Hinostroza’s Development, Alex DeBrincat’s NHL Scoring, & Q’s Random Playoff Lines

Some Twitter Questions:

What are your thoughts on why Hinostroza’s development so far couldn’t keep him with the big team? 200ft game?

Yes, that and let’s say timing? Timing may be a way to say poor awareness. Lack of patience. I’m rambling.

Let’s focus on patience. All of Hinostroza’s career, he’s been the fastest skater or one of the fastest skaters on the ice. He could dominate a game by simply skating fast. Skating 100% everywhere. He can cover up mistakes by skating back quickly. He can create by skating forward quickly. The game around him was slow and he was fast. He didn’t need to be hockey smart, all he needed to do was out-skate the opponent.

As he arrives in the NHL, the game speed quickens immensely. He can no longer rely on his speed to dominate a game or cover up mistakes. Others around him are just as fast. Skating around 100% won’t result in positive outcomes anymore. This is what we’ve seen when he’s been in the NHL. He’s kind of skating around like a chicken with its head cut off. Skating full speed in every direction. It’s not sustainable. He can no longer rely on that now that he has arrived in the NHL. He needs to learn how to change speeds and show more patience.

Let’s study a player like Patrick Kane. When he enters the zone, sometimes he will come to almost a standstill, wait for the defensemen to get antsy so he draws them away from the slot, and then he puts on the burner and skates down the boards trying to beat the defensemen.

This is an example of patience in hockey. Changing one’s speed to optimally challenge the defense.

Sometimes Hinostroza’s speed works wonders as he is able to make an offensive zone entry and create something off the rush. Other times he skates right into the defense and the puck is lost.

The NHL game needs to slow down for him. He needs to learn more about where he needs to be on the ice. Positioning in the defensive zone. He needs to understand that sometimes he’s out of position because of skating all out, up and down the ice for most of his shift.

The positives are that he has some ability to get to the net. When he was up with the NHL team, he had good individual expected goal numbers. This is a stat that estimates shot quality based on a multitude of factors including shot location, angle, etc. Ranking higher in this stat indicates a player most likely getting to the slot and getting high danger scoring chances.

We’ve also seen Hinostroza have some form of playmaking ability. He has pulled off some really nice set up passes for goals. Sometimes his speed results in him having bad vision. He’s skating too fast, the game is moving too fast, and he can’t create. I believe when he slows down a little, he has better view of the ice and can make plays.

The bad from Hinostroza is the high event game he plays. When he’s on the ice, both teams take a lot of shots, but the opponent gets more. Lets just say that when a 50% Corsi player is on the ice for a game, his team will have 10 shots and the opponent will have 10 shots. Well, in this scenario, when Hinostroza is on the ice, Chicago would have 15 shots and the opponent would have 18 shots.

This is what I mean when I talk high event or low event game. An event is simply a shot. So when Hinostroza is on the ice, lots of shots occur for both teams, but the opponents get the better of Chicago.

One thing I wonder about Hinostroza is can he play in the bottom-6. I think if he can blossom into a regular NHLer, it won’t be in a bottom-6 role. That’s not to say he’s a top-6 talent. He isn’t. But, he could be the prototypical complementary piece on a top-6 line. The player that isn’t good enough to drive a bottom-6 line, but is good enough to play 3rd fiddle to two better players on a top-6 line. Richard Panik isn’t a top-6 level talent. He’s a third liner that was able to be a complementary piece to Schamltz and Toews. To win in the NHL, teams are spreading out their talent across all lines. To do this, they are putting complementary players with two better players. Sometimes one has to think of NHL forward lines as two players and a complementary player. Schmaltz – Toews with Panik. Panarin – Kane with Anisimov. This is what I’m taking about.

I don’t know if Hinostroza will ever become a regular NHLer. He is obviously fun to watch and it looks like the tools are there visually. But he’s a guy that always got by on being fast, now he has to learn to play the game.

How does OHL production translate to NHL production? You know who I’m talking about…

Alex DeBrincat scored the NHL equivalent of 52 points this season in the OHL. Players that make the jump from the OHL to the NHL usually produce 0.32 times their OHL production.

Alex DeBrincat had 127 points in 63 OHL games this season.

This equals 2.02 points per game.

We take the points per game number and multiply it by the 0.32 OHL —> NHL translation factor.

We end up with a NHL equivalency of 0.64 points per game.

We take this number over an 82-game season and we end up with 52 NHL point season.

Now this obviously isn’t rocket science. This doesn’t mean DeBrincat will be a 50-point player next season.

