So far, One Big Number has been using advanced analytics to try to uncover some of the hidden stories of the Colorado Avalanche this season. We’ve looked at zone start ratios, relative Corsi percentages for rookie centers, and the impact of drawing penalties.
Nemeth put together a strong defensive outing this season, with a little offensive production to boot. The big Swede finished the season with three goals and 12 assists in 68 games, about what you would expect from a depth defenseman. It also pains me to bring up this statistic, but he also racked up a +25 plus/minus, which is very impressive for a stay at home defenseman on a team that gets outshot most nights.
But beyond these numbers, he posted average numbers in core advanced statistics (45.9 Corsi%, -2.07 Corsi relative, 50.25 Corsi% adjusted for quality of competition). Average Corsi production from a depth defenseman is to be expected, and Nemeth played solid, situational hockey throughout the season, eating up effective minutes for the Avs.
But the thing Nemeth was really, really good at this season doesn’t require a lot of statistical analysis to understand. Patrik Nemeth got hit with pucks. A lot.
One Big Number: 185 blocked shots.
Patrik Nemeth got into shooting lanes a lot in 2017-2018. His 185 blocked shots was fifth-most in the league this season, and was third-most in blocks/game by players appearing in at least 41 games.
During Patrik Nemeth’s time in Dallas, he showed flashes of being a two-way defenseman that could get involved in the play offensively. His sample sizes didn’t give us a lot to go off of statistically, though, as the 2017-2018 season was the first time Nemeth played in over 40 games in his five seasons of NHL experience. Nemeth’s reputation as a shot blocker was not apparent with the Stars.
After joining the Avalanche, he adapted his play to complement the offensive styles of Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie, his two most frequent defensive partners. On top of the blocked shot numbers, he also led the team in hits against with 131, taking the body to free up more space for his partners.
Adapting his play style to become more of a prototypical, stay-at-home defenseman could be enough to land him a contract for next season, as Nemeth is now a restricted free agent. And the Avs would do well to offer one; Nemeth showed impressive durability all year, missing minimal time with shoulder and lower body injuries. He is a cheap, effective depth player that complements the young defensive core well, and I hope to see him in burgundy again in October.
And, not for nothing, he was only five saves short of Peter Budaj’s 190 over 430 minutes in the net for the Tampa Bay Lightning this year. That’s got to count for something.