[Re-Post] Advanced Stats: Taylor Pyatt

Rangers GM Glen Sather continued bargain hunting for affordable forward depth with the signing of UFA LW Taylor Pyatt to a two-year deal Tuesday. The AAV of Pyatt’s deal is $1.55 million. In essence Sather utilized the money saved by allowing Brandon Prust to leave by allocating it to two players, Asham and now Pyatt. The stated plan this summer was to improve the depth on the roster and getting two useful players for the price of one is a good way to do just that. Just how useful Pyatt will be remains to be seen but we can at least get an idea based on past performance.

Here’s how Pyatt has fared in the advanced metrics I like to use to analyze a player’s effectiveness in helping his club possess the puck and tilt the ice in their favor.

Pyatt

R. Corsi

QoC

QoT

ZS

ZF

BS

Hits

2011-2012

-9.3

-0.049

-0.093

41.2

44.8

20

137

2010-2011

-10.4

0.034

0.017

38.9

48.8

48

143

2009-2010

-2.7

-0.022

-0.056

49

48.7

30

115

Average

-7.47

-0.012

-0.044

43.0

47.4

32.7

131.7

 

First let’s look at his offensive Zone Start and Zone Finish rates. Notice how often he has started his shifts on the defensive side of the ice (57%) yet has still managed to end up in favorable ice position 47.4% of the time. This indicates Pyatt is helping his club gain possession of the puck and is effective at getting it into the offensive zone where his team can hopefully generate some scoring chances.

Pyatt hasn’t faced stiff competition but the quality of the players he has skated with is inferior to that of his opponents. Combining that with the frequency of his shifts beginning in the defensive zone helps explain the subpar Relative Corsi ratings he has posted the last three seasons.

Note too how his Relative Corsi ratings appear to be related directly to his Zone Start rates. The more often he starts in the defensive zone the worse his Relative Corsi is. In this three year sample, Pyatt posted his lowest Relative Corsi rating in the same season in which he began the highest percentage of his shifts (61.1%) in the defensive zone.

Offensively Pyatt has produced decent numbers in the past. Before missing the mark last year, Pyatt had posted double-figures in goals scored in each of his previous five seasons. For his career Pyatt has averaged 14.1 goals and 14.6 assists for every 82 games played.

Scoring totals are one thing but scoring rates tell more of the story. Using Pyatt’s previous three-year ES scoring averages, here’s where he would have ranked among New York Ranger forwards last season with at least 800 minutes of ES ice time.

Player

ES Pts

ESTOI

ES Pts/60

Gaborik

55

1298.7

2.54

Hagelin

36

913.47

2.36

Richards

42

1306.25

1.93

Anisimov

31

1006.07

1.85

Stepan

35

1193.27

1.76

Callahan

34

1179.3

1.73

Dubinsky

29

1019.73

1.71

Pyatt

22

917.87

1.44

Boyle

24

1017.25

1.42

Fedotenko

18

874.07

1.24

Prust

15

837.1

1.08

 

Pyatt would have placed 8th on the Rangers in ES scoring and bested the rates of all three of the players that constituted the club’s primary third line. If Pyatt simply repeats his average performance of the last three seasons he would slot in solidly as a productive third-line player. However is there potential for Pyatt to do even more?

During the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons Pyatt potted 9 and 7 PP goals respectively. In the four seasons since he has recorded just three PP goals. What stands out is how much less ice time Pyatt has seen on the man advantage per game since 2007-2008.

Pyatt saw 2:58 of PP ice time per game in 2006-2007 and 2:44 per the following season. In the four years since he has seen an average of less than 1:00 in three of those seasons and just 1:07 in the fourth. Could Pyatt again net 7, 9 or even more goals on the man advantage if given more ice time in those situations?

A common complaint from Ranger fans a year ago when the Blue Shirts PP struggled to score was that there was the absence of a big body in front of the net to screen the goaltender, deflect point shots and collect rebound chances. Pyatt stands 6’4” and weighs in at 228 according to his profile page on NHL.com. He certainly comes with the requisite size to fill that type of role on the Rangers PP.

We know the Rangers value self-sacrificing players and guys willing to play physical. Pyatt fits that bill havingfinished third in each of the last two seasons in Phoenix in hits among forwards. His 137 hits a year ago were just 7 fewer than the total Prust recorded but Pyatt also played 9 games less than the newest Canadiens forward.

A quick look at some other bottom-six forwards who signed free agent deals this summer that offer roughly 30-point offensive production suggests Pyatt is a relative bargain. Jordin Tootoo, coming off a career-best 30-point campaign netted a nifty three-year deal with an AAV of $1.9 million from Detroit. Alexei Ponikarovsky posted a 33-point season and earned a one-year contract worth $1.8 million from the Jets. Checking forward Adam Burish, fresh off a 19-point year got four years from San Jose which will pay him a total of $7.4 million. Torrey Mitchell scored 23 points last year and was rewarded with a three-year, $5.7 million deal by Minnesota.

Pyatt had a down year offensively with just 19 points but three times in his career he has posted better than 30 in a season. His past performance suggests he should be a nice, third-line player with the potential to add extra value on the PP if given the opportunity. On a two-year commitment with an AAV of $1.55 million Pyatt will likely give the Rangers plenty of value on their investment. It’s not the top-line, goal-scoring winger they’ve been shopping for but Pyatt adds size, a modicum of skill and needed depth.