Following prospects is challenging. With numerous leagues to follow and costly streaming packages, opportunities to witness a prospect’s performance is tough. So, for most, they turn to the numbers. Yes, one can include advanced metrics, but people want to see those goals and assist totals. Unfortunately, not all points are created equal. Some result from that player’s skill, while others result from being in the right place at the right time. In this space, we look to dissect a prospect’s point total and determine what weight each one truly has on an individual’s skills and development. Today, we begin with Philadelphia Flyers 2019 third-round selection, Ronnie Attard.
Attard, a second-year defenseman for Western Michigan in out to a strong start statistically this season. Through 10 games, he has recorded one goal and five assists. Additionally, for what it is worth, he is a minus-three. His six points place him first among WMU defensemen and sixth amongst all skaters on the team. Although the season is still young, Attard finds himself at a better point per game rate than last season. However, how many of those six points can we attribute to Attard’s skill level? Let’s find out.
Ronnie Attard Point-by-Point
Point 1: December 6, 2020 vs. North Dakota
Attard’s first point of the season came in Western Michigan’s third contest of the season. It came by way of an assist on a goal scored by Paul Washe. Yes, the stat line reads assist, but Attard did not record it from a pass. Instead, Washe scooped up the rebound from Attard’s one-timer and put it in the back of the net. So, in terms of inspecting Attard, the focus is on the shot. His positioning is solid as he calmly drifts into the right spot to receive the pass. His timing is perfect, and he lets off a strong, accurate blast. Peter Thome stops Attard’s initial shot, but there is enough power to it where he cannot save it cleanly. Of course, this results in the rebound and eventual goal.
Point 2: December 8, 2020 vs. Colorado College
Attard’s second point of the 2020-21 campaign took place the following game. Attard records his second assist of yet another one-timer. This time, he receives the shot at the point, rips it, and sees it ricochet off Logan Will crouched down to block the shot. In an unlikely fashion, the loose puck finds its way to the front of the net on the stick of Paul Washe, where he deflects it in. Just like Attard’s first point, Washe takes advantage and registers the goal. Unlike point one, Attard might have been better off not taking the shot at all. Logan Will makes a great play defensively, making the read that Attard will let off the shot. It’s merely unlucky for Colorado College that the result is a goal.
Point 3: December 11, 2020 vs. Colorado College
This game sees Attard record his first multi-point game of the young season. The first point of the contest was not impressive. It is merely a secondary assist from a routine pass from one point to another. The recipient of Attard’s pass fires a shot that creates a rebound opportunity. Yes, one can claim that Attard’s set-up pass was accurate, which it was. Still, it is a very routine play that he should be expected to execute cleanly.
Point 4: December 11, 2020 vs. Colorado College
The second point came in dwindling seconds of the middle period. Ronnie Attard fails to cash in on a one-timer opportunity in front of Colorado’s net. Still, he does not lose focus. After his shot, the puck flies into the air, and Attard grabs it to maintain possession. He avoids getting muscled off the puck and finds a teammate in front of the net where he can cash in with a goal. The impressive aspect of this play is Attard’s ability to keeping fighting after a missed opportunity. The period was seconds away from ending. He easily could have just given up on the play and let the clock expire. Instead, he maintains his competitiveness, gets the puck back, and sets up a goal.
Point 5: December 13, 2020 vs. North Dakota
Although another secondary assist, Attard’s backhanded pass on this play is impressive. He makes the defense believe he is bringing the puck deeper into the zone, creating space. With that space, he executes an accurate backhand pass, leading to a shot and deflection. There is a level of awareness and hockey sense that comes with this that allows Attard to choose a slightly more complex play. His decision making directly resulted in a quality shot attempt.
Point 6: December 19, 2020 vs. Denver
Attard’s lone goal came in the final Western Michigan game in the bubble. As is the case with most positive plays for Attard, a one-time shot was involved. This time Ronnie Attard, the recipient, cashed in. He had plenty of space trailing into the offensive zone and could get the hard shot off cleanly. Very little creativity went into the goal, but sometimes all you need is a strong shot to get the job done.
A theme exists with Ronnie Attard’s point production. Mostly, they are the result of a one-time shot opportunity. He is either firing off the shot or setting it up. If his shots were going in more, we would have more to rant and rave about. However, right now, there is a lack of diversity in his offensive skill set. The inability to produce more creative scoring chances makes you too predictable at the professional level. So although six points in 10 games are nothing to shy away from for a defenseman, it isn’t easy to get too excited over how these points are obtained.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire