• Scoring chances — forwards on special teams

    by  • January 25, 2009 • Uncategorized • 22 Comments

    [Part 4 of 4]

       Let’s start with the powerplay. These forwards have played 10 or more minutes with the man advantage in 2008-09:

    Player PP TOI SCF SCA F/60 A/60 -/60
    10 168.6 101 9 35.9 3.2 32.7
    83 143.9 83 8 34.6 3.3 31.3
    89 113.4 56 11 29.6 5.8 23.8
    26 113.0 55 9 29.2 4.8 24.4
    27 110.9 71 5 38.4 2.7 35.7
    13 90.2 44 12 29.3 8.0 21.3
    12 70.5 34 10 28.9 8.5 20.4
    78 43.4 27 1 37.3 1.4 35.9
    88 11.3 2 2 10.6 10.6 0.0
    Team 878.5 478 69 32.6 4.7 27.9

       Once again Shawn Horcoff leads the way in ice time as well as gross scoring chances. Those of us who screamed for Dustin Penner’s inclusion on the first unit can point to his team-leading rate of PP SC/60 as well as his team-leading +6.70/60 with the man advantage. Of the second-unit guys, Marc Pouliot has an excellent rate of scoring chances while giving up nothing the other way, for the best net ranking on the club. The other second-unit guys — Gagner, Cole, Cogliano, Nilsson — all have both a lower rate of chances generated and a much higher rate of shorthanded chances allowed. Of note is the flat rate of Robbie Schremp: 2 chances for, 2 against in 11 minutes. Not too impressive until you consider both of those chances For went in the net.

       Looking at the segment of game since Dec 5:

    Player PP TOI SCF SCA F/60 A/60 -/60
    10 65.5 42 3 38.5 2.7 35.7
    27 59.4 40 2 40.4 2.0 38.4
    89 53.8 35 6 39.0 6.7 32.3
    26 49.4 30 4 36.4 4.9 31.6
    13 41.0 25 5 36.6 7.3 29.3
    83 35.5 25 2 42.3 3.4 38.9
    78 30.3 21 0 41.6 0.0 41.6
    12 20.3 14 5 41.4 14.8 26.6
    88 2.0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
    Team 355.2 232 27 39.2 4.6 34.6

       Most of the same trends are apparent here. Hemsky’s performance in relatively few games is particularly solid. Penner has moved up the depth chart and performed well. Pouliot, who ranks third on the team behind just Penner and Hemsky at +6.15/60, really made the most of his half hour over this portion of the schedule, and has by far the best results of any second unit forward, especially on the defensive side of the puck.

       Turning finally to the PK, here are season-to-date results:

    Player SH TOI SCF SCA F/60 A/60 -/60
    10 137.9 11 97 4.8 42.2 -37.4
    51 112.6 11 74 5.9 39.4 -33.6
    18 110.7 10 74 5.4 40.1 -34.7
    27 40.3 2 28 3.0 41.7 -38.7
    26 38.8 11 25 17.0 38.7 -21.6
    34 38.6 1 23 1.6 35.8 -34.2
    13 34.1 2 20 3.5 35.2 -31.7
    85 21.8 0 13 0.0 35.8 -35.8
    89 14.7 2 6 8.2 24.5 -16.3
    78 10.1 0 3 0.0 17.8 -17.8
    Team 559.6 50.0 363.0 5.4 38.9 -33.6

       No surprise to see Shawn Horcoff leading the way in ice time. All of the guys who have gotten more than 20 minutes of ice time have similar numbers of SCA, between 35 and 42. However, Erik Cole’s name jumps off the list because of the large number of opportunities he has created in the good end. Cole hasn’t yet produced any shorthanded goals for his efforts, but he has been successful at distracting the other guys from scoring. He has been on the ice for just 1 PPGA all season according to BehindtheNet, and his rate of -1.26/60 leads the team by far. Of the other guys on this list, Marc Pouliot is second at -5.56 in very limited ice, suggesting that he might deserve a shot at a little more action on the PK. The rest range from -6.89 (Cogliano) and down.

