The legend of Michael Grabner

Friday night, Grabner scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season in New York’s 9-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. By the way, that’s one more goal  than 2009 No. 1 overall pick John Tavares has with the Islanders this season. 

Grabner is on pace for 30 goals and was one of the rookies selected to play in last month’s all-star weekend festivities, where he won the fastest skater competition.

 Think Gillis and Tallon wouldn’t both like a mulligan on him?

Looking at this in retrospect, you can see why I’m not getting too beat up over the fact that the Vancouver Canucks also dealt Cody Hodgson while he was going through a similar offensive stretch to Michael Grabner in New York one year ago.

Ziemer of course amended his post:

Ziemer has noted that he is getting beat up pretty good on the message board over this Friday night post. He calls in to add the fact that Grabner scored three more goals on Sunday, including the overtime winner, and now has 24 goals on the season. He has nine goals in his last five games and 15 in his last 14. Just saying…

Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but hockey writers and fans are fooling themselves when they assume that a hot streak or a cold streak is a measure of any sort of sustainable production in this game. Linemates change, competition differs, a player gets used in the right role and ends up with the puck on his stick after some good bounces and pucks start going in.

After 34 goals last season, Michael Grabner has now just 15 goals, on pace for a little under 20. His name isn’t brought up any more as “the one that got away” but rather, the lack of Keith Ballard’s ice time has become a talking point. Truthfully, this is Mike Gillis’ worst deal during his tenure as the Vancouver Canucks General Manager, for a first round pick and a player who will become a 20-goal scorer, he earned the services of Victor Oreskovich and Keith Ballard.

Now, Ballard addressed a defensive need of the Canucks at the time and, supplemented with the free agency signing of Dan Hamhuis, the Canucks the next year went from one of the league’s mid-range defensive units to one of the NHL’s best. But Ballard played himself out of the lineup and his contract doesn’t match the one you’d normally see given to a 7th defenceman.

But that’s a topic for another day. The issue at hand here is Michael Grabner, a player who was on a hot streak that was unsustainable, and due to the primal nature of media types (both mainstream and bloggers) to second-guess, troll or simply thumb their nose, potential mistakes are hammered before we ever talk about successes.

PDO is a measure that’s used in hockey analysis to determine how lucky a player was over a stretch of games. It adds up the shooting percentage and save percentage of a team at even strength while a player was on the ice. In Michael Grabner’s case, between January 15th and February 15th of the year 2011, Grabner, who scored 16 goals in those 15 games, had a PDO of 108.2%, unsustainably high and well above the NHL average of 100%.

It’s worth nothing that this season Grabner’s PDO is 97.8%, brought well back down to earth and we rarely hear about the “Legend of Michael Grabner” in media circles around Vancouver anymore. Funny how that works.

At some point, Cody Hodgson in Buffalo will hit a hot streak. Maybe it will come at a time when Zack Kassian is struggling with the Canucks. The second guessing will happen and people will try to remember Hodgson’s entire career in a Vancouver Canuck uniform as the player who had a PDO of 107.3% in the month of January, and not the one who quit on a winning team due to his lack of ice time.

  • The micro analysis here misses the big picture.
    And is filled with selection bias.

    Grabner has never been given any PP time.
    Therefore all his numbers with or without the fluctuations of luck you point out are much more impressive.

    Also, Grabner had above average Q of C and lower ozone starts. (hmm..looks like you are only mention the stats that are in your arguments favor)

    Grabner is an above average talent well worth
    the 3$million he makes.

    Interestingly to note his high skill was also not appreciated by AV (like Cody)

    In his absence Gillis was forced to replace
    him with David Booth at 4 million.

    who is a very similar player (although i prefer Grabs since he is younger and no concussion,and has a better shot)therefore
    a clear better value.

    If Gillis had kept Grabner he would have 5 million to spend on a legit defenceman.

    Which is clearly what we are missing.(no cup can be won with Rome playing 15 minutes a night)(rotfwl)

    (Gill much better choice over Paulson)
    as net value of Gill over Rome much better than Paulson over Lapierre,Maholtra,reinprect


    This trade was and is a very costly mistake because Grabner is a above average scorer
    and good value. * A bad Trade is a Bad trade no matter how you slice it