Tyler Motte’s Michigan season translated to a 42-point NHL season. He finished with a 17-point pace if he played 82-games.

Nick Schmaltz’s North Dakota numbers also translated to a 42-point NHL season. He finished at a 38-point pace if he played a full 82-game season.

Nick Schmaltz was close to his crude estimation. Motte was nowhere near his. This isn’t an exact science. It’s just meant to try to somewhat estimate reasonable expectations for a prospect.

Alex DeBrincat continues to look like the real deal and a top-10 overall draft pick if he were five inches taller.

Discuss Q’s Line Blender…

The thing the really concerns me is Q’s unpreparedness for the playoffs in terms of who he is going to play.

In the 2015-16 season, the Panarin – Anisimov – Kane line did all the scoring, plus the power play was good and Crawford was good. That’s how they won, but it wasn’t sustainable. All year Q didn’t experiment by splitting that line up or trying to find something different. Bowman traded for Andrew Ladd and the Ladd – Toews – Hossa line was born and underperformed. That line stayed together, playing poorly for the rest of the season. It was halfway through the first round before he split that line up and had to try totally new lines that haven’t played together during the season. Luckily, the Ladd – Kruger – Hossa line was pretty good for him.

Worse yet were the defensive pairings. I’ll admit the depth last season was sketchy, but he had all year to figure out who he wanted to pair together, player roles, etc.

Then the playoff came around and the Blackhawks recalled David Rundblad from Europe and paired him with Duncan Keith. It’s like what’s going on? Why isn’t this team prepared for the playoffs?

This season, the forward lines were set. They had three very good functioning lines. This lasted all of ten minutes before Q went to lines that have never played together before in game-1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


The Oduya-Seabrook pairing was an obvious dumpster fire. Oduya himself could not play, but Q ran him out there again and again.

It’s literally like what the hell is going on. Why isn’t this team prepared for the playoffs? Why aren’t quality lines and pairings set? This year the lines were set, but Q couldn’t trust Schmaltz after watching him play a couple playoff minutes. Was there no contingency plan for this? If he wasn’t going to trust him, this should have been identified earlier and different lines set late in the regular season to build chemistry.

There have been countless articles written with quotes from players stating their annoyance with bouncing around lines. While I feel bouncing around lines may actually be a good practice in the regular season to see what sticks, to have contingency plans in place for when one has to split lines up in the playoffs.

In the playoffs however, a coach should have identified the optimal lines that give his or her team the best chance to win the series. If changes are to be made during the playoffs due to injury or performance, that is when the contingency lines are rolled out. These are the lines that were utilized at some point during the regular season. Players that have played together at some point and can prosper.

I do feel like line chemistry is a thing in terms of experience playing together is beneficial. A big thing about playing a team sport is knowing where the teammate is going to be on the ice. How the teammate will react in different situations. If I go behind the net, I know this player will go to the boards and provide an outlet for me to pass back if I skate into trouble. I know if I enter the zone first along the boards, this player will skate straight towards the net and I know exactly when to put it on net to give him a rebound chance. I know what this player likes to do on the forecheck. I know what this player likes to do defensively. I know what this player does in the neutral zone.

There are so many different aspects to the game of hockey. So much is going on at any one time. I believe having some sort of experience playing together as a line can be beneficial. I’m not a fan of just throwing players together during the playoffs and hoping things click. That’s not a prepared team.

The disclaimer is obviously I’m not in the room. I don’t know what’s going on. Coaching is hard. I’m not saying I’m smarter than Q. That last sentence gets thrown out so much when a hockey person gets criticized. “Oh, so I guess you think your smarter than so and so”. No, I don’t. I’m not even 1% as hockey smart as Quenneville is. This doesn’t mean I can’t criticize him. No coach is perfect and every coach is open for ridicule.

My main ridicule of Q, besides needing to give his defensemen more freedom, is not being prepared for the playoffs in terms of lines and defensive pairings.

Some of this has to do with a drop-off in talent, yes. But still one shouldn’t wait until the playoff to start throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks.

1 Comment

  1. We’ve heard about the core players for years as to their experience. Seems the only one who did his best always to make newbies feel accepted without complaints was Kane. Veterans should be on ice mentors/coaches during games, and bring legitimate suggestions to the coaching staff.On ice “eyes” see things that coaches don’t. Respect your players for their perspectives,they’re not just robots that coaches seem to think all they need to do is push a button for results.Respect for all goes a long way.


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