In raw totals, Fontaine finished the year fourth on the team with 13 goals. That was 12th among all NHL rookies and third all-time for a Wild rookie. He also had eight assists, a plus-6 rating, and 26 penalty minutes.
One of the big questions facing the Wild this year is whether or not the young players who took big steps forward last season can continue to develop. The Wild expect another step forward from Fontaine and players like Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula, Jason Zucker, and Darcy Kuemper. The team’s success relies on most of these players playing as well, if not better, than they did last season.
Many of those players stand to have very strong seasons, but Fontaine is a bigger question mark. Despite putting in a good number of goals, he was regularly a healthy scratch and a look at his stats reveals that the offensive production doesn’t always match his overall play. His Corsi for was 46% (his Fenwick for is worse at 45.9%), which was -3.6% relative (-4.3% on Fenwick for Relative). His PDO was pretty high at 103.3%, aided in no small part by a very high shooting percentage at 16.5%. And with an unfavorable Corsi for and a PDO that high, it’s maybe a little telling that his Goals for was 59%. There was a bit of luck at play and the Goals for, which looks great, was aided by spending over 50% of his time on ice with Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cooke, who were great in the defensive zone. The defenseman he was on the ice most with was Ryan Suter.
On the other hand, his Zone Starts weren’t working in his favor at 41.9% (-10% relative) and he was only averaging 12:15 of ice time per game. So, maybe his totals are more impressive than I’m giving them credit for. He had an impressive rookie year for a player who wasn’t given much credit prior to the start of last season, but he’ll have to prove that he’s an 82-game player this year.
#1 10/12/13 vs. Dallas Stars DAL 1 – MIN 5
Fontaine scores his first NHL goal on Dan Ellis just 12 seconds into what would be a 5-1 blowout.
#2 10/22/13 vs. Nashville Predators NSH 0 – MIN 2
Fontaine grabs the rebound and starts to make believers out fans and arbitration lawyers everywhere.
#3 10/26/13 vs. Chicago Blackhawks MIN 5 – CHI 3
Fontaine buries a great feed from Mikko Koivu through a bit of traffic.
#4 11/01/13 vs. Montreal Canadiens MTL 3 – MIN 4
You don’t get a 16.5% shooting percentage by taking a shot on each of your goals.
#5 11/05/13 vs. Calgary Flames CGY 1 – MIN 5
This was one of the prettier goals of the season for they man they call Fonzie. That hesitation, waiting a second, making Reto Berra open up and move across the crease on his knees, that’s what made that happen.
#6 11/09/13 vs. Carolina Hurricanes MIN 3 – CAR 2 (SO)
A great tip by Fontaine with some fancy passing around the perimeter and a nice set up by Marco Scandella.
#7 12/27/13 vs. Winnipeg Jets MIN 4 – WPG 6
Fontaine gets back on the board. It’d been a long dry spell.
#8 12/19/13 vs. New York Islanders NYI 5 – MIN 4
Fontaine gives the team just enough hope to be crushed when they finally lose.
#9 01/09/14 vs. Phoenix Coyotes MIN 4 – PHX 1
It’s hat trick night for Fontaine. Beautiful shot on this first one.
#10 01/09/14 vs. Phoenix Coyotes MIN 4 – PHX 1
An opportunistic second goal.
#11 01/09/14 vs. Phoenix Coyotes MIN 4 – PHX 1
And Nino grabs the puck for Fontaine, like any pal would.
#12 01/16/14 vs. Edmonton Oilers EDM 1 – MIN 4
#13 03/18/14 vs. New York Islanders MIN 6 – NYI 0
The final regular season tally in a surprising rookie season from Fontaine. Not the most exciting finale here. He scores, they play another minute and a half, then call it a goal.
#14 05/09/14 vs. Chicago Blackhawks CHI 2 – MIN 4
Fontaine’s final goal on the year was his only playoff goal and came in the Wild’s final win of the season. While Fontaine had a number of goals, like two of the goals during his hat trick, that make you think that his offensive upside isn’t as high as his goal total last season might have you believe, goals like this show a pretty great scorer’s instinct. Fontaine held onto the puck just long enough to make Corey Crawford uncomfortable. Crawford blinked first and goes down, then Fontaine goes upstairs.