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Vulgar Statistics: Why They Aren’t Sucking

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Much has been made of the performances of Nathan Gerbe and Andrej Serkera in Carolina this season.  Gerbe has 10 goals and 12 assists in 49 games.  Sekera already has his highest goal total ever (7), and is 4 points off from tying that record as well.  If you were to average the wide range of opinions those two players had among Sabres fans, you’d probably land right around “mostly inconsequential,” maybe even “somewhat detrimental”  What gives?

Nathan Gerbe

Gerbe isn’t exactly lighting it up in Carolina, although he did do this the other night:

He’s not even on pace to eclipse his best season as his 10 goals and 12 assists put him on pace for 13 and 16 in 64 games, the same amount it took him to hit 16 and 15 over the 2010-2011 season.  Those relatively pedestrian totals come despite averaging almost 4 minutes more of total icetime (17.52 to 13.65) and over a minute more of power play icetime (2.28 to 1.25) in Carolina versus his time in Buffalo.  Yes, his assignments are getting tougher with his Corsi QoC hitting 1.016 in Carolina compared to his .608 average in Buffalo, but he’s also starting in the offensive zone much more frequently; 61.8% of the time in Carolina compared to a 51.9% average in Buffalo.  His most common linemates this year?  Jordan Staal, Patrick Dwyer, and Eric Staal, in that order.

Given the massive bumps in icetime, quality of linemates, and offensive zone starts, you can make a case that Gerbe is actually under-achieving this year.  At the very least he seems to be the player we always thought he was.

Andrej Sekera

As I said above, Sekera’s 7 goals and 18 assists are almost his best season already, in only 47 games.  What’s even more impressive is that he’s playing tougher competition (1.223 Corsi QoC compared to .354 average in Buffalo, although it was just under 1.000 the past two seasons) with fewer offensive zone starts (50.2% now compared to 51.6% in Buffalo, again, not so much the case the past two seasons).  What gives?

Well for starters, another bump in icetime, 23.62 now compared to 19.94 in Buffalo and 2.53 minutes per game on the power play compared to 1.36 in Buffalo.  His linemates are better too, those being Justin Faulk and the Staal brothers.  What makes Sekera’s 3 goal, 26 assist 2010-2011 stand out from his other Buffalo seasons?  His second highest average icetime (21.08), his highest average power play icetime (2.08), and most common linemates of Tyler Myers, Thomas Vanek, and Tyler Ennis.

Final Thoughts:

Buffalo’s opinion of Nathan Gerbe was pretty spot on.  His fortunate situation in Carolina makes him look better than he is, but he’s still the same player.  Conversely, it’s pretty obvious that Sekera was criminally underrated by Buffalo’s fanbase.  He too is still largely the same player, that just doesn’t happen to be the player Buffalo fans thought he was.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 01/23/14 6:56 PM

    Let’s be fair here. The McBain/Sekera trade netted the Sabres JT Compher. An under-sized center projected to be a 3rd line guy. So…they got Nathan Gerbe back?

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