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James Neal: The New Brian Savage?

10/14/2011 at 1:33pm EDT

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.

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