Analyzing Asham versus Prust

Much noise was made yesterday when the Rangers went ahead and signed Arron Asham to a two year deal worth $1 million per season. At the time of the deal, Brandon Prust had not signed, but all had assumed that Prust would be signing elsewhere. About an hour later, Prust signed with the Montreal Canadiens with a whopping four year, $10 million contract.

For those keeping track, the Rangers spent $2 million on Asham as opposed to $10 million on Prust. That equals $8 million in savings, with $1.5 million being saved in each of the first two years, and then $2.5 million saved in the following two years. That’s a lot of coin to save. But outside of the money, is there a real difference between Prust and Asham on the ice?

First things first, it’s important to note that Prust and Asham produce the same offensively. If anything, Asham produces more offensively, but he played in less games than Prust each of the last two seasons. So let’s call the offensive production vs. games played a wash for now.

Looking at the defensive metrics, and advanced stats like DGVT, GVT, and PVT, well it tells a different story:

QoC Rcorsi Ozone % DGVT GVT PVT
Prust -0.03 -7.9 33.7% 0.5 1.7 0.57
Asham -0.094 -12.3 49.3% 0.4 1.0 0.33

As you can see from the table, Prust has Asham beat in every major category. While facing tougher competition and starting significantly more shifts in the defensive zone, Prust managed to maintain the puck more effectively than Asham. Those three categories show that Prust is the better player defensively. That said, the overall difference in the standings (GVT/PVT) isn’t that significant, with Prust worth about two-tenths of a point more than Asham.

Just a quick note about the GVT stat, Prust has a 0.5 SGVT (shootout) rating, while Asham has a 0.0 SGVT. Personally, I tend to discount this metric because it ways skills in the shootout, which is not a part of playoff hockey. If you subtract SGVT from the ratings, Prust’s advantage drops to 1.2 GVT to 1.0 GVT, which is not a big difference at all.

In the end, the Rangers downgraded by signing Asham over Prust, this much we know. However, it is not a significant downgrade, which makes this more justifiable since the Rangers did save a ton of money.

The signing of Asham over Prust was clearly a money thing for the Rangers. The $1.5 million saved over the next two years may not sound like much; but with Artem Anisimov, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, Michael Sauer, and Ryan McDonagh all set to be RFAs next offseason, that $1.5 million goes a long way to keeping them in Ranger blue. Throw in a potential trade for Rick Nash and his $7.8 million price tag, and that $1.5 million saved looms even larger.

It seems the biggest issue with Asham stems from this incident:

However, if you are to bring this up, you need to bring up the apology from Asham after, who did not realize Beagle was hurt:

In the end, it stinks to see Prust head to Montreal. He was a huge part of the Rangers identity, but he was not irreplaceable. As for the locker room presence, we don’t know exactly what Asham brings, but we do know that Prust was a locker room favorite. Asham played with Mike Rupp in Pittsburgh, so there’s some chemistry there already. Asham is a downgrade, but a necessary one to keep more important pieces of the core in blue for years to come.

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  • Thanks for putting this together. Hopeful it helps some people out there to back off from the ledge…but I doubt it.

  • Not too impressed by this either
    Obviously Asham is one of those guys that defends his teammates, but he also straddles the line of what’s acceptable and often falls over it.

  • We need to see how this plays out in the next few weeks. If we don’t get the upgrades we need, this deal may not be so great. Time will tell.

    • Even if they don’t this year, they will see rewards next year when they have the cap space to sign all their RFAs.

  • Asham is acceptable as an NHL fourth liner, but I don’t like him as a person. Prust was easy to root for, Asham is an a-hole by most accounts.

  • I’m ok with the Rangers signing Asham to be an enforcer/4th line guy, but he’s not a true replacement for Prust. Brandon killed penalties and played more of a shutdown role and Asham does not. I would expect that void to be filled by any combo of Dubi, Hagelin, and/or Anisimov.

  • So far it appears we are headed to giving our farm system a good look in camp. I don’t think its a bad idea…We drafted them, let’s see what they got any assessment that doesn’t include our own picks who are free is not a true assessment. I for one am cool with it

  • There is one thing that is not being said, Asham signed with the Rangers for a chance to win the cup; Prust signed with the Habs for the payday.

    That works for me every day of the week.

    It feels nice to have players signing with the Rangers because they feel they have a chance to win a cup.

    No stat can top that

  • you dont want to see anyone get hurt but i got to admit that was kind of funny lol.. the he is out and go to sleep made me chuckle but hey thats what happens when you drop the gloves…

  • The way Prust plays he is useless by the time the playoff come around anyway. No one on this team will go infront of the Net the way Asham will. He will be a better off upgrade to.

  • Ashem is meaner. Maybe if we had an Ashem against NJ, we would have gotten under their skin more. Prust is fearless and a good fighter but he isn’t mean. I dig mean.

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