Skip to main content

It's The All-Request Hour...

Rich over at American Hockey Fan asked today for an in-depth comparison between past and present Bruins centermen Joe Thornton and Marc Savard, so here we go. This is pretty much an ad-hoc analysis (rushed to the finish so I can get to a meeting), but if you feel something is missing, feel free to chime in...

As of today (11/27/2006), Thornton and Savard each have 27 points, the difference being Big Joe's 7 goals to Savard's 6, and Savard having played 3 less games (which gets Savard into 7th spot over at Hockey Recap for points per minute). Time on the ice per game is nearly identical, (19:16 vs. 19:17), so it's not like one guy is getting more opportunity than the other, and each has 2 power play goals, so it would appear at least that neither is getting a big advantage in that area. One interesting difference is that Savard tends to take more shots than Thornton (68-50), albeit with a lower shooting percentage (8.8 vs. 14.0) This is true even if you look at career stats, where Savard averages about 2.3 shots per game and sports an 11.3% shooting percentage, to Thornton's 2.1 shots per game and 15.1% shooting percentage. Note that Savard is on pace for a personal high in Shots this year (~275), so if his shooting percentage gets back close to his career mark of 11.3%, he could achieve his first 30-goal season. What I really need to work on is a quick way to do Shot Quality analysis on a player-by-player basis, to see where the difference in shooting percentage comes between these two players. I'll save that for another day...

As far as assists go this season, I show 13 of Thornton's 20 assists being "first assists", along with 13 of Savard's 21. Last year, Thornton and Savard ranked among the league leaders in overall assists, but the difference was that over 72% of Thornton's were first-assists, compared to 58% of Savard's. One could make the argument that first-assists are a better indicator of offensive impact than the overall number. It looks like a wash so far on this count.

For forwards, the readiest (although crude) measure of defensive responsibility probably lies in the +/- figures, where Thornton boasts a distinct advantage over Savard careerwise (+51 vs. -54), but this season Savard is actually +4 and Thornton -5. As far as other stats go, Thornton has 17 Takeaways to Savard's 12, but then Thornton has 28 Giveaways to Savard's 12 (although I'm not sure I'd put much stock in the value of Giveaways). In Blocked Shots, Savard has 9 to Thornton's 5.

Big Joe typically takes a few more penalties than Savard, but this year they're within 2 PIM of each other. On faceoffs, performance is nearly identical as well (53.5% vs. 53.3%).

Basically, it would appear that these guys are pretty close in their performance so far this season. Thornton seems to have come back to Earth a bit after a career 125-point season (Earth for him being 25-30 goals and ~100 points), whereas Savard seems poised to build upon his last two seasons of tallying better than a point per game if he can stay healthy.

So Rich, I wouldn't get too upset about some Boston writer comparing the two in a spiteful jab at "Jumbo Joe." I'd say that Savard is marginally outperforming Thornton so far this year, but this level of offensive production is new territory for him, and secondly, it's only November, so we've got a long way to go.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Get Your NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 Right Here!

Click here for the 2009-10 NHL Super Schedule, at my new site,!

The NHL announced the 2008-9 Regular Season schedule today, so of course, it's time right here to publish my very own NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 as well.

For those unfamiliar with what I did last year, the NHL Super Schedule is a spreadsheet that I put together and make publicly available via Google Documents*. It includes an entry for each game in each team's 82-game regular season schedule, with additional information such as how far that team has had to travel since its last game, how many days have passed since that previous game, and various statistics relative to the opponent that evening, such as 2007-8 Winning Percentage, Goals Per Game, Goals Against Per Game, etc. For example, you can total the distance that each team will travel during the upcoming season, or find who plays the most back-to-back games. Check out which team faces the toughest opposing offenses, or which power plays…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…