Statistical analysis: The emergence of Mathieu Perreault
Back in October, Mathieu Perreault was sent back to Hershey during training camp to make room for former first-round pick Marcus Johansson, whom the coaches said had "more defensive upside." That would all change with the trade of Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche, providing an opportunity once again for fan favorite Matty P to lace up his skates with the big club and prove to everyone that his fast starts could be sustained throughout the season.
Perreault did well in his first call-up in the 2009-10 season last year, blasting out of the gate with six points in his first eight NHL games, but his offense sputtered with just three points in his last 13 games, making the decision to send him back down to Hershey an easy one. This year, though, things seem different. In nine games he has had a multi-point effort three times, but it is how he is making those around him better that should cause people to take notice.
Consider that the Caps not only see more scoring chances go their way when Perreault is on the ice, but they see more goals hit the twine as well. That is no small feat, considering that goal scoring was virtually non-existent during the team's last eight games before they finally recorded a win against Ottawa.
|With Perreault||Without Perreault|
|Scoring chance %||Convert %||Scoring chance %||Convert %|
As for the debate that Johansson has more defensive upside than Perreault, maybe that's true, but it's not evident on the ice. Looking at the linemates the young pivots have had in common, Perreault continues to come out ahead on both sides of the puck during even strength.
|TOI||Scoring chances for||Scoring chances against||Scoring chance %||GF||GA||Convert %|
|Chimera - Perreault - Fehr||13.9||5||6||45.5%||1||0||20.0%|
|Chimera - Johansson - Fehr||50.8||7||9||43.8%||1||1||14.3%|
|Knuble - Perreault - Laich||11.8||6||0||100.0%||1||0||16.7%|
|Knuble - Johansson - Laich||14.8||6||3||66.7%||0||0||0.0%|
|Laich - Perreault - Semin||43.4||17||6||73.9%||5||0||29.4%|
|Laich - Johansson - Semin||32.7||9||7||56.3%||0||1||0.0%|
The chemistry Perreault has shown with linemates Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich is particularly impressive, putting more than seven scoring chances out of every 10 in the Caps' favor when they are together on the ice -- and potting almost a third of those chances in net during even strength.
Does this mean Perreault is the answer to the Caps' need for a second-line center? Probably not, but it does show that he is more than capable of filling the third-line pivot role that was Johansson's to lose just a few short months ago. Perreault's bouts with inconsistency could be behind him if he's given the chance to rock the red just a little bit longer.
| December 21, 2010; 10:43 AM ET
Categories: Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, Statistical analysis
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