How does David Desharnais compare to Oscar Lindberg?

July 10, 2017, by

david desharnais

The Rangers have had a pretty decent run of it so far in free agency, with Kevin Shattenkirk joining the Blueshirts and Brendan Smith re-upping for another four years. Aside from rebuilding just the defensive corps though, Jeff Gorton has begun reconstructing the Rangers’ center depth, after losing Oscar Lindberg to Vegas and trading away Derek Stepan.

Signing David Desharnais is a positive step in the right direction, and although finding a replacement for Stepan will be trickier, having Desharnais around will give the Rangers some options in the bottom six. I thought it’ be worthwhile however, to examine just exactly how Desharnais will replace Lindberg – if their playing styles are the same, how they stack up against one another, and how they complement their linemates.

To do this, I figured I’d consult Ryan Stimson’s Passing Project, which I’ve referenced on this blog before. Basically, Ryan and his cohorts have tracked hundreds of games, logging the passes each team makes before each shot is taken. While not quite every game has been tracked it is a ton of data, so any sample size is meaningful. Using this data Ryan put together circular charts representing what particular players excel at, and so using that I compared Lindberg and Desharnais to each other, and to their linemates.

To start, here’s Desharnais stacked up one on one against Lindberg. Lindberg being the more round shape in the center and DD being the more angular shape (I don’t know why they came out the same color, just coincidence I guess). We can see that although Lindberg may have been more well rounded, Desharnais has some particular talents that will serve the Rangers well.

While Lindberg beats Desharnais in shot volume and transition play, the ex-Canadien significantly outstrips the newly minted Vegas Golden Knight in terms of primary shot assists, dangerous shot contributions, and total passing.

This one compares Desharnais with his most likely linemates, Jesper Fast and Michael Grabner. It’s a little bit hard to see (click to enlarge), but Fast is the shape just inside in the yellow shape, which is Desharnais (Grabner is the pink pointy one). Basically, if you like Jesper Fast, you’re going to love Desharnais, who’s basically got the same style, except he’s better. Neither of them are particularly strong at transition play however, which is fine, because Grabner’s got that sewn up with his speed.

For reference, I’ve included just Fast and Grabner above.


Lastly, here’s what we’ll be leaving behind given Oscar’s unfortunate departure to Las Vegas. As mentioned earlier, Lindberg was fairly well rounded, and so the line may be missing a little je ne sais quoi, but given Desharnais’ total passing contributions and dangerous shot contributions, we may very well see some more exciting plays out of the fourth line this season, even if their overall shot volume is slightly weaker.

How do Desharnais and Lindberg stack up against each other in terms of raw numbers? Well, in 49 games DD had 12 points, for a P/60 of 1.30 while Lindberg put up 20 points in 65 games for a 1.77 P/60. It is worth nothing that both of them had relatively high shooting percentages, with Desharnais shooting at 13.33% and Lindberg coming in at 9.64.

Additionally, I’ve included a HERO chart comparing both Lindberg and Desharnais below that illustrates basically the same principle: Lidberg may be a little bit better at putting up points, but they’re roughly comparable otherwise.


Lindberg being a little bit better, we may see some drop off in terms of how well the fourth line performs, especially since Michael Grabner is unlikely to score 20+ goals again this year. Still, Desharnais is a competent, if different style center who can bring a different element to the bottom six that may ultimately adequately replace or even surpass what Lindberg was able to bring to the table.

"How does David Desharnais compare to Oscar Lindberg?", 5 out of 5 based on 15 ratings.
Categories : Players


  1. BrooklynVic says:

    I don’t understand why it is hard to believe that Grabs won’t put up 20 again. Weren’t most of his points/goals off the rush? We haven’t got slower. As you say above, Linberg may have slightly better point totals but is comparable to DD.

    I wouldn’t be the least surprised if Grabs, who looks like he is in top shape i.e. his training videos (pool jumping etc) and isn’t slowing down anytime soon, puts up another 20.

    • John B says:

      It’s hard to believe because Grabner scored 22 goals from Oct to 31 Jan shooting 21%. Followed by 5 goals with 8.8% shooting. 8.8% is around his career average.

      If he gets another 162 shots and shoots 9% that’s roughly 15 goals.

    • Mintgecko says:

      Grabner touching north of 20 goals is more believable than Vesey hitting Hayes rookie numbers while he sits in the top 6.

