I’ll open the dance by stating the obvious; unless Krejci or Bergeron is being moved out, Duchene is entirely the wrong guy for the Boston Bruins. Not for anything that he is, but for what he isn’t; and that’s better (when healthy) than Krejci or Bergeron. He probably will put up more points on a playoff quality team, but he’s not the topic of discussion.
I like Gabriel Landeskog. He’s a very solid player. He’s physical, he’s willing, he plays in all three zones at at least a passable level. He’s been pretty healthy over the course of his NHL. He’s put together three straight seasons with more than 20 goals. He’s even the captain, named so at a ludicrously young age.
Why is he probably not the best available winger? That’s easy, I can name one who has very similar physical attributes, is faster, meaner, and has something to prove.
Here’s the tale of the tape:
Career goals per game: Landeskog: 0.278 vs Winger X: 0.312
Hits per game (2011-present): Landeskog: 2.2 Winger X: 2.6
Goals by strength: Landeskog: 80 ES, 27PP 4SH 16 1stG 4OTG 16GWG Winger X: 94ES 16PPG 4SHG 22 1stG 3 OTG 19 GWG
Shot attempt %: Landeskog 49.71% vs Winger X 50.64%
Goals per 60: Landeskog 0.89 Winger X 1.05
Minor penalties drawn per 60: Landeskog 0.94 vs Winger X 1.21
SHTOI/G: Landeskog and Winger X 1:04
TOI/GP: Landeskog 18:47 vs Winger X 19:31
Cap hit next year: Winger X is $321,429 less expensive.
Why did I pick the stats I did? Partly because the biggest need from a winger would be goals, followed by physicality. And because any player that is going to survive in Boston will need to be able to contribute in all three zones. In some people’s minds Winger X has a few marks against him. On his first team, in a city not very friendly to the melanin blessed, he had a reputation for trouble making which may have spilled over to his current team. On balance, none of the accusations in either city have ever been proved in court. And of course of the two, Winger X is the one who put together a 30 goal season at all, much less while under 21.