       PK results since Dec. 5:

    Player SH TOI SCF SCA F/60 A/60 -/60
    10 55.4 8 36 8.7 39.0 -30.3
    51 46.1 6 33 7.8 43.0 -35.1
    18 40.8 4 36 5.9 52.9 -47.1
    26 28.9 10 20 20.8 41.5 -20.8
    13 19.1 2 9 6.3 28.3 -22.0
    85 7.7 0 2 0.0 15.6 -15.6
    27 5.2 0 1 0.0 11.5 -11.5
    89 1.1 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
    78 1.0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
    Team 199.6 30 135 9.0 40.6 -31.6

       The PK unit as a whole has cut down on net scoring opportunities allowed; Cole’s seeming ability to drive the play in the good direction has been very apparent in recent games, and shows up here. Andrew Cogliano has also picked it up in an increased role which should make Dennis happy. The bottom guys on the list all show improved results even as their ice time has been cut way back. Meanwhile, Ethan Moreau continues to be a top four PK guy, despite the fact that he is doing a brutal job, bleeding scoring opps and goals against. The captain ranks 94th among 96 NHL forwards with 20+ GP and 2:00+ SH TOI per game with a horrible rating of -11.02/60, and judging by this scoring chance data he’s full value for it.  

      The best news is the improving relationship between the PP and PK. During the first interval the PP was generating a net rate of +23.3 scoring opps per hour, while the PK was bleeding them at the rate of -34.7, fully 50% more. In the second segment that turned around almost completely, to +34.6 on the PP and -31.6 on the PK. The differential on the season is still negative but the gap is closing. And on the scoreboard, the PK, a disaster through the end of 2008, has killed 34 of 39 this month, while the PP has clicked on 6 of 41 opportunities. This saw-off on special teams has allowed the team’s strong play at EV to carry the day, resulting in a 7-3-0 record so far in 2009.


    22 Responses to Scoring chances — forwards on special teams

    1. Tyker
      January 26, 2009 at

      Great stuff Bruce. The stuff on Schremp is particularly interesting, both at evens and on the PP. It seems to me to support the argument that, points notwithstandings, the chances just weren’t there for him and it wasn’t going to last. I’d be interested to hear what the Schremp fans think, although I suspect that none of them read this site.

    2. Matt N
      January 26, 2009 at

      Great read Bruce.

      The thing that jumps out at me is the total minutes for Horcoff on special teams. I realize that his faceoff work is important, but I think that his time on ice needs to be managed a bit better. His PP and PK results are replaceable, which would save him for his valuable contributions going power vs. power at EV.

      RE: Schremp

      Sample size??
      There are enough knocks on the Hockey Jesus already, I don’t think that we should try to undermine the one area he is successful at, PP production.

    3. January 26, 2009 at

      Matt N: If you like nice round numbers, try these: during the 42 games under review, Horcoff leads all forwards in SH TOI by 25 minutes, in PP TOI by 25 minutes, and in EV TOI by 50 minutes. Since the guys in second are three different guys, Horc’s edge in total ice time is just over 200 minutes on any teammate (Cole). In fact Horc ranks in the top 10 forwards in the NHL in TOI and TOI/G. He’s a horse, and MacT is riding him.

      I don’t think I was trying to undermine Schremp, in that I pointed out small sample size on both sides of the equation: few chances generated but great success on those few chances. Same thing at evens, where Schremp has a Sh% ON of 19%. I argued at the time they shouldn’t be sending him out based on those success rates, unsustainable as they clearly are, until he stopped producing them. But he was getting whacked on the scoring chance metric right from the start, esp. on the defensive side of the puck. As Tyker puts it, the chances just weren’t there for him and it wasn’t going to last. I guess the coaches put more stock on that sort of thing rather than the much smaller sample size of pucks that enter the net. I suspect most of the Statzis would agree.

