Blackhawks Viktor Stalberg Continues To Improve

As he continues to blow past his career best numbers, Viktor Stalberg continues to emerge as a legitimate offensive threat in Chicago. He hasn’t scored this many goals since he was at the University of Vermont, and his 30 points is already six more than his best season (which was 24 points last year).

But have Hawks fans seen this before?

As we have done in the past, here is a blind comparison between two players. We’ll go ahead and blow our cover on the second player, which is Stalberg (through the Vancouver game on Tuesday night).

But look at how he compares to the mystery player here:

Player A Stalberg
GP 82 48
G 17 15
A 21 15
Pts 38 30
 +/- 2 7
PIM 67 22
ATOI 13:41 13:32
PPP 1 0
ESP 37 30
Hit 104 56
GWG 1 5
AGE 24 26
$$  $  1,550,000  $        875,000

This is a pretty good comparison on paper. Stalberg has almost scored as many goals, and is closing in on as many assists as the mystery player through 51 Blackhawks games (48 appearances). Also, the ice times are almost identical, and both players aren’t producing on special teams (one total point between them).

The mystery player was a bit more physical, but assuming Stalberg continues hitting at his current rate, he’ll finish this year somewhere around 88-90 total hits. Stalberg has fewer penalty minutes, and has already blown away the mystery player in game-winning goals.

While the mystery player was younger, he was also almost twice as expensive as Stalberg is against the cap this season.

Overall, at least on paper, this proves to be a pretty solid comparison.

So who is the mystery player?

Player A is Andrew Ladd’s 2009-10 season.

Obviously the biggest difference between Stalberg today and Ladd during that great Cup season is the fact that Ladd had a Cup ring when he came to Chicago.

And the year before the Hawks ran all the way to glory, Ladd had posted his best professional season-to-date with 49 points (15 goals, 34 assists) and a plus-26 rating.

Some doubters might say “Yeah, but Stalberg’s got stone hands,” or “Stalberg can’t finish.” For the sake of the comparison, we looked at Stalberg’s shooting percentage against Ladd’s in 2009-10, and were surprised once again. Stalberg is scoring on 12.5 percent of his shots this year, which is better than the 11.5 percent posted by Ladd during the Cup season.

Perhaps a more interesting comparison is looking at the member of that 2010 Championship team that was traded to Toronto for Stalberg.

Kris Versteeg is having a nice season in Florida, and received some consideration for the All-Star Game in Ottawa. Yet heading into Wednesday night’s action, Versteeg’s numbers aren’t overwhelming Stalberg’s performance to date. So far this year, Versteeg has 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) and is plus-1o in 47 games, while hitting the cap for $3,083,333 with the Panthers.

9 thoughts on “Blackhawks Viktor Stalberg Continues To Improve

  • February 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Yes, but Stalberg is playing on the top line. Where did Ladd play again?

    I like Stalberg’s speed, but I think I could score 10 goals on a line w/ Toews and Kane.

  • February 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Yeah Jim, because Kane is having such a spectacular year. Stalberg is one of our best guys this year. And saying that he has been on the first line the entire season is complete bull. He may have played on the top 2 lines more than Ladd had done, but he has also had plenty of ice time with the 3rd and 4th line and still played very well on those lines. Ladd also had more experience and won a cup before that season. Stalberg is just finding his groove and when you look at the improvements just from last year, they are pretty big. This is not me saying that he is better than Ladd in any sort, but he is younger and has the potential to be in the future. Just the fact that he is out there and at times looking like one of the 5 players who want to win is good enough for me.

  • February 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Another thing about Stalberg is that he plays zero minutes of PP time – those are 30 5 on 5 pts. Can’t understand why some fans are still unhappy with this guy. In my opinion he is a monster… I think in the next 2 years no one will be able to dispute it.

  • February 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Ivan I completely agree… that is unless they trade him way too soon like I feel like they may try to do… but I hope not

  • February 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Vince…he’s a month younger with a lot less experience! I would rather have Ladd if we are going to compare the two, which seems to be the case. Stalberg’s jumping around between the 1st and 4th lines show that he isn’t consistent. At least you know where you stand with Ladd every time he steps on the ice. Stalberg is also no means one of the “five guys who want to win” every game…do you even watch the game? Half the time he’s lazier than Jon Kabat! Not saying he’s bad but he’s having a good year so far. Trade him while you can!

  • February 2, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Nick… sorry i did not actually check their ages… ladd just seems like an older guy because of the experience he does have… but that was what I was talking about, Ladd has more experience, maybe he developed faster then vick but i think when stalberg gets more experience he will be an elite player… When comparing the two there is no doubt in my mind i would rather have ladd, he was a leader, and a solid role player, BUT we dont have the cash to give him… and yes I do believe that he is one of the few trying out there most days… yeah hes had a bad game, who hasnt(toews maybe). For the price we have him for, for his versatility, for his speed, for his ability to shift some momentum through that speed of his, I do NOT think they should trade him. Keep him till the end of this contract then when he comes back asking for a shit ton or even the year his contract is expiring, let him go. But as for now I definitely dont think HE is a problem in any means on our roster… there are plenty of other players who take that title.

  • February 2, 2012 at 8:55 am

    He still suffers from a lack of finishing, but Stahlberg IS a good hockey player right now, and could get even better, if he gets that confidence.

    He was the best player on the ice in the Vancouver game, including both teams, and is becoming Hossa like on Defence, using that elite speed to back check.

    I wouldn’t trade Stahlberg at this point, he is going to be a very nice player for a long time in Chicago…

    This is why Bowman not adding Defensive help at this point is so frustrating…the forwards are rounding very nicely into shape with Stahlberg, Shaw, and Hayes, now, where is the Defence?

  • February 2, 2012 at 9:59 am

    While I hated seeing Versteeg ad Ladd go, I was excited about the trade for Stalberg from the very start. I was disappointed by how he produced early on last year, but down the stretch he seemed to have began to find his grove/niche within the Hawks lines and now especially after seeing this comparison, i think the Hawks got the far better end of the deal and I think Stalberg will continue to get better and be vital down the stretch towards making a cup run, just as Ladd was.

  • February 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    The reason Stalberg cannot play on the power play is that he cannot win one-on-one battles. He constantly loses battles on the boards and although he is fast, he is not strong on the puck. Even when we are up a man on the PP, players have to win the battles in the corners and along the boards and he cannot win those battles. Plus. without Kane, Toews, Sharp or Hossa getting him the puck, he is just another 4th line skater working up a sweat.

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