Let’s be real. When you decided to read RMNB’s season recap of Michael Latta, you didn’t think, man, what a great season. You thought, oh fun, there’s gonna be photos of him at the beach and ketchup bottles stuff.
There is. There definitely is, but I swear that Michael Latta is a solid NHL player who is ready for regular assignments on the fourth line. He’s a gamer. Let’s talk about it.
|8.1||time on ice per game|
|52.6||5v5 shot-attempt percentage|
|50.0||5v5 goal percentage|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the 2015-16 season. A short description of each chart:
Latta played ten fewer games than he did last season. I suppose that’s what happens when you get hurt at the very end of 2015 and then your team signs Mike Richards soon thereafter.
As a result, Latta hardly played in the spring: just two games after February and none in the playoffs. And while that might signify a drop-off for the player, I’m still confident that Latta has the potential to be a dependable fourth liner for Washington.
Let me qualify that now: Latta will never set the world on fire with goals. He’s got the lowest individual shot-attempt rate of any Caps forward (8.5 per 60, a head below Nick Backstrom at 9.5) and just three goals on the season’s campaign despite a shooting percentage of 10.
But that’s okay because he’s dependable as hell in his own end. Opponents shot far less against Latta (44.6 attempts per 60) than compared to his supposed betters like Chimera and Wilson, for whom opponent shot rates reached the mid to high 50s.
And while Latta’s offensive rates were meager, he still put up the best relative possession score of any depth Caps forward.
Next season we’re entering a top nine/bottom three world. Let us not pretend that Latta will be in any top nine that is expected to score, but he’s a perfect fit for the bottom line. He’ll earn under a million against the cap on his next contract, but within that role he’ll outperform players who earn twice his salary.
Assuming he gets a sweater every night. Which he oughta.
Okay, on to the fun stuff.
Is Latta the perfect puzzle piece for the bottom line? How much will he earn on his next contract and is it exactly $800,000 per year? Am I just super in the tank for Latta here?
Read more: Japers’ Rink
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