Sunday, July 15, 2007

What's wrong with Markus Naslund (Part 1)

Welcome to the first of what may be many installments in a series looking into why exactly Markus Naslund's performance has slipped the past two seasons. For starters I wanted to check wether some of his decreased production could have been caused simply by shrinking ice time rather than poorer play. To take ice time out of the equation we can look at his production in terms of points per 60 minutes of ice time. Here's how those stats look for the past five years for both even strangth and on the powerplay.

First here's his even strengh stats:
Season Even Strength Points per 60 mins ES ice time
2006-07: 1.70
2005-06: 2.14
2003-04: 3.01
2002-03: 2.55
2001-02: 3.05

As you can see, there's a sizeable drop-off in the last 2 years to match his overall decrease in production. But now look at his powerplay stats:

Season Powerplay Points per 60 mins PP ice time
2005-06: 5.13
2004-05: 5.56
2003-04: 4.41
2002-03: 7.31
2001-02: 4.86

Surprisingly, these stats show that Naslund's powerplay effectiveness hasn't declined one bit. Hell, aside from his great performance in 2002-03 his last two years have actually seen his powerplay stats improve slightly. So, strangely enough, it seems that Markus Naslund's stats have dropped off exclusively because he's playing worse at even strength, while his powerplay effectiveness has remained exactly the same throughout the last 5 years, through both the good times and the bad. Weird. I can't really think of an obvious reason for this, but I have to say that this rules out many possible explainations about Markus's poor performance, or at least makes them less likely. More to come on this in the future.

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