As we await the beginning of the new NHL season, I’ll be previewing each of the players in the Minnesota Wild system who will be on the roster, or competing for a place this year. My subject for this edition is Zenon Konopka.
Konopka arrived via free agency in the Summer of 2012, billed as an enforcer, a penalty kill specialist and a face-off master. During the season he proceeded to live up to 1/3 of this billing. He was great at the dot, but terrible in every other way. He took dumb penalties, he had no offensive skills, he was too slow to be good defensively, he didn’t intimidate anyone, his fights were extremely boring and he played way way too much. He started the year as 4C and lost his place to Mikael Granlund after a few games of mediocrity. When Gralund was sent back to Houston, Konopka got his place back and held onto it until the end of the season when he missed some games through injury. He played a couple of playoff games and was a complete non-factor.
-Here are some of his regular season numbers from last year:
|SHOOTING %/SHOTS ATTEMPTED||0%/18|
No offence, lots of penalties, which pretty much tells you all you need to know. The PK specialist averaged 9 seconds of shorthanded time per game.
An interesting statistic regarding his fights is that he only fought once on the road all year and only once in the last 18 games of the regular season.
-Here are some more in-depth numbers from last year:
|OFFENSIVE ZONE START %||24.1%|
|OFFENSIVE ZONE FINISH %||44.1%|
|QUALITY OF COMPETITION||-0.596|
|SHOTS FOR/20 MINS||7.331|
|GOALS FOR/20 MINS||0.349|
|SHOTS AGAINST/20 MINS||8.777|
|GOALS AGAINST/20 MINS||0.748|
Konopka’s face-off abilities were utilised by giving him mostly defensive zone starts, but against soft compeition. He was a dismal puck posession player, posting Corsi numbers that are heavily in the red. There’s no point being good at winning face-offs if you can’t actually drive puck possession after the draw.
-Here’s the Player Usage Chart for the Wild forwards who played more than 20 games last year, illustrating the numbers above:
(Click To Enlarge) (Bubble Size=Corsi On Rating. Blue Bubble=Postive. Red Bubble=Negative)
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about Konopka. Apparently he has been on the trading block all Summer and the team is unwilling to waive him to Iowa. He never should have got a 2-year contract when he initially signed and now the Wild are stuck with him. The team passed on many good alternative options in free agency, then Dowell got waived and Steckel got released, and the team let the waiver frenzy pass without picking-up a better option. Looks like I better get used to seeing Konopka lumbering up and down the ice a lot more this year. I was hoping the team would be trying to roll 4 lines that can play , but that appears to be a pipe dream. The only option left, barring a trade, is that when Rupp returns, he plays LW on the 4th, with Mitchell playing centre and Konopka scratched.
His Season Is A Success If…
His Season Is A Disappointment If…
….he ends up in thee press box, Iowa or another team’s AHL affiliate’s roster.
Okay, that’s it for Zenopka. Next, I’ll be taking a look at Matt Dumba and previewing his 2013/2014 campaign.
Hit me up on Twitter for more hockey views/analysis. Yelling at me is encouraged.
Previous articles in this series:
*Numbers in this article courtesy of: