Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't Jump the Gun on Steven Stamkos

Steven Stamkos right now leads the NHL in both goals and points. He has 19 goals in 19 games, ahead of Alex Ovechkin's 17 through 19 last season. Ovechkin only had 27 points through 19 games last year; Stamkos has 34 and counting. Some are already labeling him the most exciting player in the NHL and one of the best in the game, right alongside Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. I've even seen some fans state that Stamkos is the best in hockey.

Sorry, Stamkos fans, we have to be patient.

Firstly, Stamkos' PDO is high (at the moment, 104.2%). While we saw last year that players can have such high PDOs over an entire season, it's unlikely. The same goes for that 12.5% on-ice shooting and 26.4% individual shooting percentage (16.4% at 5-on-5) overall. Meanwhile, Crosby is at a similar points pace, but at a sustainable 100.1% PDO.

Secondly, look at his Corsi Rel. 0.6. Sorry, that's pretty poor for a guy supposed to be one of the best in the game. While Alex Ovechkin hasn't been that dominating Corsi force this season as in years past, Crosby is still an 8.8, while his line is playing the toughest minutes on the team. Don't even get me started on Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk, either, two guys who always post high quality of competition and terrific relative Corsis and all-around numbers.

Thirdly, Stamkos seems to be contributing a bit too often. He has been on-ice for 20 even strength goals (subtract PPGF from total GF). He has 17 points on those 20 goals, for an individual point percentage of 85%, which would be first place over 2007-2010. Then, he's been on ice for 18 power play goals for, and has points on 17 of them, for a 94.4% contribution, which save for one miraculous season from Rick Nash blows everyone else out of the water. And Tampa isn't about to have a dead-last power play like that 2008-2009 Blue Jackets team. With all that talent and that high power play percentage, eventually the goals will start to get spread around a bit more, especially once Gagne and Lecavalier are ready to go again.

To be fair to Stamkos, he is a helluva exciting player, with a terrific shot, playing medium competition with weak teammates and with middling zone starts on the whole so far this season. But at this point, only in his second dominating season, he's more Ilya Kovalchuk (of seven great seasons) than Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin (each in their sixth). And we know who is better there.

1 comment: