Noon Number (November 8th): 5

Rob Carr

Start your weekend the right way by joining me in analysing some tedious data charts; it's the Noon Number.

The Wild's defence has been deservedly praised through the early part of the season for their lights-out play. Today I'm gonna look at some of their possession numbers and usage stats from the last 5 games to see what kind of trends are emerging in terms of where, when and how each defenceman is playing. I've omitted Nate Prosser and Matthew Dumba from this study as Dumba has only played 1 of the last 5 games, while Prosser has played 2. It is also worth noting that Jonas Brodin missed 1 of these 5 games while Keith Ballard missed 2.

Wild Defencemen Stats: Last 5 Games

5v5 Close

5v5

Player

CF%

CF% Rel

FF%

FF% Rel

On-Ice Sh%

On-Ice Sv%

PDO

G

A

P

Sh Att

SUTER

44.68%

-8.8%

44.6%

-10.56%

4%

94.7%

98.7

0

2

2

11

BRODIN

40.35%

-14.9%

38.88%

-17.33

5%

94.6%

99.6

0

0

0

2

SPURGEON

55.36%

+7.9%

54.5%

+5.48%

14.68%

96.66%

111.34

0

0

0

13

SCANDELLA

58.74%

+12.98%

58.76%

+11.74%

11.64%

100%

111.64

0

1

1

14

BALLARD

52.60%

+5.33%

54.43%

+10.56%

30.56%

89.66%

120.22

0

2

2

2

STONER

50.14%

+0.78%

53.88%

+6.7%

20.34%

71%

91.34

0

1

1

10

(CF%=Corsi For%, CF% Rel=CF% Relative to teammates, PDO=On-Ice Sh%+On-Ice Sv%, FF%=Fenwick For%, Sh Att=Shot Attempts)

  • Wow, those are some ugly, ugly puck possession numbers for Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin.
  • Nice job by Suter to get shot attempts away. 11 in 5 games at even-strength for a defenceman is good.
  • When healthy, Keith Ballard has done a good job. His numbers are slightly inflated because he missed the part of the year where everyone else's numbers started to normalise after a ridiculous start in the first couple of weeks. Still, he is playing well. I'd like to see him get more shot attempts though. 2 in 3 games isn't great for a guy with a powerful shot (though a slightly slow release).
  • Back to Spurgeon and Scandella for a second, they have managed a combined 27 shot attempts in the last 5 games. That's some nice work, and if they keep doing that then they should find their goals and assists totals will increase rapidly.
  • Clayton Stoner seems to be coming back to Earth after being the best Corsi player in the league for a while, but he is still North of 50% and that is impressive for a guy with a fairly limited skill-set. The problem with Stoner last year was that he was playing on the 2nd pairing, which he is just not suited for. Put him in a position of reasonably low responsibility and pressure, and he can actually play quite a bit.
  • Speaking of Stoner, check out all those shot attempts. Not bad for a guy who is big, slow and lacking in puck skills. He's shown a willingness to join the rush at times and looks surprisingly comfortable while doing so. Even if you're not much of a shooter, directing shots at goal is the route to more goals for yourself or for your teammates, so Stoner needs to keep doing what he is doing.


Wild Defencemen Usage: Last 5 Games

Player

EV TOI/G

PP TOI/G

SH TOI/G

O-Zone St%

N-Zone St%

D-Zone St%

SUTER

23.26

2.78

2.02

29.3%

37.5%

32.7%

BRODIN

22.75

1.025

1.7

30.3%

32.33%

37.38%

SPURGEON

16.16

1.44

1.92

26.92%

42.62%

30.64%

SCANDELLA

16.18

0.0

1.2

24.14%

38.34%

37.5%

BALLARD

14.4

0.87

1.57

17.36%

37.27%

39.83

STONER

11.94

0.04

1.04

22.25%

38.03%

39.75

(EV=Even Strength, PP=Powerplay, SH=Shorthanded, O-Zone St%=Offensive Zone Start %, N-Zone=Neural Zone, D-Zone=Defensive Zone)

  • Suter and Brodin have had fairly even starts across all 3 zones. They lead this group in offensive zone start percentage over the last 5 games.
  • Mike Yeo really needs to start trimming down the top pair's time on ice. With the way Spurgeon and Scandella are playing lately ,they have shown they are ready to shoulder a heavier load. Even a couple of minutes would make a huge difference. Suter and Brodin are struggling in terms of Corsi and Fenwick and are at great risk of getting injured or worn down if they are playing 25+ minutes a night throughout a lengthy NHL schedule and the Olympics (which they will likely both be going to). Even on special teams. Spurgeon has shown that he is very capable on the PP, while the likes of Scandella, Stoner and Prossr have looked good on the PK, so there is no reason for Ryan Suter to be on the ice for nearly 5 minutes of special teams play per night. This is just my opinion, but I'm really worried about Suter and Brodin feeling the effects of over-usage come playoff time (which I think the Wild will be involved in).
  • I'm surprised by Stoner's high percentage of offensive zone starts. Is Mike Yeo trying to develop some well-hidden 2-way talent? Probably not.
  • Keith Ballard could be another option to chip in with a slightly heavier workload when healthy. He has looked pretty good so far, and is experienced enough to handle the burden. Obviously his health is a big question mark at this point though.

Side Notes:

While we're on the subject of stats, I saw some interesting stuff on Twitter last night regarding Corsi being featured in both the Kings and Sabres broadcasts. Check this out:



This isn't the first time this has happened, and I get the feeling it's gonna become more and more common over the next couple of years. These metrics aren't just some weird niche thing anymore. Teams are using them and speaking fairly openly about them, hockey writers and bloggers are using them and, most importantly, game broadcasts are using them. Corsi being mentioned just once or twice on a Kings/Sabres broadcast has way more of an effect and reaches way more people than any amount of "Advanced Stats For Beginners" articles ever could.

I've said it before that the skepticism around Corsi/Fenwick/PDO exists only because these stats don't appear in your basic game broadcast or on NHL.com. No one questions whether or not +/-, hit counts or blocked shot numbers are 100% fool-proof when they are trotted out as reasons a player/team is good or bad, yet people will look for any reason to say that "fancystats" aren't 100% perfect and are therefore useless. I bet if/when the mainstream broadcasters, writers and hockey sites embrace these metrics fully, most of the skepticism will vanish. I don't think the idea that Corsi (or "shot-attempt differential") meaning a team probably has the puck more, and therefore is more likely to score more goals and get more wins would be that difficult of a concept to sell


Anyway, that's enough out of me. Follow me on Twitter for more hockey ramblings, leave a comment in the comments section, vote in the poll, and have a good weekend.

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