erik gudbranson

The Case For Jordan Subban As A Loss Leader

Everyone is a salesperson. From the guy on late night TV telling you why need a weight that you can shake vigorously to help you drop the pounds to the nice woman at the jewelry store that can smell your vulnerability as soon you ask why the 4-C’s are important. Agents try to sell the GM’s why their player is worth more money and ownership tries to sell the fans why rebuilding with a lowercase r is OK.

When it comes to Canucks defensive prospect Jordan Subban, selling a reason why he should be on the big club has proved to be quite difficult. It’s not that he can’t score goals or that he isn’t fast enough; he’s a star in those categories. In fact, last season in the AHL, Subban was 3rd amongst all defensemen with 16 goals. He was tied for 7th in primary points (goals and first assists) by defenders with 30 and 17th in overall points by a defenseman with 36.

No one will argue that Subban can’t produce. However, the knock on PK’s younger brother is that defensively, he stinks. The 2017 preseason has been fairly evident of this as he’s been the visible one getting burned for a handful of goals. The blame isn’t always pegged on the last guy but his defensive efforts aren’t exactly NHL caliber.

You know who else was atrociously awful as a defenseman? If you guessed Luca Sbisa then you would win a prize. There are no prizes to give out but if there were, you’d have one today. Somehow, Sbisa was trotted out on a nightly basis when there were plenty of other players clearly more deserving than him to be in the lineup.

As the saying goes, let’s look at the stats:

Luca Sbisa (VAN) 2016/17 – Goals: 2 Assists: 11 GF: 46, GA: 72   TOI/60: 18:58 (7th on team)

Jordan Subban (UTI) 2016/17 – Goals: 16 Assists: 20 GFoI: 42 GAoI:  45  (AHL doesn’t track TOI, but looking at the stats, he would have been playing big minutes).

OK, so based on some similar metrics, Subban was on the ice for a lot more action on either side of the ice than Sbisa. Knowing that, would it not be more beneficial to go with the loss leader in this case? A loss leader in sales is something sold at a loss to attract customers. It has been done in the housing market to get the ball rolling on a development and for the Canucks, having an exciting player on the ice, regardless of the final score, gets people back in the rink.

Even though Sbisa is gone, players like Erik Gudbranson and Thomas Vanek are still on the team. At some point, an injury will rear its head and someone will need to be called up. If having Jordan Subban on the ice means goals are going both ways, the surrounding players and goalie should be able to weather the storm. How bad could Subban really be?

For what it’s worth, Gudbranson had a GF 16 and GA of 38. Subban doesn’t look so bad now, does he?

There isn’t necessarily a spot for Jordan right now but looking back at last season, the Canucks would have most likely benefited more from having Subban on the team. If there is going to be red lights lit at both ends of the ice, why not put in a guy that can actually contribute to them instead of being both an offensive AND defensive hinderance? What about another route, though?

It has been suggested by various people that he switch positions to accommodate to his talents, to say, the wing. It’s unlikely he cracks the Canucks lineup anytime soon due to a logjam of “talent” ahead of him. Smaller forwards have risen to the spotlight in the NHL in the last few seasons so it would be a great time to experiment with Subban up front.

Of course, with two preseason games left to play, it’s a little late for that.

When the time does come to call a forward up, Subban would be an interesting choice. Heck, Andrey Pedan played up front! Goals may come at a premium this season and Jordan has a decent release. Worth a try. It’s worth a try for many of the young stars trying to make the Canucks. If the goals are coming, the losing doesn’t hurt as much.

Comparing Sbisa to Subban is kind of a moot point as Sbisa has moved on to play for Vegas and any stats above were from last year. However, there are still a handful of players that need to be kept honest because there are guys that can rock the boat and get the fire into the lineup. Taking a hit by allowing more opportunities to score goals is well worth the chance to score more.

Limit his ice time as a bottom pairing defenceman and anchor him with a responsible partner OR put him on the wing. Jordan Subban deserves his shot.

The Canucks won’t challenge for a playoff spot this season but having increased goal production combined with excitement (hey, what’s that?) will get the needle moving in the right direction.

photo – Today’s Slapshot

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Canucks Civil War – Advanced Stats Vs. Everyone?

