Tampa Bay Lightning: Evaluating Brayden Point

Tampa Bay Lightning

For part three of my Tampa Bay Lightning player evaluations, I’ll be looking into Brayden Point.

Point is an upcoming restricted free agent, and with the cap crunch that the Lightning are in, may be a bit hard to retain. How hard, exactly? Well, let’s dive right into it.

The Basics

Point played in 79 games this season, putting up 41 goals (0.52 goals per game) and 51 assists (0.65 assists per game), for a grand total of 92 points (1.16 points per game). Unsurprisingly, as will be the pattern with most players in these season evaluations, Point hit career highs in all three categories.

He registered an average of 18:55 time on ice, with 53.2% of his shifts starting in the offensive zone. He held a 51.9 Corsi-For% and a 52.0 Fenwick-For%. Point held a PDO of 1.034, which indicates that he had a lot of bounces go his way, meaning good puck luck. Point’s takeaway to giveaway ratio was 35 to 25, which is a +10 differential. Clearly, Point had an incredible season, but will the advanced analytics back that up?

Advanced Analytics

Based on the generic stats that Point had, he did have a lot of bounces go his way. But, his offensive stats were remarkable and it shouldn’t be held back as just luck. Either way, he doesn’t seem to have very many weaknesses, so let’s go to the visuals and see if anything stands out there.

visual created by Kyle Pereira, data from CJ Turtoro

Point is, as seen above, a very balanced player. He stands out in his transition game the most, as he is magnificent when entering the offensive zone and great at breaking out of the defensive zone. He appears to be good, but not great, offensively, but that is a bit unfair when he’s compared to a guy who scored 128 points. Those are still great placements compared to many other players around the league.

It appears as though he has very few faults exiting the zone, so let’s look at what he has been doing in the breakout, using CJ Turtoro’s Exits per 60 minutes visual.

Zone Exits

visual created by CJ Turtoro, data from Corey Sznajder

Point is the 7th best player on the Lightning when entering the zone. He passes the puck to a teammate and out as often as he clears and dumps the puck out, combined. For the most part, however, he takes the puck and carries it out himself, which is something that you don’t normally see very often. The thing that really sticks out though, is the lack of fails he has. He very, very rarely is stopped when he breaks the puck out, which is extremely impressive, and important to a team’s success.

But, like Stamkos, it appears Point isn’t necessarily the guy that has the puck on a breakout, as he has a considerably lower amount of breakouts as the guys around him. Unlike Stamkos, however, when he does have the puck on a breakout, he more often than not gets it out clean, and efficiently. Now, how good is his game when it comes to entering the zone? Using CJ Turtoro’s Entries per 60 minutes visual, we can see exactly how good he was.  

Zone Entries

visual created by CJ Turtoro, data from Corey Sznajder

Point ranks second, only behind Nikita Kucherov, when it comes to breaking the puck into the offensive zone. He doesn’t generate a whole lot of entry passes, but he finds a ton of success when carrying the puck in himself, similar to that of him breaking out of the defensive zone. Point seemingly elects to take matters into his own hands whenever he gets the chance to. He does dump the puck in deep fairly often, which isn’t a problem, but it does deflate what his fail per 60 could be if he dumped it in less.

However, despite the high amount of dump-ins, he doesn’t fail much at all. He has a lot of confidence to carry it in himself, and a good sense to know when he should dump it in, rather than turn it over. He’s also relied on heavily when breaking in, just narrowly getting edged out by Kucherov in terms of how often he has the puck entering the zone. He is just an incredible talent no matter where he is on the ice.

In Conclusion

When I looked at Steven Stamkos previously, I wondered why he touched the puck so little in transition, allowing his teammates to do the brunt of the work, and getting the puck to him to set up shop. With Point, I don’t have to wonder those things. Although he isn’t generally the one to break the puck out of the zone, he gets the job done when he has to do so. On the other hand, Stamkos struggles with just about the same workload, in terms of breaking out.

But when entering the zone, Point is relied on almost as heavily as Kucherov, and does not fail often at all. He could shoot a little bit more, but he played alongside Kucherov for most of the season, and Kucherov is the “shooter” of any line he is on.

The Lightning need him back, it’s not a matter of them wanting him back. He plays an incredibly balanced game, and is Mr. Reliable for the Lightning. They just cannot afford to lose him this season.

All Stats via hockey-reference

The Spider Charts used Data from CJ Turtoro, created by Kyle Pereira

Exit/Entry Visuals from CJ Turtoro, stats from Corey Sznajder

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals

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Author: Kyle Pereira