After beginning the season with one of the best hot streaks of his career, Tomas Kopecky has completely disappeared.
In his first seven games, Kopecky scored eight points and factored into the scoring in six of the seven contests. Since then, however, Kopecky has scored only two points in the 15 games since. Over that stretch, Kopecky has been minus-16; his minus-11 rating for the season is the seventh-worst in the entire NHL.
However, Kopecky has become a barometer for the Chicago Blackhawks success.
In the 15 games since Kopecky went cold, the Blackhawks have won only seven. Looking into the statistics even further, Kopecky’s play has been critical to the Blackhawks winning those games. He has had an even or positive plus-minus rating in only six of the last 15 games, and the Hawks have won all six. In the Blackhawks’ other win during the stretch, the 5-4 shootout win in Atlanta, Kopecky was minus-one.
The Hawks have won three of their last four games, while Kopecky hasn’t played more than 13:45 and has moved back to the role he played last year on the third and fourth lines. After he averaged 18:36 on the ice in October, his ice time has fallen to an average of 15:12 in November.
Taking his ice time one step further, Kopecky averages 15 fewer seconds per game during the 11 Blackhawks wins he has played in (16:55) than the 11 losses he’s been part of (17:10). In victories, Kopecky has six points and is plus-four; in losses, he has four points and it minus-15.
What numbers show us is that the Blackhawks are clearly a better team, and Kopecky has a better chance of making a positive impact on the game, when he plays fewer minutes.