While players in some of the other player categories may cause one to blink an eye, I think there will be a little more consensus agreement in this section of the series dealing with the “No-Way Forward”.
The “No-Way Forward” is a term I started dealing with last year to counteract most announcers calling your typical plugger a two-way forward in the sense that he brings grit and jam to a line, which has perceived defensive value in some hockey circles. I fluidly disagree with this, and I think that a player’s offensive responsibility is to generate shots, and his defensive responsibility is to prevent shots. None of these forwards are exceptionally talented at doing this, or anything, really.
Players on this list are a bunch of things. They can be veterans who stick around for nostalgic purposes or past successes. They are goons, and fourth line replacement players. There is the occasional offensive player who generates scoring off rushes and not zone time, which harm his possession numbers (I’m using Fenwick, shot and missed shot differential, for this analysis) so it doesn’t factor in the quality of shot taken by an offensive player, but in general we paint a pretty clear picture.
Here are the 15 names furthest from the origin (where the x-value is shots for above average and the y-value is shots against below average) who qualify as “No-Way Forwards”.
|NAME||TEAM||AdjFen||Events F||Events A||Type||Events T|
(Raw data downloaded from BehindTheNet.ca and adjusted in Excel.)
[ LEGEND: AdjFen Adjusted Fenwick number per 14.65 minutes Events F On-ice goals, shots and misses for above the league average Events A On-ice goals, shots and misses below the league average Type Player type Events T Unadjusted total number of events above or below the league average ]
Honourable mentions go to Jamal Mayers, Chuck Kobasew, Steve Bernier, Tomas Fleischmann, Jason Blake, Zenon Konopka, and a whole host of other players you once thought you liked.
Again, team effects creep up. The Anaheim Ducks had a pretty bad team depth-wise this season and their first line got a little bit lucky this year, so it’s not surprising to see a few of their players up there. The Islanders were also a very bad team who employed a lot of forwards who have no particular use outside of bashing the occasional skull. Edmonton and their struggles with their depth forwards are also evident.
One thing it’s fun to see is a couple of tarnished prospects who came to the NHL with such hope. Gilbert Brule was probably the best WHLer I’ve ever seen play live and I’m convinced his development was stunted by terrible management in Columbus. Kyle Chipchura, as you’ll remember, captained the 2006 Canadian Junior Team before scoring just four goals over the course of three shortened seasons with the Canadiens before being flipped to Anaheim for a skate sharpener.
Three Leafs also made the list, albeit each in different roles. Orr, the fighter, Lupul, the scorer and Brent, the kind-of-guy-you-win-with that the Leafs let go much to the dismay of some fans. I’ve discussed before that the Leafs first line was actually not too improved with the addition of Lupul as far as pure shot differential goes. He’s always been a negative Corsi player (through the years we have) and I don’t expect that to change this season.
Last thing, if you’re wondering where Trevor Gillies is on this list, he didn’t play the 40-game minimum to get on this list. Probably because he was suspended for all of them.
Join us for our next “Player-Type Profile” as we look to some of the more exciting players in the game, the high-event Defensive Liability.