Matt Calvert Report Card for the Columbus Blue Jackets' 2016-17 Season

By Jeff Svoboda on May 17, 2017 at 8:43 am
Matt Calvert had an eventful playoff vs. Pittsburgh

USA TODAY Sports

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There are two kinds of athletes who tend to become the most beloved in sports.

There are those who are preternaturally talented and just make things look easy. These are the legends. They define their eras, sell jerseys, sell products, become omnipresent. They represent the purest form of their sport.

Then there are those who are on the other end of the spectrum in terms of talent. They're the ones who play with an intensity and a passion that is obvious. They might not earn quite the acclaim but they become fan favorites – what most of us think we'd be like if we ever made it.

Matt Calvert, of course, is the latter.

It has become just as much cliche to mock the phrase "give 110 percent" as it is to deliver it, but there are some guys who look like they're actually doing it. The longest-tenured Blue Jacket, Matt Calvert is that way.  

What did we expect?

Calvert hustles. He scraps. He's not the biggest or most talented player but still figures out a way to contribute.

How does he do it? He's not called Matty Hustle for nothing. His ever-present motor has the ability to cause turnovers all over the ice, particularly while on the penalty kill, though his physical nature tends to mean Calvert misses a handful of games each season.

Calvert isn't necessarily known for his skill (he's never topped 13 goals in a season) but he can finish to the point he's chipped in at least nine goals in every NHL season in which he's played more than 13 games. And his penalty killing improves the Jackets on both ends of the ice.

In other words, a Matt Calvert season was expected. And he delivered.

What did we get?

By and large, the Jackets got what they expected out of the key fourth liner. He chipped in 10 goals – he's had between nine and 13 in every full NHL season – including a team-high-tying three while shorthanded (Cam Atkinson was the other with a trio).

Calvert's assists dropped, holding down his total point production, but he continuously disrupted opposing power plays, being on the ice for four CBJ shorthanded goals against 12 power-play tallies against. The Calvert-Atkinson forward pair on the PK saw each member rank among the NHL's 12 best forwards in goal percentage (with at least 100 shorthanded minutes played). Calvert also ranked fifth among NHL forwards in high-danger chances in shorthanded situations.

Calvert's playoff run also had some major pluses and minuses. He scored the Jackets' first postseason goal in Game 1, then became a national storyline in the second contest when his cross-check of Pittsburgh's Tom Kuhnhackl broke his own stick. After being suspected for Game 3, Calvert returned and was part of a rejuvenated fourth line in the last two games, and he finished a plus-4 in the series.

Another major concern of some has been puck possession, as it has been with all of the Jackets' fourth liners. Still, while Calvert's shot metrics were around 45.0 percent to the good at even strength, it is worth noting he and his linemates were more likely to be in a defensive role and face D-zone draws than teammates. 

  GP G A P +/- PIM PPG PPP SHG SHP GWG OTG S S%
REGULAR SEASON 65 10 5 15 -4 48 0 0 3 4 1 0 92 10.9
PLAYOFFS 4 1 1 2 4 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 11.1

Memorable Moment

This one's not hard. In fact, it was named one of the best moments of the season by both us here at 1OB as well as Jacket fans.

In a November game against the New York Rangers, Calvert took a puck to his face and had to get stitches. He returned with a bandage on his head only to score the game-winning goal in the third period.

It's the kind of stuff that makes one a fan favorite.

Contract Status

According to CapFriendly.com, Calvert has one year left on his contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent. He will carry a cap hit of $2.2 million in 2017-18.

GRADE B

 

 

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