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Friday Funbag: Mason Marchment is basically Justin Dowling with a massive contract
And honestly, I missed this when the Stars first signed Marchment.
It’s been a busy week, and I’ve got another long-term project for Shap Shots that I’ve been working on. So in the interest of time management and speediness, let’s get straight to your questions.
Christian Oliveira What’s a reasonable solution to the Mason Marchament problem? Twitter people keep saying trade, but who would want that contract? Do you see a diminished role and a buyout in the future? Or do the Stars just take the L and keep trying to make it work?
This question was asked before Mason Marchment scored and was one of Dallas better forward on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
But that doesn’t change the over-arching question with Marchment, who has failed to live up to the promise of a four-year deal worth $4.5 million per season against the cap.
Marchment is a classic example of a player that cashed in on career-year with the Florida Panthers during the 2021-22 season, and flipped his career narrative in one season.
We think of Marchment as a point producer because he scored 47 points in 54 games in one season, most of them at even strength, when in reality for his NHL career he’s been closer to a fourth-liner and even 4A type player.
Let’s compare his age-by-age season to former Dallas Stars forward Justin Dowling.
Marchment went off for 47 points in in his age 26 season, but aside from that, the Marchment deal was almost the equivalent of giving Dowling a $4.5 million contract.
Using underlying numbers from HockeyViz, here is a better look at how much of an outlier Marchment’s one big Florida season was.
So, this is something that we all missed two years ago — myself, particularly, included.
But I don’t think anyone else will miss it in the future. Maybe Marchment is more than I give him credit for, but he’s also 28 and I’m a firm believer that players (aside from Joe Pavelski) typically stop improving in their mid-20s.
So you hope for a turnaround, but realize that it may never come.
John Pritchard What’s up with the power play? How do you go from a top PP to a bottom one in a season with the same personnel?
There’s actually a simple answer to this.
When power plays, or any tactic, dominate the league, they tend to be overly studied and analyzed in the offseason. Penalty killers know what a team wants to do and now have systems in place to slow it down.
This is particularly true when a team doesn’t change up the personnel — they have their favorite looks, you work to take those away.
So the onus here falls on the coaching staff and the players to change their approach, change their dynamics so they once again become slightly unpredictable for the opponent.
Chad Barber If/when the Stars have to with 11/7 again, how would you approach the situation? Play Hanley as a forward? Rotate Hanley with Suter and Hankanpää, leaving you to double shift some guys with on a forward line? Unless you have a player like Brent Burns, is there ever a reason to chose 11/7 for reasons other than salary cap constraints?
I’ve written about 11-7 lineups quite a bit here at Shap Shots, and I think this piece is a good intro piece.
This is directly from that piece on the pros of 11-7.
For a team with more than six regular NHL defenders, or with a young defender that could be a candidate for frequent healthy scratches, running 11-7 keeps more defenders involved.
It also allows a team to create specialists on the blue line, whether that’s at even strength or on special teams, and allows coaches to protect certain players from situations where they struggle — for example, 11-7, this season would probably be a smart move for the Toronto Maple Leafs to get the most out of having John Klingberg in their lineup.
The other advantage, and this is more prevalent on the road, is a coach being able to sneak his top players into better matchups. This is something the Oilers have done quite frequently with Connor McDavid when deploring an 11-7 lineup, getting McDavid additional shifts with the fourth line wingers, and more shifts for the best player in the world is never a bad thing.
It also makes a team less predictable, and throws an element of chaos for the opposing team. Line matching strategies don’t typically work when their aren’t simple lines to match.
So yes, there are reasons to choose 11-7.
Some teams should do it more than others, and my good friend Prashanth Iyer has pulled the numbers before on how certain teams perform better or worse with 11-7 based on expected goals.
For the Stars, who you asked about, I find more value in going 12-6, because I don’t see much Joel Hanley brings as a specialist. Other than as injury cover, the Stars should be going 12-6 as often as possible.
Multiple people also asked me about my theory on the Stars and why they should have waived Hanley earlier this week.
I would argue, that the Stars missed out on greater potential lineup value by not having a 12th offensive-minded forward available against the Bruins.
Either Stankoven or Bourque, it doesn’t matter which, could have helped fill the role left by Duchene’s injury. Both are NHL ready, both are lighting up the AHL, and as Mason Lohrei and John Beecher showed on the other side, young players can put the puck in the net.
Thanks again for reading, we’ll be back with observations from some games on Saturday.
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