2015 Top 25 Under 25, #4: Nick Shore

(pun where 'shore' replaces 'sure') (thumbs up) (big smile)

Today I have a fun and great assignment: write about Nick Shore, possibly the most boring hockey player who has ever existed. Well, I guess that's why they pay me the big bucks.....is what I might say, in an alternate universe where this was a paying position. Anyway. Nick Shore!

Rank Player DOB Nationality Draft Year/Position Current League 2014 Rank
Nick Shore
9/26/1992 USA 2011/82nd overall (3rd)

Shore continues his meteoric ascent to the top of our Top 25 Under 25 list; he was 12th last year, which was a jump from 19th in 2013. Nothing can stop Nick Shore! Except, I guess, aging past the limit of this list. But other than that!

In his second season in the AHL, young Nicholas was putting up better than a point-per-game, notching 20 goals and 22 assists for 42 points in 38 games. Not bad at all for a kid who had never hit PPG scoring rates in his entire collegiate career; he came closest in his sophomore season at the University of Denver (41 points in 43 games) before actually taking a very slight step back in his final season there in 2012-13 (34 points in 39 games). His first season in Manchester saw him score 38 points in 68 games, so that's a pretty big leap from an 0.56 PPG player to better than a point-per-game in his second season.

Shore was second in the AHL in scoring when Tanner Perarson went down to injury in January, and this made his call-up basically a no-brainer. He would spend most of the rest of the season with the Kings, ultimately playing in 34 games and scoring one goal and six assists for 7 points. By far most of his NHL time was spent centering a line with Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford, and now you're probably slapping your forehead wondering how he couldn't score more playing with such offensive dynamos. I know, dear reader, it's a mystery to me too.

But this is Jewels from the Crown so obviously you're expecting me to tell you what his fancy stats were like. Shore had a 52.7% Corsi at evens last year, which would be fine-to-good on many teams but on the Kings is actually not very good (it's a -3.7% Corsi rel, actually). His Fenwick was about the same (52.8%, -3.2% rel) and his scoring chance percentage was not good at all (49%, -6.2% rel).

On the bright side though, Shore's WOWYs paint a brighter picture. As mentioned, his most common linemate was Jordan Nolan; the two put up a 51.9% Corsi in 192 minutes together. But in 397 minutes without Shore, Nolan's Corsi % was an atrocious 46.8% (Shore without Nolan had a 54.1% Corsi in 152 minutes). His second most common linemate, Kyle Clifford, put up much better results with Shore- the two had a 56.3% Corsi in 171 minutes together. This compares very favorably to Clifford's Corsi percentage of just 53.5% in 666 (!) minutes away from Shore. Shore also posted worse numbers away from Clifford, though (49.7% in 173 minutes). Could be chemistry, could be small sample sizes, could be both, could be neither! It's a world of possibilities!

The one thing almost everyone has said about Shore, at every level he's played at, is that he's very defensively responsible. So it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him put up consistently good (or at least good-ish) Corsi numbers as a bottom-six forward with the Kings, especially if he plays with someone not named Jordan Nolan this season. Of course, where Shore actually fits in this year is still an open question; he's been skating with a wide variety of linemates throughout preseason, while My Actual Husband Andy Andreoff has been skating mostly with Nolan and Clifford. This would suggest that Nolan-Andreoff-Clifford is, for now at least, penciled in as the Kings' 4th line, and Shore is penciled in as a healthy scratch. Again, I love Andreoff, but this is in no way a defensible choice, should that indeed be what the Kings are thinking. Let's all cross our fingers and hope I'm reading way too much into preseason line combos, and Andreoff can get back to what he does best: looking adorable in the press box.

What can we expect out of Shore, provided he's actually playing this year and not sitting in a press box munchin' on some popcorn? He's good defensively, his (very early) Corsi returns showed some reason to be optimistic, and he has at least a modicum of scoring ability judging by his numbers in the lower levels. Basically, he could be a good 4th line center, and perhaps a passable-to-good 3rd line center. Certainly I would not mind him getting a look with King & Brown ahead of the sentient black hole we've given the name of Trevor Lewis. At the very least, he didn't look out of place in the NHL last year, most of the time. Apparently that's good enough to make you the fourth-best Kings player under 25, which is moderately depressing!