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Tyler Kennedy Trade Analysis: Spare part or useful player?

A look into what exactly Tyler Kennedy is: Decent bottom-sixer, and strawman incarnate.

Hey man, I'm your new teammate.  Mind if I shoot?
Hey man, I'm your new teammate. Mind if I shoot?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders acquired Tyler Kennedy at the trade deadline yesterday for what is best termed as: "nothing." They sent a 7th round pick, which is insanely unlikely to turn into anything, to the San Jose Sharks for Kennedy, with that pick only becoming a meaningful 3rd rounder if the Isles win the Stanley Cup and Kennedy plays 50% of the games in that series.

If that comes true, Kennedy will have come at a meaningful cost, but of course, the Isles will have #5.

Basically the Isles will only be giving up anything if they get everything they ever wanted, which is pretty good, because Tyler Kennedy is.....interesting.


Tyler Kennedy's numbers are above, all at even strength, because he basically doesn't play power play or shorthanded at all. The first thing you might notice is that Tyler Kennedy takes a TON of shots. In fact, he's 4th in shots per 60 at even strength over the past 5 years. FOURTH.

You might also notice, Tyler Kennedy doesn't score much. At all  Tyler Kennedy is really really good at getting shots on net and really really bad at getting them past the goalie.

In short, while Tyler Kennedy may produce a lot of shots, they're not really functional offense in any way: Kennedy is 4th to last in 5v5 in shooting percentage at even strength among forwards over the last 4 years.

What Kennedy does is he has a decent track record of driving possession. It used to be a REALLY great record in Pittsburgh, but in his last year with the Penguins and his last two in San Jose, it's been just a little bit above average overall (note that he's had absolutely shit linemates for most of this time). This is still quite fine for a fourth liner, but it's nothing spectacular.

That said, it's worth noting that while Kennedy isn't terrible at shot suppression, much of his possession greatness comes from shot generation, and well, as previously mentioned, his own shots kind of suck. He's somewhat of an example of the straw man argument people make of shot metrics: Gere really is a guy whose numbers look good because he takes a lot of bad shots.

Again though, not all of the possession play is due to his own bad shots, so he actually is a useful bottom-six forward. He's certainly a great improvement over Mall Rat, and even his bad shots are likely to result in offensive zone faceoffs for the rest of the team.

This is what you want from a bottom 6 player usually (although Kennedy actually isn't cheap on the cap). He's a pretty worthy guy to add, and a strong depth guy.

Just don't get frustrated when he keeps shooting into the goalie. It's what he does.