Originally posted on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 4/16/12

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to take a player-by-player look at the Hurricanes' scoring chances to review their season's. There will be two parts done for each player, a scoring chance recap which will consist mostly of numbers and a more thorough review which will talk about the player's season as a whole, the roles he played on the team and what kind of outlook I have for the player next season. It'll be a long process since going through the data takes time, but I think it will be worth while in the end. Going by memories and boxcar stats can tell you one thing about a player, but going deeper into the data tells you a lot more, which is why I am doing this project.

To kick things off, we are going to take a look at one of the Hurricanes more interesting players in Bryan Allen. He was acquired from the Florida Panthers near the end of the 2011 trade deadline for Sergei Samsonov and has played a bigger role than a lot of people expected him to. Most thought that he would be a third pairing defenseman for most of the year but he ended up getting top-four minutes on a lot of nights and was part of the team's main shutdown defense pairing for most of the season.

He played some of the toughest minutes on the team and was considered a reliable shutdown guy for most of the year. Allen is a free agent come July and the general consensus is that most Carolina fans want to keep him around because of how good he played this season. Was he as everyone perceived him, though? Going by scoring chances he was, but not for the entire year. A closer look at this is coming after the jump.

Bryan Allen 2011-12 Season

Average TOI/G: 19:09
QualComp Rank: 5/18
OZ%: 40.3%

Chance% Team Rank: 13/28
Chance% Defense Rank: 6/10

Diff/60 Team Rank: 14/28
Diff/60 Defense Rank: 4/10

 

Scoring Chances by Season Segment

Game # TCF TCA SCF SCA Segment% Team % 1-10 34 33 34 33 0.507 0.475 11-20 64 66 20 23 0.465 0.527 21-30 107 90 43 24 0.642 0.518 31-40 139 129 32 39 0.451 0.473 41-50 184 172 45 43 0.511 0.465 51-60 219 217 35 45 0.438 0.511 61-70 252 278 33 61 0.351 0.454 71-82 296 323 44 45 0.494 0.548

TC = total chances, SC = segment chances, Segment% = scoring chance percentage during segment, Team %= Hurricanes' scoring chance percentage during segment

For a more visually appealing look at Allen's season, here's a line graph comparing his performance during the 10-game segments compared to the team's average. It shows that Allen was a lot more inconsistent than many had thought this season.

Click to enlarge

The red line is Allen's even strength scoring chance ratio and the black line is the team's. Allen played slightly better than the rest of the team but he was extremely inconsistent this year and had a pretty bad stretch during the last 30 games or so. Rating defensive d-men is tough because a good game to them is one where they aren't mentioned on the scoresheet much. Allen also plays a lot of tough minutes and starts in the defensive zone more than others, so looking at the raw scoring chance data can be a bit deceiving.

I usually cut tough minute players some slack when it comes to scoring chances, but Allen was really, really bad towards the final stretch of the season. A shutdown defenseman is given those tough minutes because he should be able to prevent chances and shots against, Allen wasn't doing that for most of the last half of the season. It's disappointing because he was so solid for most of the year and was outperfroming the team.

My first thought was that fatigue finally caught up with him as he is over 30 and playing on a surgically repaired knee, but a closer look into his season reveals some interesting information. During the time when Kirk Muller took over (Game 25), Allen was primarily used as a third pairing defenseman and played softer minutes as a result. If you take a look at the graph, Game 25 is when his underlying numbers started to get better, too. That should raise some eyebrows when it comes to re-signing him. 

Regardless, Allen had a fairly solid season despite the rough ending and will probably be looking for a new home come July.

Now we are going to look at a WOWY chart that will show Allen's performance when a certain teammate was on the ice. This will give us an idea of who Allen played the best with and if he was relying on anyone in particular.

How about that. Allen's most effective partner was Jaroslav Spacek, who was his usual third-pairing partner. However, he wasn't nearly as effective with Derek Joslin and clearly performed better when he was away from #27.

Much of the talk this season about Bryan Allen was about how good of a shutdown pairing him and Tim Gleason were, and that's partially true. These two had a scoring chance rate that was a little above the team average and Gleason seemed to perform very poorly when he was away from Allen. On the flipside, Allen was no worse without Gleason which is probably because he spent those minutes on the third pairing instead of the first.

 

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