Mysterious Mason Marchment: Suggestions for the Forward
The free agent signing of Mason Marchment was met with both excitement and nervousness. After a strong season in Florida, it was unclear whether his production rates would continue on a different team, and he had just completed his first lengthy NHL season at the late age of 26. With Marchment being out for the next few weeks and possibly until the end of the regular season with a knee injury, this is a good time to analyze his results from this season to provide suggestions to make the athlete better.
Mason Marchment Analysis: context
The Dallas Stars have a rare combination of young/healthy talent and veteran support which presents a unique win-now window and puts Dallas in a spot to compete in the playoffs. The push for a Stanley Cup requires all pieces of a team to pull their end of the bargain. This also means each piece needs to avoid hurting their team by performing poorly if they’re paid to perform.
Mason Marchment is making 4.5 million for 3 more years after this season and needs to meet or exceed the worth of his paycheque in order for a cap-strapped team like the Stars to be successful. We have seen players like Tyler Seguin not be able to meet 9.85-million-dollar production in recent seasons, and the more underperforming players an NHL team has, the less likely the team is going to be able to house a lineup and win a Stanley Cup.
In the realm of cap efficiency also means effective Player Development and an individual athlete’s execution and performance, and I believe Individual Athlete Execution is the area of focus for Mason Marchment. In this article, we will dissect Marchment’s offensive numbers to find areas of improvement so he can meet the 4.5-million-dollar worth and best help the Stars in meaningful games. We will be looking at basic statistics, advanced statistics, and a lineup fit looking forward to next season.
Mason Marchment Analysis: Basic Stats
After putting up 47 points in 54 games despite limited Power Play opportunities in Florida last year, the hockey world was curious to see how Marchment would fare in new territory as a full-time NHLer for the first time in his career. In 67 games with Dallas, Marchment has 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points this season.
He also leads the team by a wide margin with 80 penalty minutes. For reference, he ranks 8th on the team in points as of March 27th, 7th in goals, and 9th in points per game. This is middle-six production on most NHL teams, which could be what fans and management were expecting out of Marchment for this season. In looking to replicate his Florida dominance, we can take a look at some advanced metrics to try to find the crux of the issue in Dallas.
Mason Marchment Analysis: Advanced stats
When considering non-traditional statistics in our analysis, we will use reaction-based and expected-rate statistics to develop a profile for Marchment and see how he performed relative to opportunity and chances. We will look at his shooting counts and rates to establish an ‘offense profile’ for the player and look at expected rates to consider luck and shooting talent in our conclusion.
Regarding shot attempts and chance creation, Mason Marchment was an active shooter this season. In 909 minutes of 5v5 play (4th highest among forwards), Marchment contributed the 3rd-most Individual Corsi For (shot attempts) at 208, with only Wyatt Johnston (210) and Jason Robertson (322) above him. The total amount of chances Marchment creates is a good sign.
However, if we look at his shot attempt rates, we can see areas of concern. Specifically, when looking at High-Danger chances (close-to-net ‘in-the-house’ chances with a good probability of scoring), Marchment did not create many. He is ranked 13th out of Dallas’ forward group with 3.17 Individual High-Danger shot attempts per 60 minutes (only Ty Dellandrea is worse).
Creating high-danger chances is something that players of various skill levels can do at the NHL level achieve, considering Fredrik Olofsson has 3.75 per 60 (9th) and Jamie Benn has 4.01 (7th), so this is a solvable problem that could aid Marchment’s offense.
Secondly, Marchment’s shooting percentage tells us more about his production levels this season. Specifically, he is scoring 8.1% of shots this season, which is the 4th-lowest shooting percentage out of active forwards on the Stars (Domi, Glendening, and Olofsson). Despite this, he has the 4th-most 5v5 shots on goal, below only Robertson, Hintz, and Johnston. How did Marchment have a 32-game goal drought since he’s generating chances and getting some on the net?
Well… 200 shots from bad angles are completely different threats than 200 shots from the slot area. Since Marchment tends to shoot from distance, he finds himself with similar offensive production to Ryan Suter over the last few months. Marchment also misses the net on quality chances from time to time, which is quantified on MoneyPuck.com. We can use MoneyPuck’s Players Table to evaluate Marchment’s shooting inconsistencies.
