FanPost

Top player accountability

There are many factors as to what can help a team improve from goal tending, defense, and offense personnel to 5v5 and special teams play to prospects and free agents. During last season the Ducks fired Stanley Cup coach winner Randy Carlyle due to a recurring theme of slow starts. During this off-season there seems to be a lot of clamor for the Ducks to bring in high profile players to a complete change in direction with a new front office manager. So what's lost in all this ruckus are the players' accountability.

There is this notion of having the correct complimentary players to support the top players in our system so we call out a Cogliano. Why a small, speedy player in the line up designated to be a third line center be the huge reason the Ducks suck? Previous small, speedy players have actually thrived here recently with Todd Marchant and Jason Blake. But are we really going to hang a third line center out to dry and be the blame of this team's woes?

Let's take a look at our top seven scorers for the past two seasons. Surprisingly, the top seven scorers were the same players for both seasons.

Top Seven Duck Scorers between 2010 – 2012 (Points)

Players

2010 – 11

2011 – 12

Differential

Perry

98

60

– 38

Teemu

80

66

– 14

Getzlaf

76

57

– 19

Ryan

71

57

– 14

Lubo

68

27

– 41

Koivu

45

38

– 7

Fowler

40

29

– 11

Total

478

334

– 144

As you can derive from the results, Koivu had the smallest drop off and being the only player under double digits for a negative production. Everyone one of the top seven had a drop off with Perry and Lubo as having the most significant drop in production. Our top players need to produce. I don't expect third and fourth line players to carry the team offensively. There may be some skeptics as to saying that the 2010 - 11 season was an aberration of scoring from the top seven and cannot be reproduced. So here's another table that factors the average of the past four seasons from 2007 - 08 season to 2010 - 11 and compared that to the 2011 - 12 season.

Top Seven Duck Scorers Average between 2007/08 – 2011 (Points)

Players

2007 – 11 (Avg)

2011 – 12

Differential

Perry

75

60

– 15

Teemu

51.25

66

+ 14.75

Getzlaf

79.5

57

– 22.5

Ryan*

64

57

– 7

Lubo

46.25

27

– 19.25

Koivu

50.75

38

– 12.75

Fowler**

40

29

– 11

Total

406.75

334

– 72.75

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· * Ryan’s first full year was in 2008 – 09

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· ** <!--[endif]-->Fowler’s first year was in 2010 – 11

The Twins are underperforming. Lubo was that important and his 2010 - 11 was simply amazing. Koivu isn't the scoring center he was, but to keep Teemu happy with his country man by his side is definitely a plus; combining their differentials together they're still a positive result. Fowler may have had a sophomore slump, yet his young defensive teammate Sbisa increased his scoring last season from 11 points to 24 points.

Our star players need to perform like they are star players. If Getz and Perry underachieve again, then are they going to warrant a star's salary as they will be UFA after this coming season? Koivu needs to replaced, but the replacement needs to accommodate Teemu's style in 5 v 5 situations. For some reason, I keep coming up with Cogs in my head as that possible replacement.

Lubo is technically not with the team and his average of 46 points would be difficult to replace. The additions of Allen and Souray, 14 and 21 points last year respectively, do not seem like a fair exchange for losing Lubo. I think the thought of those two big, gritty type of players are to protect the youngings of Fowler and Sbisa next season as well as the futures of Vatanen and Lindholm. Last season, Lydman wasn't the same shutdown Lydman we knew and Lubo went missing as well. Veteran grit adds that depth that Lydman used to provide and Beauch still does. Yet injuries occur so with Allen and Souray, the Ducks are securing there will be grit to provide to the young defensemen that are projected to be our offensive output from the back end. IMO, Sbisa is the defenseman that I see that will be projected to pick up some of the offensive slack and hope that Fowler gains more confidence with the likes of Souray to teach him how to use that big shot from the point.

That's the gamble that GM Murray is taking in sending off Lubo. This team needs someone new to crack the top 7 group with Lubo departing. The next highest two scorers are :::gasp::: Cogs and Sbisa with 26 and 24 points, respectively.

