Everything Else

There’s little question that the Lightning are the best team in the league. While Vegas would love to claim that and their points total says it, the Lightning are just really good instead of feasting on luck and the unprofessionalism of hockey players who apparently just discovered that Las Vegas exists or something.

What’s scary about the Lightning is that according to the metrics, there really isn’t a weak spot to find on them.

To wit: Currently, the Lightning are fourth in the league in Corsi-percentage, and fifth in expected-goals percentage. But what makes that more impressive is that it’s not a case of a few players boosting the rate, and carrying others who are dragging them down. They’re solid 1-12 at forward and 1-6 on defense. Let us go further into it.

When you look at the individual players, no player is more than two percentage points below the team rate when looking at their relative Corsi-percentage. That’s Braydon Coburn at -2.03. And no player is more than two points above the team rate relatively either, which is Andrej Sustr at +2.1.

You don’t find that with the other teams at the top of the possession marks. The Bruins see a difference of about 11 points in their relative marks, with Patrice Bergeron at the top at +6.19 and David Krejci at the bottom at -5.75. The Stars have a difference around 14 points from their bottom player relatively to their top. The Predators have a difference of 16. The Hawks, who yes are still one of the better Corsi teams in the league, have a difference of 13. There just isn’t a hole the Lightning have to cover for.

It’s the same when it comes to the types of chances they create and give up. Coburn is their worst relative expected goals player at -5.7 percentage points, while Brayden Point is their best at +2.96 percentage points. The Stars have a 16-point difference from their worst expected goals to their best. The Oilers do as well. The Canes have a 17-point one. The Bruins have a 14-point gap. There’s just nowhere to go with the Lightning.

This is about as solid as a group in this department as we’ve seen in years. Which bodes well for the spring. Even if teams are able to keep Stamkos and Kucherov quiet at even-strength, and that’s a challenge, and even if they can keep Johnson and Point on a leash behind that (getting harder), the Lightning can get you from the third and fourth lines too if they have to. That’s how teams end up on parades.

What’s scary for the rest of the Atlantic Division is that the Bolts are probably going to be able to keep this depth together for a while. Only Namestnikov requires a new deal next year of the players who matter, and he’s restricted. Sustr does as well, but that’s up to you whether that matters. Kucherov could demand 8-10 million or more in two years’ time, but Stralman, Coburn, and Girardi are off the books then as well.

We probably should get used to this.

 

Game #47 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Robb Tufts (@robbtuftshockey on Twitter) from St. Louis Game Time (stlouisgametime.com and @StLouisGameTime on Twitter) and I decided to have a little fun with the fancy stats ahead of today’s NHL All-Star Game. This basically game about from a joke on Twitter, but it sounded like a good time so here you. Robb took Team Foligno and graciously allowed me to take Team Toews. Enjoy.

Team Foligno

Team Foligno Player Usage Chart

The player usage chart does not bode well for Team Foligno.  They drafted players who are predominantly either in the shut down quadrant (less oz starts and tougher competition) or the sheltered quadrant (more oz starts and weaker competition).  Considering that they are going up against the best of the best in the NHL, it would be nice to see the player spread a bit more evenly between the shut down and two way (more oz starts and tougher competition) quadrants.  The big question for Team Foligno is whether or not the players in the sheltered quadrant will be able to handle the quality of competition they’ll be facing on Sunday.

Team Foligno Corsi Chart

Looking at Team Foligno’s Corsi stats combined with points per 60 and PDO doesn’t make things look too promising for this team either.  A third of their team has above league average Corsi Against per 60.  And while Ekman-Larsson might be above league average in Corsi For per 60 and below league average in CA/60 he also has the lowest points per 60 out of all the players on the team.  As one of the players mentioned during the fantasy draft, defense is somewhat meaningless during the all star games.  So having someone like Larsson on the team could be a drag. The team is 50/50 when it comes to PDO.  Half of the team is above 100.0 while the other half is below. Most of the sub 100.0 players are in the prime quadrant for Corsi (above league average CF/60 and below league average CA/60).  It could be we’ll get to see what these players are really capable of when paired with other high caliber players.  This is Team Foligno’s bright spot in what could be a very challenging team.

Team Toews

I started to look at the Quality of Competition based on TOI (Time On Ice) for Team Toews but there was very little difference in the players. This is pretty predictable since All-Star Game players for the most part are some of the best players on their teams. Many of the forwards face the toughest competition and if they are not being used in a tough QoC situation, their teams are giving them offensive zone starts to optimize their unique offensive abilities.  As Robb mentioned above, defense in an All-Star Game is not really the focus of the event. The defensemen selected all have very good offensive skills so it is likely we will see them activating into the offense a lot during what is sure to be a high event game.

