Coming in at number nine is Michael Pezzetta at 55.8%. His nickname to his friends is Pez but, we here at Eyes On The Prize have been pushing “Pez Dispenser.” This is a very impressive finish for someone who many of us didn’t think would ever play in the NHL.
It goes to show that sometimes years like last year are a blessing in disguise. Pezzetta did well by every metric except goals-for percentage (sixth-worst on the team) and defensive zone faceoffs per 60 (least on the team).
We all know that it’s one thing to get the offensive-zone starts but another thing to use them. Pezzetta’s underlying numbers suggest that he might actually turn into a decent NHLer. He had the sixth-best shot-attempt share on the team, and fifth-best expected-goals-for percentage and points per 60.
There’s still room for improvement considering those offensive starts, but I see an NHLer. We often see people with good motors that just don’t have the mind or skill to make use of it. Pezzetta has shown that he has at least enough skill to take advantage of that unrelenting engine when it comes to driving play and getting opportunities.
At 24 years old, he probably won’t score 30 goals. We also don’t have a lot of data to go off of for his transition game because of all of the offensive-zone starts. But, assuming he’s at least league-average in transition, he would look very good on a line that has the talent to bury the chances he helps generate.
I’ve used this term before, but Gallagher light comes to mind regarding Pezzetta. I say “light” because in his first full NHL season Gallagher led the team in both Corsi-for percentage and expected-goals-for percentage. Mind you that NHL team had 100 points and went to the conference final. Safe to say Gallagher had a little more help in his first full season.
For more info on the model I used, check out the introduction to this series.