The Forwards: Dynamic (and Not-So Dynamic) Duos and Trios

via daylife.com

Yesterday we took a look at which Caps defensemen were the most productive when playing together last season. Today, we're going to take a similar look at forwards, specifically "top six" or skill forwards (a generous definition for some). 

To get us started, here's a look at the Caps' top 10 even strength line combinations (by occurrence, which is like a shift, but far more frequent) made up only of skill forwards (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Fehr, Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov... oh, and Michael Nylander), their respective total points as a line, and their occurrence-per-point (OPP) rates:


Line Occurrences
Points Occ./Pt.
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov 2099 44 47.7
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin 1302 47 27.7
Laich-Fedorov-Semin
442 10 44.2
Fleischmann-Fedorov-Semin 423 6 70.5
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Nylander
333 3 111.0
Fleischmann-Fedorov-Fehr 298 11 27.1
Fleischmann-Nylander-Fehr 277 6 46.2
Laich-Nylander-Semin
258 2 129.0
Fleischmann-Nylander-Kozlov 235 1 235.0
Ovechkin-Fedorov-Semin 233 11 21.2

Notice anything about the three lines with the worst OPP rates? Nylander skated with Ovechkin and Backstrom... and failed. He skated with Laich and Semin... and failed. He skated with Fleischmann and Kozlov... and failed (epically). And since you're wondering, Nylander had 44 occurrences with the two Alexes (sorry, Giroux, not you) and the line didn't register a single point. Does anyone really still think he can produce for this team?

Moving along, here's a look at the top lines, ranked by total point production:
Line Occurrences
Points Occ./Pt.
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin 1302 47 27.7
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov 2099 44 47.7
Ovechkin-Fedorov-Semin
233 11 21.2
Fleischmann-Fedorov-Fehr 298 11 27.1
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Laich
39 11 3.5
Laich-Fedorov-Semin 298 10 44.2
Ovechkin-Fedorov-Kozlov 201 8 25.1
Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin
108 7 12.0
Fleischmann-Backstrom-Fehr 84 7 15.4
Laich-Nylander-Fehr 225 7 32.1

More Ovechkin-Backstrom-Laich, please.

No real surprises here - just about any line with Ovechkin on it, put up points, albeit at different rates, and Semin and Backstrom ain't too shabby either (and don't forget the F Street line).

Digging a little deeper, we can look at pairs, rather than trios. Why pairs? In part because the point of the exercise is to try to see, statistically, where chemistry exists between two players and where it doesn't (and three-way chemistry would just be an added layer to that). And, in part, because the available data lends itself more to looking at pairs of players.

The table below includes relevant data for each of the pairs of the above-named forwards who skated at least 40 even strength minutes together, ranked by plus-minus per sixty minutes of even strength time:


Duo ES TOI GF GF/60 GA GA/60 +/- +/-/60
Laich-Ovechkin 52:20 13 14.90 7 8.03 6 6.88
Fedorov-Nylander 43:21 6 8.30 2 2.77 4 5.54
Ovechkin-Semin 365:22 32 5.26 13 2.14 19 3.12
Backstrom-Semin 381:31 29 4.56 11 1.73 18 2.83
Backstrom-Laich 108:21 12 6.65 7 3.88 5 2.77
Fedorov-Laich 192:21 15 4.68 8 2.50 7 2.18
Backstrom-Fedorov 59:25 3 3.03 1 1.01 2 2.02
Backstrom-Fehr 61:34 5 4.87 3 2.93 2 1.95
Fedorov-Semin 315:11 23 4.38 13 2.48 10 1.90
Laich-Semin 255:39 19 4.46 11 2.58 8 1.88
Fedorov-Fehr 127:49 6 2.82 3 1.41 3 1.41
Fehr-Fleischmann 266:15 16 3.61 10 2.25 6 1.35
Backstrom-Ovechkin 1009:52 63 3.74 41 2.44 22 1.31
Nylander-Semin 117:05 8 4.10 6 3.08 2 1.03
Backstrom-Fleischmann 79:23 5 3.78 4 3.02 1 0.76
Fleischmann-Semin 162:42 9 3.32 7 2.58 2 0.74
Laich-Nylander 284:55 15 3.16 12 2.53 3 0.63
Fedorov-Fleischmann 226:16 10 2.65 8 2.12 2 0.53
Kozlov-Nylander 167:17 7 2.51 6 2.15 1 0.36
Fehr-Nylander 176:30 7 2.38 6 2.04 1 0.34
Fehr-Laich 185:22 9 2.91 9 2.91 0 0.00
Backstrom-Kozlov 537:17 27 3.02 28 3.13 -1 -0.11
Fedorov-Ovechkin 184:29 13 4.23 14 4.55 -1 -0.33
Fleischmann-Nylander 297:11 14 2.83 16 3.23 -2 -0.41
Kozlov-Ovechkin 557:09 30 3.23 35 3.77 -5 -0.54
Fehr-Ovechkin 79:46 4 3.01 5 3.76 -1 -0.75
Fleischmann-Kozlov 143:34 4 1.67 7 2.93 -3 -1.25
Kozlov-Laich 131:11 6 2.75 9 4.12 -3 -1.37
Nylander-Ovechkin 130:50 4 1.83 8 3.67 -4 -1.84
Backstrom-Nylander 72:52 2 1.65 5 4.12 -3 -2.47
Fleischmann-Laich 86:34 2 1.39 6 4.16 -4 -2.77
Fedorov-Kozlov 79:05 4 3.04 9 6.83 -5 -3.79

She's a doozy, eh? A few notes taken from the data (small sample size disclaimer where applicable):

  • Remember what I said above about Nylander being a failure with everyone with whom he skated? I take that back - he killed with Fedorov, and I'd love to see him on a line with Sergei this coming season.
  • The Ovechkin-Laich duo (remember them from earlier in the post?) led the way in GF/60 and had the worst GA/60 - when they were on the ice together, things happened.
  • The top offensive duos were Ovechkin-Laich, Fedorov-Nylander, Backstrom-Laich, Ovechkin-Semin and Backstrom-Fehr. The worst offensive duos (or is that "the most offensive" duos?) were Backstrom-Nylander, Fleischmann-Kozlov, Nylander-Ovechkin, Fehr-Nylander and, bringing up the rear... Kozlov-Nylander.
  • The top defensive duos were Backstrom-Fedorov, Fedorov-Fehr, Backstrom-Semin, Fehr-Nylander, Fedorov Fleischmann. The worst defensive duos were Kozlov-Laich, Fleischmann-Laich, Fedorov-Ovechkin, Fedorov-Kozlov and Ovechkin-Laich.
  • If Brendan Morrison is replacing Fedorov, he'll do fine. If Brendan Morrison is replacing Nylander, he'll be the biggest positional upgrade in the League.
  • I already don't miss Viktor Kozlov. Mike Knuble might be the second biggest upgrade in the League in 2009-10.
  • Backstrom is a golden god.

Given the turnover - out with Fedorov, Kozlov and likely Nylander (from the lineup, at least); in with Morrison and Knuble - some of this data is moot going forward. But a lot of it is worth looking over when thinking about the team's top two lines. We know who the centers will be, and we know who three of the four wingers will be. But the combinations remain to be seen, and, knowing Bruce Boudreau, we'll see plenty of every combination imaginable.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Japers' Rink

You must be a member of Japers' Rink to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Japers' Rink. You should read them.

Join Japers' Rink

You must be a member of Japers' Rink to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Japers' Rink. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker