Friday, February 27, 2015


In my grandfather's old laboratory notes, shots attempted for
is called Fenwick
Like most Blue Jackets fans, I was shocked to get the news of the trade of David Clarkson for Nathan Horton.  This is a good hockey trade, and both teams benefit.  Clarkson is going to fill a similar role that Nathan Horton was slated to fill, and while Horton was going to be a more prolific scorer, the question was, by how much?

I spent some time fussing with Horton's and Clarkson's numbers from now back to the 2008-09 season, 7 years of hockey.  There are lots of ups and downs, some injury years, and a truncated season.  To try to get a good comparison of these players, I finally settled on calculating goals per game (GPG) and points per game (PPG) for both players to take into account varying number of games played.  I felt this gave me a very reasonable way to assess their comparative production.  Horton is the better player, no question, and in the absence of a degenerative back condition, was the better of the two deals.

Problematically, the degenerative back condition resulted in goose eggs for Horton's production this year, and no matter what you think of Clarkson, something is better than nothing for the money.  So, what is a reasonable expectation?

To generate a reasonable expectation for each player, I calculated an average GPG and PPG for the seven years, but dropped the high season, and the low season for each player.  I did not include this year as one of Horton's years in this calculation, so it was a 5 year average for Clarkson, and a four year average for Horton.  I then multiplied the resulting GPG and PPG by 82 to generate a 'reasonable expectation' for each player in a complete season of play.

Clarkson's 'reasonable expectation' calculation ended up giving me an expectation of 18 goals and 31 points.  Horton's expectations were a more robust 26 goals and 52 points, which would be huge for our team if it weren't for the fact that the realistic expectation is 0 and 0.  Compared to 0 and 0, 18 goals and 31 points seems ok.  That wouldn't be that bad for Clarkson except for the fact that in Toronto the expectation was that he score 30 goals.  We know now that won't happen.

So let's consider the impact of that expectation in our team if we assume it's next year, and we aren't riddled by a ridiculous level of injuries.  Clarkson becomes one of 5 or 7 players that are scoring between 15 and 20 goals, which means that somewhere along the line, Clarkson is going to be playing against some advantageous match-ups.  That's how we won a lot last year, and I think we will again next year.

With Foligno, Dubinsky, Hartnell, Anisimov, Clarkson, Jenner and Atkins capable of scoring 15-20 goals,  and Johansen scoring 25 goals, we have a lot of dispersed scoring ability.  If all those players scored 20 goals, and Johansen scored 25 goals, we would have more 'goals for' than we have to date in this season, without defensive scoring and other supporting scoring (e.g. Letestu, Wennberg, Dano, Rychal, Anderson).  The Blue Jackets are at their best when they are rolling 3 second lines, and a gritty 3rd/4th line.  When we do that, we are relentless, and somewhere along the way one of those lines gets a favorable match-up, especially on the road.  We haven't been that way  for a lot of this year, due to the holes in the line up from injuries.

So that's where I'm setting the bar for David Clarkson, 18 goals and 31 points for an 82 game season.  That is based on past performance, and he should be able to do that.  And if he does, the CBJ will be a better team.  As far as the money, that's a great deal more than nothing, so it makes our team better.  So why not?

Welcome to Columbus David Clarkson.  I hope this works out for you.


1 comment:

  1. having watched his first game for the Jackets, I am inclined to round those estimetes up , if only a bit. It isn't a stretch to see Clarkson scoring maybe 20-22 goals and perhaps 35-40 assists. With no practice time, he was in plays all night,around the net, and finding open shooters. I wish Nathan the very best, and hope he and his family stay in Columbus. He seems to genuinely like the community. But , half a loaf, in this case, is certainly better than none. If D. Clarkson only gets 12-15 and 20-25, it's still better than the double zeros currently. And he will be another legitimate threat, whatever line he is on. Another tough night to watch the Union Blue M*A*S*H unit, but so it goes. C ! B ! J !


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