The new sports writing service The Athletic published an article about Honka. It’s a good read. So far I like the work they’ve done, and the subscription is cheap. Dellow: NHL coaches aren't stupid — that seventh defenceman likely isn't a star
To translate: the Stars put up a 59.5 percent Corsi% when Honka was on the ice. They got 65.1 percent of the scoring chances and 66.7 percent of the high danger scoring chances. He posits that because Dallas got outscored 4-1 with Honka on the ice, the Stars don't see his real value.
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Julius Honka is just the latest of a certain type of defenceman. A Rob Schremp of the blueline. The flashy guy who puts up points, can't seem to get out of the AHL or off of the third pairing and whose numbers seem to scream that he deserves more than he's getting, if only that stupid crusty old hockey man would just get his head out of 1975. For what it's worth, I do believe that this happens. I don't think it's always the case though.
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There are players out there who coaches overlook or don't like because of stuff that doesn't matter as much as they think. There aren't nearly as many fringe NHL defencemen who are actually top four defencemen in that group as a lot of people think though. If you think you've found one, you'd better take an awfully close look. Odds are, you'll find a reason that the coach doesn't like him other than “The coach is stupid.”
In short, he concludes Honka gets the easiest workload of any Stars d-man and he doesn’t actually personally contribute nearly as much as his rosy Corsi numbers would have you think. His main point is Honka isn’t being scratched because Hitch hates him. Honka is being scratched and sent down because he’s not that great.
It’s an interesting read, especially when it comes to looking closely at some starts and Corsi by going beyond the stats and watching a shirft to see what the player did or didn’t do to earn the stats awarded to him. An example is looking st the shifts that start with Honka going over the boards while the puck is in play and how he’s picked up a lot of Corsi for tallies from those shifts that largely come from the forwards on the ice having the puck while he’s done nothing but participate in a line change.
I guess it somewhat mirrors what I’ve seen from Honka, which is a guy who mostly sucks at defending, can make about one sensational pass a game while otherwise contributing very little to helping the team, and looks fairly decent on the PP. I still favor Honka over Oleksiak merely because I think Honka’s PP help is the tie breaker between two guys who have otherwise been very disappointing.
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