I thought and that was with more ice time than I expected him to have. I saw Dwyer as a fourth liner coming into the year, but he spent most of the year on the third line with Sutter and playing more minutes as a result.

Tim Brent

GP G Pts
Projection 79 12 24
Actual 80 8 18

It’s a wonder what a career high shooting percentage and time on the powerplay can do.

Zac Dalpe

GP G Pts
Projection 75 16 38
Actual 16 1 3

Sigh…another year, another season spent mostly in the AHL for Zac Dalpe. He is still young and can make the jump next season, though. I think Muller is more willing to give him a shot than Paul Maurice was at the beginning of the year. He also got hurt in training camp, which didn’t help. Also, I was thinking at the beginning of the year that Dalpe would be a possible Calder candidate while I hoped Justin Faulk would “get some playing time.” Funny how that turned out, eh?

Joni Pitkanen

GP G Pts
Projection 71 6 36
Actual 30 5 17

Pitkanen missed over half the season with a concussion and knee injury and judging by how much he produced in the 30 games he did play, I think he would have reached his projected total if he played a whole season.

Tim Gleason

GP G Pts
Projection 69 3 15
Actual 82 1 18

I’m not sure how I thought Gleason would score three goals because I am pretty sure that less than 5% of his shots hit the net. Regardless, he produced slightly higher than I expected and played a lot more games than I thought. Defensemen who play a game like Gleason does usually end up missing a few games but Gleason toughed it out throughout the year.

Jamie McBain

GP G Pts
Projection 73 6 29
Actual 76 8 27

McBain’s production was in line with his projection with the main difference being that he scored a couple more goals than I expected him to.

Tomas Kaberle

GP G Pts
Projection 80 5 38
Actual 72 3 31

It looks like I made the right call with being pessimistic about how Kaberle would perform in Carolina. Still, he didn’t even live up to my low expectations, which is pretty bad. 

Jay Harrison

GP G Pts
Projection 70 2 13
Actual 72 9 23

Last season, Harrison started a ton of his shifts in the defensive zone and played mostly third pairing minutes. This year, Harrison played in the top-four, got time on the powerplay and scored more goals than he had over his career. What a difference a year makes.

Derek Joslin

GP G Pts
Projection 51 3 12
Actual 44 2 4

Another player who failed to live up to my low expectations, but I thought he would play more than he did this season. I also didn’t see him spending half of the year at forward like he did.

Bryan Allen

GP G Pts
Projection 66 1 11
Actual 82 1 14

I underestimated Allen’s durability here, that’s for sure.