I've noticed lately on message boards and in comments that Stephen Gionta isn't exactly well liked among the Devil's fanbase. Usually it's something about how 'he's so small' and gets 'incredibly lucky' with his scoring. In terms of his statistics for the past season, I don't really see what's so horrible about him. When I watch him I don't really see a guy who's totally dragging the team down.
In terms of general statistics, he seems like a plus fourth liner. Last year Gionta had 14 points and a 6.9 shooting percentage (hardly a product of luck) in 11 minutes of time per game over 48 games. He had a positive rating (not that anyone here cares). This would make him a very good fourth liner. The problem is that deboer uses that line as a third liner. He's provided a scoring touch, which he's displayed at every level in his career statistically. I don't really see why people think it's such a fluke, as he seems to have a quick, accurate shot and good speed.
In terms of advanced statistics, you could call him average. It kinda boggles my mind that people cite his Corsi while expressing their anger that he is still on the team. His Corsi was positive at a .38 which isn’t horrendous (still better than over half of the players who played above 20 games this year), and his Corsi relative was very low at -13.8 but the Devils are a very possession heavy team. All this means is that his was well below a team of players who possess very high corsi levels (the average on the devils being about 14), something to be not all that upset about. It isn't his fault that Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier performed as well as the average second liner possession-wise.
The competition he faced was around than league average (maybe a tinge lower) in Corsi at around -.7 and were often slightly above average possession players when compared to their teams (Corsi QoC Rel = .1). They were probably mostly third liners.
He also wasn’t bad at driving the play forward… he started in the offensive zone around 51 percent of the time and ended in it at 50% while averaging over a shot a game. Not too bad for a fourth line guy who’s only playing ten minutes a game.
In the beginning of the year his high rating had a lot to do with an inflated on ice sv%, which actually crept back down to normal at around 90.3%.
He had a team leading 87 hits (which in my opinion weren't totally weak hits) and drew penalties well.
His only true downfall is his faceoff play. Ryan Carter wasn't too bad at faceoffs with 51% so I also don't really see why the two can't be flip flopped.
If you can get over the fact that he's such a short guy and actually watch what he does, I don't see why any team wouldn't want this guy on their fourth line. In terms of production, he performed as we'd want any fourth liner to perform, and has a history of scoring at different levels to back it up. His possession statistics are above league forward average by a good margin while facing league average. His game brings grit and speed.
Faceoffs aside, can anyone find a real knock on him?(Disclaimer: This was a comment I made that I decided to turn into a FanPost (with some elaboration))