Monday, February 18, 2013
Key stat for Staal?
By Luke Lapinski
The plus-minus statistic doesn't always tell the whole story. On any given night, a player could have a good game, but a negative rating simply because he was on the ice at the wrong time. The opposite could happen as well, where a skater does very little and ends up out there as his linemates make some key plays.
It can't be completely written off though either -- especially over a larger body of work. And Eric Staal might be a prime example of that at the moment. The Carolina captain was a minus-20 last season, and a minus-10 the year before. This time around, he's among the league leaders with a plus-12 rating.
Tom Awad of Hockey Prospectus has Staal at No. 4 overall in his most recent player rankings, mainly because of the 17 points the 29-year old center has already produced (tied for No. 11 in the league). But his impressive plus-minus is at least indicative of the fact that the Hurricanes have looked better across the board this season. In fact, the last time Staal had a plus rating this high at the end of the year was 2008-09 (plus-15). And that was the last time Carolina made the playoffs.