Image from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Resolute
Is there a more quintessential fourth liner than Tom Kostopoulos?
Tim Jackman is something of a fan favorite, Matt Stajan earns far more than a fourth liner should, but Kostopoulos is forgettable, average, yet not a team liability.
In fact, the only interesting things I can think of about Kostopoulos are that his name is Greek, he has zero understanding of what’s suspendable in the NHL, and his Wikipedia page has a creepy amount of irrelevant personal information.
It’s fascinating, then, that such a non-presence of a player’s presence as a Flame is an indirect result of the Phaneuf trade- one of the most interesting things to happen in Calgary in the last five years. Carolina traded the winger to Calgary alongside Anton Babchuk for Ian White and Brett Sutter. I’m not sure either team came out ahead in that trade.
There’s not really much of note here. If I went back one more season, you’d see he’s actually scored 22 points four times in his career, but that’s more of “mildy amusing” than anything of real interest. As I mentioned, he’s a 4th liner through and through.
|GP||Corsi Rel QoC||QualComp Rank||Corsi Relative||Corsi On||On-Ice Sh%||On-Ice Sv%||PDO||Off Zone Start %||Off Zone Finish %|
Here things are a bit more telling. His Corsi numbers are middling – nothing wonderful or terrible there, but he had the third lowest PDO on the team (ahead of only Jackman and Backlund) at 969, meaning he ran into some awful luck. He also played against other 4th liners almost exclusively – only Tim Jackman had an easier quality of competition number amongst regular forwards last year.
Kostopoulos also has a surprisingly high Ozone Start to Ozone Finish ratio (also called “zone shift”). Given the Corsi numbers, I expected to see something closer to 44.6->46.8, rather than the 5.6 positive differential we see here, although this is a measure that tends to trend towards average for most guys regardless.
There’s no revelatory information in the fancy stats, but it’s a nice look under the hood.
As a UFA
The Flames don’t really have a need or place for Kostopoulos next season, particularly at 33-years old.
It wouldn’t terribly shock me if he was resigned, but it seems unlikely. If anything, he’ll probably be offered a sub $1M contract by a team looking to add bodies – somewhere in the $800k-$900k range. Hopefully Feaster will realize he can fill the fourth line spot with someone from Abbotsford who could bring as much as Kostopoulos as well as gain quality experience from the NHL minutes.