Silver Nuggets: Nick Foligno as Top-Six Talent

Note: I've done this kind of thing before, and it made me look stupid, but hear me out!

Yesterday I wrote about the need for true second line talent. I finished the post by asking what players the Senators should target either through free agency or trade. Apparently I should have given another option-- is there an internal solution for the Sens?

Turns out most of the commenters on yesterday's blogs would have chosen this third option, naming promising prospects such as Mark Stone, Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad as potential players who could fill that role. Some suggested Bobby Butler may rediscover his scoring touch, or that Peter Regin would be capable of being healthy for more than 10 games, and would contribute.

Most, however, suggested Nick Foligno was already that guy, true second line talent. Many were quick to point out that Nick's points per 60 minutes of ice time were behind only Jason Spezza for the team lead. Yet some (like Mark) pointed out that while his point totals were solid for a second line player, Foligno didn't give the impression that he was a true top-six player.

I decided to dig just a little bit to explain this discrepancy. He put up top six numbers, point wise, but rarely seemed to create much in the way of offence on this ice.

The first thing I found was that Nick Foligno finished tied for second in the league (behind only Milan Michalek) with 4 empty net goals. Which, when you consider he only scored 15 goals this season, is quite a serious percentage that inflates his totals a bit.

In addition, the same Behind the Net website that provides fans with his 2.4 points/60 minutes of ice time also provides fans with the ability to see that he also lead the team with 0.68 secondary assists per 60 minutes of ice time. The next closest regular player is Erik Karlsson, way down at 0.52.

So, while his numbers were good, they are slightly skewed. Now, thats not to say that empty net goals and secondary assists are unimportant. The empty net goals help to put the team ahead for good, and its important to notice that he was trusted by Paul MacLean to be out in the dying minutes of a hockey game. In addition, while secondary assists are sometimes just as important as the primary assist, they sometimes mean a player really didn't factor in on the goal. Nick does have quite a high ratio of them and that tells me he's not often the one who is making the plays.

So even in a career year for Nick Foligno, his numbers were skewed by secondary assists and empty net goals. If he doesn't get those empty netters, and only scores 11 goals on the season, is that what we are looking for from a top-6 player?

I don't think so.

Links after the jump, and then you may attack me, but before you do, know that I like Nick Foligno! I think he's a solid player, I just think he's suited to third line duty on a team with any sort of aspirations.

Senators Links

  • Part of the inspiration for today's post, the WTYKY guys look at how fan bases overvalue their own team's prospects/players and how sometimes you just have to go with a known commodity- in this case, Rick Nash. [WTYKY]
  • The flip side: some prospect porn (as Nichols would call it) as Hockey's Future takes a look at a number of Senators prospects and are quite complimentary. Though when Jim O'Brien is your best defensive prospect and he's a forward, think the organization has clear needs. [HF]
  • Nichols talks about the nugget of info dropped by Garrioch on twitter regarding upcoming Senators' unrestricted free agents and Erik Karlsson. [6thSens]
  • In keeping with Garrioch, his column today features Five Sens who could be traded. I personally cannot see the team moving either Zach Smith or Robin Lehner, but the other three make at least SOME sense, though I can't imagine us getting value for Sergei Gonchar, so I'd lean towards keeping him. [Garrioch]
  • An official piece from the Senators website talking about the combine with Pierre Dorian. Interesting bit that wasn't included in yesterday's link is this tidbit where Dorian says "We feel passionately about, I'm going to say, 14 guys and we feel pretty confident we'll get one of those 14 guys (at No. 15)," Here's hoping! [Sens]

League News

  • Article about the Edmonton Oilers coaching position in which Brent Sutter claims he hasn't even been interviewed. [Citizen]
  • Mirtle with a run down of the NHL Stanley Cup final matchup. [Globe]
  • Though his personality is not particularly engaging, Jonathan Quick is doing his talking on the ice, and the NHL is noticing. [NationalPost]
  • The other goalie in the series, ancient netminder Martin Brodeur has not plans to retire just yet. []

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