      • John B says:

        What does Vesey have to do with Grabner’s high shooting %? That’s a straw man argument meant to solely to deflect attention that Michael Graber is not going to shoot north of 20% for half a season again.

        If Michael Grabner provides 14 goals this year, its an accomplishment.

    • Bobb M says:

      I think with shatty on board now quarterbacking with his passing skills hitting speedsters Grabner , krieder, Vesey off the bench, this team will be sky’s the limit in scoring. Even Nash will be better with Shattenkirks presence. can’t wait for this season to begin. Our PK with Mcdonagh,Shatty and Smith,Skjei. AV also knows Pittsburgh’s weaknesses. This team will be Awesome🏆

  2. Peter says:

    On Grabner, it will depend partially how he is deployed. He was on the 3rd line much of last season, getting more minutes. He also had decent chemistry with Hayes. If he plays enough to get opportunities to create the havoc he is capable of, then I think he can put up 20 again. If you look at his career his shooting percentage has varied greatly with how he was used. He had four goals in the playoffs, He came close to having two or three more.

    • Rich S says:

      Excellent points Peter. The more he plays and the better line mates he plays with, the more points/goals he will put up!
      Had he played 1 st line PP minutes, he probably gets another 4 or 5 goals.
      Had AV kept him on the line with Hayes he probably gets another 4 or 5 goals.
      That breakaway speed is something that cant be taught! That’s what makes him so dangerous on the PK.
      Incredible that fans here don’t appreciate him and his value to the team. He may have been our MVP last year. Yet fans treat him like he is a spare part.
      I will take 5 more Grabners and win a cup with them.

      • Mintgecko says:

        Grabner was with Hayes and JT 24/7 during the regular season, that’s on Grabs for never finishing. Imo all the quality setups just by Hayes alone in the 2nd half should have had him finish the season with 55-60 points, I’m talking tap ins so it’s not like I’m counting all the breakaway chances. JT should have had well over 60 points from assists so don’t blame AV for trusting Grabs who couldn’t hang with those two after January.

      • John B says:

        “Had he played 1 st line PP minutes, he probably gets another 4 or 5 goals”

        Which would almost double his career PP Goals of 7 in 397 career games prior to last season. Grabner has been played on the power play prior to last year and failed to produce. Should he have been given an opportunity? Yes he should have. Does his career arc indicate successful power play production? No.

        “Had AV kept him on the line with Hayes he probably gets another 4 or 5 goals.”

        He played a whole 103 minutes (roughly) without Kevin Hayes. Hayes averaged 23 shifts a game, Grabner 22.

        “Incredible that fans here don’t appreciate him and his value to the team. He may have been our MVP last year. Yet fans treat him like he is a spare part.”

        He is valuable, but still a spare part. He provides an added dynamic but there are other players who can provide the same dynamic that he provides. And I believe Mats Zuccarello would like a word with you about this MVP thing. Grabner was pretty invisible from late-January to the playoffs, when he came off his 20+% shooting display. Zuccarello was visible night in night out.

        • Peter says:

          Grabner is definitely a role player and the type of forward that needs to be deployed properly in order to maximize his skill set. I wouldn’t call that a spare part as much as a role player. With the Rangers he is well suited to their style of play. I disagree that he is easily replaced. There are not many with his speed and his awareness.

          I think also people are forgetting he was injured late in the season and it took a bit for him to get back to where he was. He was back to himself in the playoffs. He got stuffed by some pretty good goalies in Montreal and Ottawa, like many of the Rangers were. I am hopeful that they will get another good year out of the guy. He has played well for this team.

        • Rich S says:

          Zucc is a terrific player…..One of my favorites……yes he may have been the other rangers MVP candidate……I absolutely love his game, effort, intensity, passion etc!
          That being said Grabner did have 27 even strength goals….Zucc only 10 even strength goals…..And you need to factor in that Grabners play deteriorated after he got injured [as did Hayes]…..
          Basically, cant argue either ones value to this team…..
          Given top 6 minutes , he should have no problem putting up 20 again !

          • John B says:

            You can argue. Mats Zuccarello is a far better overall player than Michael Grabner.

            Everyone is “giddy” about Michael Grabner shooting almost 2x his career average shooting %, and once that stopped the true nature of that line of Grabner/Miller/Hayes was seen.

