As per TSN, the Montreal Canadiens have finally re-signed young star defender PK Subban to a year deal, worth a bargain$2.875m per year. Subban is one of the top young defenders in the league – although he has his detractors who believe him to vastly overrated. Let’s briefly go over his stats.
In terms of basic boxcar stats, Subban scored 7 goals and 29 assists for 36 points, and was a +9, leading all defenceman in those categories except for plus/minus, where he was 2nd behind Josh Gorges. In the eyes of many, he didn’t take the big step forward many expected after he put up 14 goals and 38 points the previous year. However, we must keep in mind that Montreal was an awful, awful club last year. Subban did a great job on a struggling team.
Last season, Subban was third on the team (for players who appeared in 50+ games) for Relative Corsi, meaning that he moved the puck in the right direction (i.e. towards the opposition net a lot more often than not). He was top on the team amongst defenders in that category, and the only defender to have a positive CorsiRel.
We can also look at his PDO. PDO is basically the sum of on-ice shooting percentage and on-ice save percentage, and is useful for seeing who is playing with bad luck and who is playing with good luck. When the sum of those two is over 1000, a player is generally thought to be playing in good luck, and when it’s under 1000, they are playing in bad luck. Since these sorts of stats almost always revert to the mean over time (in this case, 1000), someone with a PDO of under 1000 should see their luck improve and someone with a PDO of over 1000 should see their luck drop. It’s useful for being an indicator of true performance, or whether someone just got hot for a little while. Subban had a PDO last year of 1018, which indicates he was playing in good luck, but not massively so, and as such his performance was largely true to form. Remember though, that form will get better – PK is still only 23 years old.
Looking at Robert Vollman’s Player Usage Charts, it is also possible to see that Subban played amongst the toughest competition on the team, whilst receiving sub-50% offensive zone starts, yet dominated the shot differentials.
He might not yet have put up elite scoring numbers, but PK Subban is a massive difference maker for the Canadiens. If they’d have traded him to another team or lost him to an offer sheet, it would have been a huge mistake on their part. Instead, they signed him to a bargain deal for 2 years, and are a much better team for it.