For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

11 July 2007

Svatos' Sophmore Slump (say that three times fast!!)

The only recent meaninful news out of Denver is of the re-signing of Marek Svatos. Many of you may remember that Svatos was the third man to the rookie scoring bonanza in 05-06, trailing phenoms Crosby and Ovechkin. During his first full season in the show, he tied Joe Sakic for the team lead in goals (32), tied a club record shared by pretty much the entire Statsny family for rookie goals, and tied the NHL record for rookie game-winning goals. Not bad for the 227th (7th round) pick of the 2001 draft. Last year he had what can only be described as a textbook case of the dreaded sophmore slump. His points total dipped from 50 pts in 05-06 (in 61 games) to 30 in 06-07 (in 66 games), with the major hit coming in his goals total which dropped from 32 to 15.

Well, the first question you ask when you see this kind of thing is why the drop? The short answer is he didn't produce, and two younger players did (Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski). Interestingly, Wolski would have been this year's Svatos, except Paul Stastny had to go on that ridiculous streak and have a famous last name... A closer look at his stats showed his shooting percentage plummet from 19.4% during the 05-06 campaign to a dismal 8.4% this season. A couple of e-mails with the always knowledgable Forechecker revealed that his shot quality took a pretty good hit also. His expected goals in 06-07 was 23.29, slightly higher than his 05-06 value of 22.3. It appears that Svatos overperformed in 05-06 and swung the other way this year. It's important to note that comparing year-to-year can be a crap-shoot at best.

If memory serves, Svatos got plenty of PP time in 05-06 and spent lots of time on a line with Steve Konowalchuk, who retired due to health reasons before the 06-07 season. The emergence of Statsny and Wolski robbed him of ice time and PP time, and he was shuffled around with multiple linemates during the season. Whether the slump came as a result of the shuffling, or lead to it can get into a bit of a chicken/egg scenario. He's also had lingering shoulder issues in his short career. Perhaps he pushed himself through pain early in the season and paid for it down the stretch. Quenneville and Co. made him a healthy scratch several times to try and light a fire under him, with mixed results.

In the salary cap era, we also have to talk dollars when it comes to player evaluation. Svatos' new deal ($1.2 million) is actually a raise from his previous seasons earnings ($1.05 million). Why the raise if he's struggling? Like others have said, I think this is likely a show of faith by management to a young, developing player without a long-term commitment. All in all, I like this signing, as it's WAY too early to give up on a young player who had the potential to be a point-per-game player.

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