Quick Thoughts On a Tuesday Night

From the WTF Files: Nick Foligno’s 2011-12 Season

In case you haven’t noticed, Ottawa’s newest center is having a hell of a start to his 2011-12 season. Just thirty games in, his 10 goals and 9 assists have him well positioned to break his career high in goals (17) and points (34).

Some would say he’s developed into a different player this season. A dirtier player even…

“The rules are very clear now. If you fall into a goaltender and touch a goaltender, an elbow to the head and a butt end to the head is fair game. Dan Bylsma said that’s OK for them. Sidney said Nick Foligno is that kind of player. I wish (Foligno) was that kind of player. I thought the referees in that game, watching it and hearing the comments, it was 2-on-2. He fell over the goaltender. He was cross-checked four times. There was no question, did he get pushed? I don’t know. He got cross-checked, I thought he got a butt end, but it might have been a full elbow. (Chris) Kunitz comes in with a cross-check and the penalties were even.

So, (NHL disciplinarian Brendan) Shanahan said that’s a good play. That’s a hockey play. Dan Bylsma said it’s good for them and Pittsburgh were the biggest ones on the head injuries. I’m remiss. I made a mistake. We didn’t have (Chris) Neil and (Matt) Carkner play in the game. We didn’t have enough toughness, so when we play Pittsburgh that’s something you can bring up to me again.” ~ Bryan Murray via The Ottawa Sun

While we can debate the merits of whether Foligno has developed into a loathsome agitator, there’s no disputing that he’s contributing with and without the puck. With 84 hits, if he maintains his 2.8 hits-per-game pace, he will break his regular season personal best (119) in the next thirteen games and easily surpass the 200 hit threshold. (Note: He is on pace for 229 hits.)

 

Unfortunately, there are some warning signs that some statistical regression towards the mean will occur. His current shot total of 45 is on pace with his average output for the last three seasons (123.66), however, his current shooting percentage of 22.2% is higher than his last seasons. Combined. Obviously it helps that he already has two empty-net goals to help boost his peripherals, I’m convinced that his scoring rate just isn’t sustainable since he doesn’t shoot that often and his career shooting percentage is 12.0%.

Assuming that Foligno maintains that 123 shot pace and his shooting percentage regresses to something resembling his career norm, you’re looking at a player who will probably score approximately 7 goals on his next 78 shots.

So what does this mean?

It’s all projections and statistics but because of them, history indicates that this is a player who’s having a career year boosted by some unsustainable totals.

At this point of the article, it’s probably the appropriate time to say that I don’t have anything against Nick Foligno as a player or person. I really like him as a third line guy. As an impending restricted free agent (oddly enough, I can’t envision a scenario in which Don Brennan suggests on Off the Posts that Foligno’s playing this way because it’s a contract year), he’ll be due for a raise. However, if for whatever reason his production rates stay close to where they are through the rest of the season, it’d be an opportune time to gauge what the market would be for Foligno or a package centered around number 71.

A Passing Thought on the Tomas Kaberle Trade

Locked up for two more seasons through at a cap hit of $4.25 million, Carolina’s ability to move Tomas Kaberle – a regressing blueliner who has faced his fair share of criticism over the past few seasons – is something to take note of. Not because it’s reflective of the kind of market value that management could expect if Ottawa decided to make either of its veteran defenceman – Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar – available in a trade. If anything, it reassures us that there are some desperate teams out there that are or will be in dire need of some defensive help by the 2012 NHL trade deadline. Should Ottawa encounter another fraught GM like Pierre Gauthier who’s willing to pass the buck and make a move to salvage his job; the potential returns will be better than many could have expected before the start of the season.

Patrick Wiercioch Released From Binghamton Hospital

According to Joy Lindsay, Patrick Wiercioch has been released from the Lourdes Hospital this morning. The Senators’ defence prospect was struck in the throat with the puck on a clearing attempt by a Norfolk Admirals player.

He is now recovering at his Binghamton home.

Filatov Speaks

In an interview with Pavel Lysenkov (that Puck Daddy’s Russian correspondent Dmitry Chesnokov translates), Nikita Filatov discussed being loaned to CSKA of the KHL by the Senators.

It’s a good read and it’s nice to see Filatov show the utmost respect to Paul MacLean, Bryan Murray and the Senators organization. The door is open for his return and assuming that he comes back stronger and with a more competitive mindset, he might have that opportunity to play at the world’s highest level.

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