grabner

 

Michael Grabner’s 2011-12 season has been perplexing to say the least.  Now I knew there was a strong possibility that the speedy Austrian would suffer through a sophomore slump, but the reasons for his struggles have been puzzling.  Grabner potted 34 goals last season and 52 points while being nominated for the Calder Trophy.  This season he is on pace for just 31 points and about half the goals.

 

Sometimes a change in line mates can drastically affect whether a player’s production goes up or down.  In Grabner’s case the players he has skated with the majority of the time haven’t changed from this year to last.

 

2011-12

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

30.93%

EV

40 GRABNER,MICHAEL - 51 NIELSEN,FRANS - 21 OKPOSO,KYLE

18.1%

EV

40 GRABNER,MICHAEL - 51 NIELSEN,FRANS - 15 PARENTEAU,PIERRE

8.62%

EV

40 GRABNER,MICHAEL - 26 MOULSON,MATT - 91 TAVARES,JOHN

 

 

2010-11

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

28.48%

EV

40 GRABNER,MICHAEL - 51 NIELSEN,FRANS - 21 OKPOSO,KYLE

6.92%

EV

12 BAILEY,JOSH - 40 GRABNER,MICHAEL - 51 NIELSEN,FRANS

4.76%

EV

40 GRABNER,MICHAEL - 58 JOENSUU,JESSE - 51 NIELSEN,FRANS

 

You can see Grabner has been playing with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo nearly 30% of the time in both campaigns.  If you think Nielsen and Okposo might be the problem, they’re not.  They have already combined for more points this season than they did all of last year.

 

Another troubling drop off in Grabner’s production has been his plus/minus.  In 2010-11 he finished as a plus-13, while this year he sits a minus-15.  So maybe Grabner is just not a very strong defensive presence.  Well you might be surprised to learn he sits second in the league in takeaways.

 

Rank

Player

Pos

Team

GP

Total

1

O'REILLY, RYAN

C

COL

76

95

2

GRABNER, MICHAEL

R

NYI

71

89

2

TAVARES, JOHN

C

NYI

75

89

3

THORNTON, JOE

C

S.J

75

88

4

DATSYUK, PAVEL

C

DET

63

87

5

HOSSA, MARIAN

R

CHI

75

82

5

TOEWS, JONATHAN

C

CHI

59

82

6

KANE, PATRICK

C

CHI

76

72

7

PAVELSKI, JOE

R

S.J

75

71

8

KOPITAR, ANZE

C

L.A

75

70

9

SPEZZA, JASON

C

OTT

75

63

 

Grabner seems to be in all the right positions to continue his production, but his numbers have just not reflected his surroundings.  In fact his ice-time has even increased a little bit this season to 15:45 per game, compared to 15:04 last year.

 

The main thing that does stand out when looking at his drop in production is his shots on goal.  In 2010-11 Grabner had 228 shots and this year he has just 153.  Obviously a drop off in shooting the puck decreases your percentages of scoring and hurts fantasy owners in the shots category.

 

One thing that is clearly evident is that the majority of Grabner’s production in the 2010-11 season came in January and February.  He had two different six game point streaks and 17 goals to go along with 26 points that came in those two months.  This chart gives a better illustration.

 

kj

 

When you have a huge point streak in a short window like Grabner did last year, it can give the illusion of a very productive season.  The total sum of the numbers may look great over an 82 game stretch, but on closer inspection the totals may not reflect a full campaign.  Players with high goal totals and low assist numbers like Grabner are much more susceptible to streaky play.

 

Grabner seems to be a player you have to be willing to take a gamble on.  He has the talent and abilities to put up big numbers, but also the tendency to disappear for large stretches.  That’s the thing about streaky players; it’s a lot easier to go cold than it is to stay hot.

 

 

 


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Comments (6)add comment

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... @Pengwin

Scouting may be part of it, in terms goalies now being aware of his predictable finishing moves, but he is still absolutely one of the fastest skaters in the league and that speed will continue to generate turnovers and scoring chances.
March 28, 2012
Votes: +0

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... Having been burned by Grabner this season in both fantasy hockey and as Islanders fan (and just look back to the comments section of the Top 300 players list circa September 2011 to see the egg on my face), I can say this:

The main difference between last year and this year is that he is simply not scoring on his breakaways. He was slowed by a minor injury in the middle of the season, but apart from that, it seems like a confidence issue more than anything. His speed is still generating chances and the takeaways ARE still being made. He just can't finish and it is gotten to the point where he has lost so much confidence in his shot that he seems to be looking for a trailer to pass to on his breakaways. I still see him bouncing back, but perhaps never quite to that 45-goal pace he was on the second half of 2010-11, at least not for long stretches.
March 28, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Nice write. I like the effort in this article.
We had a thread on him on the forums within the last month.

Personally, I think he's done being productive.
NHL team scouting is hip to his strengths.
He has been figured out. His stats are down, IMO, because the league is aware of his (limited) roll.
March 28, 2012
Votes: -1

Jocular Hockey Manager said:

JHM
Hot Month Grabner was the NHL's leading point getter, over the month of his hot spell last year. I owned him at the time, and traded him.

I didn't trust him (traded high) because:
- lack of power play time
- bizarre hot spell
- recent waiver
- complete lack of assists over his career, at all levels
- too much success on the PK (this can fluctuate greatly, even from year-to-year)

My analysis a year ago, was that he has a 65 point upper window. 45 goals, 30 assists would be the crazy top numbers to dream of. You shouldn't hope for more than 20 assists.

Ultimately, you never know when to have the guy in your lineup.

Sort of the reverse of this "Fried Bacon Syndrome", is what a Ribeiro has done this year. He had about 15 points in his first 25 games, but has been a point-a-game for the next 40 games. Overall, his numbers are nice, but don't command tremendous respect.

Consistency is the element eluding Grabner, and a number of the players that have made a scoring splash this season. Should a player of this ilk find consistency, they'll quickly become a star. I'm sure Markus Naslund would agree with the general theory!

PS - Venting and squabbling isn't overly appreciated.
March 28, 2012
Votes: +1

Chris said:

DoubleDion89
@Kyle You clearly have the intelligence of a child, or didn't read the article...

The graph shows that the majority of his pts are accumulated from Jan 13 - Feb 17, roughly 1 month. That streak accounted for around 1/2 that season's pts.
To make this as simple as possible for you:
1/2 his pts over the span of one month = illusion of a strong season when it's actually more of a streak.
March 27, 2012
Votes: -1

kyle said:

little_boyes_semin
no title Was this written by a child?

Not only was the analysis pointless drivel, it paled in comparison to the so-called chart, the chart that's supposed to "give a better illustration," but makes no fucking sense.

Granted, I do suppose that even the most senseless chart provides a more literal illustration than plain text.
March 27, 2012
Votes: -3
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