The Florida Panthers recently inked free agent forward Dave Bolland to a 5-year, $5.5 million AAV contract. This move has been met with much criticism among fans league-wide, but there are a few dissenters who insist the signing of Bolland is good for the club. To answer which side may ultimately be proven correct, we take a look at who stood to inherit the 3C role: Vincent Trocheck. Trocheck played 20 games last season, while Bolland played 23. Let's compare the two, eh?
We'll start with points. We'll also use 5 on 5 rate statistics, as in P/60 (points every 60 minutes of ice time) to eliminate quirks seen by players receiving more ice time.
Here, Bolland appears to have a slight advantage, as he seems to put up more points per 60 min, though he doesn't get off more shots than Trocheck... Weird, right?
No. We look at PDO, and sure enough...
Bolland got more help from his teammates. Trocheck was essentially left out to dry in terms of assists, and had a ridiculously low PDO (playing with Tomas Fleischmann may contribute to it somewhat...). Trocheck generates more shots than Bolland. More shots equals more lucky bounces. More lucky bounces equals more goals. Bolland WOULD have a slight edge in point production, if this wasn't based off of a season where Trocheck posted a PDO of 91.9. That's almost 8 full points off of where PDO should be. Bolland is 2 points off. Which one is going to see their point production increase significantly? (Hint: Not Bolland)
Also, oddly enough, Bolland, who is labeled as a two-way guy who will win big face-offs for the team had a face-off percentage of 44.0%. Trocheck had a faceoff percentage of 47.0%. If there's a face-off late in the game in your defensive end, who do you want taking it?
Possession means a lot in hockey. For those who haven't noticed, the two teams in the Western Conference Final, who were widely considered to be playing each other for the right to whoop up on an Eastern Conference team, were one (Los Angeles Kings) and two (Chicago Blackhawks) in Fenwick For% at 5 on 5 close during the regular season. Possession leads to success, especially in the playoffs.
Let's compare Bolland to Trocheck:
|Player||Corsi For%||Corsi For%Rel||ZS%||QoC%||QoT%|
I added zone start percentage and Quality of Competiton/Teammates stats to help us tell the whole story. And what is the whole story? Trocheck is better at possessing the puck, it would seem. He has a higher Corsi For%Rel, and on a team with much better Corsi, 8.1% percentage points better, in fact. Bolland looks good at possessing the puck on a team that was last in the league. Trocheck looks better than Bolland at possessing the puck, and he did it on a team that was over the 50% mark at 5 on 5 play. The comparison is nonexistent. I'll give Bolland a Corsi For%Rel of about -2.5% on the Panthers next season. Why? He doesn't control the puck. Looking at his time in Chicago even gives credence to this train of thought. In his two seasons with Chicago, who was an above 50% Corsi team, Bolland never got above 50% Corsi For%, and had a Corsi For%Rel of -11.0% last season. That is absurdly low.
Granted, Trocheck does get more favorable zone starts, which have effects on Corsi (a guy who starts more face-offs in the offensive zone has a higher chance of getting pucks on net) but to think Bolland will be a positive player with the Panthers is absurd. Bolland's Zone Adjusted Corsi this year was 44.7%, and Trocheck's was 51.1%. Trocheck will most likely have positive possession stats, and help the Panthers more than Bolland will.
(Just a little side note: Trocheck also wins more face-offs, anyway.)
These come from Eric T., over at Outnumbered. I really shouldn't have to say much, as the graphs are pretty self explanatory. Bolland is 28. Trocheck is 20. It's obvious which of the two will see positive progression.
Trocheck defeated Bolland in every category. Trocheck carries a a cap hit of less than $700,000. Bolland carries a cap hit of $5,500,000. So, now, according to Dale Tallon, leadership, grit, and having won a Stanley Cup not only outweigh the fact that Trocheck is a better player, but they also make Bolland worth $4.8 million more than Trocheck.
Though I'm truly only going off of a 20-game sample, which isn't much, the more I see of Trocheck the more impressed I am. He's got the drive to make himself better, and when he plays he seems to make everyone around him better. I would be surprised if Trocheck were to make the roster and post negative Corsi numbers next season.
Bolland, however? What else can I say about Bolland? He's a worse player, in the decline of his career, who carries almost $5 million dollars in complete dead weight, and yet he is going to get the roster spot. Tallon has some serious explaining to do to ownership, because not only is the signing of Bolland a bad business move, and a complete waste of money, but it's also is a stupid hockey move, and it makes the team worse.