      I’m frankly more puzzled by the demotion of Potulny, whose boxcar stats are similar to Schremp but whose underlying stats are far, far better. In the forwards at even strength post I mentioned Potulny is best on the team in scoring chance differential and Schremp is the worst. Note also their ES Corsi: Potulny +17.9, Schremp -19.7. Admittedly a small and unsustainable sample size, but Potulny leads the team in +/- per 60 (in fact in both GF and GA), Corsi per 60, and scoring chance differential per 60 … he was bringing it territorially and on the scoreboard. Oilers outshot the opposition 24-13 with Potulny on the ice and outschored them 4-1. I can’t find a reason in there to sit him down, let alone send him out. Anybody could see he played excellent hockey in that 4-game trial, and his stats back that up to the nth degree.

    4. Matt N
      January 26, 2009 at

      Not sure if you are for or against lightening Horc’s special teams load. IMHO, his play has been affected by the minutes he has been playing. I don’t think that he has been quite as effective as he was last year (pre-injury).

      RE: Potulny
      As you noted, his natural fit in this line up is Nilssons spot on the LW with 89,26 facing soft minutes. I don’t see him getting ice time anywhere else other than possibly spotting in on the 4th. That time is being well competed for with Brule, Stortini, Brodziak, Poo (when Fernando gets healthy), Big Mac and Reddox. All of these guys bring a more physical game than he does, which is what Mac-T is looking for on this line. So, barring a trade, how do you get 21 playing time? You can’t sit Nilsson, so Potulny gets the demotion.

    5. Dennis
      January 26, 2009 at

      We had an early look at these numbers awhile ago and someone nailed how the Kids 2nd PP Unit was giving up SHCA and, yeah, exactly.

      What I`ve noticed about 78 – considering how he fares so well in this measure – is that he makes simple plays on the PP. It`s to the point now where we know just about everything about all their games and on the PP you`ll see 78 to the right of the goalie making give-and-go plays OR you`ll see him over to the left feeding the slot OR the high slot with the D pinching. Not too many home games ago he found 26 twice in the slot with ease and there was a 37 PPG that came about from a 78 pass.

      The other thing he does is he`ll go to the front of the net if that`s what`s called for.

      26`s PK performance has been uncanny. Earlier on this year when we were getting light up and we were trying guys there like 27-89, I was pimping more time for 13-26-78 though I had no idea 26 would be this effective. These days we`re rolling 10-51, 18-26 and then 13 as the fifth option and the 18-26 tandem have been on the ice for a recent spate of SH opps.

      BTW, I know it would kill having him out there to take the important first shift after the PK expires – which are butter min because the other team`s best players shot a wad on the PP – but going forward 89 projects as a decent PK. I was going nuts early on that MacT was using him in the role but the hunch turned out to be correct. And be it strictly anecdotal, it appears to me that Young Gagner is a super smart shot-blocker and we could use one of those.

    6. January 26, 2009 at

      his natural fit in this line up is Nilssons spot on the LW with 89,26 facing soft minutes… You can’t sit Nilsson …

      Matt you can’t sit Nilsson because …?

      At the time Nilsson was sitting, out with concussion, and yet after playing 13:08 and posting a +1 in a one-goal victory his last game in Denver (with 3 shots and a Corsi of +6), Potulny got pressboxed vs PHX while Brule played and used up one of his last games of eligibility (which are much dearer for him than they are fgor Potulny at this point). Brule, Cole and Brodziak were the only minus forwards in what was otherwise a convincing 6-3 Oiler win, fwiw. Reddox also got the game against PHX, and I am struggling to find anything in the statistical record that supports that choice. If I’m not mistaken he started the game right in that 2LW spot beside Gagner and Cole; I seem to remember going “say what?!” right at the drop of the puck that night.

      Then both Potulny and Brule took Mass Transit while Nilsson drew back in (also posting a -1) mere days after complaining of what were clearly concussion-”like” symptoms, when one more game off meant another week to recover, and that puzzles me too. In my view that spot shouldn’t be guaranteed to Nilsson, and when his replacement is outperforming him, well, what’s the rush? Use up 2 more games and 4 more days of the 10/30 he’s allowed, and let Potulny play right to the ASB, then send him down for the AHL “classic” in which (we) diehards can watch him play this evening. Then reassess after the break (which presumably they will do in any event).

      And all that said, Oilers went 3-1 with Potulny in the line-up and 2-0 without him, so obviously this decision, however strange it might seem, didn’t hurt the club. But it still leaves me scratching my head.

