Wednesday, May 07, 2008

2007-08 Rink Wrap: Boyd Gordon

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Boyd Gordon.

Contract Status: RFA; 2007-08 salary of $650,000
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 24
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 2+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 67 games played, 7 goals, 9 assists, +5, 12 PIMs
Key Stat: Gordon was second on the Caps and ninth in the NHL with a 55.8% win rate.
Surprising(ly weak) Stat: Gordon had eight points in January but failed to record multiple goals or assists in any other month.

The Good: Gordon tied his career-high in goals (in four fewer games played and with four fewer shots taken), but he'll never make a team for his offense. What Gordon brings to the table is his ability in the faceoff circle (see above) and sound defensive play - he was on the ice for the fewest goals against per sixty minutes of ice time of any Cap who played at least forty games (which is saying something, considering that he led the Caps in shorthanded ice time per game and was second among all NHL forwards in that category) and had a team-best takeaway-to-giveaway ratio of nearly 2:1 while having the fewest giveaways per minute of ice time on the squad. Furthermore, considering the defensive assignments he was given on a nightly basis, the fact that he finished 18th in the League in fewest penalties taken per sixty minutes of ice time is damn near miraculous (he only had 2 PIMs in 42 games spanning from December through March!). After returning from a fractured hand in late December, Gordo finished the season up with five goals, seven assists and a plus-6 rating in 45 games.

The Bad: While he tied his career-high in goals, his assist dropped by 13 from the previous season in roughly the same amount of ice time per game. Gordon had the second-fewest hits per minute of ice time on the team (Michael Nylander, for good reason, had the fewest) and was only credited with 19 hits all season (Tomas Fleischmann had 37% more... ouch).

The Vote: Rate Gordon on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Questions: What role do you see Gordon playing on the 2008-09 Caps? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm amazed with the low votes for Boyd.

He's not a goalscorer people - he's a guy to keep the puck in the O zone and his stats prove he does his job and does it VERY well.

Natty Bumpo said...

liked boyd going into the season, like him still. could only dole out a 5 because i was hoping for more offense (saw him unleash a bag of offensive tricks at practice once) and that he'd start climbing the depth chart this year (losing late-season and playoff minutes to steckel). and only 1 short-handed goal? the team could use more shorties!

basically though i had high expectations and he met them. remember also the game in november when gordon broke his hand but later notched a shootout goal? i hope boyd sticks around.

Natty Bumpo said...

anon: not so low.
remember a 5 = expected performance.

i thought gordon really turned the corner as a defensive forward and checking line center in 2006-2007.

JP said...

I couldn't give him more than a six. I knew he was a good defensive center and he showed that. But his offense regressed a bit, and Steckel has probably passed him on the depth chart.

If 91 comes back, is 15 still a center? What kind of ice time does he get in that situation?

Don't get me wrong - he certainly has value. But that value is limited almost entirely to checking forward/PKer, which isn't necessarily "bad," but is obviously limited.

exwhaler said...

Gordo's damn near my favorite player on the team, but I gave him a "7." The low point totals are worrisome; his offense usually follows his defensive play a couple of seasons at each level. Some of its absence may be due to him being bounced all over the place, but he centered Pettinger and Clark at the beginning of the season and got zilch.

On the other hand, his defensive play stepped up huge this season. I don't think Steckel's passed him; when Steckel went out, Gordon moved down to the fourth line and the Capitals didn't miss a beat.

Next season, I'd like to see Gordon centering Fehr and Laich. When Boyd played under Gabby in Hershey, one of his first assignments was centering Fehr and Bourque. For about a month, that line became the most dangerous on the Bears and Fehr started his goal-scoring run (then Bourque got injured and Gordon recalled). I suspect that one of the reasons why Gordo hasn't scored much is that he's been focusing so much on defensive play that he's not aggressive enough to create the kind of chances he needs. This past season, he was the shutdown center under Hanlon, go injured in December, scored 8 points in January (most scored before the Caps tried him on the second line), went dry in February, and then took over for Steckel in late March through April. Stick him in the role the team wanted him in at the beginning of the season (centering a scoring checking line) but under Gabby's more aggressive system and see what happens. The offense is there--I remember Zednik suddenly woke up after being dropped down to play with Gordon--but I think Gabby needs to find the right kind of players for him to produce.

Oh, and Muffins gets the Morrisonn bonus point for his toughness (playing through fractured hand and torn hammy). And playing an entire game with said fractured hand.

tg said...

I graded him a 7 for his defense, but I wonder if I had him too high. I seem to remember the thinking that he could be a 10-15 goal guy this year. (And weren't we looking for 50-60 from Pettinger-Gordon-Clark?) There's nothing wrong with being defense-oriented, but if you never make the other team play defense, then you're not as useful as you can be. (I'll probably put similar comments about Steckel.)

Anonymous said...

I am a huge Muffins fan. He brings it every night. Sometimes I watch only him for an entire shift just to see how hard he works his ass off. He is only 24? That kind of shocked me. He will only go up from here. I have a feeling he is every coach's dream for all he brings to the game and the locker room with his quiet demeanor.

Tyler said...

Boyd Gordon is Mike Grier (without ever having had a 16G season).

JP's stats on 15, his D and his PK are eye-opening. You NEED Boyd Gordons on a playoff team; complimentary players are huge. But you'd rather they be on your fourth line at even-strength, and that's where I think we'll see 15 next year. (And at a fourth-line price, too: $725Kish.

Anonymous said...

I think Gordy plays a really integral part on the team -- i mean, look at how they did without him! He is one of their top face off people, good puck handler, and hey, just because he doesn't have the goals doesn't mean that he doesn't contribute. I have him an 8. He deserved it. I can see him going far with the caps

breed16 said...

