by PuckStopsHere on 07/12/09 at 02:43 AM ET
When I listed the 20 players with the top Corsi Numbers in 2008/09, the name on the list that most surprised me was David Moss of the Calgary Flames. Moss ranks tenth in the league last year with a +343 Corsi. Moss is not a reasonable choice to be called the best player on his team, while any of the other top 20 players all might be (at least if you neglect other teammates who made the top 20). Moss is a 25 year old who completed his third NHL season (his first full NHL season). He played largely on the Flames third and fourth lines, but managed to chip in 20 goals and 39 points. This placed him tenth in Calgary’s scoring list. The secret to Moss’s success is he is the best puck controlling player who did not play on the top two lines under Mike Keenan.
Mike Keenan is probably the best coach in NHL history in making sure his top two lines play at all of the key moments in the game. He is an expert in managing icetime of his stars. Those players that are not members of his top two lines will play, but only against weaker opposition. The only forwards who played 50 or more games on Calgary who played against a worse quality of opposition were Todd Bertuzzi and Eric Nystrom. Moss excelled while playing against weak players. He was never given the chance to play against top talent. In that situation Moss was able to excel. He appears ready to be used in a more significant situation this season under coach Brent Sutter. Likely playing against tougher opposition would be enough to significantly reduce his Corsi Number, but his offensive numbers may increase due to better linemates and more ice time.
Somewhat like +/-, a player with a top Corsi Number excelled in the role he was played. While most of the players with top Corsi Numbers played significant roles with their teams, David Moss did not. He appears ready for a bigger role. Likely upon undertaking that role, his Corsi Number will reduce significantly, but he may provide more overall value to his team in the process.
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