Be Responsible with the Puck
WE often talk about Josh Ho-Sang not being NHL ready because of his poor defensive play. Often his giveaway numbers are quoted as being way too high to be an effective forward in the NHL.
It’s a nonsense argument, puck carriers have high giveaway numbers because that’s the nature of their work. They naturally have more giveaways because they carry the puck.
Anyways, let me just entertain the notion that too many giveaways – like one per game – is terrible. Can I interest you in 117 giveaways in 82 games or 1.43 giveaways per game? That’s how many Mathew Barzal had last season.
Again, a high number of giveaways for a puck carrier like Mathew Barzal is understandable. He often carries the puck for the Islanders out of the defensive zone, across the neutral zone, and in the offensive zone. He’s got the puck a lot. Naturally, he’ll give it away a lot.
But almost 1.5 times per game is just too high. With the double team that teams usually play against Barzal, his space and time have diminished significantly from his rookie season. That high giveaway number likely has to do with Barzal just holding onto the puck too long as he dances around the offensive zone.
That has to change in 2019-20 if he’s going to gain his coaches trust to put him out there more frequently at 5on3 or even when the net is empty.
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Goal: Drop 35 giveaways
His goal in 2019-20 has to be to get those giveaway numbers down to one per game or lower. Somewhere around 82 over the season would be reasonable. It’s still high, but considering he had 117 the season prior, eliminating 35 is huge progress.