NHL Network interviewed the CBJ Captain recently. Most of the interview was a feel-good-fluff-piece that reminds everyone that hockey players are human. It is good to remember that as we put so much focus on what they do on the ice, they do have families and contribute back to their communities. There also isn't much for the Network to talk about without any movement on RFA signings and pre-season camps yet to open.
Of course they asked Nick about the UFAs who left and the young prospects coming up. One thing he said that struck me, and is a good hockey philosophy, is that the CBJ would have to win 'by committee' this season. Most of the time when you hear 'by committee' in sports it is referencing a MLB bullpen or the RB position in the NFL. And most of the time 'by committee' is talked about it is a bad situation as the result of an injury or loss of a key player(s). While that situation has certainly happened in Columbus with the exit of Bob, Bread, Duchene and Dzingel, the core of this team still remains.
I know, I talk about 'the core' all the time. But most of these guys have yet to reach their full potential, are on the right side of 30 years old and expect to be together in Columbus for years to come. Is there a SUPER STAR in that mix? Not of the likes of Crosby, Ovi or McDavid. But Cam scored 41 goals last year. He is underrated and overlooked by most of the league, but maybe not a SUPER STAR, just a super star.
But when we talk about this team winning 'by committee' that means to me that two things have to happen, 1) a strong and talented defense has to support the young and inexperienced goalies, and 2) scoring needs to come from throughout the line up - not just from the top line.
Lets do a little rough math with scoring statistics. The teams that made the playoffs in 2019 scored an average of 263 goals per team. Even if you remove the outliers 210 (Dallas Stars with the low) and 325 (Lightning with the high) that average is still 262.4 goals. No real change. The CBJ scored 258 goals in the 2019 campaign, the most in team history, and they needed every one of them to reach the playoffs. So, how can the CBJ score 260 goals next season?
Scoring 260 goals works out to be 3.17 goals for per game. If you evenly distribute goals among the top 3 lines and then add some in for the 4th line and defense then 70 goals are needed from each of the top 3 lines, 25 from the fourth line and 25 from D. That is 24 goals from each of the top 9 forwards and 8 (or 9) goals from each of the bottom 3 with 4 (or 5) from each D-man. Obviously, there will not be even distribution but what is the potential line by line?
Cam 30, PLD 25 and Bjork 25 = 80
Anderson 20, Wenn 10 and Nyquist 25 = 55
Foligno 15, Jenner 15 and Texier 15 = 45
Dubi 10, Nash 10 and Hannikainen 5 = 25
Zach 10, Jones 10, Savard 5, Murray 2, Nuti 5 and Gavrikov 3 = 35
The above math only works out to 240 goals. There will be other players that fill in from time-to-time that will contribute. Can they total the missing 20 goals? Possibly. But the real question is will the CBJ have 5 20-goal scorers (Cam, PLD, Bjork, Anderson and Ny)? To me that seems reasonable, but there are always injuries and slumps to consider over an 82 game season.
The piece I am not addressing here today is the Goals Against...That is another story for another time.
Tear it apart. Who in this line up am I overvaluing? What will the loss of Panarin's assists mean for scoring? How crazy are the line-by-line projections?
Oh, and BTW there is rumor that the Prospects Tournament will be broadcast on the Fox Sports Go App. I'm downloading it now in hopes of watching the CBJ at 3:30 pm today.
Thanks for reading.
Here is the reference to the Foligno interview: