The new guys: Could they be upgrades over those departed in the offseason?

Tough as nails, pretty solid defensively too.
Tough as nails, pretty solid defensively too.

When the Rangers sent draft picks to San Jose and Marian Gaborik to Columbus for Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, and John Moore, it was very clear what the Rangers were doing. They were addressing their black holes of lineup depth and lineup toughness. But, one thing that was floating under the radar was play without the puck, and these new guys were also brought in to help in a defensive role as well. John Tortorella will not play someone if they are a defensive liability (see: Kreider, Chris; Miller, J.T.).

Clowe and Brassard likely to slot into second or third line roles. Dorsett will be a fourth line player, and Moore a bottom pairing defenseman (for now, his potential is through the roof). Players in these roles are not expected to carry the offensive load. They are expected to play physical, two way hockey. Some offensive burden will fall on Clowe and Brassard, and last night showcased how effective they can be in that role. But it’s their defense (and physicality) that will keep them in the lineup long-term.

Looking first at GVT/PVT (please be sure to check the Metrics We Use page for details):

Brassard 4.2 2.3 1.7 1.4
Clowe 0.3 1.9 -0.6 0.1
Dorsett 1.7 2.5 -0.7 0.6
Moore -0.1 0.6 -0.7 -0.03
Gaborik 2.4 2.4 0.9 0.8

This table is a bit interesting. Brassard is a bit undervalued by most fans, and that is likely because of his inability to both stay healthy and match his very impressive 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons where he put up 17-30-47 and 14-27-41, respectively. That said, his GVT numbers are all better than Gaborik’s, which I find to be interesting. Gaborik was certainly the best player dealt in this trade, but Brassard actually serves the Rangers better.

Clowe’s numbers here are a product of zero goals until he hit Broadway. Last season Clowe had a GVT of 8.0 (2.7 PVT). This just goes to show how much of a down year it has been for Clowe. Dorsett’s numbers are actually interesting too, as they suggest that he is better defensively than most give him credit for. This is Moore’s second season, and his numbers are an improvement from last year, which is all you can ask for. His numbers are on par with those of Steve Eminger and Roman Hamrlik, but Moore is light years ahead of these two when it comes to foot speed.

But GVT/PVT only tell part of the story. The rest of the story is about matchups and how they drive puck possession:

QoC Corsi Rel QoC CorsiON RCorsi Ozone Start
Brassard -0.031 -0.304 0.79 8.7 49.6%
Clowe -0.006 0.037 5.2 6.7 51.8%
Dorsett* -0.013 0.956 -9.12 -6 35.0%
Moore -0.031 -0.880 0.00 9.6 49.7%

*-Dorsett’s numbers from 2011-2012 due to lack of games played.

Much like we discussed how the Rangers were going to have holes to fill when trading for Rick Nash, they have filled those holes in acquiring this quartet. These numbers are much better than I expected. I’ve been moving toward Corsi Rel QoC as a more accurate measure of puck possession relative to the quality of competition faced, but I included QoC and CorsiON/RCorsi as well.

The first thing I noticed is that despite Clowe’s inability to put the puck in the net, his CorsiON/RCorsi shows that he still drives puck possession. He had been doing it against lesser quality matchups, which is why is Corsi Rel QoC takes a hit, but the fact that he was still able to drive puck possession shows he may have just been snake bitten in San Jose. He’s an offensive player that holds his own defensively and doesn’t give his opponents much to work with. Based solely on these numbers, it appears that he could possibly be an upgrade over the much-debated Brandon Dubinsky.

Brassard and Moore have almost identical numbers, and represent a classic case of his Corsi numbers showing contradiction. Their CorsiON (Corsi/60) suggests they are barely treading water when it comes to puck possession, but their RCorsi (Corsi/60 ON – Corsi/60 OFF) suggests that they were much more efficient than their teammates. This is where Corsi Rel QoC again comes in handy, as it factors in the quality of competition (QoC) faced. Neither are blowing you away there, but it’s something to watch going forward, especially when you see Brassard was at +.462 Corsi Rel QoC last year.

Dorsett is interesting, since I had to use last year’s numbers due to lack of games played this season. Dorsett was used as a defensive specialist in Columbus, getting just 35% of his starts after a whistle in the offensive zone. For comparison’s sake, that is right on par with what Brandon Prust received last year. But Dorsett’s puck possession numbers blew Prust’s out of the water last year, especially his Corsi Rel QoC. Since Dorsett plays a similar game to Prust, there is a chance that he could actually be an upgrade over the departed fan favorite.

It is very clear that the Rangers gave up the most skilled player in this trade, that we know. However hockey is not just about scoring goals, even though the Rangers have a severe issue with this aspect of the game. You can have all the skill in the world, but if you aren’t driving puck possession and going to the dirty areas of the ice, teams with lesser skill but more grit will find ways to beat you. This was a problem the Rangers were facing all year. With a pair of trades, they appear to have addressed everything they needed to address. At least, they did so on paper.

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      • I agree with Justin. Also, what kind of reader gives you a thumbs down for saying “Thanks?” Tough crowd.

          • You know, Dave, I just don’t get it. I like the site and I think you guys write intelligent posts. Even when I don’t agree, I understand where you are coming from. Anyhow, keep up the good work.

