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James Neal: The New Brian Savage?

After a tweet by NHL.com`s Brian Metzer about James Neal`s stats in October(s), I joked that perhaps Mr. Neal is the new Mr. Savage. Thus far, Neal has 5 points in 5 games to start the season.

Is there something to this comparison?

Let`s look at Neal`s career month-by-month splits (Apologies for the formatting)

                GP     G     A   Pts   PPG   +/-    Pct
October       40   19   16   35   0.875   7   0.178
November   29   12   10   22   0.759   1   0.146
December   42   16   11   27   0.643   -2   0.137
January       38   13     7   20   0.526   -7   0.143
February     31     7     7   14   0.452   -5   0.101
March         46     8   11   19   0.413   -6   0.075
April           13     2     3     5   0.385   2   0.067

Hmm, very good totals in October and November, and an obvious, steady, decline as the season wears on. This does look suspiciously like Brian Savage`s career, with a very clear trend.

Still, I think the reasons must be quite different. Neal plays a much more rambunctious style than Savage ever did, perhaps leading Neal to wear down as the season progresses. Also, Neal`s shots-per-game totals are consistent, while his shooting percentage declines. It`s not as if he`s not getting chances, he`s just not scoring.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: brian+savage, james+neal



I hope not, but that’s a great headline.

Brian Savage (AKA Monsieur Octobre) won me many an October in fantasy hockey, and many an asset when I traded his ass on Nov 1. Every. Single. Year.

Posted by steviesteve on 10/14/11 at 12:38 PM ET

JesGolbez's avatar


You might have been better off trading him on December 1 smile I’m amazed anyone would have traded you for him.

I found an old blog post on Monsieur Octobre

His November numbers weren’t great, but still decent. After that, it was definitely brutal.

Posted by JesGolbez from Burnaby, BC on 10/14/11 at 12:47 PM ET


It’s been a while, but I think my specific rule was to trade him after he had two pointless games after November 1. Maybe that still left a few points on the table, anyway, but it’s not like his wasn’t a poisonous long-term stock.

And there was always at least one sucker who thought Savage was having a breakout year. Got Hejduk in the beginning of a 40 goal year once.

Posted by steviesteve on 10/14/11 at 01:23 PM ET


Sick brag bro

Posted by dave on 10/14/11 at 05:47 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

that sucks.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 10/14/11 at 07:20 PM ET

Primis's avatar

More troubling than Neal’s steady scoring drop is the way that reflects in his Plus/Minus.  Not only is he not scoring, but he’s also on the ice when more goals are allowed late in the season.

The two combined point to him being a defensive liability who also doesn’t produce either late in seasons.  Not a good combo.

Posted by Primis on 10/18/11 at 12:19 AM ET

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