2015-16 Season Review: Nick Shore
How did the Shore Boy do this year? Let's take a look.
- 80.8% Controlled Zone Exit Rate: This is good enough for second on the team where the average was 72.25. Basically, Nick Shore was generally pretty successful at leaving his own zone when he passed or carried the puck out. He also averaged the highest success rate of passing out of the zone among Los Angeles Kings centers at 76%. (Stick tap to Jason Lewis over at Hockey Buzz for the assist with this.)
- 42.33 Corsi Against/60: Not counting Kris Versteeg, who wasn't with the team very long, this number again leads the team. While he did have slightly higher offensive zone starts than defensive zones, Shore started in all three zones at a nearly even rate. So his excellent defense doesn't really come with a zone-start boost like it could for weaker players.
- 49.07 FF/60: As good of a defensive player as Shore is, his offense leaves a lot to be desired. However, this number is actually slightly above average on the team, ranking seventh behind Jeff Carter, Milan Lucic, Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown, Jake Muzzin and Tyler Toffoli. As we know, the Kings are a high volume shooting team so this could be a product of that or it could be that he's had some bad luck. It's mostly likely due to atrocious luck; his 5v5 shooting percentage is awful, but his average shot distance is in the middle of the pack. It's definitely not lack of effort. And yet, how many times have we seen him throw the puck into the goalie's pads or seen it blocked?
- 0.58 Points/60 at 5-on-5: As noted, Shore's offense is amazingly bad, especially for a player who is as clearly talented as he is. You may expect that if he's just having some bad luck scoring goals, he'd at least make up for it in assists. Being paired with such weak linemates like Brown, Trevor Lewis or Andy Andreoff, it's probably wise not to expect to see a radical difference in assists versus goals scored. The only way that will change is if who is as a player fundamentally changes and the Kings are probably satisfied with his defense first mentality.
- -9 Penalty Differential (5v5): For someone who is counted on for their defense, it's probably not a good idea to be the cause of penalty killing versus being a killer yourself. Drawing six penalties is fine! Taking 15 penalties is not, and hopefully, that negative aspect of his game will improve going forward.
Nick Shore has now completed his first full NHL season. He doubled the amount of games played, but it seemed that as he struggled to score, Head Coach Darryl Sutter wanted to see all of his options. He elected to scratch the young center 14 times throughout the course of the season. It was puzzling to see him do it in favor of lesser forwards such as Andreoff (who did score a lot more) and Jordan Nolan (who didn't).
The second-oldest Shore Boy shows a lot of promise and excels in his limited role as a defensive specialist. He's a low-risk, low reward player who does exactly what's asked of him and rarely puts his team in a bad position. However, that makes him one of the team's most passive players, and he dumps the puck in quite a bit because it's the safe play. Is that bad? With the Kings' typically strong forecheck and puck recovery on dump-ins, maybe not.
Things looked so promising early on.
Going back to the numbers of Jason Lewis for this one. Interestingly, Shore had the team's highest success rate of controlled entries, yet opted to cede possession and have his wingers try to retrieve it more than 50% of the time.
While it's difficult to assess whether or not he does this because Sutter asked him to or if he does it on his own to maintain his (and really the team's) conservative approach, it does add needless work and makes the job of his linemates more difficult. With lesser skilled wingers, this could potentially result in, at the very least, the other team gaining control and starting a breakout. At the very worst, it grants opponents a free scoring chance and goal.
If the ultimate objective of the game is to score more than the other guy, then Nick Shore failed this season. Hopefully, some awareness and a small tweak to his penchant for dumping the puck will help. It'll be interesting to keep tabs on this in the coming season. If not, we'll really see whether the discrepancy between his possession numbers and his scoring numbers can be blamed on luck.
Moving forward, it may be prudent of the Kings to entrust Shore with more responsibility and ask him to take more risks. Nothing too outrageous, but more controlled entries with the puck, instead of simply dumping it in out of habit. Discipline is also something that he (as well as the rest of the team) should work on.
It's hard to fault Shore for doing exactly as he's asked. He's not the most exciting or flashiest player, but he quietly does a good job. I'm knocking off a letter grade mostly due to his offensive lack of offense.
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Grade Nick Shore's 2015-16 season: