Caption: Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
Zac Rinaldo is one of the most polarizing Flyers players. On one side, the advance stat users point to his lack of production and high penalty totals as being a net loss, while others point to his hits and fights as being energy providing. The fact is, Rinaldo isn’t that good and he’s quite replaceable.
Via Behind the Net
Zac Rinaldo was an ineffective agitator. By taking 2.1 Pens/60 compared to drawing 1.3 Pens/60, as shown in the Behind the Net graph, Rinaldo was a net loss in penalty differential for the Flyers. Because of that, he put the Flyers on the PK more often than not. As such, he failed in his role as an agitator. The penalties may have even been reputation based, but that doesn’t matter. If Rinaldo has a target on his back from the referees, he’s going to take PIMs for existing, and the fact is, regardless of whether or not they’re deserved, the Flyers can’t have that target dragging them down.
Zac Rinaldo’s shot suppression was actually surprisingly good. He falls above the third line cutoff for suppressing shots and scoring chances by opposing players. In fact, it’s this ability that probably is what led to Rinaldo getting a look on the penalty kill earlier this season. Toss in the fact that his low PDO suggests he was unlucky this season, mostly on the shooting side of things, and it’s possible that Rinaldo has some innate hockey ability buried underneath the lack of discipline. To be honest, his Own the Puck graph was most surprising, if it wasn’t clearly marked Zac Rinaldo, it would have been very easy to assume the graph belonged to former Flyer Adam Hall.
General Hockey Ability
Rinaldo’s not a scorer, even though his individual shot number isn’t that bad. He’s not an agitator, due to being too much of a net loss on the penalty differential. His PK experiment failed, so he’s not quite the next Adam Hall. This leads leads to the last question: what is Zac Rinaldo then? If he screws his head on straight, he might amount to being a consistent fourth line player who might be able to take a shift or two on the PK when one of the regular PK guys is in the box. On a Cup Contending team, it’s doubtful that Rinaldo is anything other than a spare forward who only plays when someone is injured. Luckily Rinaldo’s contract is something that can be buried in the AHL without penalty. If a team decides to trade for him, let them hand over a late round pick for him. He’s replaceable, so unless he turns things around and salvages his reputation to avoid reputation calls, get rid of him. Of course, given his lengthy suspension this season alone for an incident against Kris Letang of the Penguins, it’s highly unlikely he ever repairs the reputation.
Rinaldo Final Grade: 2
The failed agitation and ineffective play just outweigh the shot suppression far too much.