            Hayes… 755 shots for..988 shots against…-233 diff
            Miller….903 shots for…1098 shots against…-195 diff
            Grabner..741 shots for…916 shots against…-175 diff

            Millers is slightly higher and I can’t remember which games he was apart from them, otherwise I’d filter them out. Overall, that 3 of the 5 worst. With Miller and Hayes number 1 and 2 as worst. That line was hemmed in the Rangers zone against “weaker” competition quite frequently and relied upon Lundqvist to bail them out of trouble. Not exactly something that screams out “play me against harder competition”

            Michael Grabner vs an “average” 2nd line Winger:

            And against an “average” 3rd line winger:

            His inability to limit shots against can be better masked by playing him on the 3rd line, or the 4th. Higher in the lineup will most likely lead to increased scoring chances against.

            • Hatrick Swayze says:

              Good stuff, Johnny.

            • Rich S says:

              Very interesting stats…….I had no idea these even existed…..I like the old standard +/-…….and in that Grabner leads the team with + 22………
              Meaning , as you know, he was on the ice for 22 more goals the rangers scored than the opponents scored……
              Its not how many shots an opponent gets but the Quality of shot…..maybe they are covered so well that they throw it at the net as soon as they enter the zone…did thet poor quality defensemen contribute to that stat…..didi AV’s style…? We dont know……..etcetc…..
              And the Eye test …….He is a difference maker every time he is out there , a legit threat to score….

              • John B says:

                Please, don’t rely on that. It’s so outdated. When everything is factored into Grabners season, he is a -3.8 in paulronty’s favorite stat Expected Plus/minus.

                “And so it appears we’ve reached an impasse with the statistic. No longer relevant in an era where more sophisticated metrics and evaluations are readily available, plus-minus continues to die a slow death. And George McPhee, as one of many, hopes to “see it go the way of sword fights and dragons—if it hasn’t already.”

              • Spozo says:

                Wasn’t Marek Malik the league leader in plus/minus for a season?

                It’s the most useless stat in hockey.

            • John B says:

              Those numbers were shot attempts too. Not total shots on goal. Meant to say that just remembered

  3. Hatrick Swayze says:

    My takeaway: Desharnais is a better distributor by a wide margin. Those tools are great, btw…. very unique way to represent a player’s body of work. However what they don’t display are player usage/ deployment characteristics. To me, Desharnais would thrive in a sheltered 3rd line role- think Brassard- Zuc- Pouliot from the 2014 season. Whereas I think most of us saw Lindberg as being a bit more apt in his own end, I don’t think we should expect to see Desharnais given a bevy of D zone deployments. And that might be something which will hurt us, unless we expect to saddle Zibby and Hayes with those assignments and still expect them to drive offense…. to me seems like a tall task.

    One thing which I’m having trouble with reconciling is how AV seems to have shifted in his usage a bit since coming on board. Gone are the days of our Boyle/Moore/Dorsett shutdown line- as AV and the brass now seem to favor 4 lines of offensively capable players. That being the case, Desharnais’ skill-set seems to fit the mold well. I fear, though, that we lack a pivot capable of being ‘buried’ in terms of deployment and assignments who would go a long way in helping to free some of our more offensively apt personnel (though I am very high on Zib, the less of that he has to shoulder the more offensively he’d be able to blossom). I think we are a Zajac / Dubinsky type player away from being a legit team. That said, those players don’t come cheap and the off season is still young.

    • Mintgecko says:

      I’m thinking DD will center the 3rd line and Andersson with Boo will make up the 4th line center and winger spot. DD splitting DZ draws with the top 6 lines so hopefully Vesey couldu see some of those deployments. I don’t get why everyone is biting down about the fake news like JG wanting Bozak or another top 9 center, it’s not happening.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Very well could be the case, I guess it all depends on how they feel about Nieves and Andersen slotting in next year. I have a feeling they expect to carry Andersen. Haven’t the slightest clue on Boo but one of those two being ready for a role in the bigs goes a long way to helping us out. That said, as rookies we’d probably expect them to be the sheltered ones….. which puts pressure on our other 3 to handle tougher minutes while still putting up the points we require of them.

        • Mintgecko says:

          Yeah that’s the point on why I said DD would split DZ draws with one of the top 6 lines like Hayes did last year. No matter how they did it, the 3rd line has been the NYR most reliable line in the past 4 seasons so that line better produce.That’s why I feel that DD and Vesey will be tag teaming down there, if the club is high on Vesey to put up points but with limited pressure then here’s the time for it. DD is expected to have a bounce back year while slowing down in deployments so the 3rd best fits his game.

