Trevor Gillies: The NHL's Mario Mendoza

They'll give anybody a jersey these days.

One of the more famous statistical achievements in baseball is batting .300, and though its counterpart, The Mendoza Line, is less prestigious, batting below .200 catches plenty of attention and jokes.  This year, Trevor Gillies has sunk to a new low in performance, and while Mario Mendoza was a nice enough fellow, Gillies is not so much.  At the same time, it would be unfair to coin a sub-negative 40 Corsi Rel The Gillies Line for obvious reasons, so let's give him the full treatment and call it The Trevor Gillies Line.

Yes, you read that right, Trevor Gillies, in 33 games of "action", has accumulated a Corsi Rel* of -42.3.  If his performance was stretched out over 60 minutes of gameplay, his team on average would be outshot 37.6 to 18.1.  You know it's bad when a.) David Koci generates more offense than you, b.) David Koci gets more minutes than you, c.) all this is done with less than 3 minutes of time on-ice per game, and d.) you're not even close to facing skilled competition.  In four years of Corsi data, nobody's come near those numbers with at least 30 games of play; the next closest was a Corsi Rel of -36 (Don Cherry's golden boy Ryan Johnson).  If you extend it to at least 10 games played, you get a handful of competitors, notably Philip McRae who is actually lower than Gillies this year across 11 games and three times the minutes.  Tim Conboy in 2009-10 had a Corsi Rel of -40.9 across 12 games and double Gillies' minutes.  Even taking players with 10 or more games, those are the only players below The Trevor Gillies Line.

* The difference of your team's Corsi Number when you're on the ice versus when you are not, or: (shots-for per 60 when on the ice minus shots-against per 60 when on the ice) minus (shots-for per 60 when off the ice minus shots-against per 60 when off the ice).  It includes shots that miss the net, and is expressed at behindthenet.ca as a per 60 minutes metric.

You might be saying to yourself, "But Mario Mendoza struggled with batting .200 on multiple occasions, and Trevor Gillies hasn't struggled with a -40 Corsi Rel."  I'll just say this: yet.  There is little reason to suggest that the guy is not this bad.  The last time he had more than 2 goals in a season in any season, any league was 1998-99, when he was a 19-year old playing in an OHL full of 17- and 18-year olds.  That year, 12 of his teammates scored more goals than him, including a defenseman (Bryan Allen) who played half the number of games that Gillies played.  In fact, that was the only time he scored more than 2 goals in a season considering all his years in juniors, minors, and the NHL, dating back to when he was 16 years old in the Metropolitan Junior A Hockey League playing for the now-defunct Caledon Canadians.  In other words, he has never displayed the skills (or upside) to take a shift at any position at the highest level of hockey.  NHL teams knew this in 1997, 1998, and 1999 when they all decided not to draft him.  Seriously, look at this guy's warm-up routine and tell me he has any purpose necessary to the playing of hockey.

So really, this post is as much a condemnation of the New York Islanders organization, who had no reason to give this guy 33 games in the NHL.  It's also a condemnation of a league that went from players like Bob Probert and Dave Brown (both of whom could score more than 1 goal in an NHL season, something Gillies has yet to do) to David Koci and Trevor Gillies.

Note: And having thought about it a bit, it's worth noting that at least Mario Mendoza played defense.

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