Early in Monday’s preseason game, CSN analyst Craig Laughlin dropped a casual prediction: TJ Oshie could hit 30 goals this season.
Some people scoffed. Some people said heck yeah brah. Over at RMNB, Pat and Peter made a friendly wager. Now it’s our first bet of the season. There is poetry and beer-league hockey on the line now, so read on.
TJ Oshie has cracked 21 goals just once in his career (although I bet he would’ve hit it again had he not missed 10 games last season), so I understand the conservative take on projecting his goals for this upcoming season. But I think Oshie is going to be the right guy in the right place this season, and he’ll hit– and may exceed– 30 goals.
I’ll start with this: when Rob Vollman and Matt Cane made their historical projections for the upcoming season (you can buy it at Dobber), they put Oshie at 24 and 23 goals respectively. Taking for granted that Oshie is in a good situation (new team, linemates) to meet that projection, the question for me becomes this: can we find 6 or 7 more goals in Oshie’s future given his new spot on one of the best scoring lines and best power plays in the league? I say yuppppppbroseph.
As presumptive top-line right wing, Oshie might play upwards of 1,000 5v5 minutes with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom this season. Many bothans died to play on that right wing in seasons past, but none of them (save maybe your boy Burra) had the offensive acumen that Oshie has. None of them had the jokes. I’m looking purely at individual shot-attempt rate, wherein Teej ranks just outside the top-100 among forwards. Nick and Alex have been used to reticent shooters or possession sinks; now they’ll have a shooting stud (11.8-percent career) who can drive possession too.
Then there’s the power play. Oshie recorded 162 minutes of power play time in 68 games last season. The guy whose PP spot Oshie might take, Troy Brouwer, record 243 minutes in 80 games. Oshie might get more power-play time on a better power-play team.
I think there’s a good case for Oshie to hit 30. I could be wrong, but Craig Laughlin cannot be wrong and he agrees with me, so there.
When I win, and I will win, Pat Holden will have to write a Shakespearean sonnet about hockey’s greatest goons and record a video of himself giving an impassioned reading of it for RMNB.
I told Peter my response was going to be a bathroom selfie of me flexing. But I’ll save that trump card for later in the season instead of wasting it on this child’s play.
In his career, TJ Oshie is an 11.8 percent shooter. Oshie averages 172 shots per 82 games. If Oshie were to shoot and score at his career average this season, and be healthy for every game (something he’s never done), he’d score 20 goals. Peter Hassett has foolishly bet me that Oshie will exceed this mark by 50 percent in 2015-16. Let’s all take a minute to try to contain our laughter.
Okay, now that we’re all done laughing, let’s finish Peter off here with the proverbial tombstone pile driver, the greatest finishing move by the greatest wrestler in the history of WWE.
“But Pat,” they’ll say, “Oshie has never had linemates as good as Ovechkin and Backstrom.” This is true. But this also implies Ovechkin and Backstrom significantly boost the goal total of their right wing. One way this could be done is if the third musketeer on the line sees a significant jump in shot attempts when they join the Caps superstar duo.
For our sample, with data generously pulled by ya boy Muneeb of Japers’ Rink, we are looking at the 2014-15 stats of Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson, and Troy Brouwer when they skated with (745 minutes) Backstrom and Ovechkin versus when they skated without them (2545 minutes). Here’s how our foursome fared in terms of shot attempts:
So an increase of about 0.8 shot attempts/60 is going to catapult Oshie’s goal output by 50 percent? #NOPE
But maybe Ovie and Backy significantly boost the shooting percentage of their winger. (Peter told me I could use one chart max. His cry for mercy that will be ignored, disrespected, and spat upon.) [Ed. note: you bastard.]
Oh look, the players’ shots got significantly worse when playing with Backstrom and Ovechkin.
So, the additional goals aren’t coming at 5v5.
Might they come on the PP? Sure, but 10 additional PP goals? Bro, I’m not even going to pull out more charts on you. That’d be like using a steel chair to bloody your face for fun as you are laying in the middle of the ring after I just beat you for the championship belt.
When I win this bet, Peter will have to attend one of my adult league hockey games, track our stats, and write a snapshot. ETA on that post: April 2016.
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