Originally written on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 11/19/14

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: Bryan Allen #5 of the Florida Panthers skates against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on January 20, 2007 in Washington, D.C. The Panthers won 4-1. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Bryan Allen has arguably been the Hurricanes' best defenseman in this very forgettable season. He's played 18-20 minutes a night, is usually given the toughest assignments and has posted a 4.5 Corsi Rel. rating, which is the best among defensemen. Not only that, but he has been outperforming the entire defense corps when it comes to creating and preventing scoring chances. Despite his great play, Allen's seen his role decrease by a lot over the past few weeks. Was Kirk Muller the reason for this? We'll find out after the jump.

Time on ice and head-to-head reports are something that I always keep a close eye on when I do my scoring chance reports and I can't help but notice how little minutes Allen has been playing in the six games since Muller took over. Check out the table below for an illustration.

Allen during Muller's six games

Opp EV TOI SC Diff Corsi Diff Znet Forwards Faced FLA 18.2 3 21 -3 Campbell Versteeg Fleischmann NYR 11.65 -3 -12 0 Mitchell Boyle Hagelin PIT 12.5 -1 0 1 Martin Bortuzzo Orpik CGY 12.65 0 -1 -3 Butler Tanguay Bouwmeester EDM 13.46 7 8 0 Sutton Hemsky Horcoff WPG 14.06 -3 4 -1 Jones Bogosian Kane

Znet = amount of shifts started in the offensive zone compared to defensive zone.

Allen was in his "regular" role on the shutdown pair with Tim Gleason against Florida, played a terrific game but saw his ice time go down dramatically after that. In the five games after that, he was placed on the third pairing with Derek Joslin and Muller either matched him up with second-tier competition (NYR) or didn't put him up against anyone in particular. He's also been getting easier zone starts compared to his normal workload this year.

Is his performance the problem? His only really bad performance was against the Rangers where he was on ice for four total goals against. He also struggled against Pittsburgh and Winnipeg but aside from those three games, he hasn't been overwhelmingly bad in the Muller era. He hasn't been nearly as good as he was for most of the season but I'm not sure what motivated Muller to demote him so quickly. Things become even more confusing when you see how his replacements on the shutdown pair have performed. 

Opp Replacement EV TOI SC Diff Corsi Diff Znet NYR Faulk 18.2 1 16 4 PIT Faulk 18.9 -5 -17 -2 CGY Faulk 18.25 -4 3 1 EDM McBain 18.016 0 -1 -5 WPG McBain 20.116 -10 -15 -4

Justin Faulk was playing in Allen's spot with Gleason on the shutdown pair for three games under Muller and was only able to outchance his opponent's once. Although, that pairing was receiving a lot more offensive zone starts than normal in the Ranger game so that's an odd stat. Faulk is another player who has seen his role change under Muller as he played with the newly acquired Jaroslav Spacek in a more offensive role against Edmonton and Jamie McBain took over in his place. McBain had a solid game against the Oilers when you factor in the zone starts but a horrible game against the Jets.

My initial thought is that this was all Muller's doing but one thing I noticed is that Allen's minutes were being reduced under Maurice, as well.

Opp EV TOI SC Diff Corsi Diff Znet Forwards Faced BUF 15.2 6 12 0 Pominville Roy Vanek TOR 20.95 7 24 -2 Phaneuf Liles Connolly PHI 17.93 -2 -6 1 Carle Mezsaros Marshall MTL 14.76 3 2 -6 Gorges Subban Cole WPG 15.9 1 -6 -1 Little Kane Wheeler OTT 9.35 3 4 2 Karlsson Phillips Spezza

It was in the Montreal game when Allen began to see a decline in minutes but he was still used in important situations and the same goes for the Jets game. His minutes look reduced in the Ottawa game because of the nine powerplays Carolina had but he was slightly protected in terms of zone starts. So, we can conclude that Maurice was reducing his time on ice a little but his role stayed the same.

Allen's been on ice for more goals lately but that was bound to happen soon because his PDO was well over 1000 due to a high on-ice save percentage which was not going to sustain with how the Canes goaltending has been. The important thing is that Allen has been a +20 in corsi under Muller, has a +3 scoring chance differential and is still outperforming most of the defense. Unless Allen is nursing an injury, I don't see much of a reason to keep him from playing tough minutes while McBain and Justin Faulk are getting plowed in the same role.


Urban Meyer on Tim Tebow: 'He wants another shot at playing'

Keenan Lewis: Saints preparing 'funeral' for Falcons

Report: Lakers offered Nash, draft picks for Rondo

Chris Christie defends being a Cowboys fan

Celtics co-owner: 2024 Olympics would be 'boon for Beantown'

Harbaugh turned down Michigan money in 2011


Why the Saints pose a legit threat to any playoff team

Matt Kemp reportedly has arthritis in both hips

Danny Ainge: Celtics 'having a lot of discussions' about trades

Eagles fan posts on Craigslist seeking help for team

Michael Vick has almost paid off all his massive debt

Russell Wilson changes agents ahead of big payday

Game of the week: Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Chicago Bears are the Monstrosity of the Midway

Tom Brady's TD celebrations frighten teammates

The impact of normalized U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Dwight Howard kicks Nuggets mascot Rocky

Report: Bears in disbelief over Cutler benching

Is Titans-Jaguars the worst prime-time game this century?

Ranking the most underrated players in the NBA

Darrelle Revis feels sad for Rex Ryan

Five reasons why Oregon will win College Football Playoff

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason so far

Report: Celtics in serious trade talks involving Rondo

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Andrew Hawkins and other athletes gain support for social statement attire

NBA's most underrated players

Michael Vick nearly debt-free

Dolphins CB rips Brady's career plans

Biggest winners of the MLB offseason

Brian Billick owns Browns fan

C's in serious trade talks about Rondo

Pelini has profane words for Nebraska AD

When bowl results mean more for one school than another

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.