Thursday, February 3, 2011

Evaluating HOPE: Defence

So the Oilers lost another game where they out shot their opponent, and played well enough to deserve perhaps a different fate. Regardless, I don't know how many ways I can say 'losing is good and bad' so instead of focusing on the postgame, I decided to take a statistical look at the defence of our four promising forwards. I am of course referring to Hall, Omark, Paajarvi, and Eberle.

And yes, I stole this from the previous HOPE article.

Defending Rates

There are a couple ways you can break a forwards defence down, but considering the discrepancies in total amounts of games, I will use rate statistics (so get out your secret decoder rings kiddies).

The first chart contains the even strength defence rates, in other words, based on ice time (TOI/60) how many goals against they give up (GAON/60), their plus/minus per 60 minutes of ice (+-ON/60), their offence zone start rates (Ozone%), their quality of competition (Qcomp), along with the team save percentage (Sv%), and their rank on the team (among forwards with at least 10 games):

Name TOI/60 GAON/60Rank+-ON/60RankOzone%QcompRank Sv%
HALL 15.29 3.1111th -0.82 11th 52.10.066 1st 899
OMARK 12.19 3.69 15th -1.72 16th 58.5 -0.011 11th 860
PAAJARVI 13.15 2.58 7th -0.10 6th 52.7 0.013 8th 918
EBERLE 14.16 3.18 12th -0.71 10th 48.2 0.065 2nd 901

Some interesting stuff here:
  • Hall and Eberle are facing the toughest competition (already covered in the previous article), and are doing OK considering.
  • Paajarvii's playing the best defence of the four based on pure numbers. He is facing third liners mostly, so it's possible we would see the same defensive rates for Hall and Eberle were their assignments switched.
  • Omark's defensive numbers are awful. Dead last in every category. On the entire team, only Strudwick and Chorney have a worse +-ON/60. He is absolutely bleeding goals against at 5v5, so perhaps the goaltending behind him isn't helping much. Alternatively he's such a liability that he's putting the goaltender into bad situations; in such a small sample size this is certainly possible. Let's not forget he was second worst +/- on his team even while scoring the second most goals for Dynamo last season.
  • Eberle has some of the tougher zone starts on the team - not really sure why there is such a discrepancy between him and Hall, except that perhaps since Eberle has been out Hall has been perhaps getting easier zone starts. All things considered Eberle has been a beastly player 5v5.
  • Among forwards who play at least 10 minutes per game, Paajarvi is ranked third in GAON/60 and +-ON/60 (moving past scrubs like Fraser, JFJ, Stortini, and Smak). Ahead is only Horcoff and Reddox. Like I've said before, he has the makings of a Selke type forward.
  • Linus Omark? WTF? 
Penalty kill after the hop and a quick revisit of the advanced stats.

    Penalty Kill

    The penalty kill is comical to evaluate considering only one of the kids is on the PK at all, Eberle. I limited the results to forwards who PK at least 1 minute per game (7 players total):

    Name TOI/60 GAON/60Rank+-ON/60RankOzone%QcompRank Sv%
    HALL 0.03 -- - - - - - -
    OMARK 0.00 - - - - - - - -
    PAAJARVI 0.03 - - - - - - - -
    EBERLE 1.19 22.40 7th -19.60 7th 6.3 -2.888 6th 673

    673? Really?
    • Don't take too much stock in these numbers. That 673 is the worst in the league for forwards who have played at least 10 games and get 1 minute of PK time average. Shawn Horcoff is number two league-wide at 722. Stunningly bad numbers, there is no way that is a number that would be typical for any forward over any extended period of NHL time. So yea, he looks like pretty much the worst PKer of all time, but while I doubt he's been great, any judgement we could make will be clouded by that disturbing sv% number.
    Advanced Stats

    Some of the extended stats that apply from the previous article (updated):

    Name Corsi Rel QoC Rank Corsi Rel QoT Rank Corsi On Corsi Off Corsi Rel Rank Ozone%
    TAYLORHALL 0.389 7th 2.792 3rd -0.74 -13.68 12.9 2nd 52.1
    LINUSOMARK 0.429 5th -2.249 11th 2.95 -9.09 12.0 3rd 58.5
    MAGNUSPAAJARVI 0.540 3rd 0.543 7th -11.31 -7.64 -3.7 10th 52.7
    JORDANEBERLE 0.563 2nd 3.193 2nd -2.12 -17.38 15.3 1st 48.2

    Even with just 4 more games into the mix we can see some interesting changes:
    • Omark has started improving his puck possession numbers, moving up 4 spots to have the third best relative corsi on the team and the first positive corsi on. Also indiciative of the fact that the Oilers have been outshooting their opponents recently.
    • Paajarvi and Omark have seen their Corsi Rel QoT go up - probably because of each other starting to outshoot a bit more.PRV in particular has really started to improve his Corsi Rel even in just the last set of games.
    • Omark is getting massively protected in the last stretch of games in terms of his faceoff start. When I wrote the previous article on the 20th, his Ozone% was about 50. To see such a large percentage swing must mean that Renney has identified Omark's massive defensive lapses and is attempting to protect him with more favourable starting locations.
    • It's clear looking at the raw corsi numbers that even in the last 4 games the Oilers have improved in this area. Hall is nearly even and Omark has finally tasted the air in outshooter land. Too bad he plays defence like a mildewed mop.


    In general here are some of my thoughts:
    • Linus Omark: lordy, lordy, lordy. Give this kid a responsible centerman PLEASE! Maybe he can be a break even 5v5 player, just maybe. His defensive numbers are awful on a team that is one of the worst defensive teams in the league. I'm thinking his hall pass is going to expire real soon if he keeps this up.
    • Jordan Eberle: Even though he hasn't played a game since the last article, I still love this kids game. His PK numbers are bad in context of the entire rest of the league, but that 673 has a lot to do with it.
    • Taylor Hall: Considering he's facing stiff competition, I'm not sure you can really ask for much more from the kid. His numbers are not great, but a 900 5v5 save percentage is far, far below league average. In front of league average goaltending, I would be shocked if I didn't see outscoring numbers (i.e. way better defensive numbers).
    • Magnus Paajarvi: He's probably one of the best defensive forwards on the team, especially when he's facing middling opposition. Perhaps it would be tougher for him facing the best possible opposition, but he's already playing solid hockey in the Dzone, there's no question about it,
    Give them one more year, folks, and this will be an enviable core.

    P.S. all numbers from


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