Daily Head-to-Head Archetype Ranking: “Clutch” is the code word for “Selke”
Part two of a series
When you think of a « clutch » player in pro sports, you most often think of the player you want with the puck on his stick in game 7, or until bat in the bottom of the ninth, or leading your team. on a two-minute drive to the field for the win.
It’s a way of defining the clutch, a player who passes at the moment of the clutch.
For the second part of our Daily face-to-face Archetype Ranking Project, where we sort the best players into nine different ranking categories, we’re going to use this word in a slightly different way – more like in a ‘clutch’ player who helps your team win every night, someone essential for Success.
How else do you define a collection of players who really refuse to be defined?
The only connection of our top 20 Clutch players is that they are elite, but not in any specific area of the game. They are not shooters or playmakers. They are not power forwards. They are good at everything. The clutch is a catch-all basket. They are the most complete skaters in the league, the ones who most often have the cliché “200-footer” attached to their name. Naturally, they are also the ones who accumulate the most votes for the Selke Trophy.
For that, they could have been called the Selke Squad. Or pressure players. Or Puck Retrievers. Or Team Relentless. They are also all a pain in the ass to play against. With all of these things mixed together, perhaps the best name for the archetype is Clutch, as they are essential to winning.
Our working definition of a Clutch player is someone who creates pressure at both ends of the ice, relentlessly chases and recovers pucks, is good on the walls and wins battles in all key areas.
With the help of five unnamed front office executives, we found five data points that help define the Clutch player: steals, loose puck recoveries, defensive zone recoveries, offensive zone recoveries and chances to mark individual, with all the data provided by Stathletes.
Here are the top 20 clutch players projected by Daily Faceoff for the 2022-23 season, with their league-wide ranking from last season in these categories:
|Rank||Player||Crew||Age||Pos||Goals||Points||DZ Recovery||Bulk recovery||OZ Dump Recov||CS||Fly|
|9||mark the stone||VGK||30||RW||9||30||39||ten||210||78||seven|
|15||Yanni Water Bottle||SEA||30||VS||21||48||29||22||62||149||12|
The number shown is the league-wide standings in the 2021-22 season.
DZ Rec: Recovering pucks in the defensive zone
Loose Rec: loose puck recoveries
OZ Dump Rec: Offensive Zone Dump Recoveries
SC: Individual scoring chances
Note: Due to injury, Mark Stone and Brayden Point rankings are on a per game basis.
Under study (in alphabetical order): Michael Bunting, Blake Coleman, Sean Couturier (injured), Joel Eriksson Ek, Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Hartman, Kevin Hayes (injured last season), Calle Jarnkrok, Anton Lundell, Ilya Mikheyev, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Naturally, given the catch-all nature of the Clutch archetype, not all players excel in all categories. And given the Clutch player’s two-way streak, they’re not all freaks at creating one-on-one scoring chances, it’s more often than not the work they do leads to scoring chances for their teammates. It’s also important to keep in mind that in some of these categories, the only players ranked above them are in the franchise player category.
The data points listed above are also not a panacea in terms of definition. You know the Clutch player archetype when you see it.
However, an in-depth analysis of the data revealed a few interesting things. For some players (Mika Zibanejad or Sebastian Aho, for example), this could have fit into a number of different categories, their top league ranking best suited them for this versatile bucket. It also produced a few names we didn’t expect to see in this category.
When the rankings were averaged, no player had a higher league-wide composite ranking in these categories than Ottawa’s Tim Stutzle. That data point, combined with the fact that he finished last season with 31 points in 27 games and is the youngest player on the board at 20, earned him a surprisingly high clutch ranking.
One of Stutzle’s former teammates, Nick Paul, was also a surprise Top 20 addition. He ranked highly in many categories, which is why Tampa Bay decided to reward him with a seven-year contract this summer. Maybe Stutzle being willing to do some of the dirty work Paul did in Ottawa made it easier for the Senators to say goodbye to Paul last season at the trade deadline.
It’s also no surprise that the Lightning have three players in the Top 20. They’ve been Clutch enough in their own right.
Part I: Franchise players
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