Specifically, looking at “% of Unblocked shots that missed the net”, we can see Marchment missing the net on 29.2% of unblocked shots. That is a ton of squandered opportunities. Relative to his team, he is 2nd-worst to only Luke Glendening. Relative to all league forwards who have played over 400 minutes, he’s 144th-worst, which doesn’t sound so bad, but there is only a 3% difference between 144th and 65th, so a few more missed nets and he might be top 50 for an unfavorable stat.
Furthermore, he has generated 18.8 expected goals according to MoneyPuck’s data, which is the worst ratio of Actual Goals to Expected Goals on the team at -6.8. He’s also got the 21st-worst ratio of this stat for forwards in the entire NHL.
Luck or not, he should look to modify his shooting habits to create opportunities in new or different ways (such as higher-expected-goal-shots like high-danger chances). Trying the same formula next season that only got you 12 goals in 67 games this year seems like a poor choice.
Mason Marchment Analysis: Theories
Out of Marchment’s 80 penalty minutes, he has taken 25 minor penalties. This means he has theoretically put Dallas on the penalty kill 25 times, the most on the team. Does taking this many minor penalties make him an intimidating on-ice presence that causes other teams to run away and play worse? Unlikely. Does taking this many penalties hurt Dallas’ chances at winning games? Possibly. Are other NHL players still effective despite these penalty numbers? Yes.
The Tkachuk brothers, Kevin Fiala, Mikko Rantanen, Brad Marchand, and even Rasmus Dahlin at the top of the list with 38 minor penalties are all effective offensive threats despite the lack of discipline. However, Marchment does not produce like either of these players, which means that the negatives may outweigh the positives for him in this regard.
Furthermore, when he gets his chances, Marchment is missing the net or not getting into dangerous areas. Consequently, he will neither look good for the “eye test” nor the analytics when he does not threaten offensively with shots that won’t have a chance to go in the net or give the goalies more time to react. You may miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, but you also will miss 100% of the shots that miss the net.
Mason Marchment Analysis: Study limitation and future fit
We compared Marchment’s statistics relative to his own teammates for some of this analysis, which may not completely tell the story of his season. However, Dallas is a top-10 team in the NHL this season with both top-30 scorers and bottom-six producers which could arguably serve as a fair sample to see where Marchment is destined to fit in future Stars seasons.
Marchment’s future in Dallas at 4.5 million dollars for 3 more seasons is now turning into a project for the team. We don’t know what Dallas’ management group set as the standard or season goal for Marchment this season, but it is inferred that they want him to reach a higher level of offense without hurting the team via areas like minor penalties. Here are next year’s lines from my perspective:
Notes: Kiviranta and Glendening might re-sign with Dallas, Domi likely leaves in Free Agency, and Dadonov may leave in Free Agency as well but he’d be great to keep for cheap in my opinion
Mason Marchment Analysis: Final Thoughts
With this lineup projection in mind, Marchment should be enabled by players like Seguin and Stankoven to grow offensively and find some sort of consistency. Time will tell, but fans should not give up hope on Mason Marchment. He may be 27, but there is still some rawness to his game that could be calibrated for success. If he can manage his discipline and work on his creativity and consistency regarding shot creation and location, he could become a consistent ‘20-goal, 40-point floor’ kind of player. Otherwise, the slumps could become the norm, and the athlete could lose confidence in his abilities while becoming too costly for Dallas to keep.
To be clear, Marchment and players like Denis Gurianov are not the same ‘project’ for a team. Gurianov was likely going to need radical development changes and attention to his fundamental skills as well as more organizational patience to rebuild his identity, and Marchment already eclipses Denis’ production individually anyways.
Therefore, I believe the analysis above can serve as a minor ‘reality check’ for Marchment who is presumably looking to get better each year. This article is not only for Marchment but for the Stars as well. The time is now to start working on the areas that we can control for a player like Mason Marchment such as chance creation, selection, and location.
We do not want to have to think about moving on from such a fresh signing before the effort is put in to tweak some parts of Marchment’s toolbox to become the dynamic complementary piece he was signed to be for a contender. This should be more of a ‘fine-tuning’ approach; Marchment is not a broken player. I wish Mason Marchment the best in Dallas going forward.