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David Kampf’s defensive prowess with Blackhawks

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The Czech center has evolved into the next Marcus Kruger for Chicago.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Second City Hockey continues our Blackhawks 2018-19 season recap on the forwards with Czech center, David Kampf.

Player Info and Stats

Acquired: Signed a two-year entry level deal with Chicago in May 2017
Age: 24
Shoots: Left
Contract: Restricted Free Agent. Previous cap hit was $925K.
Stats: 63 games played, 19 points (4 goals, 15 assists), minus-6, 45.3-face off winning percentage, 5.6-shooting percentage, 14 penalty minutes, 30 blocks, 39 hits, 31 takeaways, 6 giveaways, 13:55 average time on ice.
Advanced stats*: 48.6 CF%, 36.4 oZS%, 46.2 HDCF%, 50.3 CF%_QoC
RAPM Chart: How does Kampf compare to the ‘average’ NHL player in terms of individual offensive and defensive metrics at even strength?

Let’s compare that to a player with a similar skillset, Marcus Kruger.

Kruger’s RAPM Chart 2018-19

Kruger’s RAPM Chart 2016-17

Takeaway from RAPM Charts: Kampf’s defensive metrics, expected goals for the opponent when he’s on the ice and Corsi-against, are two standard deviations above the ‘average’ NHL player. That’s slightly better than Kruger’s 2018-19 defensive RAPM metrics shown above.

Kruger was 26 during the 2016-17 season, arguably one of his top three with Chicago. Kampf is 24 and if his skillset continues to develop, especially the ability to drive possession out of the defensive and neutral zones into the offensive zone, his RAPM chart should look similar to Kruger’s 2016-17 chart in the near future.

Kampf is evolving into the next Kruger for the Blackhawks, a bottom six center with a ‘shutdown’ skillset and below average offensive capabilities.

Favorite highlight from 2018-19 season: Gustav Forsling snaps an outlet pass to Dominik Kahun near the offensive zone blue line. Kampf swings through the middle with speed and receives a tape-to-tape pass from Kahun. Kampf uses that momentum and a slick forehand drag move to get around Aaron Ekblad. He drives the net and goes backhand to forehand to score his third goal of the season.

Analysis

Throughout the 2018-19 season, Kampf was primarily utilized as a bottom-six center and spent most of his playing time with Chris Kunitz, Kruger and John Hayden. He rarely produced offense (0.30 points per game) and was below average on face-offs (45.3-percent). In comparison to the other centers on the team, Jonathan Toews, Dylan Strome, Artem Anisimov and Kruger, Kampf ranked fourth at the face-off dot and only held a 0.4-percent advantage over Strome, who carried a 44.9-percent mark.

In terms of matching up against opponents, Kampf had the highest quality of Corsi competition (CF%_QoC) out of the forwards group at 50.3-percent. In Kampf’s case, this does not mean he frequently faced the opponent’s top offensive line. Rather, he faced the bottom six or the ‘checking line’ that more often than not had above average Corsi-For ratings due to their style of play.

Additionally, Kampf had the second lowest offensive zone starts frequency (oZS%) at 36.4-percent. Kruger was the only forward with more than 30 games played that had a lower oZS%.

These two stats aforementioned suggest Kampf regularly battled against Corsi generators and seldom started a shift with an offensive zone face-off (107 starts). Instead, head coach Jeremy Colliton placed Kampf on the ice when opposing lines were adept at forechecking, cycling the puck and driving possession in Chicago’s defensive zone (175 starts) or when a shift started in the neutral zone (180 starts).

Kampf had a knack for reducing high-danger chances for the opponents Colliton matched him up against. He had the second best high-danger shot share (HDCF%) out of the forwards group at 46.2-percent on a team where the vast majority of skaters had a HDCF% below 45-percent. Keep in mind that Chicago gave up the most scoring chances in the NHL, so it was nearly impossible for a Blackhawk to have a HDCF% at or above 50-percent.

Lastly, Kampf rarely turned the puck over. He had six giveaways, which was the lowest number of turnovers out of the Blackhawks with 30 or more games played.

Outlook

When combining the stats and Colliton’s usage of Kampf, it is clear the Blackhawks are grooming him to be the fourth line center of the future. He is proficient at securing the neutral and defensive zones, does not turn over the puck and can be matched-up against the opponent’s possession driving line to minimize their time with the puck and generation of high-danger chances.

Kampf is currently a restricted free agent. His performance in his sophomore campaign with Chicago was nothing spectacular, but he is not meant to be a flashy player. His ceiling is in the bottom six, and that is completely fine for the skillset he’s developing. He allows Colliton to extend the majority of offensive zone starts to Toews, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat and Strome, while Kampf can be relied on to take the physically draining shifts in the defensive zone.

General manager Stan Bowman will likely re-sign Kampf with a minor pay bump to continue his role as a fourth line center. If he wants to be the next ‘Kruger’ in Chicago’s bottom six for multiple seasons down the road, Kampf needs to boost his face-off winning percentage closer to 50-percent.

Poll

Should the Blackhawks resign Kampf?

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Yes
    (193 votes)
  • 3%
    No
    (7 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now

*Advanced Stat Glossary - All advanced stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, Hockey-Reference, Evolving Hockey and Corsica-Hockey

CF% - The percentage of Corsi, which is the number of shots attempts (goals, shots on net, misses or blocks), that are in Chicago’s favor when Player X or Line X is on the ice. Above 50% suggests Player X or Line X spend the majority of their time on the ice possessing the puck and generating shots and scoring chances.
oZS% - The frequency that a shift for Player X starts in the offensive zone.
HDCF% - Percentage of total high danger scoring chances, while Player X is on the ice, that are for that player’s team.
CF%_QoC - The average Corsi-For rate of an opposing player that Player X has to defend.