TORONTO– Dallas Eakins isn’t much of a basic-numbers type of guy.
Statistics have always been the simplest way to figure out how much of an impact a player may be having for his club, but the head coach of the Toronto Marlies knows there is more to the game than what’s on a stats page.
“I know when a guys playing well and I don’t have to look at a scoring sheet to know that,” said Eakins. “You could look at someone’s stats and go, ‘oh hey he’s only got two points and looks awful.’ No he’s not. He’s had 23 chances on net in four games and is actually playing quite well.”
Depending on the role of the player, what they do best or how they’re expected to contribute doesn’t necessarily even get recorded and that’s much of the reason why the coach doesn’t think numbers are always a fair way to look at a players’ contributions..
“We expect different things from different people,” said Eakins. “A Kadri, we need Naz to be generating scoring chances. A Mike Zigomanis needs to be great defensively and win every face off. We need Jerry D’Amigo to be physical, hard to play against and kill penalties very well. Everyone has that thing that they do.”
So far this season the players expected to produce the goals, and offensive production for Toronto, haven’t shown up in the stats column. Carter Ashton, Joe Colborne, Keith Aucoin, Greg Scott and Kadri are still looking for their first goal of the year, which could cause concern, however Eakins has seen each of them producing scoring opportunities early in the season and is confident that will turn into goals.
“I know mathematically that (scoring chances) will turn into points,” said Eakins.
Eakins believes that how hard you work and how much time you put in on a daily basis will lead to “playing well” regardless of the numbers. But, he won’t neglect what needs to be addressed if a player’s efforts go without results.
“When stats become a problem, maybe something like what Joe (Colborne) went through last year, that’s when I start looking hard at the stats. I don’t do it a lot as a coach and maybe I should do it more, or maybe not at all.”
Matt Frattin taking part in Marlies practice
Matt Frattin joined the Marlies in full-team practices this week and looks to be getting close to a return to action.
It’s been six months since the 24-year-old had surgery to repair a damaged knee suffered in the third round of last year’s playoffs against the Oklahoma City Barons and Eakins is pleased to see the forwards progression.
“It’s always great to see a guy work so hard after being out for such a long time,” said Eakins. “You can tell he’s excited, has a big smile on his face just to be skating with the regulars. He’s still a ways away but he’s in the right direction.”
Frattin is taking part in a non-contact jersey, however he has been part of every drill and his knee has held up to Eakins most recent 90-minute practices.
Eakins wouldn’t give a timelines as to when Frattin will be cleared for game action, and it’s still not confirmed that he will join the Marlies, but because Frattin finished last season on the Marlies roster he will be expected to join the club when he’s healthy.
When that time comes, despite already having an over-sized club, Eakins is more than willing to finding Frattin a spot on the roster
“He can change a game at any time,” said Eakins. ”In the playoffs he brought a real physical presence, was a pain in the butt to play against and he was creating.”
In 36 games last season with the Marlies Frattin scored 24 goals, including 10 in 13 playoff games before his injury.
“(The puck) comes off his stick so quick and he’s a guy that doesn’t really set his feet either. That’s what goal scorers do,” said Eakins.