With the new NHL season just about underway, I still have a handful of player previews to write about some more 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 Mike Rupp (or as I like to call him; My Krupp).
Mike Rupp was acquired in a trade early last season. The Wild sent Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri the other way, as Chuck Fletcher sought to add more size to the team. Rupp looked good early in the season, but began to slow down towards the end through a mixture of fatigue and niggling injuries. By the time the playoffs rolled around, he looked incredibly slow and his lack of pace was badly exposed when the Blackhawks scored their OT winner in Game 1. Rupp spent most of the year on a reasonably stable 4th line with Torrey Mitchell and Zenon Konopka.
-Here are some of his regular season numbers from last year:
|SHOOTING %/SHOTS ATTEMPTED||3.7%/27|
While not an out-and-out goon, Mike Rupp is known for his gritty play and fighting more than any real offensive or defensive skill. His stats reflect this. He recorded a lot of penalty minutes, though nowhere near as many as Zenon Konopka, and yet only averaged a few seconds more ice-time than Konopka per game, and didn’t contribute to special teams at all.
-Here are some more in-depth numbers from last year:
|OFFENSIVE ZONE START %||30.4%|
|OFFENSIVE ZONE FINISH %||46.2%|
|QUALITY OF COMPETITION||-1.512|
|SHOTS FOR/20 MINS||6.982|
|GOALS FOR/20 MINS||0.371|
|SHOTS AGAINST/20 MINS||7.847|
|GOALS AGAINST/20 MINS||0.494|
Rupp took-on soft competition with a lot of defensive zone starts and put up awful puck possession numbers. None of this is surprising as the Wild’s 4th line was set-up to be some sort of goon line with Torrey Mitchell just kind of awkwardly tacked-on. As a group they failed miserably to control puck possession or limit scoring chances for the opposition. Rupp’s lousy PDO is testament to the lack of any kind of goalscoring potential on that line, resulting in a miserable 5.22% on-ice shooting % for Rupp.
-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)
-Here’s a look at how Rupp performed last year with and without his two most regular linemates:
|TOI RUPP APART||
|GF% RUPP APART||
|CF% RUPP APART||
|TOI TEAMMATE APART||
|GF% TEAMMATE APART||
|CF% TEAMMATE APART||
You can see from those numbers that Rupp actually carried Torrey Mitchell to a certain extent, which is surprising as Mitchell’s time away from Rupp was spent in a top-6 role. Even though he didn’t put-up particularly great possession numbers last year, the WOWYs give me some optimism that Rupp can be an effective player on the 4th line.
Rupp is starting this year on IR after offseason surgery, so he probably won’t feature for a couple of weeks. When he does come back, his place in the team will depend on injuries and how the 4th line is playing. The 4th looked good against the Ducks, but I think moving Mitchell or Rupp to centre and scratching Konopka wouldn’t have a negative effect. Rupp can play at bit more than ZK and has that, supposedly important, grit-factor, without going overboard, well most of the time anyway (if you don’t count this cowardly BS that he and ZK engaged in last year).
I worry about his fitness and I really don’t see him being able to dress for more than 50 games this year. If he’s struggling and can’t move around the ice with speed, then he’s a liability and needs to be moved-on or sent to Iowa. The Wild have plenty of guys who can perform his marginal role without sacrificing much grit (Stephane Veilleux and Carson McMillan come to mind) so he is certainly replaceable.
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 Rupp. Next, I’ll be taking a look at Nate Prosser and previewing his 2013/2014 campaign.
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Previous articles in this series:
*Numbers in this article courtesy of: