Comparing Adam Henrique and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 16: Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils (C) scores at 9:19 of the third period against the Dallas Stars and is joined by Adam Henrique #14 (L) and Adam Larsson #5 (R) at the Prudential Center on December 16, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Stars 6-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

One of the biggest story lines this season has been the emergence of Adam Henrique. At the start of the season, most of us were expecting the other Adam, Adam Larsson to be the rookie making headlines. While Larsson has been good- his 13 points are tops amongst defensemen and have him tied for 9th overall amongst rookies in scoring. Henrique on the other hand, is 2nd amongst all rookies in scoring, only behind 2011's first overall pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. While there is a very slim shot for Henrique to win the Calder- assuming he keeps scoring at the pace he's going, and Nugent-Hopkins slips, it's very likely the Nuge goes home with the Calder. For comparison's sake, I plan on taking a look at these two and their performance this season.

Scoring Per 60- Even Strength

5 on 5 Scoring

G/60

A1/60

A2/60

P/60

ES TOI/G

Adam Henrique

0.75

0.90

0.60

2.24

14:24

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

1.35

0.54

0.40

2.29

13:41

At even strength, the two are quite evenly matched- RNH has 17 even strength points (10 G, 7 A) and Henrique has 16 even strength points (6 G, 10 A). They both receive a similar amount of even strength ice time. They're both centering a scoring line. There's no real advantage here for both of them, they're about even here.

Scoring Per 60- Five on Four

5 on 4 Scoring

G/60

A1/60

A2/60

P/60

PP TOI/G

Adam Henrique

0.00

1.21

4.86

6.07

1:42

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

1.52

4.07

2.54

8.13

3:40

The biggest difference maker has to be the two on the powerplay. Nugent-Hopkins recieves nearly twice as much ice time on the Man Advantage. While Henrique does have 6.07 P/60 with the man advantage, keep in mind that he's averaged less than two minutes on the PP- and he's played less than 60 minutes on the powerplay- hence his points/60 with the man advantage is less impressive. For those wondering, he's only got 5 powerplay points this season, all assists.

RNH on the other hand, has 17 points (3 G, 14 A) on the PP. He's getting twice as much ice time as Henrique- which should explain his excellent production on the power play. His 17 points on the PP are the 3rd most amongst all NHLers- only behind the Sedin Twins (18 PPP each). Of course, the Oilers are significantly better than the Devils when it comes to the man advantage. If the Devils power play wasn't so terrible, maybe those numbers would be different.

Penalty Kill

If you compare the two, it's more or less a wash. Adam Henrique averages 2:08 on the league's top Penalty kill and has 2 shorthanded goals. Nugent-Hopkins has played a total of 1:16 shorthanded. Not a lot to discuss about who's better here, simply because RNH hasn't done much noteworthy in that minute and 16 seconds of shorthanded ice time.

Zone Starts and Protection

Zone starts are always a useful way to look at whether or not players are receiving "protection" from their coaches. There's also the fact that OZone starts lead to more offense- which should lead to more points (e.g. the Sedin Twins). It also means players who aren't good defensively are kept away from the defensive zone, effectively reducing their responsibility a bit. In terms of even strength offensive zone starts, Henrique's pretty much neutral- starting 50% of his shifts in the offensive zone. He's also doing it against tough competition- he ranks 3rd amongst Devils forwards in QoC with 0.09. On the other hand, Nugent-Hopkins has benefited from his coach protecting him. He's starting 67% of his shifts in the offensive zone, and going up against relatively weak competition.

Home/Away Splits

Another thing I wanted to bring up was the home/away splits of the two. The biggest reason is that the home team gets the last change- effectively allowing for them to get the matchup they want. Because the Devils have been playing on the road more than they have been at home (19 away games to 13 home games), the other teams usually get to match their go-to guys in terms of tough competition against Henrique's line. The Oilers have played more home games (17 home games to 16 away games) than the Devils, so effectively RNH could be benefitting more from playing at home than Henrique has because he would get more favourable matchups.

Home/Away Splits

GP

G

A

P

Adam Henrique- Home

11

5

4

9

Adam Henrique- Away

18

3

13

16

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins- Home

17

8

17

25

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins- Away

16

5

4

9

As you can see, RNH has benefited from playing at home and the last change- 25 of his 34 points came at home. On the road, he's more or less human- with 9 points in 16 road games. Henrique has a more balanced scoring rate- scoring at very similar clips at home and away. Keep in mind Henrique does have the benefit of playing with Veteran forwards who are used to facing tough competition, while Nugent-Hopkins has two second year forwards as his regular linemates.

Conclusions

If you look at the two, it's two different players being used in two different roles. Nugent-Hopkins is being used in a primarily offensive role, similar to the Sedins or Patrick Kane. Henrique is being used in all situations, similar to a player like Mike Richards. Henrique's succeeding against tough competition, while RNH is dominating weak competition. It's like comparing apples to oranges. In terms of voting for the Calder, RNH is at an advantage simply because he has all the sexy stats going for him- goals and points. Voters could care less about who he's playing against and where he's recording his points. Really, all i'm happy for is that Henrique's success early on and that he's getting recognized for his success early on.

All stats, data and info via Behindthenet.ca and NHL.com

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