What fans saw in Perron was a highly skilled player who had a penchant for being an agitator. Occasionally, he would take ill-advised penalties, but his aggressive style made him prone to such penalties. If he was on the ice during a scrum, you can bet he was part of it. Not a very big player, but he played with a huge heart. I’ll miss him, but I’m glad he’s gone to my 2nd favourite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In a previous post, I discussed some of the metrics of Marc Fraser and Derek Roy in which I suggested what we can realistically expect from them as Oilers. I also discussed whether the Oilers came out on top in the trade for Roy. (So far, so good.)
In this post, I examine the metrics of Klinkhammer vs. Perron. Klinkhammer came to the Oilers, along with Pittburgh’s 2015 1st round draft pick, for Perron. Straight up, the Oilers lost offensive production. Perron has consistently produced above league average over the last several year. Similar to other Oilers, though, his output has diminished this season (1.72 pts/60 min). But even with this drop, he produced more than Klinkhammer (1.1 pts/60 min).
But what do the other metrics tell us? To be honest, I was surprised. I had heard that Klinkhammer had strong possession metrics, but I did not realize how good. Here is the proof. (Note that these metrics are derived from even-strength (5v5) situations. Green indicates positive or above-average values. Red indicates negative or below-average values. )
When Klinkhammer’s dCorsi Impact is broken down, his influence on team Corsi appears to happen at both ends of the ice. (Please note that the following values are standardized to 60 min. intervals.) In 2014/15, his dCorsi-For score was +3.9, which means that while on the ice, his teams--Arizona & Pittsburgh--generated 3.9 more than expected shot attempts. At the same time, his teams also suppressed 21.13 more than expected shot attempts. His apparent defensive strength in suppressing shots is also seen in his Corsi-Against relative to teammates. So far this season, Arizona and Pittsburgh allowed 6.49 fewer shot attempts per 60 minutes while he is on the ice compared to the rest of his teammates. We also see this favorable possession pattern for Klinkhammer in 2013/14.
In contrast, Perron’s possession metrics have not been that great during his time with the Oilers. To qualify this statement, none of the regular Oilers have had particularly strong possession numbers this season, except for Petry, Hendricks, & Gordon, especially the latter two. Still, Perron’s Corsi-Against relative to his teammates was good (-4.59). His actual vs. expected dCorsi measures were close to zero with a slightly negative dCorsi Impact score (-10.49). Overall, then, I would say Klinkhammer easily wins in the battle of possession metrics.
I’ve also included a comparison of scoring chance metrics, which are interesting, but there hasn’t been any analysis, to my knowledge, showing that this measure is a repeatable for individuals. In other words, is the value too random or--because it is repeatable--does it suggest a player skill or ability? More work needs to be done here.
Finally, I’ve thrown in individual points percentage (IPP) and zone starts. IPP indicates how involved a player is when the team scores. Perron contributes much more than Klinkhammer, as expected. Zone starts affect possession, but from what I can tell, knowing this doesn’t add much information. For instance, Perron has more offensive zone starts this season, which would slightly inflate his Corsi-For, but we already know that Klinkhammer has the better possession metrics.
In the midst of writing this post, I watched the Oilers win 5-2 against the Islanders in regulation! I have the Islanders ranked 2nd in my possession-based ranking system. They’ve been near the top 5 or 6 all season, so I’m beginning to consider them a potential elite team. I may write about this game in another post. I mention the game because I was able to get a good look at Klinkhammer. He played on the 4L with Gordon and Hendricks, which is where I thought Fraser would play. Give Todd Nelson credit: Klinkhammer looked fantastic with the Oilers other two most reliable, defensive forwards. Klinkhammer’s strengths appear to be speed, puck protection, and an aggressive fore-check. Indeed, one of his fore-checks lead to New York’s goalie, Halak, turning over the puck behind the net. Klinkhammer quickly passed it to Hendricks for an easy goal.
The Corsi differential of the Oilers’ 4L tonight: Klinkhammer = 62%, Hendricks = 64%, and Gordon = 55%. Add to the fact that they were often up against the John Tavares line, and mostly starting in the defensive zone, these numbers are even more impressive. Looking to the future of the 4L (a little premature, but I’ll go out on a limb here), it’s hard to imagine Gazdic getting much ice time with Klinkhammer on the roster. I’m sure Gazdic will get some ice time—he always does--, but I’m hopeful it’s mainly in the case of injury or other emergency.
I’ve focused on what we lost in Perron and what we gained in Klinkhammer, but the Oilers also acquired Pittsburgh’s 2015 first round pick. According to Canada’s TSN, “the first-round pick is the bigger asset for the Oilers. Even if, as expected, the Penguins finish near the top of the standings, a pick in the 25-30 range offers a little less than 15% chance of turning into a top-six forward or top-four defenceman, but a 55% chance of landing an NHL player.”
If that’s true, and presuming Klinkhammer continues to impress as a reliable 4L or 3L, this trade looks like it has more upside than fans, or I, anticipated. In short, the Oilers lost some offense, but gained a defensively responsible & puck-protecting bottom-6 forward, along with a late 1st round draft pick.
Here are a few thoughts about playing for the Edmonton Oilers by Klinkhammer himself (skip to the 1:58 mark if you don't want to listen to Derek Roy's comments about the game).
-Walter Foddis (@Waltlaw69)