Time to crunch the numbers! You must be getting all dewey at the prospect of reading a long-winded post about all things numbers related to our boys in burgundy & blue. Either that or your eyes have already glazed over as your brain screams, "MAKE THE BAD MAN STOP!!"
If you’ve made it this far, buckle up, because you’re about to see something that will alter your perception, or make you violently angry.
When looking at the next gen stats and advanced analytics it becomes clear that one of the most maligned players in Avs recent history might be more valuable than you think. In terms of xgoals, Corsi, Fenwick, PDO, and defensive win shares, Curtis MacDermid is a better option on defense than either Ryan Murray or Jack Johnson.
In order to better explain what xgoals measures, just keep in mind it factors in shot distance, left v right hand shot, angle, and shot type (backhand v forehand, wrister v slap). Simply put, it’s a measure of shooting efficiency. Corsi measures shot attempt differential at even strength by adding shots on goal, blocked shots, and missed shots. For stay-at-home defensemen, always look at corsi against. Fenwick is the same as corsi except it doesn’t factor in blocked shots. PDO measures the sum of shooting % and save %, arguably an irrelevant number for players of MacDemid’s type but we’ll include it in the aggregate for the sake of thoroughness. Defensive point shares is an arduously complicated measure of defensive zone efficiency that takes into account GF v GA, toi, SOGF v SOGA, blah blah blah…I don’t have the heart to explain it in more detail so don’t ask.
When looking at more conventional stats, mostly +/-, toi, PIM in conjunction with the math soup described above, MacDermid is the best #6 option on the blueline, maybe. His xgoals sits at 1.08 while Murray is 0.61 and JJ is 0.71. MacD’s +/- is at 0 on 24 gp, Murray’s is 0 with 21gp, and JJ has +4 in 32 games. To put this into perspective, JJ’s +4 is on the highest scoring team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins. In terms of straight production, MacDermid has two assists on zero goals, Murray has four assists and no goals, and Johnson has one goal and six helpers. In terms of defensive point shares, MacD 0.1, Murray has 0.1, and Johnson has 0.7. Corsi and Fenwick have JJ substantially ahead of both Murray and MacDermid, as does PDO. In fact, Johnson is only behind Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Erik Johnson in defensive point shares for blueliners.
Jack Johnson’s bubbly toes belong with the Avs as his numbers in aggregate demonstrate.
So, now the question remains…who’s the better option, MacDermid or Murray?
Some will say Murray because he takes fewer penalties, a fraction of the PIM that MacDermid has racked up, as in Murray’s 2 PIM vs MacDermid’s 49 PIM…#56 has garnered as many sin bin minutes as Nazem Kadri in 4 fewer games. In fact, MacD spends an average of 2 PIM/game in the naughty boy box. He also has an obscene advantage over MacDermid in corsi against, 234 v 146.
Others will say MacDermid because of the thuggery deterrent factor, the only area in which Curtis has a demonstrable on ice advantage over anyone on the Avs roster. This deterrent may become irrelevant during the playoffs as the refs have a tendency to swallow their whistles when the stakes are highest. And in the playoffs, you don’t really see thugs making b-lines to your best players, except when Matt Cooke blew out Tyson Barrie’s knee in 2014 (fuck you Matt Cooke). That game still pisses me off. The other tangible in MacDermid’s favor is his offensive efficiency. He’s simply more judicious in his shot selection than Murray.
The other camp in this question will yell, "Screw both of them, bring up Justin Barron!" In all honesty, nobody would argue against this. What works in Barron’s favor is raw potential. In the two games he played he oozed calmness and really quick feet, the kid may be legit but probably not in 2022.
So, after all this what say you Avalanche Country, who should it be, MacDermid or Murray?