If it’s one thing all Canucks fans unite together for, its uniting to analyze every move the team makes. Whether you’re an advanced stats guy, a regular stats guy or just the eye test “great move/terrible move” guy; you all have an opinion. The thing is, we beat this to death before these guys even play a single shift. I’m just as bad as the next and potentially under-educated on some of the 2nd and 3rd tier guys but I too will throw my hat in the ring.

Lately, it seems like the advanced stats crew is taking a lot of heat, more than normal somehow, for putting the available data out there to evaluate the newest and potential newest members of the Vancouver Canucks. Do the stats tell the WHOLE story, do we still need the eye test or are both still needed together?

 

Erik Gudbranson is now a Canuck and it took all of about 10 seconds to form a final decision on the Canucks twitters.

So, is Gudbranson actually that bad? The Hockey Writers had a nice little article about how Luca Sbisa and Guuby are very much the same player….that’s not good. Luca Sbisa isn’t a terrible hockey player but he is not a very good hockey player. Gudbranson is known for his defensiveness and not so much for his scoring touch.

He hits guys with a Virtanen-like aggression and forces players to maybe choose a different side to streak down. Those are both great things for this Canucks team that totally lacks that tough mentality. But, at the end of the day, is the trade worth it?

Straight up, Jared McCann for Gudbranson is an alright trade and both teams seem to benefit. We’ll never know if McCann was on his way out anyways or what the potential market could have been, you know, if any other team knew he was available?

But lets get back to the statistics, in this Canucks Army article by J.D. Burke, he points out that when Guuby is on the ice, there’s a sick ton of shots coming the Canucks way. Will this change? Unlikely, and Willie Mitchell isn’t here to bail him out. However, younger stud d-man Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton are. Heck, Nikita Tryamkin is too!

Maybe we’re all just mad because after we’ve digested the players in the move, the draft picks are the commodities that disappear. Thankfully we can only take so much data from an unused draft pick but at what point will we argue this part to death? Is anything after a 1st round pick truly valuable? (obviously yes)

The hockey media seem to take the “ive seen this guy play” approach a lot and will spout out the stats as needed. Where the advanced stats come in and what seems to piss off the regular stat people is when there is REAL evidence that the player in question is just not very good. Is it that people don’t like too much information?

Its a bit like bullying where the bully just says stuff because they don’t understand the situation and just use hurting words to cover up for their own insecurities. OK Dr. Phil! 

I’m still building my foundation with advanced stats so I’ll keep quiet and my opinion on who’s good and who isn’t is quite often ripped apart; I’m the middle guy.

I understand that playing the games and taking the “in the know” hockey media members advice that a player is good or bad will hold a lot of weight but at the same time, if the advanced stats say this guy is going to probably suck here too…it’s tough to argue that.

There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong camp when it comes to players because they prove us right and wrong all the time; case in point, Nick Bonino. He never panned out in Vancouver and it was quite visible he wouldn’t be a Canuck very long. We hated him because we felt we were burned on the Kesler deal…twice. Kes wanted out and we basically were throttled on the return.

Bonino is now excelling in his role on the Penguins and may very well win a Stanley Cup. The thing is, he has a few players the Canucks most definitely do not: Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin among others. Whenever someone gets moved or signs somewhere else and succeeds we always look and feel like that would have happened in Vancouver.

It doesn’t.

The same is said for players on other teams that come here. I don’t think there are CF% and PDO numbers to look at in the early 90’s but I’m guessing Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi didn’t thrive in those respective areas. Stats are stats until they aren’t.

The Gudbranson trade may anger Canucks nation but now that there is so much information available to us, why not consider it?

Here’s the thing everyone: WHO HONESTLY CARES WHO’S RIGHT??? You can agree or disagree, accept stats or not; you are entitled to that. What Benning has done in his short time here is divide the fans and has them pitted against each other.  Sadly, this isn’t a movie so the happy ending might not be coming any time soon.

Its frustrating to watch JB assemble and dismantle the team all at the same time and how he keeps everyone guessing is a thing to behold.

Stop bitching and complaining about how stats guys are clogging the arteries of your media feeds; if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

I used to think the advanced stats were irrelevant until I realized they play a valuable part in understanding the true workings of the game. Captain America and The Avengers made up after their “civil war” so why can’t Canucks nation?

Let’s all agree this team is screwed and go from there.