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Which start is more concerning: Gardiner or Subban?

7 décembre 2019
Each season, without fail, there are players who seemingly underperform, whether it's due to a change of scenery, injury, bad puck luck or a combination of all of the above.


This season, P.K. Subban and Jake Gardiner are two of the players who seem to be under the microscope after their perceived shortcomings.

There are many metrics people use to determine whether a player is playing well or playing poorly. With advanced statistics playing a pivotal role in how we analyze players in today's NHL, usually it is fairly easy to identify the players who are merely suffering from bad puck luck and stand a pretty good chance of turning things around.

Through his first quarter, Jake Gardiner's biggest knock has been his inability to play strong in front of his own net. Jake is being victimized in the middle of the defensive zone, despite actually being remarkably good at cutting off passes within the same area.

This is part in parcel to Gardiner not being an overly physical defenseman. Unfortunately, this hole in his game has been exploited by the opposition all season long.

Gardiner spent a lot of his time in Toronto as an offensive stalwart before signing with the Carolina Hurricanes. His biggest knock throughout his career has been his penchant for giveaways. His tenure with the 'Canes has been no different. Unfortunately for Gardiner, his giveaways take a lot of the tools out of his toolbox, putting him on his heels during much of the season, forcing him back into his own zone, where he has struggled mightily.

Conversely, Subban has been continuing to generate offensive chances with no reward for his efforts. His puck management is as strong as ever, as are all of his shot-based metrics. Subban has the lowest turnover rate among all Devils' defensemen.

His most common issue this season has been his inability to defend his own blueline and prevent clean zone entries. This is due, in large, to Subban being paired with Will Butcher. The two seem to have weaker chemistry defensively than Subban has had with each of Damon Severson and Andy Greene.

Unlike Gardiner, even if Subban does not change a thing, his numbers are likely to improve. The Devils, as a whole, have struggled mightily to put the puck in the net this season, but when they do, Subban has managed to collect a point on only 25 percent of the goals scored while he is on the ice. This is down drastically from the previous three seasons where he was sitting comfortably and consistently at the 49 percent range, so if you're playing the law of averages, this will get better.

SURVEY
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END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
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Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?
END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH 16 TEAMS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH MORE TEAMS
IT'S BETTER TO CANCEL THE SEASON