        • I’m wondering, and this is a question for Dave I guess, but when someone gets banned can they 1)still access the articles, just not post and if so 2)does the thumbs feature still work. Noticed some rather suspicious behavior here and there lately…since, say, a couple of weeks ago.

    • It’s tough to really correlate systems to puck possession. You can make the argument that the 2-1-2 forecheck creates turnovers and keeps the puck in the offensive zone longer. But the counter to that is the low zone collapse means the opposition gets more shot attempts.

  • Here’s my take:
    Players left: gabby, Artie, dubi, prust, Feds, Mitchell, Halpern and rupp
    Players anew:
    Nash, brassard, clowe, zucc, Moore, dorsett, an powe
    Well Nash covers gabby completely that’s a sure winner. Artie dubi an prust are more then adequately replaced by brassard clowe and zucc. Brassard is every bit as good as Artie but he tougher which in our line up is a necessity. Hey may not have quite as good of hands as Artie but he won’t disappear when thing get physical so I my opinion that’s another win. Zucc and dubi can’t really be compared and I loved dubi but zucc is light years ahead in talent just not the physical presence dubi is. Dubi may fit out mold better but zucc fit the top six better so we will give that a draw. Now clowe is leagues better then prust. First of all I loved prust. Great the he was fearless and stuck up for the boys. But god was it embarrassing watching him lose so many fights, no joke he was like 2 and 19 last year. That’s as bad as holloweg missing hits. Clowe also destroys him offensively in the past and present. To me this is obviously a winner. The rest doesn’t really matter. Powe is a better pk man then Feds but Feds is light years ahead offensively and that’s sad, dorsett is maybe not as good a fighter as rupp but that is the only category hes now way ahead of rupp plus he is fearless which can go along way.
    Bottom-line the ranger gave up some o and grit and got back the same. We are now a better fore checking team that is quicker on the puck and the opponents d along the boards. Which lead to prolonged offensive zone pressure and more quality scoring chances. Everything done has mad the rangers a better team and a harder one to play against. Lastly it also made us younger which this day and age is always a good thing. Ranger fans every where should be happy!!

    • Well said. It would have been nice if they didn’t have such roster turnover when they are contending for a Cup, but their roster may be better now.

        • Rangers traded Tony Amonte to Chicago for Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan; then traded Mike Gartner to Toronto for Glenn Anderson and Todd Marchant to Edmonton for Craig Mactavish.

          Matteau, Noonan, Anderson and Mactavish were all instrumental in the Rangers Cup run in 1994. But, they gave up Amonte who would go on to have six straight 30+ goal seasons (including two 40+ seasons) with Chicago. Gartner was awesome in the ’80s, but tapered off after the Rangers traded him in 1994, and Marchant was a young kid in ’94 with great potential. He had a long career with solid numbers with Edmonton after the Rangers traded him.

  • Another thing that no one is talking about, this trade made us a faster team. Our d has improved, Moore is a great skater, Brassard is also a smooth man on blades. With Lindberg next season, and hopefully Miller, and Kreider, we will be one of, if not the fastest team in the NHL!!

    I can’t wait to see what Dorsett can do, on the ice, and with the gloves off. The more I think about this trade, the more I like it.

    • This actually got me looking into next year, and the Rangers have a lot of guys under contract and a lot of kids waiting in the wings. Makes you wonder if they make a move at the draft.

        • Tough to say. I’d have to assume one or both of Boyle/Pyatt will be dangled to move into the 2nd round. Powe has been a healthy scratch a few times, so he may be dangled.

      • I agree moves will be made this summer. My big two to watch for is 1 Richards gets bought out. I think that’s why they really got brassard plus it gives even more cap flexibility. 2 they go after clarkson. I know as ranger fans we all hate the guy but there is no denying he is a torts type player and fits our mold perfectly. Also I think stralman has turned enough head this year that the rangers will have an interesting trading chip come draft day.

        • Interesting name Clarkson? You hit the nail on the head, we all hate the SOB, but that is the case with half the players in the NHL, until they wear Ranger blue. I could learn to like a tough, hard hitting power forward, with soft hands. Good idea!!!!!

  • Nice article Dave. I can’t quite understand Dorsett’s line. My first reaction is that, if you ignore the last column, Dorsett’s metrics are awful and paint the same picture as his +/-, a guy who scores more but is probably not as good as Haley. However, I don’t know what that Corsi Rel QoC means. I know it means his opponents were a bit above average, but it doesn’t look impressive. How does it compare to what say Boyle, Dubi, Callahan had for the Rangers last year?

    • His line reads as someone who is used primarily in a defensive role, but still drives puck possession, based on his QoC faced.

      I’m going to do a write up on Corsi Rel QoC soon, so that might help a bit. It’s easier to use that metric than to try and combine QoC and CorsiON together.

      • Doesn’t the -9.2 indicate that he’s mostly pinned in his own end?

        The reference I found (Broad Street Hockey) by googling says that Corsi Rel QoC is purely a measure of QoC and has nothing to do with the player’s performance. [using Rel Corsi instead of +/- to measure opponents].

  • This is the kind of analysis that drove me to this site initially.
    Great article.

    The question i have is why get a LHD in the deal instead of a RHD which is a need for the rangers?

    As you know, i was high on Savard, would have been a good fit here, but after watching Moore’s first game, there is one thing you can’t deny, his skating ability is a great asset.
    With Staal healthy next season, I don’t see how you can fit 4 LHD Dmen in 3 positions. Interesting summer.

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