The Kings just win with McBain, right?
In much the same way, perhaps it was defenseman Randy Jones who pushed the 2010-11 Kings into the postseason. LA went 28-14-6 with him, 18-13-3 without.
And who knew how much Coach Larry Robinson was holding back youngster Pavel Rosa? The 1998-99 Kings were 16-12-1 when the playmaker skated; they were 16-33-4 when he sat.
And was Nick’s uncle Scott Bjugstad secretly responsible for the franchise’s sole division title in 1990-91? After all, though the forward only notched four goals in 31 games, Los Angeles enjoyed a 21-7-3 mark when he dressed, as opposed to 25-17-7 otherwise.
On the other hand…20-14-5 without this Mystery Player is clearly better than 19-21-5 with. So I guess the 1992-93 Kings should’ve considered scratching Wayne Gretzky in the playoffs?
My point: It’s dangerous to attribute a hockey team’s record to one skater, especially to a bit player like McBain, Jones, Rosa, or Bjugstad.
Remember that McBain has been the team’s least-used defender when he has actually played – in fact, even Matt Greene, who’s traditionally been the Kings’ number-six rearguard, has skated 15:39 ATOI (average time on ice/game) to McBain’s 13:04 over the last couple years.
Thus, even if you were to credit a single player for LA’s .686 points earned % with McBain, should it be the little-used blueliner?
The Kings don’t “just win” because McBain is in the lineup. Winning or losing isn’t magic. If it were, one might point out that McBain’s teams, which include the 2009-13 Carolina Hurricanes and the 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres, “just lose” too: None of them have made the playoffs despite being graced by his presence.
Anyway, it’s not to say that McBain doesn’t deserve any praise for the Kings’ success with him. But now we’ve hopefully moved past giving him a disproportionate amount of credit, we can more accurately assess his skills and limitations, which we’ll do in a subsequent article next week.
Sheng Peng, our newest writer, penned the above article. We’re happy to welcome him to the MayorsManor team, where he will offer readers his unique perspective, often rooted in analytics and #fancystats. For more on Peng, check out his bio here.
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