I gave him an 8. He had as good a season as one could expect, minus offensive numbers. He might have offensive tricks in practice, but his offensive skill is lacking and that's OK.

The problem is he and Steckel are redundant at this point. Question is, who has more offensive upside between the two? Can we afford to keep them both?

Tough call, and I see us re-signing Gordon UNLESS McPhee wants to gamble with a Center prospect and give Steckel full 4th line center reign.

~Mark said...

@tyler: See, I disagree that you need Boyd Gordons. Gordon is very good on the PK, and very good on faceoffs... and that's it. He can't score (even 10 goals), and he doesn't hit. He starts to become the pure special teams player which on a roster of 21 guys you can't afford to have when you're building a SC winner. If Gordo were to pick up his checking, or his scoring, I'd say he's perfect. But we have Steckel for those 2 areas, and I'd say he's got better hands and can be physical. Also, Sergei Fedorov is great on faceoffs, PK, and can create points. All I'm saying is that Boyd Gordon may be this year's Brian Sutherby; good for a young rebuilding team, but not good enough for where this team is going.

exwhaler said...

Kelly Miller disagrees. :-)

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) A decent 4th line center, good PK specialist. Still young enough that his offensive output could improve.
2) A reletively cheap option, so he'll be back

Rage said...

Faux, what do you think? Is Gordon capable of winning any scoring races for us? I sort of think that he could put up 45 or 50 goals in a year, and maybe another 50 assists.

Marky Narc said...

I don't see why Muffins couldn't pot, say, fifteen goals. I honestly do thnk that at seven, he's not realizing his full potential offensively. On the other side of the puck, he is impeachable - and he ought to be a Selke trophy candidate!

No, Muffins doesn't have to be centering AO's line and having a Chris Clark 30-goal breakout, but if he wants a higher rating from me (which is what all players want, am i right?), he needs to improve his offensive numbers. I think he can do that without damaging his defensive play.

breed16 said...

Boyd has poor vision and can't shoot. He might be an average stickhandler at best. Let's not kid ourselves here folks. 10 goals max is what you could ever expect.

That's why I gave him an 8, he did almost the best he could.

@marky narc: Ironic that to be considered for the Selke, there seems to be an unwritten goals/points minimum. Datsyuk Zetterberg are really the two best defensive forwards in the NHL? Really?

shaggy said...

I'll never forget the time (Ithink it was the Backis own-goal game against the Pens)Bouds called a timeout because Gordon was winded from killing a penalty and he needed to be fresh to take a critical faceoff.
Gordon is a character guy and you need character guys. Yeah, we're swimming in them but Gordo is beloved here and aint going nowhere. I gave him an 8, simply because he has not turned into a Sutherby and become irrelevant.

wittcap79 said...

Also gave him a 6. He pretty much progressed and did what a checking line center is supposed to do. bumped him for his improvement in the FO circle. Probably worthy of a 6.5, maybe a 6.713.

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Rage: It was pretty clear what we think of Gordon in our post, but no we don't believe like you that Gordon can compete with Ovechkin, Semin,etc for the team scoring leaders.

Rage said...

Oh. Okay.

Thanks for clearing that up, Faux.

FAUX RUMORS said...

Anytime, Rage.

bored said...

1)faux, no one here was in doubt of his presence on the team next year
2)that wasnt the question
3)merely what his role would be
4)but thanks anyway for clearing that one up too.

Christopher said...

I rated Gordo pretty low, not because I don't appreciate his play (his positioning is superb and he's the best Cap at getting into passing lanes with his stick or skates). However, the expectations were higher for Gordo this year, and he didn't meet them.

In my mind (and there were lots of people on here and other blogs who agreed), he was supposed to score about 10 goals and maybe total around 30 points. He was nowhere near that. True, injuries and line shuffles hurt him, but the same could be said of Brooks Laich. Honestly, I feel like the coaching change hurt Gordo a little. He was great in Hanlon's defense-first/counterattack system, but he looked lost offensively at times under Boudreau.

I feel like Gordo was SUPPOSED to be a good shutdown center/PK/faceoff specialist at a minimum while having the POTENTIAL to be a two-way threat. Since he didn't realize that potential this year, I rated him low (4 or 5-can't recall).

Kim said...

This may be a stupid question, but why do some call Gordon Muffins?

Ogre said...

I gave him a 7, because of his defense not only on the Even strength factor and also the PK. With the way this season ended, I think you take a serious look at the PK. A great PK makes up for bad calls.

Wasn't he one of the three on the 5 on 3 against pittsburgh (With Steckel and Morrisonn, no?)

JP said...

There are no stupid questions, Kim, only stupid people.

Luckily, you're not one of 'em.

Muffins was a nickname coined by Peerless after Gordo scored on a shot from the blueline against L.A. and Olie offered the following after the game:

"I keep razzing him about how weak his shot is, and I just told him he went up in the rankings after that goal. ... Maybe [King’s goaltender Mathieu Garon's] scouting report on 'Gordo' was that he throws muffins and was just surprised at how fast it came."

bill ball said...

What Tyler and Christopher said. I give the guy credit- he takes a beating out there and works hard, but stats aside, it often seems like he's not drawing penalties as much as he's just getting knocked around. He shines as a faceoff specialist or on the PK, but I wonder if Steckel isn't a more suitable guy for 5 on 5. Funny that Gordo was such a bright spot for us just a season ago...

bigonetimer said...

I gave him a 6. He fills a pretty good niche, and an RFA at 24 and relatively inexpensive I wouldn't be surprised if we tender him. I can also see a roster spot up for grabs...