    7. January 26, 2009 at

      Regarding Schremp, the numbers aren’t wrong exactly, but that road game in SJ really killed him, as he was 0/5 at EV and 1/1 on the PP. He sure wasn’t the only one who got lit up in that game, but since he only has three other games it’s more difficult to hide the one that got away from you.

    8. January 26, 2009 at

      Scott: You’re right that Schremp wasn’t the only guy who got lit up in that David @ Goliath affair. The line of of Brodziak (1-16), Cole (0-17) and Moreau (0-18) were outshot by a cumulative 51-1. And Brodz got the winner in OT. Hard to forget shit like that.

      Schremp’s problem wasn’t in being dominated in S.J, it was the next game against FLA. The team outshot the Panthers 37-12 at evens, yet Schremp was +2/-4 on the shot clock and posted the only minus Corsi on the team. It was effectively a 1-0 loss, and the team could have used some of Robbie’s offence, but he brought nuttin’. Two straight bad games in a 4-game trial, coupled with the legitimate return (that time) of Nilsson, and the writing was on the wall.

    9. January 26, 2009 at

      Bruce: I agree the Florida game is what resulted in his being sent out but in terms of the sheer terribleness of his numbers, I’d say the San Jose game is what’s making him look so bad. I mean, if that said 10/10 in three games instead of 10/15 in four, regardless of the lack of effort against Florida, it would make a big difference to his chance rates. His awful Corsi would probably get a whole lot more reasonable too.

    10. Matt N
      January 26, 2009 at

      Matt you can’t sit Nilsson because …?

      Politics and money. Plain and simple. Nilsson makes 2m a season, I don’t think that he is in the long term plans, so you can’t “Penner” him. It will hurt his trade value. I would bet a beer that he is being shopped. Potulny, Brule, Reddox can all be HS or sent down without causing any kind of problem. I really dislike Nilssons game this year, he is so soft.

    11. January 26, 2009 at

      These are great numbers, and everyone involved deserves a ton of credit (especially Dennis).

      Anyways, I thought I’d point out that when Edmonton was playing Washington, 21-89-26 were actually getting the hard minutes; Boudreau through Ovechkin at that line.

      So despite the fact that 21 wouldn’t seem to be playing toughs in the minors, I wonder if he couldn’t handle some in the majors – I mean, the sample size is minute but he played well so why not give him another run?

      The choice of Reddox over Potulny really bothers me.

    12. January 26, 2009 at

      The choice of Reddox over Potulny really bothers me.

      Yeah me too. I checked out that WSH game, Potulny played exactly half of his TOI (4:33 of 9:05) against Ovechkin, and finished the night +1 on the scoresheet, +4/-2 on the shot clock, and an even Corsi on a night Ovechkin posted a +14. So obviously he held his own during his fraction of TOI head-to-head.

      I happened to be scoring that game for Staples’ player gradings project, and said the following:
      “Ryan Potulny – 6: Making the most of his Oilers audition, with lots of positive results in 9:05 TOI tonight: 1 shot, 1 hit, 1 takeaway, 1 assist, +1. One of the few Oilers to have a positive shot differential (+4/-2) on the night. Now has a Schremp-like 3 assists in his first 2 games.”

      Of possible relevance is the fact that during his tryout Potulny was only used on 1 defensive zone draw (after an icing) compared to 15 in the O-zone. So obviously MacT felt he was limited there. His shifts ended 9 in the good end, 4 in the bad, which is not terrible even with the head start of where they began. (Any player with an imablanace at one end or the other “should” gravitate towards, but not all the way to, the mean.)

      All in all, among the call-ups I thought Potulny showed more than Reddox, Schremp or Brule. Maybe he’ll get another shot.

    13. January 26, 2009 at

      “imablanace” = imbalance. Obviously a little unbalanced myself when I butchered that. Onomatopoeia?

    14. January 27, 2009 at

      While reading those four posts; for some odd reason, I had Bryan Adams’ “Thought I’d died and gone to heaven” playing in my head. Very heady stuff, guys.

