• Luke Gazdic and DZ Faceoff Losses

    by  • April 19, 2014 • Hockey • 11 Comments

    Last year I outlined how I break things at 5v5 into pieces following faceoffs depending on location and whether they were won or lost. For defensive zone faceoff losses, it’s 37 seconds – that’s how long it takes for the effect of a defensive zone faceoff loss to wash out of the data. I ran the numbers tonight for this year’s Oilers.

    League average for this stat is around 25% or so. Overall, the Oilers were at about 23.9% and they improved as the year went on – they were 24.3% in the second half of the year. This area isn’t really a big problem for them; all things told, they do ok after they lose defensive zone faceoffs, crazy as it might sound. The individual numbers are fun though:

    Saying that Luke Gazdic isn’t a very good hockey player is, to a large degree, not so much picking low hanging fruit as it is lying on the ground with your mouth open while someone else plucks low hanging fruit and places it in your mouth. At the same time: holy lord. His Corsi% in these situations is 14 points worse than the next guy. I have no words to describe it. In fairness to him, some of the gap may be due to him changing the instant that the puck comes out – that would get you off the ice before any SAF happened – but the rate at which the Oilers bleed shot attempts when he’s out there for a DZ faceoff loss is still astronomical.

    I have no idea how people in Edmonton are saying things like “He doesn’t hurt you” or describing him as a better player than Georges Laraque. To me, he just completely and utterly fails the eye test and then you look at the numbers and they’re even worse. When the opposition gets the puck in the Oilers end, they just move around him at will. He is not remotely close to the largest problem that they have but he’s probably the easiest to fix.

    Update: Unsurprisingly, this is a new record for someone with that many draws.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    11 Responses to Luke Gazdic and DZ Faceoff Losses

    1. Zach
      April 19, 2014 at

      Yep. I don’t understand how people think he is useful as an NHL player. “He’s a great team guy!” “He’s one of the toughest heavyweights in the league!” Both of those are probably true, but the Oilers (a 28th place team) aren’t in a position to willingly dress a player like this.

      I like an idea you mentioned earlier.. perhaps the NHL would allow players like this to still be employed by teams, and during TV timeouts they could be sent onto the ice to fight, entertain the fans and “generate momentum for their team” (eye roll). They can even still let them wear a jersey and sit on the bench, just they would be forbidden from playing during the game.

    2. Jaxsun
      April 19, 2014 at

      Holy cow, I don’t get to see much Oiler hockey but more SAA than faceoffs is not excuseable… I’d love to see some numbers for other low tier players like Gazdic across the league.

    3. Matt
      April 19, 2014 at

      What percentage of those 40 DZ faceoffs came after an icing? With numbers that bad you would hope the coach would never willingly put him out for one.

    4. Daniel
      April 19, 2014 at

      Thank you Tyler. Perhaps if you detail all the different possible ways to describe Gadzic’s lack of hockey proficiency, it may actually get across to management and the fans of face punching. To the first, I just want to say that if you keep Gadzic on the team, your fourth line will never accomplish anything but a pylon impression. To the second, I’d like to say that Gadzic would not have prevented Gagner’s injury and that if players are being intimidated, it is up to their team mates on the ice to support them – not the guy sitting on the bench.

    5. Steve
      April 19, 2014 at

      Matt, asking how many came after icing is a bit irrelevant. The fact you got your line in that mess is yours to own as a player, and yours to get out of.

      The question becomes is a lower rate of crushing hits on the smaller stars evident from his appearance in the lineup? If that can be established, is he being used correctly? Can his weaknesses be fixed? Would it make more sense to roll the other players thru the 4th line spot with token appearances? Is he really the right player?

    6. Sean
      April 19, 2014 at

      One nice thing about situational data like this is that you can find areas where some otherwise absurd tactics might be worthwhile. If Gazdic (or maybe even anyone besides Arco/Hendricks) is on for an icing in the 1st/3rd period, have them rush to the bench as soon as the puck drops. You trade 3 seconds of 4v5 time for a fresh (and useful) skater.

    7. Scrivy
      April 19, 2014 at

      Here’s an idea. You keep Gazdic up in the pressbox, eating popcorn. Then, for a particular vendetta game of no consequence, you dress him in the lineup, and match him against a hated player.

      He kills said player. Then, the next game, you move him back up to the pressbox and resume playing consequential hockey.

    8. troy
      April 19, 2014 at

      Ever comment must be from thse stats guys that have nothing better to do. Or the hockey fan that has know clue about the game and just worry about the stats. We had no inj to are star players after the league relived how tough he actually was. So like many really hockey fans and media have been saying stick corsi up your a;”.

      • dawgbone
        April 22, 2014 at

        The Oilers didn’t have a single player who played 82 games and Gazdic was acquired in the pre-season.

        In fact, the Oilers had 298 man games lost to injury this year, more than the projected 201 from 2012-13, more than the 248 from 2011-12, and more than the 279 from 2010-11.

        But you’re right, the Oilers built themselves a stellar team this year, so yeah Dellow, stick corsi up your ass.

      • Mr DeBake
        April 22, 2014 at

        Thanks Troy
        Good stuff
        Your grammar & spelling are much improved
        Keep at it, Champ!

    9. Aaron
      April 19, 2014 at

      How does this compare to DZ faceoff wins? If the SAF are so low because Gadzic is being changed the moment they leave the zone then one should see a similar pattern when they win the draw.

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