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2014 Season Review: Tanner Pearson

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Tanner!

Tanner!
Tanner!
Bruce Bennett


Tanner Pearson Corsi, 2013-2014

GP Corsi Relative Corsi On Expected Corsi dCorsi
2013-14 25 -0.4 11.076 10.019 1.057

Positives

Tanner Pearson didn't impress me much during his first call-up in November - he looked overwhelmed and a step or two behind the play by my eye, and the numbers testify to that (he put up a rough 44.2% Corsi in his first six NHL games, then got sent back to Manchester). But Pearson improved greatly as the year went along, and by the end of the first round he'd established himself as a force in LA's top six.

Most players who come out of nowhere to have a surprisingly good playoffs do so because of flukily good shooting in a small sample (think Joel Ward in 2011 or Bryan Bickell in 2013). Not so for Pearson; he was praised for a great postseason despite a low personal shooting percentage (7.5%), an average 5v5 on-ice shooting percentage (7.4%), and very little PP time (11 minutes). But he deserved his praise. His 11 shots/60 at 5v5 was a superb mark, and his 56.8% Corsi in the postseason was second only to linemate Tyler Toffoli. (Pearson's playoff Corsis are a bit inflated because he was scratched for the first two San Jose games, each an abject disaster in underlying numbers as well as in final score.) It's hard to imagine asking anything more of Pearson.

With only 24 playoff games and 25 regular season games (and many of those involved only a few fourth-line minutes) I don't want to read too much into Pearson's NHL stats. I will mention his solid carry-in rate (50%, good for fourth among Kings forwards), which I think nicely reflects the dynamism he added to the forward group. He has impressive speed and a willingness to drive to the net. He looks to me like the kind of player who could generate a lot of shots in the NHL.

Negatives

I don't have too many complaints about Pearson's NHL results. He got off to a slow start but he improved rapidly, and his point totals don't look amazing but they're actually quite good given his ice time. It is important to temper our expectations. The playoff sample is only 24 games. It's quite possible that he steps back a bit and doesn't reach that level for much of next year. I'm much more confident that Pearson will turn into a solid top-six forward now than I was in November, but he's still not guaranteed to be one next year.

Pearson has put up 73 points in 105 AHL games over the last two years. That's a good number that suggests a solid player in the making, but it doesn't really scream future superstar. We're probably not dealing with the next Jeff Carter here. Still, for a 30th overall pick, early returns are excellent (remember that most 30th overall picks do not even become average NHLers).

Highlight

Oivey_large

Pearson pulls a slick move, and the two Panthers combine for a rare Double Regehr.

Roman Emperor Comparable: Alexander Severus

Although Alexander Severus (ruled 222-235) began his reign at age 13, in the midst of a very trying time for the empire, he put in a solid effort. He wielded little effective power at first, basically letting his mother and councillors make decisions for him. But he managed to avoid letting the power and luxury of empire go to his head. Unlike Commodus, Caligula, or Caracalla, who also ascended to the throne at young ages, he avoided falling into a spiral of hedonism and sadism. His historical reputation is thus pretty good.

He was not popular among the legions, however. In 235 Alexander was brutally murdered by his general Maximinus Thrax, who was more to the army's liking (i.e., Maximinus promised to pay the army more). Alexander's death came at a terrible time for the empire. The Sassanid Empire, a superpower very much hostile to Rome, was just rising in Persia, and after decades of relative quiet the Germanic tribes beyond the Danube were stirring. The empire needed to be united to face these new threats - but without Alexander, it wasn't. By 260 the strain of the foreign invasions had cracked the Roman Empire into thirds - and the Roman world would not be whole again until Aurelian reforged the shattered empire in 274.

That last paragraph has admittedly very little to do with Tanner Pearson. But Alexander was a pretty good ruler for a fairly long time, and I think Pearson could be a pretty good player for a fairly long time.

Going Forward

Pearson should be a regular next year, though we don't yet know whether he will once again play next to Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. I hope so. That's a fun line. Pearson is an RFA after the season.

Grade

I wasn't expecting Pearson to contribute much to the 2013-14 Kings, but he ended up being a key part of the cup run. Not bad for a rookie. A.