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Sometimes someone in the stat community comes out with something that should be so obvious, it's...

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Montreal_png

Sometimes someone in the stat community comes out with something that should be so obvious, it's right in front of your face, but no one has done it before. This is what Eric T from our SB Nation sister site Broad Street Hockey as well as the new NHL Numbers blog has done. What you see in this image is a usage chart of Montreal Canadiens forwards, separated by quality of competition based on the ice time of the opponents each player faces. The really excellent thing about it is that he's separated the forwards a player faces from the defensemen. I'll let Eric explain his methodology by linking his original piece, while you can also check out the usage charts Eric posted today for all 30 teams here. One of the things that stood out to me was how much better this makes the top line from last year look. Desharnais faced tougher competition that Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski for example. However the most impressive thing to me was how tightly Pacioretty and Cole were checked. Any reservations we had about Max Pacioretty being able to handle tough minutes can likely be put to rest.

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