Bringing Back Horcoff (Part 2)

_C7G6458_slideLast week I put together a short case on Shawn Horcoff and how he could potentially help the Oilers next season. Over the past two years in Dallas, Horcoff played fewer minutes than he did as an Oiler and took on weaker competition. Last season, Horcoff notched 29 points, with 22 coming at even-strength. He was a decent possession player at even-strength (52.68 Corsi For%, +0.73 CorsiRel), despite having fewer offensive zone starts relative to his teammates. He played mostly wing, but finished 6th on the team in faceoff attempts (going 50.2%), meaning he did play center as needed.

Thanks to War on Ice, we can dig into those 22 even-strength points a little more and see in what score situations (i.e., whether the game was tied or if a team was leading) Horcoff got his points. Before digging into his individual production, it’s worth looking into how his team did last season.

The Stars finished with a respectable score-adjusted Corsi of 52.4%, which was 9th overall in the league. Goaltending appears to have been an issue for them as their keepers finished with the third worst on-ice save percentage at even-strength, finishing ahead of only the Oilers and Hurricanes. Here’s a quick snapshot of their Corsi For% at different score situations, and NHL rank (Source: Puck on Net):

Dallas Stars (2014-15, Even Strength)
Down 2 Down 1 Tied Up 1 Up 2
Time Spent Corsi Time Spent Corsi Time Spent Corsi Time Spent Corsi Time Spent Corsi
10.6% 62.9
(1st)
18.9% 60.1
(4th)
33.8% 51.6
(13th)
21.9% 45.7
(18th)
14.8% 43.2
(17th)

So what we know is that the Stars were a good possession team that did well when the game was tied or when they were down a goal. What might get overlooked is which forwards on the roster produced at different times of the game. Here’s a summary of how Horcoff produced at different score situations.

Shawn Horcoff (2014-15, Even Strength)
Situation TOI % of Total TOI Points P/60 Corsi For % Corsi Rel
Down 2 52.36 7.5% 3 3.44 61.68 0.05
Down 1 143.14 20.6% 6 2.51 60.8 1.61
Tied 255.92 36.9% 8 1.88 55.43 3.82
Up 1 171.4 24.7% 2 0.70 45.05 -1.22
Up 2 71.66 10.3% 0 0.00 41.96 -6.17

Couple things to note here. Among the Stars forwards who played a minimum of 200 minutes, Horcoff had the best CF% and Corsi Rel when the game was tied. He also had fewer offensive zone starts compared to his teammates, but still managed to produce at a third line level. When the team trailed by one or two, in the limited minutes he played, he finished in the top three when it came to points/60.

If we look at how Horcoff produced when the game was close at even-strength, as in the game was tied or within one goal in the first or second period or tied in the third, we see a few more interesting numbers.

Shawn Horcoff (2014-15, Even Strength)
Situation TOI % of Total TOI Points P/60 Corsi For % Corsi Rel
Close 471.42 67.9% 16 2.04 53.13 1.02

So 16 of Horcoff’s 22 even-strength points came when the game was close. He produced at a very nice clip and held his own possession wise in this situation, with fewer offensive zone starts. Among his teammates playing forward, he finished 6th in points/60 and Corsi For%. Not too shabby for a 36 year old, bottom six forward.

Here’s a list of players who played between 450 and 500 minutes when the score was close, had fewer zone starts and produced more than 2.00 points/60.

Horcoff Comparables (2014-15, Even Strength, Score Close
Name TOI P P60 CF% CF%Rel ZSO%Rel
V. Fiddler (DAL) 491.02 19 2.32 50.63 -2.04 -8.26
J. Fontaine (MIN) 472.39 18 2.29 49.40 -1.66 -10.32
M. Beleskey (ANA) 497.11 19 2.29 53.22 3.09 2.54
S. Horcoff (DAL) 471.42 16 2.04 53.13 1.02 0.11
C. Sceviour (DAL) 456.07 18 2.37 53.00 0.16 -1.92
J. Beagle (WSH) 456.69 16 2.10 52.48 1.01 -7.21

I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that Horcoff’s linemates (who always did better with him) made the list.  But so too did an unrestricted free agent that will likely cash in on a heavy, long term deal. Beleskey is definitely much younger, but I find it interesting that his production when the score was close is quite similar to that of Horcoff’s.

Thoughts

The Oilers will definitely need to acquire depth at center this off-season, as an injury to RNH, Lander or Gordon would be absolutely devastating to the club. McDavid and Draisaitl are on their way, but we won’t know until training camp if they’ll start the season on wing and ease their way into center. It’s a tough position to play, and the Oilers can use all the experience they can find to help the prospects along. Horcoff would be a good candidate as he can start on the wing and move to center as needed. He shouldn’t be an expensive acquisition and I’m sure if the Oilers don’t sign him, he’ll be picked up by another club this summer.

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5 thoughts on “Bringing Back Horcoff (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Bringing Back Horcoff (Part 3) | The SuperFan

  2. Pingback: Talking Oilers, Powerplay, Shooting Options and Defence on Lowdown with Lowetide | The SuperFan

  3. Pingback: Checking in on Shawn Horcoff | The SuperFan

  4. Pingback: Shawn Horcoff’s 2015/16 Season | The SuperFan

  5. Pingback: Couple Thoughts on Shawn Horcoff | The SuperFan

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