Monday, January 03, 2011

How bad has Colby Armstrong's Season Been?

Colby Armstrong yaps. He agitates. Some claim he's a hitter, but he's just 6th among forwards on his own team in hits per game.

He can supposedly play in all situations but doesn't: he is 10th among Leaf forwards in Power Play TOI per game; 5th among forwards in short-handed TOI per game.

Acquired to play on the 3rd line, Leafs GM Brian Burke said Armstrong's best feature was his ability to contribute, wait for it, on the top 2 lines.* Unfortunately, no matter the line he's played on, Armstrong hasn't made much of a contribution to the 2010-11 Leafs.

How awful has Armstrong's season been? He's on pace for 9 goals and 6 assists, the lowest totals of his pro career. When his performance is ranked among NHL forwards this season Armstrong is, well, he's not so good:


NHL Rank Among Fs










ES GF/60






PP Goals



PP Assists



PP Points









Penalties Drawn/60



Penalties Taken/60



Offensive zone start/finish differential






Admittedly, Armstrong suffered a serious injury when a ligament detached from his hand in October. That said, for $3M a year (the 129th highest paid forward in the NHL) it would be nice if Armstrong could maybe play in-line with his pay grade. Maybe crack the top 130 in more than one statistical category or even, you know, make the top 200 in a few.

Ideally, Armstrong could agitate other players as much as his complete and total inability to produce any tangible results for the Leafs agitates me.

*with assessments like this, I have to wonder about the performance of the Leafs reconstructed scouting department. In addition to bringing us the $3M wonder that is Colby Armstrong, these scouts are the fine fellows that have also brought Leaf fans 2 years of Brett Lebda, Mike Komisarek's 10 minutes a night at $4.5M and Dion Phaneuf (3 goals in 48GP as a Leaf).

**A positive corsi rate equals more time spent in the offensive zone. A negative rate equals more time spent in the defensive zone. This site has a a much more in-depth explanation of CORSI.


  1. The Canucks' goaltenders have as many points as Colby Armstrong this year.

  2. PPP Heh, it's true but Luongo's cap hit is 2x more than Armstrong's.

  3. Seriously, that's true, about the Canucks' goaltending?

    Burke said July 1 was his draft. In that case: DRAFT SCHMAFT.

  4. Well its not like the leafs have drafted that well in the past.

  5. Anonymous10:29 am

    This article and the stats are all completely irrelevant. Unless you average these numbers based on TOI - he missed too much time to injury to warrant this ruthless criticism.

    Maybe your bitterness is blinding your logic...

  6. Anonymous - You might want to re-check the chart. Half of the stats are adjusted to reflect his time on ice/ games played. News flash: the numbers are just as bad.

  7. Anonymous2:59 pm

    When you have no draft picks and trade away prospects to get 35 year olds, your past drafting can look bad. When scouts know the team has no interest in letting them do their jobs, they take a lot more safe but low talent picks, very few risks. After all, what team has traded away the most 1st round draft picks since 1990? Toronto, o'course.

  8. Anonymous6:22 pm

    Seems like Armstrong gets attacked on some Leaf fan site at least once a week. If you're going to build an argument for which 8 or your 14 stat columns are focused on points, why not attack Kessel or Versteeg or Bozak? They're the guys who have the powerplay time and high minutes and the guys actually signed to score goals.

    Yet, one of the few guys who actually stands in front of the net and plays hard minutes against top players and does the little things right every shift that don't show up in statistics, he's your target?

    Kind of a head scratcher folks.

  9. Anonymous number 3 - Armstrong doesn't play the hardest minutes. According to Behind the Net, those fall to Sjostrom, Brent, Versteeg and Bozak.

    Even though Armstrong isn't getting the tough minutes, the opposition is out shooting the Leafs when he's on the ice. I have no doubt he's working hard, but he's not delivering any results for his effort.

    I'd love to know what empirical evidence one could consider that might put Armstrong's terrible year in a positive light...I'm all ears.

  10. Anonymous1:05 am

    Who said "hardest" minutes? I said he plays hard minutes.

    Does "Behind the Net" or "corsi" or other tools you like to use say Jason Blake would be more valuable to my team than Colby Armstrong?

    Also I said he plays "hard" minutes, not the hardest. So does he play the 4th hardest then since you named 3 guys?

    I like Armstrong's game and I don't give a crap if he's on "pace" for a career worst season. He's also on the worst team he's ever played on and he's also been injured.

    If it's just his salary that pisses everybody off than isn't that Burke's fault?

  11. Anonymous - Define "hard" minutes.

    Using the same stats, Jason Blake looks worse than Armstrong. Believe it or not, he's scoring at a lower rate than Armstrong, he's more likely to start out in the offensive zone and less likely to remain there. He also plays softer minutes. That said, the Ducks are less likely to get out shot when Blake is on the ice - no doubt because Blake is firing pucks into a goalie's chest.

    I'm glad you like Armstrong's game. It's good to have players to cheer for; however, that doesn't change the fact that by any measure you can name Armstrong is having an absolutely horrible season.

  12. Paul Steckley9:07 am

    I agree that for $3 million a season I'd like to see more offensive contribution from Armstrong. I think his injury has affected his production and it's highly doubtful he'll be able to put up significant numbers this season. I doubt an injury to the hand fully repairs itself this quickly so I don't expect to see much more from Armstrong offensively until next season.

  13. I don't care. I love Colby. Stats schmats.

  14. Anonymous9:31 pm

    Stop looking at statistics and actually watch the guy play the game. He works is butt off day in day out and yes he does play 'hard' minutes. Colby wasnt brought in to score 20 goals so why are people pissed he isnt producing? And if you look at his goals per game, he would have been on pace for 14 goals, 1 under his total of 15 last year. This has been a joke of a blog to read, thank you for wasting my time

  15. I just calculated this...

    The Leafs are at 50% for getting at least one point this season. With Armstrong, they are at 58.8%, without, they are at 37.5%. It looks like the time they had the injury, the Leafs were at a disadvantage without Armstrong.

  16. sorry, my last sentence should have said "It looks like the Leafs at that span of November, when they were without Armstrong, they were at a disadvantage."

  17. Anonymous11:53 pm

    He plays hard every game, and what he brings to the dressing room is priceless. You're bitter, angry, and stupid.

  18. Anonymous, you are a child. Blogs are intended for the user to publish his/her thoughts/opinions. Statistical analysis for a sports blog is always good. Perhaps you should start a Colby Armstrong fan page instead of this useless bantering.