I told you guys the title of this thing is up for grabs and so I am using the only suggestion. It makes me want to fill it with cornier dad-puns than I'm comfortable with so the offer still remains. Help name my feature in the comment below!
Nick Holden took a big step back last season, and in basically every way. His point production dipped from 25 to 14 despite him playing 24 more games than in 2013-14, his shot generation dipped at even strength (53.99 to 45.44 CF/60) as his defense saw its own downgrade (58.49 to 62.62 CA/60), and on the power play his points nearly halved, from 4.52 to 2.69 P/60. (As usual, most numbers from War on Ice, with a handful coming from hockey-reference.)
What does this mean for 2015?
Well, nothing, really. We have two full seasons of information on Holden: One that was surprisingly okay and saw him sport a hilarious 15.2% shot, and one that was reasonably disastrous. So one last place we might dive is his dCorsi, which you'll remember aims to account for context in shot attempt numbers. Both seasons with Colorado, Holden has had almost exactly the CA60 his role and usage would predict (62.53 expected vs 62.62 actual CA60 last year). The difference comes in his CF60, which historically has varied with what is expected but to a bigger degree. + or -30 dCF Impact isn't a tremendous amount, but when it's a -60 dCF Impact difference year to year, that's, well, impactful.
With the Avalanche adding defensemen above Holden on the depth chart in Francois Beauchemin and eventually Nikita Zadorov, Holden should not be expected to play as difficult a defensive role. I would bet the House (god dammit Bob this is your fault) on Holden having better underlying numbers this year at least.
Not so sure about an increase in production from him overall though, since that depends so heavily on a power play that was just eye-gougingly poor last season and features two new defensemen to man the points. It's certainly possible that he dines out on an improved power play, but that's a bet I'm Holden (fuck's sake, Bob) for now because it's just so unpredictable. At the end of the day it would be a marginal improvement for Holden, but a marginally improved Holden on the third pairing would have been better than last year's 5/6D by quite a bit.
What say you? Are things looking up for Nick Holden, or is he getting himself squeezed off the ice by a roster crunch? What should I call this series to avoid such terrible puns?