Evaluating defense is still not easy; Can Kirby Dach breakout with Canadiens?
Your daily trip around the NHL....
With the bulk of free agency over and NHL training camps just around the corner that means we are now entering Professional Tryout season across the league.
There were a couple of notable tryout deals signed this week (Scott Harrington in San Jose; Danny DeKeyser in Vancouver; Calvin de Haan in Carolina) but the one that really stood out the most to me was Zach Aston-Reese in Toronto.
Aston-Reese fascinates me because there is such a wide range of opinions on him and what sort of player he is. From an analytics perspective, he is regarded as one of the league’s best defensive forwards because his defensive metrics in terms of shots against, scoring chances against, expected goals against, etc. are all consistently among the league’s best defensive forwards.
I have no doubt that he is an effective defensive player and useful in a fourth-line role, and he might end up getting that sort of opportunity in Toronto this season.
But is he the player the numbers say that he is?
Sort of yes.
Sort of no.
It is complicated.
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