Three Players Who Are Better Than You Think: Williams, Dillon, Cogliano


Justin Williams
Most people know Justin Williams as the guy who continuously scores in Stanley Cup playoff game 7’s at pivotal moments. And being known as a clutch postseason performer is not a bad thing, but the day-to-day brilliance of Williams should not be overlooked, because, in fact, he is a really good player.

Second on the Los Angeles Kings in points, Williams is leading the club in goals by a margin of two. His advanced statistics are absurd, with a Corsi for percentage of 65.3 and Fenwick for percentage of 63.6. His PDO is at 100, so it is not like he has had unsustainable puck luck either.

Williams is strong on the macro and micro components of hockey. He is a very good skater, has a strong shot, and is a prolific passer. He uses his speed and skill to exploit defensemen’s imperfections. Williams plays on a line with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, and the trio concocts offense with give-and-go’s, area passing, and brute skill. The creativity from these three playmakers makes their line a dynamic grouping.

Finally, Williams has stayed durable. He is the healthy constant – since the 2012 season he has played in 153 out of 153 regular season games — in the injured and battled morass that is the Kings’ roster right now. His steady brilliance should be commended.

Brenden Dillon
Late bloomer. Diamond in the rough. Both are applicable to Dillon, who went undrafted but has emerged as a big backliner – 6’3” 220 – with a strong first stride and nice recovery speed. Playing nearly 21 minutes a game on average, Dillon is using his strong shot to supply some offense from the blue line (3 goals in 21 games).

This is a player who is not afraid to use his size to outmuscle players for pucks, and when he controls possession he can make a nice outlet pass to break out of the zone. This is especially impressive because Dillon is second only to Stephane Robidas in Corsi Quality of Competition among the Dallas Stars’ defense. He is playing tough minutes against good competition – and thriving.

In the offensive zone, Dillon can find the shooting lanes and hold the zone under pressure. His play is a big reason why Dallas’ defense has maintained competency – his Corsi for is 53.6 percent, his Fenwick for is 54.3 percent. The Stars have looked promising in the right areas, like even strength, where Dallas is tied with Los Angeles for tenth in the NHL. Dillon is a big reason why.

Andrew Cogliano
Forward Andrew Cogliano is starting to get some recognition for his play because of the success of the Anaheim Ducks, but he has been perennially an underappreciated player. With speed that jets him past opponents, and decent offensive skills, Cogliano is continually able to move the puck north – his Corsi for percentage is 54.5, second on the team only to Ryan Getzlaf. Additionally, Cogliano’s Fenwick for percentage is in the top six with a stout 54.2 percent.

Cogliano’s stats look even more impressive when factoring in his nightly competition, assessed to be the toughest faced of anyone on the team, per Cogliano plays with a foot-soldier mentality, and his effort and success in puck battles translates 200 feet.

Cogliano is an ideal codicil on a Cup contender. He can blunt opposing teams’ star players’ impact, and he can supply some scoring himself.

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