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An Avalanche of Stats (Part 4: Plus/Minus and Puck Possession)

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Welcome to Part 4 of my crazy summer stat analysis. (In case you missed it, here's Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). As far as I know, this will be the last one of these where I'm presenting new stats, but I plan on running a Part 5 sometime soon looking at what each player's role on the team might be based on their numbers in Parts 1-4.

Just like with the other three posts, I'm only looking at skaters (not goalies) who have played 80+ games in the NHL. Any career averages are based on (that stat ÷ total games played) * 82 games in an season. And as the title suggests, today it's all about plus/minus and puck possession.

So, let's start out with some trivia:

1. Which player has the best +/-?

2. Which player has the worst?

3. How many current Avs players are in the plus range over the course of their careers?

4. Who has the worst ratio of takeaways to giveaways on the team? (P.S. - the best is O'Reilly)

5. Which player has the best puck possession plus/minus over the course of their career?

These answers - plus fun semi-relevant facts - after the jump...

Career Plus/Minus

Hejduk: +120

Hejda: +17

O'Brien: +16

Stastny: +12

Wilson: +5

Winnik: -3

O'Reilly: -3

Quincey: -4

Galiardi: -4

Duchene: -7

Cumiskey: -8

Rissmiller: -9

Lindstrom: -9

O'Byrne: -10

Jones: -14

Porter: -16

Hunwick: -17

Yip: -17

Johnson: -21

Mueller: -21

Kobasew: -30

McLeod: -37

McClement: -68

Answer to Question #1 (Best +/-): The only guy left on the team who played during the golden age of the Avs wins by 103 goals for. Hejduk definitely takes this cake.

Answer to Question #2 (Worst +/-): McClement. This stat worries me. He is known as being a "defensive forward", but his plus/minus numbers don't show it. He's been in the NHL for 5 years and has only had 1 positive season (he also had a season where he broke even). Even though St. Louis struggled somewhat with offense while he was there, a -68 from anyone is pretty terrifying. Hopefully he can start fixing that number this year. If not, with our depth at center, he might be finding himself a different job.

Also worth noting - EJ is way further down the list than I would have hoped. -21 isn't catastrophically terrible, but he also has only had 1 positive season. However, he'll be on the ice with a very potent offense this year. As long as he and his defensive partner (probably Hejda) can help the goalie keep our zone safe, this number should start inching closer to the positives.

Answer to Question #3 (Players in the plus range): 5 of 23, or less than 1/4 of our team. And only 3 of those were with the Avs last year. Surprisingly, Wilson is on this list. He is the only defenseman from the Avs to make the cut.

Fun Fact #1: The Top 5 All-time Avalanche (just Avs, but regular season and playoffs) plus/minus leaders are Forsberg (+241), Sakic (+136), Hejduk (+127 - the stat above is just for the regular season), Tanguay (124), and Foote (122). They are also the only players with over a +100.

Fun Fact #2: The 5 6 Worst plus/minus players on the Avs are Smyth, Hannon, and Yip (all tied at -20), Chris Stewart (-25), Arnason (big surprise there at -27), and Cody McLeod (-42).

Fun Fact #3: Paul Stastny has a better plus/minus stat for his time with this franchise (+11) than his dad, Peter does (-11). However, both Anton (+13) and Marian (+22) have even better numbers.

Puck Possession

****Player Name: Average takeaways per season, Average giveaways per season, Difference in Average season takeaways and giveaways, Career difference of Takeaways and Giveaways (not averaged)****

O'Reilly: 75, 29, +46, +87

Galiardi: 64, 33, +32, +45

Winnik: 37, 13, +24, +82

Stastny: 61, 39, +23, +96

Duchene: 66, 46, +20, +38

Cumiskey: 55, 35, +20, +32

Hejduk: 50, 34, +16, +87

McClement: 40, 31, +9, +52

McLeod: 18, 9, +9, +31

Kobasew: 30, 22, +8, +32

Mueller: 28, 22, +6, +17

Lindstrom: 14, 8, +6, +6

Jones: 29, 25, +4, +8

Porter: 25, 26, -1, -1

Yip: 25, 27, -2, -3

Rissmiller: 25, 29, -4, -9

Hunwick: 18, 26, -8, -22

O'Brien: 24, 34, -10, -45

Johnson: 35, 46, -12, -32

Wilson: 31, 42, -12, -18

Hejda: 23, 34, -12, -48

O'Byrne: 21, 40, -19, -44

Quincey: 31, 52, -21, -47

Answer to Question #4 (Worst puck possession): Quincey. Thus far, he is not the guy you want handling the puck. If he does end up paired with O'Byrne (the second worst at puck possession).... we'll just have to hope they're on the ice with O'Reilly and Gali.

Answer to Question #5 (Best career difference): Stastny with +96. However, behind him, O'Reilly and Hejduk are tied at +87. However, if O'Reilly continues to play as solid of a puck possession game as he has been in the past two seasons, he could easily take over that title by the end of the year. Granted, he does get more opportunities for takeaways than the other two since his job is primarily defensive instead of offensive, but +87 in two years is nothing short of amazing.

Fun Fact #4: Radar was #3 in the League in puck possession +/- last year. Only Jonathan Toews (+63) and Bryan Little (+58) were higher. He is also the only one in the top 10 who is not allowed to legally drink in the US yet.