    • Rich S says:

      Spot on comment ‘we are a zajac/dubinsky type from being legit’ ….no way they give up Dubi…’the heart and soul of the team’ accd to them…..
      But we are a tough,physical, respected veteran, leader from the promised land….who can defend the crosbys, kopitars of the league……
      I am hoping JT Miller can develop into one…….Nash should have been…..

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Nash is a guy who you can put out there against top competition. Problem is he isn’t a center. He may not be mean enough for your liking, but he is effective in pushing play in our direction, which ultimately is the goal.

        Miller is a curious one. To me, he seems more interested in being a Marchand than a Bergeron. He’s very gifted and can show a mean streak but, at least up to this point, cheats to the offensive side of things more than anyone interested in playing a 200 ft game should. I expect big things from him, but do not think he the center we covet/need.


          ^ this

          I’m sorry but I think most of you guys must have been watching a different Miller than I have.

          Why do you guys think he’d make a better center than winger?

          What have you seen or heard (other than team USA’s opinion) to arrive at this conclusion?

          Is there something I’m missing here?

          I thought he was MUCH better when he moved to the wing.

          Furthermore, why is everyone so eager to break up a significant part of a great line we had last year? 10-13-40?

    • Mythdoc says:

      Good charts but with a caveat: if it doesn’t measure quality of opposing players deployed on ice, you really can’t draw a useful conclusion. In the first case, you can tell playing style, which is helpful. The ubiquitous HERO chart, on the other hand, is pretty low grade information.

    • Walt says:


      You hit on something when you pointed out Oscars a better defensive player in our zone, but with both Grabs, and Swifty, it shouldn’t be an issue I don’t think!!!!!!!!

  4. SalMerc says:

    If Desharnais gets paired with Fast & Grabner, they are a more defensive line, that often starts in their own zone. On the road, this trio would probably be matched against the oppositions #1 line. The goal here would be to win the faceoff and get into the offensive zone and keep it there for 30 seconds or so. Desharnais can win some faceoffs and make some passes. Grabner can use his speed to breakout and Fast can play well defensively. To me this all bodes well.

    If Desharnais is on a line with Vesey and Grabner (for arguments sake) then they are not a shutdown line and more of a scoring line. He still needs to win faceoffs, but he needs to get back and play defense as both Vesey and Grabner have shown to be somewhat challenged in that area.

  5. lv says:

    Gorton…trade Holden + to Toronto…get LW Van Reimsdyk. Package up Nash and a couple of picks and get a solid #2 Center. Get younger and compete for Cup.

    • Al Dugan says:

      Who’s got 7.8 million left for Nash’ Cap Hit? I love these trade ideas where they fall apart at the first turn.

      Holden to Toronto makes perfect sense, but it won’t bring back JVR.

      I think we keep Nash. Let him go UFA. And play him. He’s actually pretty good!


      The time to trade Nash has come & gone.

      You’d have to hold back half of his cap to even get something crappy for him (maybe a 2nd rounder & a prospect?). And I say crappy because he’s worth more to us as an overpaid 2nd liner than the aforementioned return would be.

      Basically, we’re better off keeping him at this point.

  6. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Who is Alex Kerboot? Jimmy Vesey’s ex mate would be a excellent signing for the Rangers,no? What other soon to be College FA would help the Rangers. Any thoughts guys.

    • SalMerc says:

      Aug 15th he becomes a free agent. Even if he isn’t good enough to play on the big club, we don’t have depth at center so why not grab him and put him in the AHL.

  7. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Who is Alex Kerboot? Jimmy Vesey’s ex mate would a excellent signing for the Rangers,no? What other soon to be College FA would help the Rangers. Any thoughts guys.

    • Walt says:

      I was reading that he comes from the Vancouver area, and is leaning towards signing with them???? We’ll see soon enough!!!!!!!

  8. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Phone trouble excuse the double posting

  9. Bloomer says:

    While I believe Desharnais will be an suitable fill in for Lindberg in the short-term, I think Oscar has much more upside in his game. Once he recovered from his hip surgery which slowed his development, he was really starting to come into his own as his playmaking, skating and shot all was coming together. With more playing time in Vegas I can see him eventually becoming a top 6 forward.

  10. bernmeister says:

    good job on the stat analysis

    we should have signed Tyler Pitlick instead
    faster, mo physical, mo upside

  11. Section 121 says:

    I prefer Patrick Sharp for $750K over DD for $1M any day.

    This was not the best option out there for NYR.