      I guess we can agree that Moreau ain’t what he used to be – injury or “just” decline? Rust, still? (Unlikely, imo)

      What’s a fair contract number or Cole, based on this season? Three years at 4? A bit less?

      I wanted to make sure you guys saw this little tidbit I found the other day:

      Omark: http://www.luleahockey.se/A-lag/Spelare/Forwards/Linus-Omark/

      GP: 44
      ATOI: 17 min
      S%: 17,35%
      G: 17
      A: 26
      Points: 43
      PPpoints: 17

      John Willis did some quick and dirty NHLE comps that (assuming AHL=SEL) point to a quite useful player.

      “If we can assume scoring rates in the AHL and SEL are similar (big assumption, admittedly) that would put Omark at .558 PPG EV; ahead of everybody currently on Springfield.

      And, going one step further, if we use Desjardins’ AHL to NHL and SEL to NHL league equivalencies (an even bigger stretch here, I think), we have Omark putting up

      25 EV points in 41 games (50 EV points in 82 games) in the SEL

      30 EV points in 82 games in the NHL

      67 EV points in 82 games in the AHL, or .82 EV PTS per game.”

      What’s your take on NHLE: AHL=SE

    15. coach pb9617
      January 27, 2009 at

      Great stuff all.

      Pouliot and Cogs need a new linemate toot suite. I’d suggest 78-13-34 when Fernie gets back.

    16. HBomb
      January 27, 2009 at

      Pouliot and Cogs need a new linemate toot suite. I’d suggest 78-13-34 when Fernie gets back.

      No shit, eh?


      Makes the most sense. My fear, however, is that we’re going to see Moreau-Cogliano-Pisani, due to MacT’s refusal to play Moreau on the 4th line, and the resulting 18-13-34 line is going to get their ass kicked because of Cogliano’s inability to win a faceoff.

      It makes little sense to have Pouliot and Brodziak together on a line while Cogliano drowns on the dot. And it makes less sense to have both those guys on the 4th line while Moreau continues to occupy a spot in the top nine.

      I’d love to see some sort of Nilsson for Vermette deal happen….move up Cogliano with 89-26 on the softie line, then go Vermette-Pouliot-Pisani as the secondary tough minute trio.

    17. January 27, 2009 at

      HBomb, I like that line-up except I got 46 over 85 all day long. Both are smart, coachable, developing players, but Zorg is way further along the development curve.

      The only thing Reddox does that Storts doesn’t is kill penalties, badly (-9.88/60, better than only Moreau). Oh yeah, and play on the first line (still not liking that move). Whereas Stortini does quite a few things that Reddox doesn’t do, such as hitting opponents with a greater impact than a fly on a windshield. Not to mention the other thing. Might as well put Stortini on Moreau’s line, since Your Captain isn’t going to pass the puck anyway. Maybe Ethan’s energy would be more appropriate in that setting, I dunno. I’m sure not liking his overall game wherever it’s deployed.

      The 13-78-34 combo has real possibilities, smart players with a wide variety of two-way skills. The option of having MP on the dot and then moving over to the wing where it seems he’s more comfortable than Cogs is a natural. At worst you split the duties between the RH and LH dot.

    18. Matt N
      January 27, 2009 at

      Is 13′s long term future with the Oil going to be on the wing? Other than his FO% he seems to be thriving in the center ice role. Producing offensively and doing a good job without the puck.

    19. sacamano
      January 27, 2009 at

      Honestly — can you put names with those sweater numbers.

      I’m old, I have a poor memory, and I like people’s monikers.

    20. Dennis
      January 27, 2009 at

      Matt: 13 does a good job carrying the puck but he’s gonna have to learn how to win a draw or else we’e gonna have to have a true pivot riding shotgun on the wing.

      I like any line that builds around the existing 78-34 chem though I must say that 78 seems to be building towards a shot at an offensive line if he was given the right guys.

    21. January 27, 2009 at

      Sacamano: Sorry, I’m working with the raw data set I was given. Way easier to format too, rather than names of varying lengths. Speaking for myself, the names and numbers are interchangeable.

    22. David Staples
      January 28, 2009 at

      Great work Dennis and Bruce, though I do agree with Sacamano, being ancient with fading memory myself.

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