Welcome to week 4 of our weekly series called “Scouting Spotlight”! Every week, we’ll highlight three players around the NHL who are potential picks for the Kraken in this July’s Expansion Draft. We’ll provide a bit of background on the players and why they’re worth watching this week.
Each Scouting Spotlight will finish with a “Game of the Week” which will showcase some potential Kraken players in an exciting matchup.
Here’s our picks for week 4 of Scouting Spotlight:
Schedule this week: Tues. 2/9 vs. DET 4PM PT – Thurs. 2/11 vs. TB 4PM PT – Sat. 2/13 vs. TB 4PM PT – Mon. 2/15 vs. TB 4PM PT
There’s a common theme in this week’s Scouting Spotlight player selections: all three players have excellent possession numbers so far this season. I don’t want to get too deep into advanced stats jargon here so I’ll keep the rundown brief. When talking about these three players, I’ll be using a stat called Corsi For Percentage, or CF%. Corsi is a stat that basically translates to all shot attempts (shots on goal, missed shots, and blocked shots). Shot attempts are used as a proxy for puck possession since you need to possess the puck in order to shoot it. Corsi For Percentage is the percent of shot attempts by a player’s team while he is on the ice. Let’s take a look at a look at how this is expressed on a stat sheet with a cropped screenshot from hockey-reference.com, which is an excellent resource for hockey stats.
In the image we see the first player in our Scouting Spotlight, Anthony Duclair of the Florida Panthers. Age, Position (Pos), and Games Played (GP) are self-explanatory. The CF is Corsi For. This means that Duclair has been on the ice for 146 Panthers shot attempts this season. CA stands for Corsi Against. This means that Duclair has been on the ice for 93 shot attempts against the Panthers this season. Adding 146 and 93 gives you 239 total shot attempts while Duclair was on the ice. His team had 146 of them, which is 61.1% of the total.
You may be wondering, Is that good? Yes, it’s very good. Duclair leads the Panthers in CF% and most other possession metrics. Despite all the offense he’s driven, he hasn’t scored a goal yet this season. This suggests that there may be more room to his traditional stats to improve.
If Duclair is playing so well, why would he be available to the Kraken? Duclair is a perplexing player. He’s flashed enticing potential at times but hasn’t been able to find a team willing to commit to him. The Panthers are Duclair’s 6th NHL team in his seven seasons. Six teams by the age of 25 is unheard of in the NHL and it raises the question of why so many teams have moved on from him. Emerald City Hockey’s Dylan Travers, a former junior scout, thinks that Duclair is unfortunately stuck in a narrow no-man’s land of skill level. “He’s a victim of his own success. He is good enough to command a price, but not good enough for teams to want to pay it.”
Could Duclair be caught in the middle again soon? His contract is up this summer and if the Panthers aren’t convinced he’s worth the price that his play dictates he should get, they might not feel he’s worth protecting in the expansion draft. If Duclair is exposed, expect the Kraken to take a long look at him. If they believe in his potential, he could be a steal.
Schedule this week: Thurs. 2/11 @ CHI 5PM PT – Sat. 2/13 @ CHI 5PM PT – Mon. 2/15 @ CAR 4PM PT
Eric Robinson could be a sneaky upside pick for the Kraken. The undrafted left wing captained the Princeton Tigers hockey team to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in his senior season before signing an entry-level contract with Columbus in 2018. He earned a full-time spot on the Blue Jackets last season and appears to have made another jump this year. Robinson ranks 1st among Blue Jackets regulars in CF% with his team controlling 52.6% of shot attempts while he’s on the ice. He has a good mix of speed and size that helps him create opportunities on the forecheck. His recent performance has some Blue Jackets fans insisting that he deserves a bigger role. Check out this effort on the forecheck to create a goal vs. the Stars last week:
While Robinson has been given a bit more ice time (averaging 13:04 in his last 3 games), He’s still remained on the 4th line. Look for him to be moved up the lineup if an opportunity arises.
Schedule this week: Thurs. 1/28 @ CAR 4PM PT – Sat. 1/30 vs. NSH 4PM PT – Mon. 2/1 vs. NSH 4PM PT
The Carolina Hurricanes are a fun team to watch, especially so for Kraken fans. Their wealth of talent up and down the lineup is not just enjoyable to watch on the ice, but exciting to think about with the expansion draft in mind. No matter what, the Kraken will be able to select a very talented player from the Hurricanes. There are a number of ways the Kraken could go with their pick from the Canes, but if they want goal scoring ability, Niederreiter is the guy. Born in Chur, Switzerland, Niederreiter is the NHL’s all-time leader in goals among Swiss players. With a shot like this, it’s easy to see why:
He’s added some valuable finishing ability to a skilled 3rd line with Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Martinook. Niederreiter’s possession numbers back up his goal totals. He leads the Hurricanes with an outstanding 66.2 CF% this season. Carolina has a difficult offseason ahead cap-wise, with several key players needing contract extensions. They may decide that it would make sense to expose Niederreiter and his $5.25 million cap hit. If so, picking Niederreiter would certainly be worth considering.
Scouting Spotlight Game of the Week: Columbus Blue Jackets @ Carolina Hurricanes, Monday 2/15, 4:00PM PT on FS-Carolina and FS-OhioEmbed from Getty Images
The Blue Jackets and Hurricanes played an exciting 3-2 game last night that was capped off by this gorgeous game-winner from Jack Roslovic:
Watching that game was enough to leave me wanting more. Thankfully, the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes will face off again on Monday.
On the Columbus side, Eric Robinson will keep trying to make a case for a bigger role in the lineup. Also keep an eye on Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan. Undrafted like Robinson, he’s worked his way into a regular role with Columbus and is a steady presence on the back end with some good size. While he’s by no means a flashy player, he has a well-rounded game and could potentially fit in nicely on the Kraken’s 3rd D pair.
The Hurricanes will have plenty of enticing players to look out for. In addition to Niederreiter, Morgan Geekie, Brady Skjei, Haydn Fleury, and Jake Bean (if he’s in the lineup) are all possible targets for the Kraken.