Showing caution with the kids in HartfordOctober 14, 2013, by
With the Rangers off to a 1-4 start, any attention not focused on the Blueshirts has been on the Hartford Wolfpack. Specifically, attention has been on Danny Kristo, J.T. Miller, and Chris Kreider. Some other attention has been on Oscar Lindberg and Brandon Mashinter as well.
The attention isn’t unwarranted. Kristo (2-3-5), Kreider (2-1-3), and Miller (4-0-4) are all making waves with fans with their offensive performances. Mashinter (0-3-3) and Lindberg (0-3-3) also have some pretty nice point totals through four games. But points only tell half of the story. Since #fancystats aren’t available for the AHL, we need to focus on stats that are available.
Focusing on Kristo/Kreider/Miller, let’s focus on shooting percentage and +/- (I know…). Both stats add a little more to the discussion about rushing kids based on point production.
Kristo, who is leading the team in points at the moment, is shooting at a whopping 22.2%. The league average for a player is around 10%, and while it is unfair to say that Kristo will regress to that average (after all, an average means that some sit above, and others sit below), it is fair to say that he won’t maintain a shooting percentage over 20%. That’s unheard of.
Miller, who has four goals this season, has an even higher shot percentage than Miller at an astounding 36.4%. That is completely unsustainable. However, it is worth noting that none of Miller’s four tallies were on the powerplay. Both Kristo and Miller should see some sort of regression with their goal scoring relatively soon.
As for Kreider, his shot percentage isn’t as crazy as his peers (16.7%), but even that is still due for a little regression. Two of Kreider’s three points have been on the powerplay as well, which leaves him with a -1 rating. Yes, +/- has a lot of flaws, but considering it is the only stat available at the moment that attempts to measure defensive performance, it’s worth noting that Kreider’s -1 leaves him as one of four Pack players in the negative.
The other player in the negative for plus/minus: Lindberg. The Swede has three assists on the season –all at even strength– but is still a -1, meaning he has been on the ice for four even strength goals. Now, we don’t know much about the competition he is facing, but for a kid whose specialty is supposed to be defensive play, there is a lot of room for improvement.
Mashinter, who a lot of people want up to replace Arron Asham and Derek Dorsett, is actually the most logical of the call ups at the moment. He’s not exactly an offensive force, but he’s been pretty solid defensively for the Pack, and has managed to chip in three assists at even strength.
While the Rangers are struggling, the urge is to panic and call up a kid that may not be ready for the show. That was absolutely the case with the big-name prospects for the Rangers, and there is no need to rush them to the NHL. The Rangers will get better. There’s no need to sacrifice the future over the first five games of the year.