Saturday, December 8, 2007

McGrattan deserves better

Last night's game against the Dallas Stars, where Brian McGrattan did not play an entire shift, really put an exclamation mark on a trend that coach John Paddock has taken all year: treat Brian McGrattan like shit. And it's getting really old, Paddock.

Grats has been scratched in favour of underachievers, benched for an entire game, and simply ignored for the things he does well. Instead of pouting, though, McGrattan has played well on the next shift, if he got another one. Just the fact that he's on the ice makes the other team a little hesitant, but there's also the fact that he can forecheck well and recently has been creating scoring chances, even. Do we forget how valuable he can be? Let me offer an excerpt from a story from from December 2005:
But the longstanding belief that the team is soft has been obliterated this season. Rookie Brian McGrattan has helped make sure the team won't be trifled with, most notably demonstrated in a tilt with Toronto's Tie Domi earlier in the season.
I remember that fight. It pretty much ended Domi's career, and was the beginning of the end for the Leafs physically pushing around the Sens in regular-season play.

McGrattan deserves better than this, Paddock. Sure he may not be offensively gifted or defensively responsible, but he gets in hard on the forecheck and has played well in his limited ice time he's received this season. In fact, after assembling the statistics, McGrattan is fourth on the team in points-per-minutes-played (ppm). See the chart below:

  1. Daniel Alfredsson: 0.06 ppm (40 points, 635 minutes played)
  2. Jason Spezza: 0.06 ppm (29 points, 476 minutes played)
  3. Dany Heatley: 0.05 ppm (34 points, 633 minutes played)
  4. Brian McGrattan: 0.04 ppm (2 points, 49 minutes played)
  5. Mike Fisher: 0.03 ppm (18 points, 569 minutes played)
    Seven others tied at: 0.03 ppm

I'm not trying to suggest McGrattan is the fourth most valuable player on this team offensively, and his numbers would likely go down if he played more. But the fact of the matter is that he's not nearly the liability Paddock seems to think he is, and his +/- rating of +2 is better than Mike Fisher (-2), Dean McAmmond (-2), and Randy Robitaille (a pathetic -7). The numbers for Fisher and McAmmond are likely aberrations, but why reward Robitaille (0.02 ppm) with almost 13 minutes of ice time per game, and bench McGrattan? I can guarantee you that if McGrattan was on a line with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, he would have more than four goals to speak for it. He could just stand in front of the net, piss people off, and knock in rebounds.

Give him some freakin' ice time. I realize this isn't house league, but he's earned it and he's not nearly as much of a liability as you seem to think.
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