Photo credit: Greg Fiume
The hard part is over. Mathieu Perreault led the Capitals with five points in four preseason games and snatched the final roster spot from favorites Cody Eakin and Mattias Sjogren.
Last season he showed the ability to drive puck possession, finishing with the fourth best Corsi relative to the competition on the team, behind only Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin.
Consistency, however, was a bigger issue. He earned all fourteen of his points in just nine of his 35 games played and wasn’t able to claim a center spot that was up for grabs.
But it’s a new year, and with Boudreau giving Matty P some time up top with Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer– plus hinting he may center the second line, it’s now time to turn our attention to what we can expect from him in his third NHL season.
Using Perreault’s NHL stats to match him with players who had comparable production at the same age, we can then use the development of those peers to generate a projection for 2011-12. Stats are normalized to the 2010-11 season, so they can be compared on a level playing field despite being in different eras.
Although he is frequently compared to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis because of his size, Perreault’s statistical peer group includes Joel Lundqvist, Milan Kraft, Patrick Thoresen, and even Patrick Sharp, among others. As you can see, the group is a decent match for Perreault’s sophomore season:
The development curve of these similar players show Perreault will get better in year three. The peer group saw more ice time, took more shots and increased their scoring by 47 percent, mostly by doubling their assist count.
That would make sense. Skating on one of the top two lines, which is most likely where Perreault will see a majority of his time, would make him more of a set-up man to one of the Russian snipers.
In games played, the projection is a bit more optimistic. It is doubtful Perreault suits up for half the season, but if he does, expect him to produce seven goals and 14 assists over 44 games. An improvement, but not enough to claim a full time role with a Cup-caliber team.
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