Every year, there are NHL players that are just flat out unlucky. Whether by injury, by poor shooting, or by letting their luck get the best in their head. Frank Vatrano is firmly in category one.
Starting his year out with an unfortunate foot injury in preseason and requiring ligament surgery that kept him on a mobility scooter, Frank Vatrano had to wait three months to even get back onto the ice for Boston, where he found himself in a lineup in near constant flux, and typically playing as one of the many players who slotted in at 2nd line Left wing or playing on the Spooner line, usually being the most responsible in terms of keeping the puck and driving it the right way up the ice, being fourth on the team in overall CF% amongst forwards. Vatrano’s well of expertise largely came from that very accurate shot of his, finding holes in goaltenders who seemed to be pretty square to him regardless:
Of course, when you’re restricted to about a half season’s worth of games on lines not known for defensive prowess...you’re likely to be on the receiving end of some boneheaded looking goals, and while Vatrano was usually much more responsible due to being one of the more trigger happy shooters...sometimes it meant he and his teammates were caught and it would lead to a goal against, which isn’t great for him, especially when playing with centers that, while productive, didn’t always help the kid out when it came to the backcheck, and so he suffered even more. It got to the point where him and other players just stopped playing in Game 6 due to Ottawa being able to pick them apart and make it hard for the fast skating Vatrano to find an open lane.
Vatrano is one of a few players Boston has signed that is still currently signed at near-league minimum and has a year left on his contract, so for next year he could find himself a niche whilst playing and gunning for a spot in Boston’s 2nd line or 3rd line, however both of those will end up going.
He played only slightly more games than he did last year and only slightly got more points, one wonders what Frank’s grade might’ve been had they had him for a full year. As it stands, his season was just a rash of unluckiness screwing up an opportunity for real growth for him. One can only hope that he ends up rebounding
Games Played: 44
Playoff Statline: 1 goal, no assists
Final Aggregate CF%: 57.48%
What do you think of Vatrano’s grade?
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