Nashville Predators: The Case for Calle Järnkrok over James Neal

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Two-Way Contribution

A center’s responsibilities are arguably the most demanding of any player on the ice. Their primary task is to generate scoring chances for their team. Of almost equal importance however, is the ability to suppress chances coming the other direction. High-danger chances are especially important. These are defined as shots generated within the low slot, right in front of net. Sportsnet’s Andrew Berkshire explains it beautifully with this graphic:

Centers are usually expected to set up these chances for their wingers, if not take the shots themselves. Wingers, like Neal, are simply asked to beat the goaltender.

The ratio of high-danger chances created to those allowed paints a decent picture of a player’s two-way abilities. Generally, these ratios even out to around 53% for forwards, over the course of a full season. Here’s a look at the even-strength high-danger chances percentage (HDCF%) throughout the careers of James Neal and Calle Järnkrok:

Most likely, the first thing you’ll notice is the massive dip both players are experiencing this season. Again, it’s all about sustainability. Don’t be surprised when both players’ percentages come up to around 53% after 82 games. In this case, Järnkrok’s projected average over the next few seasons is higher than Neal’s. Both, though, are within shouting distance of one another.