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TimeApr 11, 2017

Bounce back season for McDonagh

Photo: David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

In the 2015/16 NHL regular season, Ryan McDonagh played 73 games, had 34 points on 9 goals and 25 assists, and finished with a plus minus of +26.

Those (surface) numbers look stellar for most d-men, but play-by-play data reveals McDonagh's 15/16 season as the lowest average-per-game contribution in his last 5 seasons. His 15/16 overall contribution was 24.4% below his five year average.

Fast forward to the 16/17 regular season, where despite putting up similar (surface) numbers of 77 gp, 6 goals, 36 assists, 42 points, and a plus minus of +20, McDonagh had his strongest play-by-play performance since the 13/14 NHL season.

From the 15/16 to 16/17 NHL regular seasons, McDonagh increased his overall contribution by 40.2%, his offensive contribution by 59.2%, and his defensive performance by a more modest 11.8%. His 16/17 regular season contribution settled 6% above his five year average.

This reversion to the mean is very common among veteran players after a below or above period of performance. Occasionally it may be part of a multi-year trend that often sneaks up on players, and teams, and is hidden by misleading, result-based, surface numbers (good or bad).

How did McDonagh perform against the Montreal Canadiens in 16/17?

Over the three regular season games, his contribution dipped 12.9%, which is a relatively small (and common) amount considering the strength of Montreal this season.

McDonagh is far and away the highest contributing d-man on the Rangers blue line, therefore his continued strong play-by-play performance will be a key factor for the Rangers to get by the Canadiens.


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