Apr 26, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Mike Rupp (27) goes after Edmonton Oilers defenseman Corey Potter (44) and is held back by forward Ryan Jones (28) during the third period at the Xcel Energy Center. The Oilers defeated the Wild 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild Player Previews 2013/2014: Mike Rupp


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).

(For more info about some of the stats and terms I use in these articles, check out my stats introduction piece).

 

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:

BASIC STATS

AGE  33
POSITION  LW/C
GAMES PLAYED  32
GOALS  1
ASSISTS  3
POINTS  4
SHOOTING %/SHOTS ATTEMPTED  3.7%/27
PENALTY MINUTES  67
PENALTIES TAKEN/60  0.9
PENALTIES DRAWN/60  0.4
TOI/G  8:53
5v4 TOI/G  0:00
4v5 TOI/G  0:00

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:

UNDERLYING NUMBERS

OFFENSIVE ZONE START %  30.4%
OFFENSIVE ZONE FINISH %  46.2%
QUALITY OF COMPETITION  -1.512
CORSI REL  -11.7
CORSI ON  -7.59
SHOTS FOR/20 MINS  6.982
GOALS FOR/20 MINS  0.371
SHOTS AGAINST/20 MINS  7.847
GOALS AGAINST/20 MINS  0.494
ON-ICE SHOOTING%  5.22
ON-ICE SAVE%  939
PDO  991
5v5 POINTS/60  0.74
ASSISTS/60  0.556
1ST ASSIST/60  0.371

 

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:

Wild Forwards 20

(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:

MITCHELL

KONOPKA

TOI w/RUPP

186:06

160:53

GF% w/RUPP

50%

20%

CF% w/RUPP

45.4%

46.2%

TOI RUPP APART

137:36

162:49

GF% RUPP APART

33.3%

55.6%

CF% RUPP APART

45.6%

44.9%

TOI TEAMMATE APART

214:56

130:07

GF% TEAMMATE APART

21.4%

33.3%

CF% TEAMMATE APART

44.8%

35.1%

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…

…he can find a spot on the team and keeps it.
 .

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:

#1-Zach Parise

#2-Mikko Koivu

#3-Charlie Coyle

#4-Ryan Suter

#5-Jonas Brodin

#6-Mikael Granlund

#7-Jason Pominville

#8-Dany Heatley

#9-Jared Spurgeon

#10-Marco Scandella

#11-Kyle Brodziak

#12-Matt Cooke

 #13-Nino Niederreiter

#14-Keith Ballard

#15-Jason Zucker

#16-Clayton Stoner

#17-Justin Fontaine

#18-Torrey Mitchell

#19-Zenon Konopka

#20-Matt Dumba

 

 

*Numbers in this article courtesy of:

-BehindTheNet.ca

-Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com

-SomeKindOfNinja.com

-HockeyAbstract.com

 

Tags: Enforcer Fighting Grit Mike Rupp Minnesota Wild Minnesota Wild Preview NHL Reilly Smith Torrey Mitchell Wild Zenon Konopka