Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/11/14 at 11:28 AM ET
from Justin Bourne of The Score,
Getting Jeff Carter the eighth-toughest competition amongst the Kings is accomplishing that mission pretty well - it’s led to 24 points in 24 playoff games (Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown see the toughest opposition).
At the other end of the rink, Alain Vigneault might be missing something. He makes a clear effort to deploy his players as effectively as possible, but I think his usage of Rick Nash is off.
Nash is like Carter in a multitude of ways. He is also large (6’4”, 213 pounds), he is also fast, and he can also score goals. Since Carter joined the league in 2005-2006, he is 11th in total goals and 11th in goals-per-game. Nash is fifth and third, respectively, in those categories over that same time. Like Carter, Nash doesn’t need his hand held. You could put him with me and my cat Jiggs, and he’s still getting an elite number of shots per game (basically like it was in Columbus), and that leads to goal creation.
But for all his raw skill, Rick Nash isn’t built to accent someone else’s abilities. For all his raw dominance, he’s just not a great complimentary player. He might create chances for linemates by driving the puck to the net and getting shots, but those type of opportunities - putbacks, scramble whacks and the like - can be buried by basically anyone. You don’t need to run him out there with a center like Derek Stepan, because he’s not a tic-tac-toe type creator.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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