Noon Number (October 23rd): 72.9%

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

It's just after Noon here in Ireland, and after several days of torrential rain the sun is shining and it's a lovely day. Must have something to do with the Wild ending the losing streak and shutting-out the #Perds last night. Today's Noon Number is about Clayton Stoner and his remarkable statistics so far this season.

Clayton Stoner cops a lot of flak from Wild fans, and, up to this point, it has been well deserved. He has been a poor excuse for an NHL defenceman for the last few years, yet, bizarrely, gets top minutes. I felt that Justin Falk outplayed him last year, yet Falk got shipped-out while Stoner stuck around. I was hopeful that new faces like Dumba, Ballard and Blum would push Stoner onto the trading block or into the press box, but, when the new season began, he was still here and looked like he would be featuring reasonably regularly.

Somehow, Stoner has managed to reinvent himself this year and has performed very very well. He has passed the eye-test in every game except for the one in Buffalo, and has received praise from bloggers, writers and his coach. Now, those are just opinions, but at least it shows that he's not just putting-up good numbers while looking awful. This doesn't mean that people who were critical of him in the past were wrong, because he was terrible for years. This turn-around in encouraging, though I wonder how long it can go on before he reverts back to his old self. Hopefully he can maintain some kind of high level throughout the season because that would be huge for the Wild, almost like getting a totally new defenceman on the roster.

I think fans still have a knee-jerk hatred for Stoner based on past experiences. Go search his name on Twitter and you'll find dozens of Tweets about how terrible he is and how he needs to be sent to the press box. It's a shame that he has built up such a bad reputation, because he has been doing a good job this year.

Jeez, what does the guy have to do to win these people over?


-Here's some basic info about him:

CLAYTON STONER: Basic Info

AGE

28

SHOOTS

Left

GP

9

G

0

A

2

P

2

SHOTS

8

PIM

13

TOI/G

15:50

PP TOI/G

0:03

PK TOI/G

2:17


-Here are his underlying numbers this year in Close situations (Includes only players with 75% games played):

*CF=Corsi events for the team while Stoner is on the ice
*CA=Corsi events against the team while Stoner is on the ice
*CF%=Percentage of Corsi events for the team with Stoner on the ice
*Corsi Rel=Stoner's Corsi relative to his teammates
*FF/SF=Fenwick For/Shots For etc. (Same as above)

CLAYTON STONER: 5v5 Close

CF

83

CA

36

CF%

69.7% (1st-League)

CF% Rel

+12.3% (1st-Wild)

FF

62

FA

23

FF%

72.9% (1st-League)

FF% Rel

+14.6% (1st-Wild)

SF

40

SA

16

SF%

71.4% (1st- League)

SF% Rel

+10.2% (3rd-Wild)


-In case you need a refresher:

  • Fenwick = Goals + Shots On Goal + Missed shots while a player is on the ice
  • Corsi = Fenwick + Blocked Shots while a player is on the ice.
  • 5v5 Close = Counts only minutes where the game is within 1 goal in the 1st and 2nd period, and tied in the 3rd and overtime. This is to negate "score effects" which can interfere with regular 5v5 statistics. Close statistics have the strongest correlation with future success.
  • Score Effects = When one team has a comfortable lead they often "take their foot off the gas" and play a more defensive system, allowing their opponents to control the puck, while attempting to prevent high quality shooting opportunities. When a team is behind in a game they are "playing desperate" in an attempt to tie up the game. They play a much more offensive system where they control the puck and may be susceptible to high quality scoring chances on the counter-attack.
So Stoner's numbers are pretty incredible. He is leading the Wild and the league in Fenwick and Corsi which is no mean feat for a guy who is normally a possession black hole. Sneer at it if you like, but the numbers show that when Stoner is on the ice, he tilts it in the Wild's favour. I'm sure some people will be quick to point out the flaws in his game, and there are flaws, but if they were as prominent as people would have you believe, it would show-up in the numbers. If a guy is turnover machine in his own end, or can't move the puck up the ice, then that will show-up in his numbers. If it doesn't, then it's probably not as prominent as you think.

I'm not saying that Stoner is the best player in the league, nor do I believe he will keep this kind of performance up for the year, but the guy deserves a pat on the back for his performance, and, even if his play drops-off, I will be happy as long as he keeps his possession numbers above 50%.


-Let's take a look at his usage so far this year (Wild defencemen with 50% of games played:

CLAYTON STONER: Usage

Defensive Zone Start %

30.8% (3rd-Wild)

Neutral Zone Start %

33.0% (6th-Wild)

Offensive Zone Start %

36.3% (4th-Wild)

TotTm% Quality Of Competition

27.8% (5th-Wild)

TotTm% Quality Of Teammates

25.1% (7th-Wild)

Stoner is getting pretty even zone starts between all 3 zones against fairly soft competition, though he ranks last among Wild defencemen in Quality Of Teammates. The Competition and Teammates stats are somewhat unreliable at this early stage of the season, but at least there's nothing there to suggest he is being carried and/or playing ridiculously soft minutes which is resulting in his great possession numbers.


Follow me on Twitter for more hockey ramblings, and make sure to voice your opinions in the comments section below.



(Don't forget to check out the amazing ExtraSkater.com which has provided all the numbers for this article. This website is a game-changer this season and I recommend adding it to your browser's bookmarks. Whether you're looking for possession numbers or shot distance statistics, Extra Skater has it all.)





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