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The Puck Stops Here

Brian McGrattan Is A Poor Puck Possession Player

When I last posted about a week and a half ago, I posted the worst 20 players by adjusted Corsi as a rate stat.  Corsi is the difference between attempted shots in five on five situations when a given player is on the ice.  In order to make it more of an individualized stat, there are adjustments made for the team and usage of the player and it is divided by five on five playing time.  This is a good measure of the puck possession ability of the player involved.  The worst player among those who played 50 or more games last year is Brian McGrattan of the Calgary Flames.

McGrattan is a goon.  He appeared in 76 games last year scoring four goal and four assists.  His offensive contribution was minimal.  He had 100 penalty minutes, which placed him 32nd in the NHL.  The Flames knew he had little value despite the fact he dressed almost every game.  They only played him a little over six minutes per game.    When he played, the puck was going the other direction.  Calgary's opponents had control of the puck.  McGrattan offered little to his team besides fighting. 

This was predictable.  McGrattan has never been a valuable hockey player.  His four goals and eight points were career highs - as was his 76 games played.  Despite his lack of success in the past and the fact he is into his thirties, Calgary signed him to a two year contract in 2013.  Thus he will be back with the team for the 2014/15 season.

McGrattan is seen as a good locker room presence, but he is a poor hockey player.  This is a great credential for an assistant coach but not for a roster player.  McGrattan takes up a roster spot on the Flames that could be taken by a player who succeeds on the ice.  He likely will do so this season as well.  It would be best for the Flames if McGrattan was placed on waivers.  He isn't an NHL player and he probably never has been one.  He remains in the league because he can fight and he is a good guy who gets along with his teammates.  This is typical for a player who may be the worst player active in the NHL.  Teammates may like him, fans may like him, but he cannot play well.  Brian McGrattan is a prime example of a player who shouldn't be in the NHL.  He was the worst puck possession player in the NHL last year and there is no reason to expect things to get better in the future.

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I enjoy a good fight and turning nhl into nfl is the wrong direction.

Posted by SlimChance on 09/26/14 at 09:55 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Nobody said anything about enjoying fights.  Nobody said anything about turning the NHL into the NFL.

Are you sure you posted your comment in the right place?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 09/26/14 at 10:07 PM ET


No.  I drink a lot.

Posted by SlimChance on 09/26/14 at 10:35 PM ET


I can’t wait for the groundbreaking article entitled “Ice is cold”

Posted by Garth on 09/26/14 at 10:46 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

Wow, this is really eye-opening stuff! I mean, who would’ve thought that a 4th line player who is only known for fighting is not a puck possession guy? It’s actually rather unbelievable that he still has a job on an NHL roster…

Like Garth, I’ll be on the edge of my seat for your next profound post!

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 09/27/14 at 12:22 AM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

ice is cold, fire is hot, wheels roll, pk subban is black… whoa whoa, too soon?

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 09/27/14 at 03:28 AM ET


No surprise by any means.

Posted by rjman48 from Royal Oak on 09/27/14 at 08:06 AM ET


thank God for Corsi! who would have guessed he’s a goon or bad player without it? very insightful!

Posted by jkm2011 on 09/27/14 at 08:07 AM ET


In PSH’s defense, I think the point isn’t that McGratton is bad BECAUSE he fights, the point is he’s bad because he can’t score, can’t defend, and his team never has the puck when he’s on the ice. The fact that he fights is the reason he’s baffling still on an NHL roster, but it’s mostly beside the point in terms of why he’s a good or bad player.

There are some fighters out there who also play hockey well enough to skate a regular shift without dragging down the performance of their teammates, or provide value in a niche role other than face-punching. There are even some fighters out there who can actually make meaningful offensive contributions.

Corsi analysis can help us pick out the fact that, while McGrattan actually, truly, positively sucks, a guy with similar boxcar numbers—Zenon Konopka, who had 3 points in 59 games in around 8 minutes of ice time per game and fought 12 times, once more than McGrattan—is, very probably, a really good defensive center.

The point is that, if you’re an old school guy and you’re determined to ice a at least one regular face-puncher in your lineup, Corsi analysis can help you at least find a guy who provides some value to your team when he’s not fighting, so you don’t have to keep employing a complete black hole like McGrattan any longer.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/27/14 at 11:05 AM ET


Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/27/14 at 11:05 AM ET

If only PSH actually attempted to make the point you made, his article wouldn’t have been pointless.

Posted by Garth on 09/28/14 at 09:55 AM ET

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Why are you reading it? ???

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