Jets Grades: The Second Line
April 20, 2017, 12:22 PM ET [0 Comments]
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Jets Grades second line
The third in a series of four on the forwards on the Jets. As in the previous two pieces there is not an exact science and everything is subjective. However as before there is something that has to be remembered:
One aspect about grading players that is different than how we traditionally assign grades is that no two players are alike. Giving player Y on the top line a grade of A does not mean that Player X on the bottom line cannot get the same grade. Why would they be considered the same when they are vastly different?
The second line as it finished was: Perreault, Little and Laine.
Mathieu Perreault B+
There are many fans who were jumping off the Perreault fan club earlier in the season. He had signed a contract extension staring in 2017 and he was injured and not scoring. Injuries seems to be a stigma attached to Perreault but in reality he only missed 17 games this season. 11 last year and 20 the year before. It’s not bad but it hardly the calamity that some would make it out to be.
From January 1st Perreault had 37 points including 11 multi-point games. Before that he had just 8 points for the season. His first half was awful, he knew it and the coach knew it as Perreault was often demoted and not receiving PP minutes. Perreault played his season at even strength with the top of the Jets roster for the most part and the results are telling when looking at possession.
With Perreault Corsi %
Without Perreault Corsi%
As you can see there is a significant drop when Perreault is not on the ice with them. Perreault produced for the season where he has always been in the 40 point range with a career high actually. Consider the rough start and then look at how he finished as well. Don’t let the expansion draft debate around Lowry confuse you, Perreault is the straw that stirs the drink in so many ways and he signed to a great deal.
What the coach says: “Matty I know I was hard on you when you were doing sweet fanny apples for the start of the season. I thought some time with Thorburn would show you how much you should enjoy playing with the top lines, and it look it worked! You were en fuego for the second half. I know every one wonders why I put Lowry out on the first PP unit and how that has made him think he’s going to be protected for the expansion draft… I laughed too. Look when you do your thing, I’m not sure what it is though, I know I’m in good hands. With Laine coming into his second season and probably getting some top 3 minutes, I’ll need you to pull my butt out of trouble more than ever again when I screw up the PP. So have a great off season and see you in September buddy, we’re buddies right?”
Bryan Little A-
Again this is another Jet player that had his season interrupted via injury and really the team never got much of a chance to gel as Little’s injury happened in the first game. Little had injury problems last year and finished with 57 games played, two below the 59 he played this year. That didn’t hurt his production though. He hit a career high in points per game at .796 this season. In the bieginning of the season Little was anchoring Ehlers on one side but by the end of the season that pairing had been broken up and for good reason they don’t work, both want to carry the puck and control it in the offensive zone. It showed in the numbers and both players drive play far better when they are apart.
Little is more of an offensive weapon than Perreault but he also pushes play. Like Perreault there is a drop off on possession numbers when the same top players are away from him, aside from Ehlers. What Little is though is this: reliable. You know what you get with Little and he does his job in such a nondescript way, almost invisible. Life without him for the Jets was difficult to say the least and that alone should be a tell tale of his value.
What the coach says: “Bryan, I’m torn. Your like the little big guy and you know how much size matters….er to me and much of hockey. You do great things and I think you compensate for Patrik’s youth and inexperience well. Frankly, the team was a mess without you and I almost have no ideas on how to make a top six work without you in it. Do me a solid and take a home town discount on your next deal, just like you did the last time”.
Patrick Laine A
What more do you want from an 18 year old rookie? Laine has his weak areas but scoring 36 goals as an 18 year old certainly makes up for them along with his 28 assists. Had Leafs saviour Auston Matthews not come along Laine is the Calder Trophy winner. However he has faults and they are important enough to keep him from being an A+.
Laine has a propensity to try things at the wrong times. It’s a natural habit for some one of his ability and his desire to be the best. They have been costly at times and the good part is he has ‘owned’ his mistakes. Laine does not drive possession. He’s a finisher and a far better passer than most people in Winnipeg knew or gave him credit for before they saw him in action. His possession numbers need work and that’s understandable given his age and experience in the professional game.
Laine is going to be an elite scorer for years to come. If he can round out the defensive side of his game and push play the right way he could be an elite all around player as well.
What the coach says “ Patrik you have made me look so good and so bad all at once. I’ve never had so many fans tell me how to run a PP unit in my time here. I mean it’s been bad since day one but with out it seems no one knows what I’m doing anymore. You’ve got some sides of the game to improve upon and once that happens I’ll put you on the first unit okay? I promise.”