Ducks Stat-urday: Slumping Stars and Slow Starts

Have you seen this man? - Dave Sandford

Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan have been held off the scoresheet in five games this season. Should we be concerned?

My reverse psychology approach toward the hockey gods seemed to work last week, so instead of praising our hot start, I will once again look at areas that should give us some pause as Ducks fans. As per usual, all stats current as of February 7 (if our big guns go off against Dallas, I’m totally taking credit).

Through nine games, the Ducks are 7-1-1. Remarkably, they’re doing it largely without the support of two of their most important players: Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan (I was originally going to include Ryan Getzlaf here, but he’s actually playing at a point-per-game pace right now). Bobby is currently tied for fifth in scoring with seven points (Sheldon Souray also has seven points), while Perry is tied for seventh in scoring with five points (Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino also have five points). Bobby’s current scoring rate is 0.78 points per game and Perry’s is 0.56. For their careers, Bobby has averaged exactly 0.78 points per game (so he’s actually on target there), while Perry’s career average is 0.81 points per game.

Anecdotally, it certainly feels like both guys are off to slow starts. Both Perry and Bobby have been held off the score sheet in five games this season, and the two scorers have combined for only three goals through nine games. For comparison purposes, Daniel Winnik, Souray, and Palmieri each have more goals individually than Perry and Bobby combined.

Is something strange going on here? Let’s take a look at their stats through the first nine games in the past three seasons.

Corey Perry through Nine Games

Season

Points

Pointless Games

2011-2012

4-3=7

3

2010-2011

3-5=8

5

2009-2010

4-5=9

3

Average

8 points

3.67

Bobby Ryan through Nine Games

Season

Points

Pointless Games

2011-2012

3-1=4

7

2010-2011

2-5=7

6

2009-2010

1-1=2

7

Average

4.3 points

6.67

It’s pretty clear that Perry is off to a slow start this season, while Bobby is actually out-performing his historical norms. Given the transition to center and the time its taken to gel with Selanne and (insert winger/center here), it seems that Bobby may not require much further analysis so far.

Perry is a different story. While Getz has managed to rack up nine points, Perry just has not found the net. And I think that should be the big concern at this point. Perry’s lowest goal total through nine games in the past three seasons was three. But through nine this season, he’s sitting at just one goal. He’s missed a few golden opportunities and seems to be trying to stick handle through opposing players more than he ever has before. What compounds this problem further is the fact that Perry is getting the second-most minutes out of any our forwards, with an average of 19:57 of ice time per night. He’s also averaging the second-most minutes on the PP (overall, not just the forwards) at 3:09 per game.

During Wednesday’s broadcast, Brian Hayward (I think) reported that Perry said he doesn’t feel that his timing is down yet and that he feels like he does near the end of training camp. Hopefully he’s ready to get it going, since he traditionally has decent starts to the season. But for a guy in a contract year, Perry is certainly slumping mightily. And at some point, the team is going to need him to start contributing.

Love for Souray

I was admittedly an extremely vocal critic of the Sheldon Souray signing when it was announced, but I’m happy to report that I’m eating those words right now. He has found some instant chemistry with Francois Beauchemin and has generally played pretty well defensively (as evidenced by his plus-7 rating).

As of Feb 7, Souray is tied with Andrei Markov, Erik Karlsson, and Brian Campbell for most goals in the league by defensemen. Of those four players, he also has the best plus/minus rating, while averaging significantly fewer minutes per night (20:58) than any of them. And that’s probably the key to keeping Souray effective. He needs to be utilized extensively on the PP and have his minutes somewhat shielded at even strength.

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