By JD Lagrange – It’s been talked about here and there. It’s been somewhat documented throughout the season, or in the second half of it anyway. Everyone and their dogs have talked about Cole Caufield and his second half of the season, outscoring all rookies and scoring exactly twice as many goals as the next rookie since February. People have also talked about the team’s performances, with a few ill intent individuals choosing to focus only on the last 10 games or so of the season.
But has anyone put it all together? I’ve decided to look at the entire effect the hiring of Martin St-Louis has had on the entire organization. From a team’s point of view yes, and from an individual players’ point of view. We might be surprised, in some cases, at what we will be discovering.
Effect on the team
How often have we heard Kent Hughes and players talk about Martin St-Louis and the leadership that he brings as a coach. Weird, isn’t it? You hear that as players in a dressing room, but rarely is it something that is used to describe a coach. But I’m the type of person who likes to take what people say, for the most part, as genuine and true. Their truth anyway.
There is no denying that while there is plenty of room for improvement still, we were watching a different team under St-Louis than we were under Dominique Ducharme. If you know me, I’m not one to jump on the bashing bandwagon as I certainly refuse to put all of the blame on the previous coach. But force is to admit that the team played differently after the coaching change. Here are the key numbers.
On the chart above, St-Louis has brought some drastic improvement all the way to the goals for per games played. The goals against, the shorts (for and against) and the special teams have seen very little improvement, if any.
While some can be explained with the return of players like Joel Edmundson and Paul Byron from injuries, St-Louis also has lost Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen and Brett Kulak. He also only only had Jake Allen for 11 games.
Effect on the players
Performance goes well beyond offensive production, no doubt. But I wanted to highlight the offensive output by each and every player under St-Louis. I have only included players who have played a minimum of 10 games under both coaches, to be fair. So here are the points per game for each individual, as well as the difference since the coaching change.
As you can see, only three players have had a lesser points per game production since the change and for two of them, Anderson and Romanov, it was barely noticeable. And for those two players, it is more a testament of their consistency all year than it is related to the coaching change. And we know that St-Louis was working with Anderson and Brendan Gallagher to make adjustments to their game, something that will take a bit of time.
Now Kent Hughes must help his coaching staff by providing them with NHL quality defensemen and more stability in goal. St-Louis and his assistants will have to focus on better defensive zone coverage and quicker breakouts, allowing to spend more time in the offensive zone instead of defending. And those special teams… ugh! They must improve drastically in order to help get a few more wins.
In order to do this, St-Louis has to be re-signed. Am I the only one wondering what the hold out is on him putting his name at the bottom of a new contract? Do it Marty. The future is bright and it’s the ‘Wright‘ thing to do!
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