It’s no secret that Mike Knuble is a fan favorite not only among Capital fans, but around the NHL in general. He’s a hard-working winger who lurks in front of the net, regularly crashes the crease and & capitalizes on rebounds in front of the net. This garbageman-mentality helped him score goals at a higher rate in 2009-10 (.42 per game) than in any other season in his career. And he did it all at the ripe age of 37.
But we here at RMNB are worried. Should Mike Knuble’s age cause us to temper our expectations in 2010-11?
The boxcar stats on Knuble were impressive last season: 69 games played, 29G/24A/53Pts +23. Other wingers who played 40 games or more while producing at least .5 Points Per Game after age 38, which is where we should expect Knuble to be if he continues playing on the Caps’ top line with Ovechkin and Backstrom, include:
- Brendan Shanahan
- Brett Hull
- Dean Prentice
- Gordie Howe
- John Bucyk
- Mark Messier
- Mark Recchi
We can see on the chart this group’s production holds relatively stable through ages 39-40 before the sample size becomes increasingly small.
This allows us to project Knuble’s production to fall somewhere between 43 – 48 points this year. Not terrible for an old man, but is it enough to sustain him on the top line with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom?