Analyzing J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson’s offensive numbers under Rick Tocchet

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber
1 year ago
With a change behind the bench, we typically see certain players receive more ice time, put up more points, or simply fit better in a new coach’s system.
Both Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller have been point-per-game players since Rick Tocchet has taken over. Miller has 17 points over 17 games while Pettersson has put up 27 points over 18 games.
We are going to check in on some numbers through the two Canucks’ top forwards’ offensive production with Tocchet behind the bench.

Power Play

Each of Pettersson and Miller have four points through the 18 games of Tocchet as their coach. Since Tocchet has taken over, the Canucks’ power play is clicking at 20.4%, which puts them at 12th in the league over that time.
Pettersson has two goals, while Miller has one over the 18 games under Tocchet while on the man advantage.
As you can clearly see, it has not been the most productive time on the man-advantage for Pettersson and Miller but that will surely turn as the two have shown over the recent past that they can be extremely effective on the man-advantage.


Before Tocchet came in, the Canucks’ penalty kill was clicking with 65.9% effectiveness, which is extremely poor. At the time, it was 4.6% lower than second-worst in the NHL.
Through Tocchet’s first 18 games, the penalty kill has been better, but still not great. It has been clicking at 73.7% over Tocchet’s time and that is good enough for 26th in the league. It’s not good, but it sure is a lot better than being last in the league by a large margin.
Something has happened to the shorthanded scoring since Tocchet has come in. The Canucks only had two shorthanded goals through their first 46 games this season and have had eight shorthanded goals in their last 18 games.
Both Pettersson and Miller have seen their goals against per 60 drop under Tocchet and the penalty kill still requires a lot of work but the surprise offence has certainly been exciting for both Pettersson and Miller.
“We’re not thinking offense,” said Miller after Wednesday’s game against the Ducks. “Plays are just coming to us. They’re making mistakes and we’re capitalizing on them. We’re definitely not thinking about scoring when we go out there. But if there’s a chance to get a two-on-one with Petey, I’m certainly going to try for it but I’m not going to be searching for that.”
It’s more than likely that the shorthanded offence will die down a bit for Miller and Pettersson but this hot streak has been fun to watch. Miller is just not likely to maintain his 100% shorthanded shooting percentage for the remainder of the season. Even Pettersson’s 57.1% shooting percentage is likely to drop.
For now, it’s been fun and the aggressiveness from Pettersson and Miller seems to be working.

Even Strength

Now, this is the important stat. Because, as we all know, most of the game is played at even strength.
We will first bring up the goals against at even strength.
Both Pettersson and Miller have seen a drop in expected goals against per 60 under Tocchet.
A drop of 0.44 per 60 minutes is a great sign in Pettersson’s game and even seeing a 0.23/60 drop in Miller’s game should be something to be happy with.
Both of these players have been doing a good job of buying into Tocchet’s system and it is providing early results that you have to like as a Canucks fan. Unless you are a tank commander.
Now for the scoring.
Believe it or not, even though Pettersson has been scoring at a tremendous rate under Tocchet (27 points in 18 games), he is producing noticeably less at five-on-five. Miller has also seen a drop in his five-on-five production rate, but not to as much of a significant degree as Pettersson.
We will have to see what a bigger sample size does to this stat, but one thing is clear. Pettersson has been on another level at even-strength production this season.
This season, Pettersson is number one for points per 60 at even strength. Topping names like Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid, and David Pastrnak. An interesting note here is that Andrei Kuzmenko comes in at 11th in the NHL for even-strength points per 60.
All in all, we’ve seen some improvements defensively for the Canucks and both Miller and Pettersson continue to score goals and put up points under Tocchet. The production combined with better attention to detail in the defensive zone and a full-on buy-in to the new structure will certainly help the Canucks in the future and if Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller are leading the cause — it helps this team in both the short-and long-term.

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