Tough as nails, pretty solid defensively too.
When the Rangers sent draft picks to San Jose and Marian Gaborik to Columbus for Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore, it was very clear what the Rangers were doing. They were addressing their black holes of lineup depth and lineup toughness. But, one thing that was floating under the radar was play without the puck, and these new guys were also brought in to help in a defensive role as well. John Tortorella will not play someone if they are a defensive liability (see: Kreider, Chris; Miller, J.T.).
Clowe and Brassard likely to slot into second or third line roles. Dorsett will be a fourth line player, and Moore a bottom pairing defenseman (for now, his potential is through the roof). Players in these roles are not expected to carry the offensive load. They are expected to play physical, two way hockey. Some offensive burden will fall on Clowe and Brassard, and last night showcased how effective they can be in that role. But it’s their defense (and physicality) that will keep them in the lineup long-term.
Looking first at GVT/PVT (please be sure to check the Metrics We Use page for details):
This table is a bit interesting. Brassard is a bit undervalued by most fans, and that is likely because of his inability to both stay healthy and match his very impressive 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons where he put up 17-30-47 and 14-27-41, respectively. That said, his GVT numbers are all better than Gaborik’s, which I find to be interesting. Gaborik was certainly the best player dealt in this trade, but Brassard actually serves the Rangers better.
Clowe’s numbers here are a product of zero goals until he hit Broadway. Last season Clowe had a GVT of 8.0 (2.7 PVT). This just goes to show how much of a down year it has been for Clowe. Dorsett’s numbers are actually interesting too, as they suggest that he is better defensively than most give him credit for. This is Moore’s second season, and his numbers are an improvement from last year, which is all you can ask for. His numbers are on par with those of Steve Eminger and Roman Hamrlik, but Moore is light years ahead of these two when it comes to foot speed.
But GVT/PVT only tell part of the story. The rest of the story is about matchups and how they drive puck possession:
Corsi Rel QoC
*-Dorsett’s numbers from 2011-2012 due to lack of games played.
Much like we discussed how the Rangers were going to have holes to fill when trading for Rick Nash, they have filled those holes in acquiring this quartet. These numbers are much better than I expected. I’ve been moving toward Corsi Rel QoC as a more accurate measure of puck possession relative to the quality of competition faced, but I included QoC and CorsiON/RCorsi as well.
The first thing I noticed is that despite Clowe’s inability to put the puck in the net, his CorsiON/RCorsi shows that he still drives puck possession. He had been doing it against lesser quality matchups, which is why is Corsi Rel QoC takes a hit, but the fact that he was still able to drive puck possession shows he may have just been snake bitten in San Jose. He’s an offensive player that holds his own defensively and doesn’t give his opponents much to work with. Based solely on these numbers, it appears that he could possibly be an upgrade over the much-debated Brandon Dubinsky.
Brassard and Moore have almost identical numbers, and represent a classic case of his Corsi numbers showing contradiction. Their CorsiON (Corsi/60) suggests they are barely treading water when it comes to puck possession, but their RCorsi (Corsi/60 ON – Corsi/60 OFF) suggests that they were much more efficient than their teammates. This is where Corsi Rel QoC again comes in handy, as it factors in the quality of competition (QoC) faced. Neither are blowing you away there, but it’s something to watch going forward, especially when you see Brassard was at +.462 Corsi Rel QoC last year.
Dorsett is interesting, since I had to use last year’s numbers due to lack of games played this season. Dorsett was used as a defensive specialist in Columbus, getting just 35% of his starts after a whistle in the offensive zone. For comparison’s sake, that is right on par with what Brandon Prust received last year. But Dorsett’s puck possession numbers blew Prust’s out of the water last year, especially his Corsi Rel QoC. Since Dorsett plays a similar game to Prust, there is a chance that he could actually be an upgrade over the departed fan favorite.
It is very clear that the Rangers gave up the most skilled player in this trade, that we know. However hockey is not just about scoring goals, even though the Rangers have a severe issue with this aspect of the game. You can have all the skill in the world, but if you aren’t driving puck possession and going to the dirty areas of the ice, teams with lesser skill but more grit will find ways to beat you. This was a problem the Rangers were facing all year. With a pair of trades, they appear to have addressed everything they needed to address. At least, they did so on paper.