November 01 2012 11:42AM
I'd like to have thought that, by now, most Leafs fans would have come around on the fact that Matt Frattin is at best, a player slightly over replacement-level.
I think Frattin probably has more offensive upside than a 4th liner. He seems more suited to a third line role.
It seems that teams create a difference between their 3rd and 4th lines in name alone. From a team-building perspective, it makes more sense to me, to have your best players on your first line, slightly worse players on your 2nd line, slightly worse players on your third line, and slightly worse players on your 4th line. The "offensive upside" gap isn't as big as we'd like to make it out to be. Anybody who has seen Mike Brown stickhandle or shoot could probably attest to the fact that it's not like he doesn't have talent.
There's a minutiae of difference between the talent-level of an NHL 3rd liner and an NHL 4th liner. Exploiting those small differences is what can propel a 40-win team to a 50-win team. You need to get slightly better in all aspects of your lineup, and the Maple Leafs settling for Matt Frattin on their team because they're too lazy to pick up somebody else isn't something that ought to happen if the team wants to improve.
Frattin is a replacement level player, is he? Lol.
You know little about hockey. Stick to numbers.
These types of comments cut me deep, hendy. Regardless (or, irregardless, if I want to be a respected hockey analyst) of how much I know about hockey, I know that wingers in your top-six should probably be very good goal scorers, and that wingers in your bottom-six are virtually interchangeable.
This goes back to the discussion at the scouts table in Moneyball: "If he's such a good hitter, why doesn't he hit more?" For Frattin, "if he's a top-six forward, why doesn't he score more?" Frattin had eight goals last season. 27 wingers his age or younger scored more times than he did. It's not like he's at an age where any goal represents progress and he can still move ahead. We're talking about a player, rather, who is somewhere within the parameters of his offensive prime who has just only now broken into the league.
Frattin has a marginal level of skill, but there are a lot of hockey players who can do the things with the puck that Matt Frattin does. Hence, "replacement-level", you could find anybody on the free agency or cheap trade market who can do what Frattin does: score a few goals when plugged into the right offensive situation.
He could be an NHL player. I wouldn't ever bother with him in a top-six, and you could do a whole lot worse than him on the fourth line (Colton Orr, for instance). I think there's a bit of a disconnect between people's expectations of Frattin and what Frattin can actually do. Really, what can he do that any free agent winger can't? Those are the things you need to look at. Sure, if you look at him in a vaccuum, you could say "he's really good at this, this and this" but so are a lot of players. It's the marginal improvements that are important, and Frattin hasn't shown much of those at this level. If he had, he'd be doing a lot better.
If anybody wants to make a legitimate bet, however, that Frattin will play top-nine forward minutes (all strengths) on an NHL team that makes it to the conference finals, my e-mail address is below.