Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why is Matt Frattin a Maple Leaf and Nazim Kadri not?

*Editors note: I am now pretending I know everything about advanced stats in hockey

Now, I don't pretend to know everything about advanced stats in hockey*. But what i do know is that it is time for Matt Frattin to become a member of the Toronto Marlies for a good chunk of time.

Looking at the box-score one would conclude that Matt doesn't have a huge affect on the game. He has 1 point (an assist) in 16 games with the blue and white, this year. People that look at Corsi (Corsi is the difference between shots for, missed shots for and blocks shots against, and shots against, missed shots against and block shots for, while that player is on the ice) would say: "he has a 2.22 Corsi!" And that is a good thing (the puck is going the right way while he is on the ice), especially on this Leafs team. But for me that's not good enough if you're not putting the puck in the net.

Frattin looks like he may have the legs, speed and shot to be an NHL player but it looks like he lacks that extra gear, that extra oomph to make him a top 9 forward on an NHL team. The big hype on Frattin was that he was in a tight race to capture the Hobey Baker Award, for being the best NCAA hockey player for last year (the winner was Andy Miele). Now, why are we expecting a Hobey Baker finalist, not winner, to be a productive part of an NHL team? Since 1995 I see two meaningful NHL players that have won the Hobey Baker award (not finished second, but won) Ryan Miller and Brendan Morrison. These aren't good odds for Frattin to become a real top 9 NHL forward. So why is he continually getting chances to prove that he is a top 9 forward (and in some cases a top 6 forward)?

This brings me to Kadri, a 7th overall pick, who not only has proved he can produce offensively at the OHL and AHL levels, but also to some point, and a hell of a lot more then Frattin, at the NHL level. He put up 1 assist in the three games he has played so far this year (and 12 in 29 last year), but looked dangerous throughout (you could say the same for Frattin). In my opinion he won the job out of training camp, this based on past NHL experience and his game in training camp but he lost the job to Frattin due to injury. Now you can say "Kadri is soft. Frattin hits and when he is on the ice his line controls play and drives the puck forward". But last year in 29 games, at a much younger age, Kadri had a Corsi of -2.56 for a whole difference of 4.78 (if i'm not mistaken that is a difference of almost 5 SA, MSA and BSF). Does Kadri fit the need of the Leafs better then Frattin does right now? I say so.

Obviously with the injuries the team has it's conceivable for both of them to be up now for almost a month, but still, what is Toronto doing?


  1. Going to have to disagree with you on this one, based mainly on the maturity factor and the role that either player would be filling on the roster. First off, the leafs aren't starving for goals, which immediately marginalizes, at least to a degree, Kadri's offensive superiority over Frattin. This becomes increasingly true when you consider that either player will be filling the role of third line winger, perhaps with a slice of secondary PP time. Defensively the clear advantage goes to Frattin, where his work ethic and awareness are clear upgrades on what Kadri provides. The clincher in terms of preferring Frattin over Kadri at the moment is their maturity as it relates to decision making. In the defensive end Frattin chips pucks up the boards, while on offense he drives the net; a very simplified game. Kadri on the other hand is prone to unpredicatable plays and egregious turnovers. I was recently at a Marlies game where Kadri attempted to pull off between the defenders legs dekes in his own defensive end on 3 separate occasions; all resulting in turnovers. Obviously this type of play won't fly in the NHL. While Kadri certainly has the brighter future in the league, until he can stop being a liability in limited 3rd line minutes, I'd like to see Frattin on the Buds instead. I know there's been 10 or so games since you posted this, what are your thoughts now?

  2. Personally, i still like Kadri over Frattin, but in Frattin's favor he scored his first NHL goal the day after i posted this and has been putting up a solid pace since then. Kadri meanwhile is putting pressure on management with his season so far with the Marlies, he is absolutely tearing it up. I believe we will be seeing Kadri up sooner then later, but not necessarily taking Frattin's spot.