So I think Nash has been getting a lot flack lately and I wanted to take a closer look at his stats this season. I'm a Nash fan but I'm going to try to be objective, to start though here are the maybe surprising pro-Nash stats this season.
Goals/60 minutes (5-on-5):1.39
This puts Nash's goal production 5-on-5 at 5th in the league, better than Kessel and Ovechkin.
Primary Points - goals and first assists/60 minutes (5-on-5): 1.94
This would put Nash's rate of production at 23rd in the league, ahead of Zetterburg, Jamie Benn, and Joe Pavelski
Primary Points/60 minutes all situations: 2.11
In all situations Nash's primary point production goes down to 32nd in the league, but still tied with Patrick Marleau, and ahead of Martin St. Louis.
Shots/60 minutes all situations: 14.1
In terms of generating shots Nash is currently second in the league, only Ovechkin shoots more.
Corsi 5-on-5: 54.5%
His possession numbers are strong but not league-leading great, 38th forward in the league based on Corsi
OK, so if you made it this far you are probably thinking that doesn't make sense, Nash only has 20 goals and 11 assists, he's not even top 5 scoring on the Rangers.
I'll start with the simple explanation, mainly that he's missed 26% of the games so far, a significant chunk of time.
Just projecting his current pace to those 17 games (ignoring any setback from the concussion), Nash would be at 27 goals and 15 assists, 43 points total. The 27 goals is better, and would be good for 14th in the league, just ahead of Marleau and Toews. But the point total isn't great, tied for 67th in the league. That's just better than Bergeron, but even I'll admit Nash ain't Bergeron in terms of two way play.
This is where the deficiencies this season come up. There are two primary places where Nash is performing below last season.
Assists - Primary/Secondary
Last season: Primary Assists - 0.60/60 minutes Secondary Assists - 0.60/60 minutes
This season: Primary Assists - 0.53/60 minutes Secondary Assists - 0.18/60 minutes
I can't say I have an explanation for the drop in secondary assists, but that's where Nash has dropped around another 8-10 points in 65 games so far. I've said in the past that I don't think the Nash-Stepan-Kreider line compliments each other in terms of skill set. Kreider uses speed to take everyone else out of the play, including his teamates. Stepan is not really a playmaker, but great in transition and creating offense from defense. Nash is a player who draws coverage but uses skill to get around it. But I'm not sure that is the full explanation. Part of is definitely Stepan's reduction in goals, scoring at about half the rate of last season. Last season in 44 games Nash was on the ice for 57 goals, this season at 48 games Nash has been on the ice for 47 goals.
So far Nash has only 6 powerplay points this season, I don't have to get into any fancy stat to show that is low. Last season he didn't fare that much better, putting up 9 total. But last season that point total was good for second best on a team with a weak powerplay, this season projecting points to the missed games only brings him up to 7th on the Rangers.
The weird thing though is that Nash is scoring goals on the powerplay at higher rate than last season (2.07/60 min vs 1.24/60 min of PP), but his assists are way down (1.03/60 min vs 2.48/60min of PP).Just for reference Ovechkin for goals is 3.4/60 min and assists 2.83/60.min.
There is some explanation though for both reductions, not huge changes between this season and the last, but under AV Nash has been utilized a little differently.
Less time on ice
Nash is simply playing less, down from 19.7 minutes a game to 17. This is one of the problems of having a deeper team, less minutes to go around.Or in other words, for every 8 games this year, Nash has played one less game of TOI.
Fewer Offensive Zone Starts
Nash is down from 38% o-zone starts to 33%. With Richards' line getting more sheltered zone starts, Nash is starting further down the ice.
Nash used to be on the ice for 58% of the Rangers powerplay time, this year with more depth, Nash is only on for 46% of the Rangers powerplay time.
There are lots of other aspects of Nash's game that can be discussed (surprise, he is also hitting less this season), but I'll leave it at that. What is most strange though, is that most people point to the concussion as the main reason for Nash's production setback. While it is true in terms of games missed, it hasn't really affected his actual goal production. You would expect his production to drop as a whole, but where he has dropped off is specificlly on secondary assists and with the man advantage. I'll leave it up to further discussion to figure out why.