Now that I've got the retrospect out of the way, we can go forward and look at the team's scoring chance numbers through two months of play. This will be a little different from what I did last month as I'm going to be looking at a few different things, one of which being adjusted scoring chance information. One of the biggest issues with scoring chances is that there hasn't been a way to adjust the data for zone starts like there is with corsi, and this is a way of doing it. The method was drawn up by New Your Ranger blogger George Ays who determined that one offensive zone start is equal to .45 in scoring chances. Using the formula drawn up by JLikens for corsi, we can apply this to scoring chances to get a better idea of how the Canes players are performing relative to their zone starts.
A team like Carolina is in huge need of context with this data because of how buried players like Bryan Allen, Brandon Sutter, Patrick Dwyer and Tim Gleason have been all season when it comes to where they start most of their shifts. There's a good chance that their raw numbers are going to look ugly no matter what so adding some context will help judge their performance more evenly. It also has the opposite effect where we can see if a sheltered player (*cough*Kaberle*cough*) is taking advantage of his cushy zone starts or doing nothing with them.
We'll cut into the details after the jump.
We're going to start off with the raw data.
EV TOI: Even strength time on ice, 5v5 SCF: Scoring chances for 5v5, 5v5 SCA: 5v5 Scoring chances against, SC +/-: Scoring chance differntial, EV CF/15: Even strength scoring chances per 15 min., EV CA/15: Even strength scoring chances against per 15 min., OZone%: Offensive zone start percentage, Nov. Diff: Scoring chance percentage difference from October
Chad LaRose is at the top of the pack this month as he's remained very consistent in creating and preventing chances. Just as a side note, he's also been one of the Canes better players territorially and is on-pace to set career-highs in goals, points and shots on goal. I honestly didn't see him netting more than 15 goals at most at the beginning of the year but he may very well prove me wrong. He also hasn't been receiving much puck luck at even strength either (on-ice shooting percentage is 4.59) so there is a good chance he might actually set a career high in points if he keeps this up. The fact that he's been getting top-six minutes all season has helped him a lot but I don't have any complaints with the way he's performed so far.
Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu finally broke the 50% mark in scoring chances and it's about damn time for both of them. Note the huge improvement in Staal's scoring chance percentage in November compared to how it was in October. Staal is having no problem with creating chances as he leads the team in CF/15, but his issue all season is that he's giving a lot back at the other end. It's improved dramatically in November but he's still well below the team average in preventing scoring chances. The same goes for Ruutu and Jeff Skinner. Speaking of Skinner, I think he might take the throne as the best forward on the team for the first two months of the season. He's not getting easy minutes and is creating chances despite that. Oh, and he's scoring goals so that helps too.
Ponikarovsky, Sutter and Dwyer's numbers are still below the team average but Dywer and Poni have both been solid at preventing chances, which is what they are told to do on the third line. Strangely, Sutter is the one struggling in that department but he's gotten a lot better at creating offense which is possibly due to him seeing time on the first line for a few games. These three are also getting some very tough assignments, so the adjusted chances will give us a slightly better idea of their performance.
Jussi Jokinen saw his performance drop the most this month and that is due to a combination of injuries and playing with weaker linemates than Skinner & Ruutu. You'll also notice that his offensive zone starts are extremely low this year, too. Tlusty also saw a bit of a decline in November but he's still coming out on top in scoring chances. He also is doing a solid job at preventing them which might keep him on the third line over Andreas Nodl for the time being.
Stewart and Brent have produced little to no offense but the latter is at least preventing chances when he's on the ice. Boychuk has been playing very well when given ice-time but I'm not sure how valid his numbers are given the small sample size.
Bryan Allen has been the best defenseman on the team and it's not even close, really. I questioned whether or not he could still play a top-four role before the season started and he is proving damn well that he can. I might even go as far to say that he's made Tim Gleason better as these two always seem to be the most effective when paired together, but Allen's numbers away from Gleason are a lot stronger. Don't get me wrong, Gleason's had a very good year but Allen has been a rock.
The player with the biggest decline should not surprise anyone as Tomas Kaberle was awful in November but is still above .500 in scoring chances due to his strong start. Kaberle's been a huge disappointment but is he really as bad as people say he is or is he just going through a rough patch? I'm going to dive into this further because his play certainly dropped off a ton compared to October.
Speaking of players going through rough patches, Pitkanen was not good in October at preventing chances, but was actually improving until his injury put him out of action for about two weeks. He's injected life into the powerplay but his play at even strength has a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully it comes soon. Pitkanen's injury also forced Jay Harrison into a bigger role and he struggled big time. He was above 50% in scoring chances in October when he was getting sheltered minutes with Kaberle but now that he's taking on a bigger role, he's giving up a ton of chances in his own end. Thankfully he is producing a lot of scoring chances too which really helps his value.
The most improved defenseman was Jamie McBain and his numbers are in line with the team average in both category, which is sums up my general thoughts of his play this month. Not too bad, but nothing spectacular either.
It's a small sample size but Justin Faulk is creating and allowing chances at a rate higher than the entire defense corps. Everyone seems to be impressed with his poised but they are overlooking the fact that he's giving up a ton of chances in his own end. On top of that, he's playing some very important minutes so maybe the team should look into decreasing his workload a bit. Maybe give some of those sheltered minutes that Kaberle's hogging to Faulk instead since he's been very effective at creating offense from the blue-line. That's a nice lead into our next segment...
Adjusted Scoring Chances
Adj Raw CD
This model is much more appreciative of the heavy-lifting that Dwyer and Sutter do. They come out in the top three when we adjust scoring chances for zone starts and it makes sense when you think about it. Yes, they are getting outchanced but look at how many draws these two take in their own zone. They are put at a disadvantage almost every-time they are on the ice and are not getting completely killed despite that. However, a player who can outchance his competition WITHOUT the benefit of a handicap like this would be more impressive to me. I imagine that guys like Joel Ward and Sami Pahlsson probably come out with ridiculous ratings through this method.
Back to the Canes, you'll see that Jokinen is the top forward here as he is outchancing his competition despite starting a lot of his shifts in the defensive zone. LaRose has been doing the same thing only his zone starts have been somewhat easier. Staal is rated negatively here because he's barely outchancing his competition and has been one of only two regular forwards who have been seeing more of their shifts start in the offensive zone.
The one issue I have with this method is is that it rewards players who get a lot of defensive zone starts even if they are getting outchanced there. Take Tim Brent for example. He has started only five more of his shifts in the defensive zone and is getting shelled at even strength but this model rewards him for some reason. It also has some big effects on players with small sample sizes (see Boychuk, Dalpe & Sutter).
Adj Raw CD
Bryan Allen and Tim Gleason being at the top is no shocker at all. Pitkanen, however, moves up in the rankings a lot because of the amount of defensive zone starts he has. He's been outchanced more than any other defenseman and is rated as the third best defenseman here because of his workload. However, it can be said that Pitkanen isn't playing that bad when you consider that he's playing in a much more defensive role than he's used to. Harrison is being outchanced by almost the same amount and is punished through this model because he has less defensive zone starts.
The one who suffered the most (aside from Joslin) was Tomas Kaberle because he is one of the only sheltered blue-liners on the team and is barely outchancing his competition. I do understand this because it's basically the same case as Staal only a lot worse. It's also the main reason I have been frustrated with Kaberle this season. Guys with a lot of offensive prowess like Faulk, Pitkanen and McBain are being held back because we need to give Kaberle the easier minutes instead. All for him to barely outchance his competition and produce little points. This is why I think Kaberle is hurting the team.
This method isn't perfect but it does help provide a much needed asset in hockey stats: context.