Inside The Numbers
Posted by Toby Ivey ≡ - March 5, 2009
I must admit, I had to chuckle when I heard Rangers General Manager Glen Sather characterize the trades he made yesterday as adding "size" and "grit". Images of players like Adam Hall, Petr Nedved and Marek Malik flashed through my head, as I reviewed the statistics of the two players in question.
So what have the Rangers added exactly? It surprised me a bit when I did a little more research into the two individual players, and while there's a good chance the two acquisitions will be only in New York for a short time, there are perhaps more nuances than the statistics alone provide.
A quick perusal of Antopov's stats show him with 21 goals and 25 assists this season. That alone puts him first on the Rangers in goals, and puts him just one point behind team leader Nikolai Zherdev (47) in points. Clearly Antropov has the capability to produce goals as much as anyone on the Rangers, and can apparently throw some helpers in there as well.
It's not like this is the first time either that he's scored 20+ goals. He did it in 2007-08 too when he set career highs for goals (26), assists (30) and points (56). Of course that was playing along side Mats Sundin, so it's somewhat heartening that he can do without the big Swede beside him. Prior to that however and it's been a story of unfulfilled promise. Antropov has 125 goals in 506 games, and 93 games over the course of six seasons. The good news is that he's not missed a game this year with the Leafs, and missed just 10 last year.
Last year 12 of his 26 goals came on the power play, without Mats Sundin beside him it's dropped to 6 this year - still good enough for third on the Rangers. Perhaps a little more offensive firepower (excuse the humor) will help him out there. His 171 shots on goal this year is a career high, which suggests he doesn't shoot as much as you'd want to, while his 24 penalty minutes isn't going to scare many - he did have 92 last year however.
He's been credited with two fights in his NHLcareer, the last in 2003 when Erik Brewer took offense and tried to goad him into some fisticuffs. The other occasion was in the previous season with Cory Sarich - no details on that fight I'm afraid.
In terms of physical play, he's not incapable of throwing a hit as demonstrated in this video tribute from You Tube:
For the record he's been credited with 82 hits this year, or about one and half per game on average.
In terms of ice time, the Maple Leafs were giving him about 17-18 minutes a night and have of course been using him on the power play. He's also picked up a few short handed goals here and there in his career while killing penalties though he has not been used so much in that role this year - 1:06 SH ice time per game.
As for Morris, this year's statistics are less impressive. In 57 games he has just five goals and 7 assists and his on track to record his lowest point total of his career. In 2002-03 he set career highs of 11 goals, 37 assists and 48 points, but has declined each year since that mark - with the exception of last year where he held the line at 25 points.
Since joining the Coyotes, he's recorded a -35 plus minus, but did manage to set a career high in penalty minutes a couple of years ago when he recorded 115.
The Coyotes have been using Morris primarily as a second pair defenseman, with the 30 year old ranked third or fourth amongst blueliners for the team at even strength, with the man advantage and on the penalty kill. He averages around 20 minutes a game, which puts him easily in the top two pair category for the Rangers.
Morris isn't afraid to drop the gloves either, having been credited with 24 fights in his career, though none this season. His last fight was in 2007-08 when he went after Steve Bernier of the San Jose Sharks after Bernier checked Jovanovski hard into the boards. You can review the fight below:
While his numbers aren't very impressive this year, he probably has the opportunity to improve his lot with the Rangers. The Coyotes have struggled for a number of years, and one could possibly argue that a change of venue might help him rebuild his career - he's a UFA this summer, so a good performance with the Rangers would certainly help his chances of landing another big contract. The fact he's a right handed shot should also help the Rangers.
One thing to keep in mind though is that while he does have a hard shot from the point, he's managed just one power play assist this season, despite over 115 minutes of power play time. He'll have to do better than that.
For more video on both Antropov and Morris, check out the following links from NHL.com:
Profile of the Author:
Has been an active follower of the New York Rangers since the 1996-97 season. Began OutsideTheGarden.com in 2001, and has continued to collect data and provide analysis on the team through to the current day.