Monday, September 3, 2012

What to Expect From: Adrian Aucoin

In this series, we're going to go through each player, examine what they have been able to produce in the past and what it would be reasonable to expect from them in the coming season, mostly using logic. The goal is to have a statistical expectation for the team as a whole, to see how well they might fare in 2012-13. This is an alternative to just throwing your hands up in the air, crying, drinking excessively (although this activity doesn't exclude drinking) and playing russian roulette alone in my basement all summer.

The twelfth player in our series is Adrian Aucoin.

Aucoin is ready to play.
Aucoin is an old journeyman defenceman who has played on a few teams in the NHL over his career. Columbus was either on his bucket list of teams to play for, or we were one of the few organizations out there willing to take a flyer on an old horse. I suspect that he heard about the CBJ being a good landing pad for older players. Also, if he's as good a guy as everyone says he is, there could be some kind of Prospal-esque situation brewing where he's looking to permanently settle in Central Ohio.

More over the jump.

He first set foot in the NHL back in 1994-95 and has been chugging along ever since, flying around NHL cities and then disappearing once his work is done, almost like a hockey version of Bagger Vance. This "bagger vance" situation is the role that was being presented to us through the dispatch, where Aucoin seemed to acknowledge his career trajectory is pointing downward and he's happy to spend his final days in the NHL mentoring younger defensemen such as Ryan Murray, John Moore and Tim Erixon. It should be a relief to CBJ fans that management isn't dressing up Aucoin as the solution to a lot of on ice problems, because that would be a recipe for disaster on the same level as "Steve Mason is our starting goaltender".

Aucoin has looked like the kind of player who can anchor a blue line a few times over his career, so one could be forgiven for thinking that he can step in and make a serious impact. I won't bother pasting his stats here because they're so cumbersome, but you can look them up here. If you care to peruse, he had a few excellent seasons (23G in 1998-99, +29 on the 2003-04 Islanders), but his most recent stint with the Coyotes has seen recede slowly into the distance. His main attributes that he's been able to use over his career are his laser shot (over 100mph) and a relatively steady defensive presence.

I have to think that management didn't expect much from Aucoin when they signed him. It's reportedly a one year deal for $2m and a few bonuses built in. If you look at his stats from last year, it seems like an overpayment (put up 9 points over 64 games last year) but his salary will probably be earned behind the scenes if things work out the way the've been presented to us. The other thing that Aucoin can provide is an insurance policy for injured top-4 defensemen. He can still unload a beast of a slapshot when he needs to and wouldn't be bad as a 5th or 6th option on the PP. Just don't expect him to score more than a handful of goals over the course of the season.

The other dimension to Aucoin's game is his success in the shootout.

As far as the number of games he will actually dress for, it's definitely going to be lower than 82- if the NHL even plays 82 games this year. The number of young D-men in the system makes it more than likely that Aucoin will have to rest his arthritic body in the press box for at least 10 games this season and hone his widdling skills in order to make room for guys like Erixon and Murray.

Prediction for Adrian Aucoin in 2012-13: 50GP, 2G, 5A for 7 Pts.

"You ain't gonna make me hang out with this little white kid, right?"

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