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Tobie Bisson, the Rocket’s unsung hero

For a team to get this far in the Calder Cup playoffs, they need contributions from pretty much everyone on the roster. Since the beginning of the postseason, that’s exactly what has happened with the Laval Rocket.

It’s easy to think about guys like Cayden Primeau, Danick Martel, Brandon Gignac, Sami Niku and a bunch of other Laval players whose praises have been sung since the beginning of the playoffs . One name that should be added to this list is Tobie Bisson’s, who is not doing anything spectacular for his team but he is being very efficient.

There is no better example of thankless work than the penalty kill and in that time of play, no defenseman played more minutes than Bisson since the start of the playoffs. It’s not something that you can just brush off considering that Laval has the best penalty kill success rate (88.9%) among the four teams still vying for the Calder Cup.

What’s even more impressive is that Laval built that number against some pretty solid power plays. We don’t need to go too far to prove that with the Rocket’s current opponent; Springfield. Before their series against Laval, the Thunderbirds were converting on more than a third of their opportunities on the power play. In the first two games of their series, the Thunderbirds are 0 for 6. That’s a stark contrast that makes a big impact.

“All along these playoffs, we played against Syracuse, we played against Rochester” recalled Tobie Bisson. “They have pretty good power plays. I think we learned how to defend and we were ready to face them.”

Bisson’s contribution to the team is not only showing on the penalty kill. He also stands out, even though you might miss it if you’re not paying close attention, at 5 on 5.

During the first two games of the series in Springfield, when Bisson was skating, the Rocket got 45 shot attempts towards the home net while the Thunderbirds only sent 28 pucks Primeau’s way. That 61.64% Corsi percentage is the best among Rocket defensemen in this series.

Bisson, who has been playing with Corey Schueneman in the last few games, also leads the team in the 5 on 5 scoring chances differential against the Thunderbirds.

“The two games we played here went very well, we communicate well” explained Laval’s defenseman about his play alongside Corey Schueneman. “We’re starting to see more how we play against this team. I think it’s going very well.”

With that being said, Bisson doesn’t only impress in the statistical categories because he plays with Schueneman even though their chemistry is obvious on the ice. Since the beginning of the playoffs, #4 has a dominant Corsi percentage of 62.46%. It’s the best one for the Rocket and it gives him a healthy lead on the closest defenseman in that category; Louie Belpedio (57.80%).

It’s not too complicated. Since the start of the Rocket quest for the Calder Cup, when Bisson is on the ice, Laval spends way more time in the opponent’s zone than in their own. As his 5 on 5 scoring chances differential (+11) shows, good things tend to happen when you are more often in the offensive zone than in the defensive one.

You could think that it would be hard to go get those statistics in enemy territory for a guy who is participating in his first playoffs in the AHL but apparently, the Springfield rink was not too intimidating for Tobie Bisson.

“The atmosphere here is pretty so-so” admitted the Rocket #4. “It wasn’t anything big. In Laval, it’s something else. For us, just to come here and winning one game knowing we have three others to play in Laval, let’s just say that we are very happy and that we can’t wait for the next game.”

Us neither Tobie!