Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Falling Star of Zach Bogosian

In this picture, Bogosian has Edmonton on his mind
Normally I wouldn't address rumours regarding player swaps, but when the Prince of Puns speaks, I have no choice but to step into the fray.

Here's what Principe said:
Lots of talk about Zach Bogosian to Edm and last night two scouts from Atlanta drove to Nashville, in a mild snowstorm, to watch the game
For a guy who generally tows the company line, for him to flat out drop a juicy rumour at least means something along this lines has probably been discussed. This started a thread on HFBoards that extrapolated on the offer to indicate it was likely Penner or Hemsky moving the other way to an offensively challenged Atlanta. From a pure performance perspective, this trade makes sense: Byfuglien and Enstrom are generating a ton from the back end, and there is no question one of Penner or Hemsky could impact their offence, perhaps enough to secure a playoff spot. The vast majority of the posters were all for it from Edmonton's perspective, but I tend to take a more cautious approach. My first impression was HELL YEA considering a chance to get a 3rd OA pick who had a sparkling rookie season before his leg break seemed like a great opportunity. Of course, the Gods of Corsi demanded I wear the Sacrificial Robes, climb to the top of Mount Vesuvius and swear undying fealty before such a transaction could take place. So I did:

Zach Bogosian

Born Jul 15 1990 -- Massena, NY
Height 6.02 -- Weight 197 -- Shoots R

Selected by Atlanta Thrashers round 1 #3 overall 2008 NHL Entry Draft

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2006-07 Peterborough Petes OHL 67 7 26 33 63 ----------
2007-08 Peterborough Petes OHL 60 11 50 61 72 5 0 3 3 8
2008-09 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 47 9 10 19 47 ----------
2008-09 Chicago Wolves AHL 5 1 0 1 0 ----------
2009-10 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 81 10 13 23 61 ----------
2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 45 4 7 11 21

NHL Totals
173 23 30 53 129

TOI/60 17.37 3rd
Corsi Rel QoC 0.575 1st
Corsi Rel QoT -1.422 5th
G/60 0.23 3rd
P/60 0.54 5th
+-ON/60 -1.15 6th
Corsi On -15.66 6th
Corsi Off -5.33 1st
Corsi Rel -10.3 6th
Sh% 6.55 5th
Sv% 922 3rd
Ozone% 43.5 6th

Analysis after the hop.

Based on the stats above, we can see some interesting things:
  • Bogosian is getting the deck stacked against him:
    • Second toughest zone starts (the worst, John Oduya, is only 0.2% less)
    • Toughest competition corsi wise (his Qualcomp is third)
    • Third worst quality of teammate (his Qualteam is worst)
  • Bogosian is not putting up a lot of offence:
    • On the Oilers he'd be 6th in P/60, behind Smid (0.61)
    • On the Oilers he'd be 1st in G/60, ahead of Peckham (he's number one on the Oilers at 0.22 - this gives you an idea of how much Oilers Dmen are scoring at evens, not very much at all)
    • He has zero primary assists, all of his assists are secondary
  • Bogosian is playing second pairing minutes EV (very close to #1 Byfuglien, however, who is at 18.25)
So it's a mixture of good and bad at EVs. Clearly he's not been given favourable starting conditions,  considering his starting Ozone% is in the bottom 30 in the league amongst Dmen who play at least 10 EV minutes per game. Oduya, with 0.2% less Ozone starts, is 20th (in case you were wondering, Clayton Stoner and Greg Zanon of the Wild are the worst at 36.9 and 38.1 respectively). Another side note, Visnovsky is getting the 19th toughest Ozone starts and has a Corsi Rel of 18.2, simply mind boggling. Too bad he wasn't still an Oiler.

In terms of scoring, well it's a shit show. He's scoring EV goals at a rate similar to Theo Peckham, who of course is an improved version of Mike Green in the offensive zone. He has a points rate below Ladislav Smid's and ZERO primary assists. Of course, a lot of his offence came from the PP previously in his career, so lets take a look shall we - I only included Dmen who play at least 1 minute on the PP.

TOI/60 1.88 3rd
G/60 0.00 3rd
P/60 1.42 4th
Sh% 9.23 4th

To say that is more bad news is an understatement. Looking at the other three regular Dmen, the lowest P/60 value is Oduya at 3.69. Bogosian is scoring at half the rate of Johnny Oduya on the man advantage - yikes.

What does it all mean?

Well for one thing, it is no slam dunk that Bogosian will get back on track that his lofty draft status laid out for him. Is he a true third overall guy? As far as I can tell here is the basic PRO/CON breakdown:

  • He's only 20 years old. There was another very young Dman traded at about the same time in his career, and coming off of a similarly disappointing sophomore season. Chris Pronger is that man, of course. It is fairly well established that Dmen simply take longer, and peak later than forwards do.
  • He's playing rough competition with a brutal zone start %. I took a quick look at previous years, and every year he's been facing stiffer competition combined with a worse zone start. It is unsurprising on a team with a -21 goal differential that he is not looking so top dog right now.
  • Good size, shot, meanness, and overall toolset.
  • Draft Pedigree. Not only are his junior numbers great, he was also very highly touted by a lot of professional scouts. Certainly players can under-deliver on high expectations like that, but Bogosian was seen as something of a can't miss prospect. Roughly two full seasons worth of hockey on a parade of shitty ATL teams will not necessarily give you the best impression of a prospect who has been thrown into the fire since age 18.
  • You are buying low. See cons below and statistical evidence above.
  • The team he plays for is not really that good, nor has it been since he entered the league
  • Perhaps the assets you are trading for him were not going to resign anyways, so why not get some solid value for them while they are still Oilers property.
  • He's already had two significant injuries before he's even legal to drink in the States: a broken leg and a bum wrist,the former costing him 2 months and the latter led to poor performance during the second half of his second season.
  • For a scoring Defenceman, he has been abysmal at actually scoring. He is simply not generating much offence at all. He's basically scoring at a Ladislav Smid rate; Smid is a guy who clearly is not a prolific offensive threat at the NHL level.
  • He's faced minimal career pressure in the hockey hotbed of Hotlanta - coming to Edmonton there will immediately be more scrutiny in both his personal and professional life. We've seen some players do not perform well under such scrutiny for whatever reason. This is a bit of a reach I'd say, as he's played OHL and by all accounts is an ultra-fierce competitor.
  • Nothing about his current performance indicates his play is anywhere near rebounding - you could be buying stock that is already on its death spiral.
  • You have to give up a proven asset, and Penner and Hemsky are clearly better players right now (and in fact through basically their whole careers) in comparison to what Bogosian has ever delivered.

 This is a gamble, pure and simple. If you feel like a guy who has experienced quite a bit of regression since draft day predictions is worth giving up a proven outscorer, well this is the trade for you. It's not often you can land a 20 year old Dman who was recently drafted third overall, and was a consensus pick for the spot. Then again it could be Brule v2, except we would be giving up a lot more then Raffi redhead.

In other words, this is no slam dunk - I'm not sure I'd be mad either way, but a trade like this would not likely  improve the Oilers squad for next year. If you are somebody who is worried about the ELC window closing on our three young guns, then a trade like this would probably not be to your liking at all.

Stock market anyone?


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