Offense you say?

So the first part of this season was pretty weird. Things did not look good for Mathieu. Nay, not just not good, things looked awful. Never much of a defensive stalwart, his offense is what made him a great player, and that had seemingly evaporated. He's had longer slumps (barely), but never had he been so consistently absent for the scoresheet.

In 44 games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Mathieu had
  • 15 points
  • 4 power play points
  • no game winning goals
  • 1 multiple point game (2 points)
  • 3 multiple-game point "streaks" (points in back to back games twice, 3 games in a row once)
  • a 10 game pointless streak (longest since 1999-2000 season)
He was also a -10, which was the first time he had been a "minus" player since the 1999-2000.

Some advanced calculus tells me that at the pace he was going to start the season (those 44 games with Atlanta), he'd be on pace for a 28 point season. Even that would be generous, since it is assuming a .34 point per game pace (15 divided by 44) for a full 84 games, which isn't possible since he had already missed quite a few games.

28 points! For scale, here are some of his least productive seasons:
  • he had 21 points in 1989-90, his rookie year (and he only played 44 games)
  • he had 29 points in 1994-95, the lockout shortened season (he only played 43 games)
  • he had 12 points in 1996-97, the season he had that terrible groin injury needing surgery (he only played 26 games)
Yes indeed, things looked bleak. Was it really the end of Mathieu Schneider? Could he really drop off so badly, so quickly? He played well last year. Not $5 million worth of well, but he was within reasonable distance of what he had done the last few years.

Then came the trade to Montreal. His offense immediately returned. How much so? In only 20 games with Montreal, he has already matched or bested (and bested by a significant margin) his offensive production with Atlanta:
  • 15 points
  • 12 power play points
  • 2 game winning goals
  • 2 multiple point games
  • a 4 game point streak (one was with Atlanta), two 2 game point streaks, and currently a 5 6 game point streak
He's also a -1.

He'd need a freakish outpouring of offense in these last few games to get back to "normal" for the season, but those post-trade numbers look a bit more like the Mathieu we've known. At his Montreal pace (.75 points per game), he'd finish an 84 game season with 63 points (50 on the power play). That would be his highest offensive output of his career (he scored 59 in 2005-06). Even considering a 60-70 game season (more his norm lately), he'd have 45-52 points, the same totals he was producing with Detroit.

Oooooo, look! A chart!
(the red line is his career mean,
the orange line is his career median)

So... like Mark Twain, maybe the reports of Mathieu's demise had been greatly exaggerated. Don't go and bury him just yet. The "geezer" might still actually have it after all!

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