The Canadian |  Who benefits from the “St-Louis effect”?

The Canadian | Who benefits from the “St-Louis effect”?

What would you do if Cole Caufield’s name was put in the same sentence as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Eric Staal and Connor McDavid? Lots of cheers if you’re a Canadiens fan or member, we guess.

Posted yesterday at 8:31 p.m.

Guillaume Lefrancois

Guillaume Lefrancois
The Press

The connection between the aforementioned six living legends? They are the only players who, since the 2004-2005 lockout, have amassed 100 points in a season at age 22 or younger.

And what is Caufield doing in this discussion? It is that in 21 games since the arrival of Martin St-Louis behind the bench of the Canadian, he totals 25 points. As 21 games are equivalent to a quarter of the season, Caufield would therefore be close to the hundred (98 points, to be precise) out of 82 games.

Let’s face it, these are just projections, and the projections are imperfect, otherwise Brian Savage would have had multiple 60-goal campaigns. Almost every year, at the start of the season, attackers take advantage of less developed defensive systems to make us believe that they will score 50 goals in 50 games. But in fact, no one has succeeded since Brett Hull 30 years ago.

In this case, there is the novelty effect, but above all the fact that the Habs play without any form of pressure, which distorts the data a bit.

Nevertheless, after a quarter of a season, we have a little more hindsight to measure who benefits from this novelty effect, and who presents essentially the same performance as before.

The needle moves

Have we ever seen, since the golden years of Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac, a duo of young people arouse as much enthusiasm as Caufield and Nick Suzuki? To ask the question, is to answer it.

It’s day and night. The Press compiled the average points per game for Canadian players this season under Dominique Ducharme and under St-Louis. Unsurprisingly, Caufield and Suzuki are the most improved forwards on the team.


Then comes Jeff Petry, but let’s say the bar wasn’t high. There are two interesting data in his case. On the one hand, his average of 0.53 points per game is certainly lower than that of last year, but everything suggests that his pace of 0.76 in 2021 was a statistical anomaly. Moreover, in three seasons from 2017 to 2020, his average was 0.54.

The other data is that of the percentage of chances to score at five against five.

Here too, Petry does better. Under Ducharme, the Habs had 44% of the scoring chances when Petry was on the ice; this figure rose to 48% under St-Louis (source: Natural Stat Trick). However, even if the Canadian offers a better record under St-Louis, the sharing of scoring chances remains disadvantageous for the team.

Chris Wideman and Joel Armia bring up the rear for our five most improved players. Armia’s outfit will certainly reassure Montreal management, but his challenge, as always, will be consistency. As for Wideman, his advanced statistics do not favor him: the percentage of chances to score controlled by the Canadian when he is on the ice went from 52% under Ducharme to 39% under St-Louis.

Moreover, 7 of Wideman’s 10 points since the coaching change have come on the power play. We’re guessing that if he’s back next year, Wideman won’t get as many five-on-four chances as this season.

The needle does not move

There has been no dizzying drop in production since the change of guard behind the bench.

Laurent Dauphin and Brendan Gallagher recorded the largest declines, but they remained marginal.


Mike Hoffman, he displays tremendous consistency. His production is essentially the same, and his scoring odds ratio indicates that the Canadiens still get as much pounding at five-on-five: under Ducharme as under St-Louis, the Canadiens control just 36% of the scoring chances when he’s on. the rink. It’s almost two to one in favor of the opponent.

This category of players with stable production would be interesting to analyze from the inside. One can indeed wonder what made it so that some elements crashed so much under the old regime, while others, like Josh Anderson, maintained their usual level even in the storm.

We follow the needle

Since they haven’t played enough under either coach, Rem Pitlick, Paul Byron and Christian Dvorak have been excluded from this analysis.

The three had some good times. Pitlick is the 3and Canadian scorer since February 9 (14 points in 21 games), Byron is producing offense at an interesting pace (7 points in 17 outings), while Christian Dvorak seems to be improving from game to game since his return.

However, in all three cases, the scoring odds ratio is hardly reassuring for the team. It is 37.9% for Byron, 30.6% for Pitlick and 25.9% for Dvorak. In other words, if it continues at this rate, the successes of these players will not be there forever.

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