With the 2012-2013 NHL season just around the corner (or maybe not), I've noticed an interesting trend creeping into Avs fans assumptions for the new year. Almost every board, fantasy projection and expert analyst has Jamie McGinn skating with Paul Stastny and David Jones to start off 2012. McGinn was highly effective in that spot after last years trade deadline, but can he fill that top line role over a full or even half season?
.76 (62 Point Pace)
.39 (32 Point Pace)
.47 (38 Point Pace)
.12 (10 Point Pace)
.22 (18 Point Pace)
McGinn's brief time with the Avalanche has been, far and away the most productive in his career. In fact, he was almost twice as effective in Avalanche Burgundy as Sharks Teal in 2012. But why? Did McGinn simply benefit from the classic "offensive post trade bump?" (See: Mueller, Fleischmann, Downie). Did he catch a ridiculous hot shooting streak? Was he stifled on the San Jose 3rd line? Or did he simply fit Joe Sacco's system better than Todd McLellan's?
Lucky for Avs fans, there are some numbers that work in McGinn's favor. McGinn's shooting percentage has remained relatively stable throughout his career, even during his hot streak late last season. In the last 4 years, McGinn has shot 14.8%, 13.2%, an atrocious 1.6% in 2010-2011 and 11.5% in 2011-2012 with the Sharks. Remove his one abysmal season, and McGinn has shot between 11.5% and 14.8% for the majority of his NHL career. During his time with the Avalanche last season, McGinn shot at 14.5%. Certainly on the high end for his career, but not so uncharacteristic so as to say he was "lucky." The reason that Jamie McGinn was so effective as an Avalanche forward is because after four years of firing 1.47 shots on goal per game, McGinn suddenly unleashed 3.23 shots per game as an Av. Only Gabriel Landeskog, at 3.29 shots per game, caused more havoc around the net than Jamie McGinn. Add McGinn's 159 hits over the full season (good for 3rd among Avs) and it would appear that the Avalanche have the makings of another young top 6 power forward. Whether or not McGinn can duplicate those shot and hit totals in 2013 is hard to say.
Although it's tempting to attribute McGinn's late season success to chemistry and team systems, the sample size is just too small to assume that he can fill a top 6 role on an Avs squad starved for scoring. McGinn has the size and skill to put it all together and score 20 goals a year, but he has lacked a consistent offensive punch in his 4 year NHL career. It seems safe to pencil McGinn in for 10-15 goals, but expecting him to help carry the Avs offensive load may just be wishful thinking.