Losing your leading scorer in the midst of a late-season divisional race, like the Carolina Hurricanes announced last night is never good. For any team, losing a player such as Andrei Svechnikov can be the death knell. But, as we have seen, the Carolina Hurricanes are built for depth. And depth is what they have in droves.
Calling Jack Drury up from the AHL Chicago Wolves is a prime example. Yet as all eyes turn to Drury as a full-on replacement, it might well be worth remembering Drury does not (and cannot) have to be an exact stand-in for Andrei Svechnikov.
Prior to his injury, Andrei Svechnikov was sitting at 23 goals in 64 games. That, roughly, is a goal in 1 game out of 3 or a scoring percentage in the neighborhood of 35%. Coming to Raleigh, Jack Drury has 11 goals in 37 games with the Wolves. If my math is right that is slightly less than a goal every three games and a scoring percentage of 30%.
You might be saying, 11 goals in 37 games does not equal 23 goals in 64 games, nor does 30% equal 35%. You would be correct. It does not.
BUT, Jack Drury is not taking the ice at PNC Arena alone.
Let’s add Jordan Staal, Carolina’s next highest goal scorer after Andrei Svechnikov, into this little experiment.
Jordan Staal has 16 goals in 64 games, or exactly 1 goal in every 4 games. That’s 25% on the dot. Adding Staal’s 16 goals, 25% scoring percentage to Jack Drury’s 11 goals, and 29% scoring percentage comes out to 25 goals in 101 games OR….drum roll…a scoring percentage of roughly* 25%
Again you are saying 25% is not even the 30% of Drury by himself, much less what Andrei Svechnikov was producing. Again you would be right.
But lets get hypnotical and add just two extra goals to Staal’s tally and run the numbers. 18 goals in 64 is 28% plus Jack Drury’s stats comes out to a scoring percentage of 27%.
Again…not 35%. I get it.
In order to not lose you in the deep math, running the same tests all it would take is 1…just 1..Uno…extra goal beyond the current totals of Sebastian Aho, Martin Necas, Jordan Staal, and Seth Jarvis, plus Jack Drury’s current clip of just 11 to reach Svechnikov’s totals. That is not factoring in Drury scoring at a better rate or anyone else on the team stepping up at a better than their average clip, or even one player on that list scoring 2 extra goals, while everyone scores their one.
There is a reason teams play games in person and not on paper, but there is no reason not to turn to math, looking for possible mathematical trends to get a reasonable idea of what might happen. All that said, losing Andrei Svechnikov is a terrible blow to the Carolina Hurricanes offense.
Still it is not the end of the world as many are predicting. As I have shown, all it takes is Jack Drury playing EXACTLY as he has with the Chicago Wolves (even though he will likely play better) and the likes of Aho, Necas, Staal, and Seth Jarvis getting just one tiny (or more) break a piece over the course of the17 games left in the season. Given the nature of the Carolina Hurricanes’ depth chart, there is no reason any combination of players and events will collude to completely negate the mathematical hole left by Andrei Svechnikov’s injury. It is a terrible loss, but not one that is insurmountable.
*I use roughly often in this article. Usually, in an effort to be overly cautious I round down. These are sports stats, not completely free of human elements.