CORSI RATES VS AVG

The graph above shows each of the teams as well as the league average for players with at least 300 minutes of TOI during the season for comparison. Team effects on these rates are heavy so these are to be taken with a grain of salt. As you can see, most of the defensemen selected are fairly aggressive offensively (CF60) so this should make for a fun game.

ALL STARS TOEWS WITH AVG

Team Toews has a nice mix of players, both defensemen and forwards, who are used to working out of the offensive and defensive zones. Team Toews ended up with some of the hottest shooters in the league through the mid-season mark, particularly Tarasenko, Forsberg and Nash, as you can see by their high PDO marks. All of the defensemen and nearly all of the forwards are above the league average in P/60 (Points Per 60) at 5v5, again pointing to what should be a fun goal-filled game.

ALL STARS GOALIES AVG

The goalies for both teams are all having good seasons thus far. Below is a look at their Save Percentage at 5v5 versus league average (of goalies with 500 or more minutes TOI) as well as their SA60 (Shots On Goal Against Per 60). Price and Crawford have been facing shots at a higher clip than the others, although it is important to remember that Score Adjusted metrics include all score situations so some of the rates you see there are affected by teams having big leads and other teams pressing to get back in the game. Regardless of what is included, Halak has routinely faced shots against at a lower pace than the others. Elliott has the highest Sv%, but also the lowest ice time. While playing the highest number of minutes at 5v5 and facing shots against at a pace higher than the league average, Carey Price has maintained a terrific Sv% of 93.78%. All of the goalies involved are probably going to give up some goals so these marks probably don’t mean all that much for this game, but it is interesting to see how they match up against each other.

*Data used herein collected from war-on-ice.com

Everything Else

I had a bit of a discussion on this on Twitter on Monday, as I was watching yet more slobbering over Jonathan Quick and I was drinking. My best Twitter debates tend to come when I’m at the bar and I have time to kill. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Anyway, the narrative once again is that Jonathan Quick is dragging the Kings kicking and screaming through the playoffs. And I suppose that blue line beneath Drew Doughty does need some bailing out from time to time. But it got me to thinking:

59 games – 35-24, 8 shutouts, .928 SV%, 2.12 GAA

46 games – 27-18 3 shutouts, .925 SV%, 2.03 GAA

The top is Quick’s career playoff numbers. The bottom is Crawford’s. As you can see, other than the shutouts they’re almost identical. Ah, but I’m sure people will point to the Conn Smythe that Quick got and Crow doesn’t have. Ok then.

Quick’s 2012 run – 16-4 .946 SV%, 1.41 GAA

Crawford’s 2013 run – 16-7 .932 SV%, 1.84 GAA

Obviously, Quick’s run to the Cup was a little better, but not by all that much. And in 2012, Quick’s last three opponents didn’t finish in the top half in the league in scoring (and Vancouver was without Daniel Sedin courtesy Duncan Keith and Ryan Kesler was being held together by duct tape and hope), whereas last year’s Kings and Bruins both finished in the top half in scoring. We could easily make the argument that Crow had a tougher path to the Cup than Quick did.

Everything Else

I had a bit of a discussion on this on Twitter on Monday, as I was watching yet more slobbering over Jonathan Quick and I was drinking. My best Twitter debates tend to come when I’m at the bar and I have time to kill. I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Anyway, the narrative once again is that Jonathan Quick is dragging the Kings kicking and screaming through the playoffs. And I suppose that blue line beneath Drew Doughty does need some bailing out from time to time. But it got me to thinking:

59 games – 35-24, 8 shutouts, .928 SV%, 2.12 GAA

46 games – 27-18 3 shutouts, .925 SV%, 2.03 GAA

The top is Quick’s career playoff numbers. The bottom is Crawford’s. As you can see, other than the shutouts they’re almost identical. Ah, but I’m sure people will point to the Conn Smythe that Quick got and Crow doesn’t have. Ok then.

Quick’s 2012 run – 16-4 .946 SV%, 1.41 GAA

Crawford’s 2013 run – 16-7 .932 SV%, 1.84 GAA

Obviously, Quick’s run to the Cup was a little better, but not by all that much. And in 2012, Quick’s last three opponents didn’t finish in the top half in the league in scoring (and Vancouver was without Daniel Sedin courtesy Duncan Keith and Ryan Kesler was being held together by duct tape and hope), whereas last year’s Kings and Bruins both finished in the top half in scoring. We could easily make the argument that Crow had a tougher path to the Cup than Quick did.

Everything Else

Usually this space is dedicated to parsing out some statistics at the individual level to help make sense of this goofy ass sport. However, given that this is the first real opportunity to assess things at the 24 game mark, which some may recall as being relatively significant last year.

Everything Else

Yes, it’s only been one game. But it’s started already . And if the Hawks make a long run out of this spring (and summer, hopefully), then this is going to get ceaselessly tiresome. It already has in some respects. And that’s the “flat” storyline.