In an internet interview session where our very own Jen participated, Getz noted that he needed a winger that plays his style of game of cycling with Perry. Hopefully, DSP can fill that role this year or Maroon can get over his NHL anxiety. Yet that statement doesn't really make too much sense by Getz because he's basing his play on someone else. That sentiment was also shared by Bobby Ryan earlier this summer in getting a line of his own to produce. I don't hear that kind of specific complaint coming out of Teemu's mouth, and he's the only scorer producing above his norm from last season. I don't hear Perry complaining at all; in fact, Perry produced without Getz and earned the Hart as well as the Richard trophies. I'm digressing.

Top Seven Duck Scorers, 2008 - 2011

Players

2008/09 (Rank)

2009/10 (Rank)

2010/11 (Rank)

2011/12 (Rank)

Getzlaf

91 (1)

69 (2)

76 (3)

57 (T3)

Perry

72 (2)

76 (1)

98 (1)

60 (2)

Ryan

57 (4)

64 (3)

71 (4)

57 (T3)

Teemu

54 (5)

48 (6)

80 (2)

66 (1)

Subtotal

274

257

325

240

Scotty N.

59 (3)

48 (5)

Pronger

48 (6)

Kunitz

35 (7)

Wiz

30 (7)

Koivu

52 (4)

45 (6)

38 (5)

Lubo

68 (5)

27 (6)

Fowler

40 (7)

29 (7)

Subtotal

142

130

153

94

Total (Top 7)

416

387

478

334

Team Total

664

618

650

534

Top 7 /Total

62.65%

62.62%

73.53%

62.54%

RPG + T/Total

41.26%

41.58%

54.15%

44.94%

(All my charts have color shading in the visual view, but the previews are not revealing the colors. Also, I find it odd the consistency in the roster for two consecutive seasons brought along the worst performance drop off. I'm referring to the last two seasons.)

The top seven scorers represent over 62% of the team's scoring. I find it interesting how consistent the percentages are throughout the years, with 2010 - 11 being a above that consistency. Seven players out of an average of 32 players that can score (not counting goalies) in each season that make up about 62.5% of the team scoring. Just for kicks and giggles I did the 2007 - 08 season and the stats are relatively the same, with 61.89% of the scoring done by the top seven scorers and the top four scoring 42.45% of the total points of 538. Of the top seven, only Getzlaf and Perry are on that list as the top two scorers respectively. The championship season there was a total of 704 points scored on the team. The top seven made up 65.76% of the scoring, with the top four carrying 42.75% of the load. Teemu ranked 1st with 94 points and Getzlaf was 6th with 58 points.

Since the rates of the scoring are consistent of the top seven scoring about 62% in four of the past six seasons, where the other two seasons were 65.5% and 73.5%, then it is the output of those rates that matter. In those same six seasons, the Ducks didn't make it into the playoffs twice, 2009 - 10 and 2011 - 12 seasons. And as you can see the output were low. It's the same top seven scorers between a playoff and non-playoff team. Those same players are directly related to the output and outcome of this team. Everyone else feeds off of the top seven. That's the main reason why I don't like Getz' comment of finding the best winger for him and for Bobby to be crying so much when the game is dependent on both of them. Disclaimer: scoring is not the sole reason for making the playoffs.

The point I'm trying to make is that our top players need to perform like they are top players. Many fans believe that the tinkering with the team hasn't been helpful and the reason the Ducks are not perennial Stanley Cup contenders. Between the last two seasons, it's not the ancillary players that caused this team to tank, but our top seven as shown in the stats above. Tinkering is making small adjustments kind of like finding the correct adjustment to a car's timing to make it run smooth. If a part of the engine is broken, say the head gasket is leaking or cracked, then all the tinkering in the world won't help the engine run smooth. If our top players are not performing, then how do you expect all the ancillary players to produce to make the rest of the team run? The only player that can elevate a team's success when the whole team sucks is the goal tender. (See JS Giguere and the Ducks' tenth season.)

Now, is the system itself broken? That's for another post.

This article is user-generated. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Anaheim Calling. Please do not link this article as representative of Anaheim Calling content or viewpoints . . . unless it's <em>really</em> really good.

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