Expectations on Offense: A Comparative

By Bob Trask – In early August, I published some optimistic predictions for the production of various Canadiens players in the upcoming season. Today, Scott Cullen published a far more comprehensive list of projections that covered over 400 players across the entire NHL. You can review his entire list here.

It is interesting to compare the projections to see where we were close and where we diverged. My list of 22 players did not include Mike Hoffman, who I believe could be traded before the season starts. Cullen’s list of 15 Canadiens’ players did include Hoffman. My list was prepared before the Sean Monahan acquisition, leaving only 13 players to compare.

While my projections were limited to goals scored, Cullen also estimated the number of games played by each player. If I were to update my list, my expectations for games played by various players would vary from the first list simply because of Monahan’s presence on the team. That would, in turn, affect my projections for production. Still, it makes for interesting comparisons.

The Comparisons

In the following comparisons, my projections will be on the first line of the table and Cullen’s will be on the second line of the table. An average of the two will be on the third line.

Nick Suzuki

Scott Cullen224264

Cole Caufield

Scott Cullen282351

Evgenii Dadonov

Scott Cullen211940

Jonathan Drouin

Scott Cullen82735

Christian Dvorak

Scott Cullen162238

Kirby Dach

Scott Cullen122436

Josh Anderson

Scott Cullen181230

Brendan Gallagher

Scott Cullen181937

Juraj Slafkovsky

Scott Cullen201939

Rem Pitlick

Scott Cullen101727

Mike Matheson

Scott Cullen91827

Chris Wideman

Scott Cullen82129

Jake Evans

Scott Cullen91524


Many of the projections were very close, the main exception being Jonathan Drouin. Part of that may be attributed to my expectation that Drouin could thrive under head coach Martin St Louis and part of it may be attributed to my expectation that Mike Hoffman could be traded with Drouin picking up some of Hoffman’s ice time.

The cut-off to make the top 400 projected scorers on Scott Cullen’s list was 24 points. Canadiens’ players who did not reach that threshold included forwards Joel Armia, Michael Pezzetta and Jesse Ylönen. Defensemen failing to reach the cut-off of 24 points included Joel Edmundson, David Savard, Justin Barron, Jordan Harris and Corey Schueneman. You can see my projections for those players in my article “Room for Optimism on Offense”.

It will be an interesting exercise for me to review how close I came with some of my projections and how far I missed by on others. In any case, I have set my own benchmarks for performance expectations. Have you set yours?

PS – For those who still hang onto every point that Jesperi Kotkaniemi puts up, Cullen projects that he will put 31 points on 12 goals and 19 assists – slightly lower than his projected output for Kirby Dach. *wink*

More reading…

Room For Optimism on Offense

By Bob Trask – After a difficult season Montreal Canadiens fans could use a dose of optimism – so here it is.

Last year the Canadiens ranked 27th in the league in terms of goals scored with 221. Florida led the league with 340 goals, Washington rounded out the top ten with 275 goals and the league median was 253.

With a fresh approach from Martin St-Louis, some new additions to the team and minor rebounds by some of the veterans, what can we expect from this year’s edition of the Habs? We can take a look by applying some realistic production numbers to each player.

All of these totals are in line with historical production numbers for veterans and with modest improvements and/or contributions from the younger players on the team. It also considers the amount of ice time that maybe available to each player.

By the Numbers

Nick Suzuki244670
Cole Caufield342660
Evgeny Dadonov263056
Jonathan Drouin153550
Christian Dvorak212748
Kirby Dach152944
Josh Anderson 211536
Brendan Gallagher181735
Juraj Slafkovsky161834
Rem Pitlick121931
Mike Matheson101828
Chris Wideman71825
Jake Evans101525
Joel Edmundson61521
David Savard41521
Joel Armia9918
Justin Barron3912
Michael Pezzetta5611
Jesse Ylonen5510
Jordan Harris145
Corey Schueneman246
All Others81220

All of this adds up to potential for significant improvement for offensive production. These totals put the Canadiens within a whisker of being in the top ten teams when it comes to scoring. And none of the targets for the players are wildly unrealistic.

Under St-Louis, the Canadiens scored at a pace of 263 goals over an 82 game schedule reinforcing the idea that 272 goals is not a stretch – particularly if the power play can come to life.

While it is unlikely all players on the list will be with the Canadiens when the puck drops, it provides some context on which we can individually base our expectations. If nothing else the team has the potential to be far more exciting than what we saw in the first half of last season.

More reading…