Photo credit: Joel Auerbach
Before the season began, a lot of people were looking for Brooks Laich to “turn it on” in his contract year. After three straight years of scoring 20 goals or more, many felt we would see his game taken to the next level. His season up to this point:
|Laich through 49 games||9||18||27||116||889|
|proj 82 games||15||30||45||194||1488|
So far, underwhelming. Or is it?
What could we have reasonably expected from Laich? Players who have had similar seasons since the lockout at around the same age give us some clues.
|Similar players following year||27||77||22||28||50||176||1348|
In 2011 Laich scoring 22 goals would have been a reasonable expectation. Take into account the regression to the mean for Capital’s shooting overall, constant line juggling, and his occasional use as a 4th line checker and his 82-game projection of 15 goals doesn’t look like he is too far off the mark.
Some might even point to his scoring droughts this year as another cause of alarm, going as many as a dozen games without registering a goal, but they would be mistaken. Given that coming into this year Brooks Laich has scored in roughly a quarter of every game he has played the last three years, we can be 99% sure that he would have to go 16 games in order to see a statistically significant scoring drought.
Sure, we would like to have the bittersweet moment where Laich is lighting that lamp at a pace for a 30-goal season as we rack our brains on Capgeek trying to figure out how to keep him. For now, just enjoy the fact he is the team’s best forward when it comes to keeping even strength scoring chances in the Caps’ favor, considered a Selke candidate by others and performing completely within reasonable expectations.