Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s Puck Possession

Yesterday I posted the top 20 players by team adjusted Corsi ratings.  This is a group of players who were among the best in terms of puck possession in 2013/14.  Anze Kopitar of Los Angeles leads the pack, since I have already written about him; I will focus on the number two player in the list Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks and write a case study on him.

Vlasic has long been listed as one of the most underrated players in the game.  It isn't clear if he should be listed as underrated anymore now that he won a gold medal with Canada in the 2014 Olympics.  Vlasic was more of a depth defenceman in the Olympics, but given the depth of players available to Canada this is impressive. 

Vlasic is not an offensive defenceman.  His 24 points last season was his highest total since 2008/09.  What he does do is control the puck or more accurately prevent his opponents from controlling the puck.  Positionally he might be the best defensive defenceman in the game.  The problem with Vlasic is that he doesn't play a game that is easily noticed.

Vlasic doesn't score.  Vlasic doesn't play a physical game with big hits.  Vlasic isn't a power play quarterback.  Vlasic is a very smart defenceman who prevents the opposition's offence from having any success.  Vlasic is exactly the kind of player that Corsi is made for.  He doesn't post any big traditional numbers.  It is hard to make a statistical argument that shows his value unless you look at puck possession numbers.  Marc-Edouard Vlasic is an example of a player who shows the success of Corsi.

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alwaysaurie's avatar

Vlasic finally got a little bit of Norris consideration(placed 12th, between Niskanen & Kronwall) but he should have gotten much more.

Despite not being an overwhelming offensive talent, his 21 non-PP pts do show quite a bit of offense… enough that I think he should have been 5th or 6th in the Norris last year.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 07/20/14 at 01:14 AM ET

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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.

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