FanPost

Canada's Prospective D - By The Numbers

Inspired by this discussion over at PPP, I went to the trouble of hitting up NHL.com's stat pages and Behind the Net for a little bit of argument fodder. And if that inspiration was the desire to defend Mike Green's defensive skillz from a bunch of ignoramuses, well, who can blame me?

Boy did I walk into a world of interesting numbers.

Knowing that I was looking for guys who were good in all situations, I compiled a spreadsheet (found here) of all the Canadian D-men in the discussion for Canada's Olympic team, their current +/-, and their TOI, GF/60, GA/60, and +/- at 4v5, 5v5, and 5v4. Just for fun and because someone brought up the name, I tacked in Jeff Schultz for good measure.

PPP's picks for the Canadian Olympic team, in short, are: Chris Pronger, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Robyn Regehr, Dan Boyle, and Drew Doughty. Let's take a look at each situation individually, keeping in mind that the TOI / G for each situation is intended to show how much that player is relied on for that situation for their team.

4v5 (Penalty Kill)

The average +/- for all of these guys 4v5 came up to a tad under -6 - expected for a PK situation. What I didn't expect was to see both Chris Pronger (-6.77) and Robyn Regehr (-9.03!) fare relatively badly in this stat, and Robyn Regehr to be absolutely brutal. Calgary is right in the middle of the pack for PK% at 80.4%, so there's no excuse for Regehr there. Pronger gets more of a pass there; PHI's PK% in general at 78.0% isn't so hot. Knowing Philly, though, I was a little surprised to see him not be on the ice for any SH goals so far. Niedermayer (-9.45) is even worse.

Mike Green's right in the middle of the pack at -5.86, but he doesn't see as much time on the PK as others in this discussion, and certainly he's above average. Jeff Schultz at -5.25 fares reasonably well in the group of OK PKers.

Duncan Keith (-1.95) and Jay Bouwmeester (-2.87) absolutely shine here - they're their teams' go-to PKers and for good reason. Both have surprisingly good SH GF/60, meaning that a PK can be a shorthanded threat when they are on the ice. These guys would be Canada's primary PK'ers.

5v5 (Even Strength)

Oh hai there, Jeff Schultz (+2.26 +/- / 60). Don't you just look nice smoking absolutely everybody else on this list. Your partner Green (+1.78) doesn't look so bad either, given that the average is +.44 for all of these guys.

Jay Bouwmeester's a good ES dude, too (+1.24). Chris Pronger (+.86) isn't a slouch either, and neither is Drew Doughty (+1.1). But Regehr (-.13) and Weber (-.25), you guys have some catching up to do at ES if you want a ticket to Vancouver. Everyone else is middle of the pack.

Oh, and ... Niedermayer (-.53) isn't so lovely here either.

5v4 (Power Play)

Average +/- / 60 for all of these guys: +6.08.

Think Mike Green's a PP specialist? He sees far more PP ice time than anyone else on this list, and has the second/best +/- / 60 of everyone at +7.98. (The only one better is Duncan Keith(+10.55), and at 2:17 / G, I have to think somewhat limited sample size. Still, Keith's no slouch here.) That .8 GA/60, though ... hm. Shorties against are bad, Ray, but look on the bright side - a lot more shorties happen for other people than you.

Chris Pronger also gets plenty of PP time and is no slouch (+7.82). Same for Dan Boyle (+7.55). Regehr has decent numbers (+7.64) but doesn't see much time on the PP. Niedermayer is actually reasonable here, although there are better at +6.79.

J-Bo (+4.84) -- well, let's just say that his PP isn't his strong point. Same for Shea Weber (+4.68).

Interestingly, Jeff Schultz is right in the middle of the pack at +7.06, but he only sees 20 ticks / game of PP ice time, so limited sample size ahoy. I think we can safely throw that tidbit out :)

Conclusions

So. Based on all of this, who do I have to take to Vancouver with me if I'm Steve Yzerman? Here's my list, in no particular order, based solely on numbers: 

  1. Jay Bouwmeester - absolute beast on PK and ES. PP, not so much, but that's okay, I think Canada can find scoring on its PP. Just a hunch. 
  2. Duncan Keith - he's your go-to special teams guy, but not too shabby at ES.
  3. Chris Pronger - ♫ A little bit of nasty on your team ♫, plus decent stats on PP and at ES. He's not the best at anything, but he's good at all of them. 
  4. Dan Boyle - he's got all three. Can't ask for more.
  5. Drew Doughty - again, young he may be, but he's strong in all three situations. 
  6. Brent Seabrook - ditto Dan Boyle, though he doesn't spend a lot of time on the PP either.
  7. Mike Green - His ES is very strong, as is his PP, but whether he works depends on whether Yzerman is willing to play fast and furious and let him jump into the play. Put him in if Canada is struggling on the PP or on ES breakouts. 

No, I wasn't seriously saying send Jeff Schultz, I was just giving the haters something to think about in this analysis. Sorry, Scott Niedermayer - when you're below the middle of the pack in 2 out of 3 categories, I can't justify including you. Same for Robyn Regehr - hitting does not an effective defenseman make.

Whew. Please don't throw too many rotten tomatoes - I'm not a genius at this and I welcome all thoughtful commentary, including how I can make this a deeper and more meaningful analysis.

UPDATE: I have added Relative Corsi (the difference between Corsi when the player is on the ice and when the player is off) for each player for each situation. It's intended to show whether and by how much the player in question adds to or subtracts from the situation in question. Hopefully this takes care of the argument of QualTeam / QualComp and the relative team strength problem in one fell swoop.

The numbers are eye-opening to say the least. I'm still digesting the numbers (and I have real work to do), so I'll post my thoughts on these a little later today. One thing does jump out at me, though - who's got positive Corsi in all three situations?

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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