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What's up with Patrik Berglund?

After a relatively lackluster start to his season, Berglund returned from Sochi a changed man. But how much of his good looking numbers is attributable to him and how much to his linemates?

I know I am not the only one caught off guard by Berglund's recent performance post-Olympics. Prior to Sochi, Berglund's average shooting percentage was 7%. Well below the team's average during that time period. However, something magical happened while Berglund was in mother Russia. Maybe it was the water? Maybe it was being re-united with his Swedish brethren? Maybe it was being inspired by Putin? Whatever it was, he returned to the NHL and started scoring goals as if his life depended on it. Which prompted me to ask, "What is going on with Berglund this season?"

Berglund's Role on the Ice

Berglund has seen mostly offensive zone face-offs during his tenure with the St. Louis Blues. Less so the past 3 seasons than his first three seasons with the team. The quality of competition Hitch has put him up against is also stronger than his first three seasons. Last season, Berglund had a difficult time with this role and posted negative possession numbers and his 2nd lowest points-per-60 of his careeer. This season has been different. He is posting positive corsi while seeing slightly more offensive zone starts and slightly tougher competition. But is Berglund's success the result of his own doing or that of his teammates? If you switch the bubble color, you'll see he is also being paired with substantially better teammates than last season.

Patrik's Point Production

According to the numbers from Behind the Net, Berglund is having his best season yet in terms of point production while he is on the ice. This season, Berglund is producing 1.92 points per 60 minutes of ice time. But what I find most surprising is that his secondary assists per 60 is where he is finding his most success. Out of all of his seasons to date, Berglund is producing more secondary assists per 60 minutes of ice time this season. Also of note, his PDO (that quirky measure of puck-luck) is also much better this season than previous seasons. So is Berglund in control of his fate or is it his teammates who are able to finish the play that are making him look good right now?

With or Without Berglund

What sort of impact is Berglund having on the play of his teammates (if any at all)? Another piece of this puzzle is found in the WOWY (with or without you) data provided by Hockey Analysis. In this chart we are looking at his teammate's goal for percentage when they are with Berglund on the ice versus their goal for percentage when they are playing on the ice without Berglund. I colored the bubbles by corsi for % with Berglund and you can change it to without Berglund. On average, it looks as though the players who share time with Berglund tend to have a slightly better goals for % than when they are without Berglund. However, I'm not sure the difference is significant enough to draw any substantial conclusions. However, it is interesting to note how the corsi for % for players change when they are on the ice with and without Berglund. Given that Berglund's teammates do about as well as scoring goals with him as without him, this tilts the answer in favor of his teammates making him look good right now as opposed to him being in control of his own on-ice fate.

The "Sochi Bump"

I was inspired to write about Berglund due to his sudden surge in scoring post-Olympics. But there is a reason why I put "Sochi Bump" in quotes. If you look at his cumulative shooting percentage for the season, you'll notice that his shooting percentage actually started to climb prior to the Olympics. It was after the Olympics where it started to become noticeable. But when you compare where he is this season compared to previous seasons though, it still isn't the best Berglund that Berglund could be. But when it comes to shooting percentage, Berglund is in control of his fate, and he is definitely improving right when the Blues need more players to score more goals.

This may seem like I am really down on Berglund. He obviously has a positive impact on the play of the Blues. But how much of that impact comes from his line mates and how much of it is derived from his playing ability? While his numbers do look good, it is seems that he is getting by with a little help from his friends. However there is one thing he is in control of and that is his shooting percentage, and if he continues this goal scoring trend, he could make himself an invaluable part of a playoff run next month.