Michael Latta: 2013-14 Season Review

Michael Latta came out of nowhere (Nashville’s farm system) to bring dynamism to the bottom line this season. Latta didn’t get a lot of ice in his 17 games, but should he get another crack at the bigs this fall I think we’ll find that Latta is a legit NHL player.

By the Numbers

17 Games played
7.4 Average time on ice per game
1 Goals
3 Assists
48.2% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
50.0% Goal percentage during 5v5
9.1% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
92.7% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

Peter’s Take

Latta got just 131 minutes of ice over 17 games. That’s low even for a fourth liner. Why Oates felt he couldn’t put his fourth line out considering they often performed better than his top line we may never know. Whatever, the point is that we didn’t get a great look at Latta this season. We saw some fights, and some spark, and one net-crashy goal, but it was a tiny sample and thoroughly obscured by the Oates Effect.

Fast fact! When Latta played with Aaron Volpatti, the Caps got 46.8 percent of shot attempts. When Volpatti played without Latta, the Caps got 37.0 percent of shot attempts.

Latta didn’t stay healthy, but he did terrifically in his stints up in Hershey, racking up 14 goals and 20 assists in 52 games. Latta isn’t going to change the world in a Caps uniform, and he certainly wasn’t able to buck whatever was dragging the Caps down all season, but he seems to me like a competent bottom-six forward on a great contract. If he’s the pivot on the fourth line on opening night, I’d be pretty happy with that.

Latta on RMNB

In Pictures

SHOE posted a big hit by Latta and Garrett Mitchell up in Hershey that dislodged the glass. We covered it too.

Now, I don’t usually do this, but, let’s break ‘em off a Vine from SHOE. Turn on the audio.

I’m not big on fighting, but Zac Rinaldo bled from his head so I’ll take my hypocrite lumps and share this.

This is not a picture, but I love it so it’s here.

Your Turn

I’ll keep it simple: Do you think Michael Latta can be an NHL-level player? P.S. Michael turns 23 on Sunday, so remember to tweet him a happy b-day message.

Read more: Japers Rink

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  • DashingDave314

    Yes, I think he is an NHL-level player. I’d rather have him than the Beags on the fourth line.

  • Jimmie

    It wouldn’t bother me if he developed into our Baby Brad Marchand (but with less of a scoring touch).

  • tpr04

    He was also able to draw penalties and was smart enough to walk away instead of getting a matching.If my 4C is getting my team PP opportunities, I’m happy with that. I think he’s ready this year and a better option than Beagle.

  • Rob W.

    Id like to see more of Latta and Brown next season

  • Connor

    The most under rated part of this kids game is how big of a pest he can be. If i remember correctly, he made Zac Rinaldo go nuts with something he said to him and drew a penalty. I also loved watching him taunt and chirp the entire Flyers bench just demoralizing them completely. We have been missing a guy like this playing in our bottom 6. (Also with Latta in, Willy won’t think its his job to fight every other night)

  • Boush

    I like him as a Hendricks-type player. Let him and Beagle play 4C/4RW next season. I like what I saw from him in his limited stint, and while I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a borderline third liner, that’s a helluva lot better than almost anyone else in the world who plays hockey.

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    Man, how I miss the Oates line changing saga that created the RMNB community saying:
    Line 1: blah, anyone but Beagle, blah
    Line 2: blah, anyone but Beagle, blah
    Line 3: blah, anyone but Beagle, blah
    Line 4: blah, anyone but Beagle, blah

  • Cameron

    He didn’t get a Latta playing time! Anyone? anyone? Bueller?

  • Mark Keller

    I like the way he played in limited opportunities this year. I’m hoping he becomes a regular. Not to mention he’s a super nice guy — he posed for this picture with my girlfriend and me after a game against Montreal in November. He was sent to Hershey right after the game.

  • Mike Reppenhagen

    I love this guy, but I actually don’t know if he fits with our lineup right now. He’s best as the 3C with Ward and Chimera, but it seems like that’s Wilson’s spot right now if we sign Grabbo. I still like him as a 4C, but I can see him driving so much good stuff being the pest with Ward and Chimmer.

    As for his fights, you showed why I am a little more supportive of the way he roughs people up than Wilson. Tied at 1 in the middle of the second against the peskiest team we faced all year, he lit a spark under the team. I’d prefer it if he was pesting top-6 guys rather than other pests, but it’s still a role to be filled that he can fill very well without the paralyzer on the roster. Get him up here and keep him up in a bottom 6 role.

  • TySpooner

    I really hope he gets more ice time next year so I can make more things along the lines of this.

  • Barrett

    He should be coming into camp as a serious contender for the 3rd/4th line center depending on what they do in free agency. I want to see more from him so he’s definitely a top choice for a call-up if he gets sent back down to Hershey.

  • PucktotheHead

    Well he would have played more if he didn’t “play the wrong way”….SMH

  • Barrett

    Beagle is actually a really good 4th line center. You want that guy to win faceoffs and kill penalties. Beagle does both. He’s around a 54.0 faceoff winning percentage and about 2mins of penalty kill time the past few seasons. The team started to hurt in that department when guys like Dave Steckel, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks and Jeff Halpern where let go.

    I think you bring Latta into the mix during camp and let those guys fight it out for the starting job. Depending on what the team does for a 3rd line center in free agency, Michael Latta might work there also. Latta has more of a natural ability to score goals.

  • Pat Magee

    Love this kid. Gonna be a great depth player for us this season!

    I’d give him a shot between Chimmer and Wardo.

  • Jonah

    what do you mean “thats wilsons spot right now” wilson is probably going to be 2RW next to grabo. i think latta would be very good as 3c between the bromance of the century.

  • JenniferH

    I’m going there. I apologize in advance. I like him a Latta.

  • Bugs Fire

    To keep it simple – yes, he can. My hope is that in few short years the “Erat trade” is renamed accordingly and a bestseller memoir by Poile reveals that GMGM was targeting Latta all along. Brilliant move by (in)famous GM :)

  • Owen Johnson
  • Owen Johnson

    He get’s under people’s skin WITHOUT being a total bastard. Take note, Matt Cooke and the entire Philadelphia Flyer organization.

  • Owen Johnson

    Line 1: blah, anyone but Beagle, blah
    Line 2: blah, anyone but Beagle, blah
    Line 3: blah, MAYBE Beagle if we need him, blah
    Line 4: blah, Beagle, blah

  • Owen Johnson

    Just kidding, I love stupid puns.

  • Jonah

    another example of RMNB top level hockey analysis

  • John M

    What season? 131 minutes? That’s barely enough time for a Hollywood franchise movie.

  • Graham Dumas

    Frye? Fryyyyye…?

  • VeggieTart

    I’ve said more than once that Latta was the better half of the Filip Forsberg trade. He earned my fandom when he tried to intervene when that boxer who thinks he was a goaltender was beating up on Holtby in Philadelphia.