Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The 2006-07 Season in Perspective

With the regular season now complete let's take a quick look at where this year's team improved over previous Atlanta Thrasher teams. I use rankings below, so #1 is best and #30 is the worst. I used the rankings instead of the raw numbers because it helps to control of changes in the rules like the SO and changes in league offense.

Overall NHL Points Standing Ranking
2000-2001 28th
2001-2002 30th
2002-2003 23rd
2003-2004 21st
2005-2006 20th
2006-2007 12th

Comment: The Thrashers finished above the middle of the league for the first time in franchise history.

Goal Differential Ranking (GFA-GAA)
2000-2001 28th
2001-2002 30th
2002-2003 27rd
2003-2004 21st
2005-2006 16th
2006-2007 16th
The ratio of offense to defense is a core measure of how good a team is. The current Thrashers club ended up ranked the same as the previous season. So far Atlanta has never finished in the top half of the NHL.

Offense Ranking (GFA)
2000-2001 27th
2001-2002 26th
2002-2003 10th
2003-2004 13th
2005-2006 6th
2006-2007 15.5th

The Thrashers took a big hit to their offense losing Savard, Bondra and Modry's points during the off season and replacing those players with Rucchin, Metropolit and Vishnevsky (who are all not playing for the playoff squad). The Thrashers went from an elite offensive team to a league average one. The playoff version is better than this with the addition of Tkachuk, Zhitnik and Belanger. This year's team scored 37 fewer goals than last years.

Defense Ranking (GAA)
2000-2001 29th
2001-2002 30th
2002-2003 30th
2003-2004 25th
2005-2006 24th
2006-2007 15th

The Thrashers made up for the decline in offense by taking a major step forward in the area of defense, finished above the bottom third for the first time in franchise history. Both their goaltenders where healthy and that played a huge role. The addition of Zhitnik down the stretch also helped the final season numbers a bit. The team reduced their goals allowed by 29 goals over last season.

PP Ranking (PP%)
2000-2001 25th
2001-2002 29th
2002-2003 13th
2003-2004 23rd
2005-2006 4th
2006-2007 23rd

Thrashers fell from the top 5 to the bottom third of the league. Part of that is the loss of Savard and Bondra and part of it is a lack of creativity with the man advantage.

PK Ranking (PK%)
2000-2001 30th
2001-2002 25th
2002-2003 24th
2003-2004 8th
2005-2006 27th
2006-2007 26th

The Thrashers have pretty much always sucked at killing penalties and this year was no different, despite better goaltending.

Save Percentage Ranking (SV%)
2000-2001 24th
2001-2002 20th (thank you Milan!)
2002-2003 30th
2003-2004 27th
2005-2006 28th
2006-2007 12th

Again, we see the effect of having a full season of Kari Lehtonen makes. The Thrashers previous best ranking was 24 out of 30 until this year when the team shot up to 12th out of 30. That is a big improvement and honestly I think the team could move into the top 10 next year with a healthy Zhitnik and Lehtonen.

Power Play Opportunities
2000-2001 7th
2001-2002 24th
2002-2003 13th
2003-2004 2nd
2005-2006 1st
2006-2007 11th

The Thrashers have always drawn a lot of penalties, even some of the really weak teams. Last season they were tops in the league in number of power play opportunities, this year they slid down a bit and finished in a three way tie for 10th, 11th and 12th.

Fewest Times Short-Handed
2000-2001 5th
2001-2002 10th
2002-2003 13th
2003-2004 3rd
2005-2006 3rd
2006-2007 10th

The Thrashers have always been one of the least penalized teams in their history, despite all the booing directed at the refs we are not shorthanded as often as other NHL clubs. The Thrashers have finished in the top 10 of fewest power plays faced all but one year since 2000 and this season was no different.

Hey look you're still reading this!

On the one hand our PP and PK percentages are not very good, but on the other hand we receive many PP opportunities and few PK situations (the best PK is avoiding dumb penalties) so what if we just look at PP goals for and goals against--which combines both the team's perecentages and the team's propensity to take penalties?

Power Play Goals For Rank
2000-2001 24th
2001-2002 30th
2002-2003 10th
2003-2004 10th
2005-2006 1st
2006-2007 20th

So the PP% is just 23rd but our actual PP Goals is a bit better at 20th.

Power Play Goals Against Rank
2000-2001 30th
2001-2002 27th
2002-2003 21th
2003-2004 19rd
2005-2006 29rd
2006-2007 21.5

Our PK% is just 26th but in terms of PP Goals Against we finished tied for 21st, which is also a touch better looking.

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