Note by Joe Fortunato: Awesome piece Smurf so I am bumping you to the main page. I would just like to add something quick to all of you. Don't forget that while this trade was made to "help" the offense, it was primarily made to rid the Rangers of some unnecessary contracts. The main "part" of this deal is taking Kotalik off the cap. To be honest, this move is not going to save the Rangers, and Sather knows it. It was simply a move to help the offense and clear cap space in case the Rangers miss the playoffs. Just keep that in mind. Anyway on to Smurf:
With about 25 games to go and a trade meant to boost our offense now complete, I thought it would be worth looking at our lineup now compared to certain groups of teams, and see if the addition of Jokinen allows us to be comparable. As usual, I'll be focusing on the even strength numbers, as while the PP is important, games are mostly played at even strength and studies have shown that ES play is what correlates to wins.
To begin, lets look at a summary of the top 5 teams currently in the NHL standings (by Pt%): Wash, SJ, Chi, Buf, and NJ. I have sorted each of these teams by TOI/60, which will give a generalization of the individual lines on a team. Then I averaged the 5 teams to see what their numbers look like. Here's what you get:
So what we see is 4 players high (2+) level players, complemented by guys who are in the 1.6-1.9 range. Of those players, they average about a 3:4 goal to assist ratio.
Now lets take a look at the Rangerscurrent lineup. For consistency, I will sort our forwards by TOI/60 as well. That gives us groups of Gaborik-Prospal-Jokinen, Dubinsky-Callahan-Drury, and Avery-Christensen-Anisimov:
It should be pretty clear that despite trading off Higgins and Kotalik to add on Jokinen, this team still clearly trails the elite teams, especially in goal scoring, where only Gaborik, Drury and Anisimov have scored goals at a rate capable of cracking the high scoring (Was/SJ/Chi) teams. In addition, only Dubinsky and Jokinen could be added to crack the top 9 of the lower scoring BUF and NJ teams. Similarly, only Gaborik, Prospal, Dubinsky and Jokinen are producing points at a rate capable of being top 9 on an elite team.
Now you might say "But Smurf, obviously they're not an elite team, this is meant to push them to a playoff spot. Fair enough. Let's look at the teams currently jostling with the Rangers for playoff position, PHI, MTL, TB, FLA, ATL, BOS and NYI:
What we see among these teams is a noticeable drop off from the elite teams, but still fairly productive rosters. Only 16/63 forwards average less than 0.50 goals per ice time, and as reflected a good majority average in the .7-.8 range, again an area where only 3 (Gaborik, Drury, Anisimov) Rangers reside. From the point scoring side, while our top 4 (Gaborik, Prospal, Jokinen, Dubinsky) are consistent with what these teams will produce, we have a series of 3rd line production behind it.
Now does this tell us much we didn't already know? Not really. But it does show that the replacing Higgins (0.48 goals, 1.12 pts) with Jokinen (Kotalik's ice time was 4th line eligible does give us a slight boost, but it doesn't mask the lack of secondary scoring that still presides over the team.