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2016-17 in Review: Does Jordan Nolan or Andy Andreoff Have the Edge Going Into 2017-18?

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If LA decides they don’t need both, who do they keep around? This past season might help them decide.

USA Today / Getty

For the next month or two, we’ll be taking a look at the players who made the Los Angeles Kings’ 2016-17 season what it was: a crushing disappointment that got people fired an up-and-down journey which managed to be both unusual and familiar. Rather than the good-bad-future-grade format we’ve used in past seasons, we’ll ask a crucial question and answer it using it what we saw this year.

Should the Kings favor Jordan Nolan or Andy Andreoff in a fourth-line (or 13th forward) role next season?

We’re going to run down the performance of these two in five key areas. Who will come out on top?

POSSESSION NUMBERS: Nolan and Andreoff were fairly even when it came to the shot attempts they were on the ice for; Andy Andreoff held a slight edge last season in Corsi For% (the Kings got 53.8% of the overall shot attempts with him out there, compared to 52.4% for Nolan) and a more significant edge in actual shots (54.6% to 50.5%). However, Nolan also took on a more difficult role than Andreoff. Among regular forwards, only Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, and Trevor Lewis started in the offensive zone less often than Nolan, while only Nic Dowd and Kyle Clfford started in the offensive zone more often than Andreoff. But is a 5% difference in zone starts enough to offset Andreoff’s better possession numbers? At the very least, it’s enough to make it a bit of a toss-up.

Advantage: PUSH.

OFFENSIVE UPSIDE: This year, Jordan Nolan contributed surprisingly often on the offensive end, notching four goals and four assists while regularly looking more explosive than his fourth line counterparts. Andy Andreoff, on the other hand, registered two assists in 36 games. Interestingly, Andreoff wasn’t playing low-event hockey compared to Nolan, though the perception (for me at least) was that Nolan’s style was creating more shots. Nolan’s shots were just going in. Last season, it was the opposite, as Andreoff had the unlikeliest eight-goal season in recent memory while Nolan was shut out. So Nolan had the edge this season, but you can flip a coin for who would have more goals in 2017-18.

Advantage: PUSH.

PHYSCIALITY: Andreoff took seven roughing penalties last season, in just 36 games. Impressive! LA might look at this as a positive, though, because four of those were offsetting minors against (respectively) Evander Kane, Mike Ribeiro, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrej Sustr. Talk about some unlikable guys. The Tkachuk one was immediately after the 19-year-old attempted to take Drew Doughty’s head off. (In other words, no need to say “Forgive my misconduct.”) Nolan had more fights this season while Andreoff had a whopping eight last season, but with Kyle Clifford and Brayden McNabb absorbing most of the responsibilities this year, the fist-punching doesn’t make either indispensable.

Advantage: PUSH.

VERSATILITY: Andreoff was a surprisingly effective faceoff man in his limited time at center, but as with this season, he’ll hang on the wing if both Nick Shore and Nic Dowd are in the lineup next season. Same with Nolan, who can shuffle around fairly easily. Andreoff played more often with Dowd and Nolan with Shore, but both played over ten minutes per game for the first time in their career last season. I don’t know if John Stevens will lean on them as much as Sutter did in 2016-17, but he can if he chooses to.

Advantage: PUSH.

EXCITEMENT: For the neutral observer, Nolan and Andreoff were most exciting when... playing with each other! When Darryl Sutter put them together last season, the Kings averaged over 63 shot attempts on the opposing net per 60 minutes and allowed over 60 shot attempts per 60 minutes. The Kings as a whole averaged 60 for and 49 against. Stylistically, when Andreoff and Nolan were on the ice, LA turned into the Toronto Maple Leafs. This doesn’t give either one an edge, but I think this is fun.

Advantage: PUSH.

Final Score: Nolan 0, Andreoff 0.

Was this entire article a cheap excuse to say that Jordan Nolan and Andy Andreoff might as well be the same player? Yeah, sorry to lead you on like that. Nolan gets the edge based on this season’s play, but there are plenty of signs to show why we shouldn’t bank on Nolan being a clearly better option next year.

It’s convenient that the two played 82 games combined, because having just one evaluation of Jordandy Nolandreoff makes sense to all of us. Nolan is under contract for one more year at $950K, and Andreoff is a restricted free agent who almost certainly would sign for less than that. LA probably doesn’t need both, and with the young forwards they’re looking to rotate in, icing them both in one night would mean that they’re battling injuries. So hopefully that doesn’t happen.

I’ll ask anyway, though: who would you rather see on the ice in 2017-18?

Poll

Should the Kings favor Jordan Nolan or Andy Andreoff in a fourth-line (or 13th forward) role next season?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Jordan Nolan
    (211 votes)
  • 28%
    Andy Andreoff
    (83 votes)
294 votes total Vote Now