I just saw BawLa's post in my recent Grier article, and I thought that I would put it up as a fanpost so that it gets a little more discussion. As your Admins, Mr. Plank, Mr. K and I appreciate when you put work into something... we'll reward the good stuff.
Thanks BawLa, I'll answer your questions below...
I think we need to have a formal discussion about Goc because some things need to get cleared up about him. And I would like to preface by saying a few things. Firstly, I like Goc. Secondly, I am not attacking you when I say any of this. I am genuinely interested in having a discussion about Goc with you and I value your opinion. You seem to be one of the bloggers on this site that has more substance to everything you say. With that out of the way I can get to the heart of this post.
First, Goc is not one of the young players on the team. Since he is 25 I can let it slide, but since this is his 4th season as a Shark I personally don’t view him as one of the young bucks on the team. Lets take a trip back to the year before the lockout – the 2003-2004 season. Goc played well in the playoffs the year before the lockout. He scored a sweet game winner against the Avalance to secure the series (game 6). It was during this year that my eyes opened really wide to Marcel Goc. After the lockout year, I looked to him to see if he would improve and become a better hockey player. Now fast-forward to today, err just before this season. He hasn’t posted a single positive season in terms of +/-. He hasn’t scored double digit goals in any season of his career. He doesn’t fight, he rarely checks hard and he’s not a PK specialist. He’s not much of a center either when you consider he hasn’t posted above 15 assist in a season ever. When it comes down to it, his only real skill is in the faceoff circle. That makes him more of a “filler” than someone like Plihal for example. Now you could argue that since he doesn’t play with high scoring line-mates it is too hard for him to go positive or score points. But in a season like this one, where we have more depth than ever, he is just plugging right along his career line, currently sitting at -4, with 1 goal and 5 assists. “Improved play” doesn’t mean much unless if you get the job done.
Mitchell has only played one season, so comparing his faceoff percentage to Goc’s is not really a good analysis. And even if Mitchell never posts a higher FO% than Goc I would still rather have Michell centering my third line than Goc any day of the week. And I have seen more than 5 times as much Goc in terms of games played. Michell cal flat out play hockey. He has showed me more heart, leadership and hockey skills in one season than Goc has his entire career. Michell’s skating ability alone makes him more of an impact player than Goc will ever be.
Plihal on the other hand, is playing in his first season this year. Sure he had a cup-of-tea last year in his call-up, and I thought he stood out. This year Plihal is doing everything I wanted Rismiller to do and more. He checks and skates equal or greater than that of Goc. He kills penalties well. He already has more points than Goc in 4 less minutes per game than Goc. And again this is Plihal’s first real season. I would much rather like to see Plihal develop than Goc. Goc has had his time and hasn’t done much with it. You talk about Goc’s improved play but I really think he is just exerting more energy because he feels Michell nipping at his back. I’ll wager that if Plihal plays as much time with us as Goc has, that he will be a far better player overall.
If we do keep Goc, I am totally cool with it. I think he has some value on the checking line. But not many other places. A Shelly-Goc-Grier 4th line could get the job done. And I wouldn’t worry too much about losing Goc with respect to Roenick retiring after this season. There will be plenty of free-agent options that would love to come play for us considering what we have built. Plus Logan Corture is right around the corner and we have some other prospects I wouldn’t mind giving icetime to. If we could find a way to salvage some value out of Goc, like a draft pick, I would jump all over it.
I think I pulled my swagger muscle...