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2015-16 Season Review: Andy Andreoff

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When being LA's most improved player doesn't mean that much... can Andy turn on another gear next season?

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Player

Andreoff Player Card

Key Numbers

95.17 Team On-ice Save %: With Andreoff on the ice, the Kings enjoyed a 95.17 save %. Among regular forwards, this figure was second-best (Jordan Nolan had a 95.4).

So is Andreoff an underrated defensive stopper? Well, hold on there. Like plus-minus, team on-ice save % is affected by many factors which have little or nothing to do with an individual player.

That said, Andreoff also led LA forwards last season with a 97.26 team on-ice save %, in an admittedly tiny 18-game sample size.

55.08 Corsi For %: The idea of Andreoff as any sort of defensive ace might have been laughable as recently as six months ago. Through 37 games by early January 2016, the center-right winger had eked out a 47.09 Corsi For % (-10.1 Rel.CF %). On the Kings, those numbers are simply awful, and too closely resemble his 2014-15's Los Angeles forwards-worst 47.49 CF%.

However, Andreoff looked like a new man after he was re-introduced into the line-up in mid-January after a two-week layoff. From January 17th on, the gritty forward achieved a 55.08 CF % (-1.08 Rel.CF %) in 23 games.

Why the improvement in these 23 contests? Lest you think a favorable home/road split was the cause, Andreoff's Rel.CF % in 13 road games was -0.1 as opposed to -2.59 at home. There's also some belief that the center-winger benefited from more usage at wing, but in fact, he enjoyed a 58.0 CF % in 10 games up the middle as opposed to a 54.4 on the side.

43.84 Offensive Zone Faceoff Start %: A possible reason for Andreoff's bump in possession numbers? From mid-January on, he received easier zone starts: 43.84 OZF % as opposed to 36.57 before then. That may not sound like much of a difference, but the former figure would've ranked an LA forwards-easiest for the year, whereas the latter is just behind Nick Shore's 36.55. Anze Kopitar, not surprisingly, was tasked with a forwards-hardest 33.41. (Note that the player card shows a ratio of offensive vs. defensive zone starts, not a strict percentage.)

54.3 Faceoff Win %: Andreoff improved in other facets of the game besides possession this year. In October, he won just 15 of 49 faceoffs for a dismal 30.6 FOW %.

For the rest of the season, he claimed an impressive 54.3 % of all draws (119 of 219).

27.51 Feet Average Shot Distance: Another advance in Andreoff's game? The strapping forward seemed to attack the net with more ferocity this season, as this figure ranks behind just Kopitar and Marian Gaborik among Kings up front. In 2014-15, the then-rookie's 30.76 was middle of the pack.

17.78 5v5 Shooting %: This proximity to the net probably helped Andreoff lead all Kings this season with a 17.78 5v5 shooting %. Among the 549 players who skated more than 500 5v5 minutes, he was actually fifth in the league in this category.

Not surprisingly, this gaudy figure (16.7 in all situations over his NHL career) probably won't last. Keep in mind that Andreoff had a 10.7 shooting % in parts of four AHL seasons.

8 5v5 Goals: Unbelievably, Andreoff scored just one less 5v5 goal than Jeff Carter in 2015-16.

He finished his sophomore campaign with a flourish, ringing up four goals in his last eight regular season games.

8:48 ATOI: This underwhelming number was least among regular forwards and just ahead of the late, lamented Jordan Weal.

Assessment

Andreoff showed demonstrable growth in his game throughout this season. The sample size from his growth after mid-January is both small enough to doubt and large enough to tantalize. He might have actually been LA's most improved player this year, but all things being equal, he might have also been the team's worst player to start the season. But by April, he looked the part of a legitimate NHL fourth-liner.

Highlight

With division dreams still dancing in our heads, Andreoff helped the Kings survive 5-4 in OT in a dramatic late-season tilt against the Calgary Flames. Just 33 seconds into the final frame, Mark Giordano had given the home team a 3-2 advantage. On the very next shift, the pesky Pickering native hounded Jakub Nakládal:

That's a garbage goal given up by Joni Ortio, but it's a fine example of Andreoff appearing to be more "on the puck" than ever after mid-season. Here's another from late March in San Jose:

Lowlight

His defensive coverage, especially at center, left a lot to be desired on more than one occasion this season. Here's an example of Andreoff falling asleep at the wheel in mid-February versus the Islanders:

The Future

Andreoff has to prove first that his mid-season spike was no mirage. Beyond that, is he anything more than a eight-minutes-a-game plugger, albeit a fairly versatile one? He may need to be greater than that if he's going to stand out among LA's 15 currently-signed NHL-caliber forwards. A trade or a waive goodbye wouldn't be at all surprising.

Grade

Frankly, I would've guessed that Andreoff had no future in the NHL after his debut campaign. I was wrong. However, he still appears to be a fairly limited, eminently replaceable asset. C.