[Wild About Numbers]: Taking Stock Of The Wild's Depth Chart Before The Playoffs

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

With the puck dropping for Game 1 of the Wild's latest adventure in the Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight, today's Wild About Numbers is going to be focused on taking stock of what the Wild have at each position going into the playoffs.

The way I'm going to approach this is to analyse how each player has performed this season in terms of scoring and possession and then try to make a depth chart for the forwards and defencemen. I'm gonna focus on even-strength and 5v5 play because special teams are a bit more complicated to quantify and I don't want this to turn into a tome.

For the Player Usage Charts, open each picture in a new tab so you can see it full size and check what the labels on the X and Y axes are for context of what the chart is telling you. Also, remember, Blue bubble stands for positive Corsi relative to teammates, while Red is negative. The size of the bubble indicates the amount.


Defencemen

Possession

-Player Usage Charts showing, first, Quality of Competition and then Quality of Teammates to give context on how each defenceman is being deployed:

Def_qoc_medium

Def_qot_medium

-More in depth on-ice numbers:

Player

GP

TOI

SF%

SF% rel

CF%

CF% rel

1

Jonathon Blum

15

162.2

61.60%

13.10%

54.50%

7.60%

2

Jared Spurgeon

67

1155.9

53.10%

3.30%

52.20%

3.10%

3

Marco Scandella

76

1196

51.60%

3.60%

49.50%

1.20%

4

Ryan Suter

82

1775.1

49.00%

-1.10%

48.60%

-0.40%

5

Clayton Stoner

63

744.5

48.80%

-0.50%

47.50%

-1.30%

6

Nate Prosser

53

671.8

46.20%

-3.50%

46.50%

-1.90%

7

Keith Ballard

45

536.7

47.10%

-1.60%

45.90%

-2.80%

8

Jonas Brodin

79

1498.7

46.80%

-4.60%

47.00%

-3.20%

  • As well as the Corsi Rel that you could already see in the Player Usage Charts, I have added each player's overall Corsi For%, Shots For% and Shots For% Rel so you can get a detailed idea of what is happening when each defenceman is on the ice at 5v5.
  • Jon Blum's impressive numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt as the sample size is very small.
  • The Wild are out-shooting opponents with Blum, Spurgeon and Scandella on the ice, but not anyone else.
  • Scandella's numbers are particularly impressive because of his tough usage (above average competition, negative zone starts with average teammates).
  • Brodin's numbers are really really ugly this season after being so stellar last year. Methinks his usage was just too tough this year and he perhaps would have been better off playing a more sheltered role.


Scoring

-Firstly, here are the EV scoring rates for each defenceman, ranked by P/60:

Player

GP

G/60

A1/60

P/60

1

Jared Spurgeon

67

0.15

0.45

0.94

2

Marco Scandella

76

0.14

0.24

0.82

3

Keith Ballard

45

0.22

0.22

0.76

4

Ryan Suter

82

0.1

0.13

0.71

5

Nate Prosser

53

0.18

0

0.53

6

Jonas Brodin

79

0.19

0.04

0.42

7

Clayton Stoner

63

0.08

0.16

0.4

8

Jonathon Blum

15

0

0.36

0.36

  • Aside from being the Wild's best regular defencemen in terms of puck possession, Spurgeon and Scandella are also creating the most offence at even strength.
  • I don't expect to see Keith Ballard back in the line-up any time soon but one thing he had over Prosser and Stoner was that he could chip in some offence.

-For more perspective of each player's ability to generate offence at EV, here are their individual shot and shot attempt rates:

Player

GP

S/60

CF/60

1

Marco Scandella

76

3.8

8.9

2

Jared Spurgeon

67

3.4

8.5

3

Jonathon Blum

15

4

8.3

4

Clayton Stoner

63

3.7

7.7

5

Ryan Suter

82

3.3

7.3

6

Keith Ballard

45

2.5

7.1

7

Nate Prosser

53

2.4

6.9

8

Jonas Brodin

79

2.2

5.7

  • Getting the puck on net is the route to more offence as that table shows.
  • I would expect that if Jon Blum was to keep playing and generating shots at that rate, he would have scored a lot more points.
  • It's strange that Jonas Brodin has shown a lot of offensive instincts on the powerplay but he doesn't seem to be able to translate that to EV play yet.
  • Clayton Stoner's having a weird season. He's generating shot attempts faster than Ryan Suter but his negative possession numbers indicate he is also allowing a ton when he is on the ice. Not what you would expect from a "stay at home" guy.


Depth Chart

Suter-Spurgeon

Scandella-Brodin

Stoner-Blum

(Ballard, Prosser)

That depth chart is based on the numbers in this article and isn't necessarily a reflection of what the best pairings are. I gave Suter the nod over Scandella because I felt, despite not having as good numbers, his tough usage and heavy minutes still count for something.

I think those pairings would actually make a lot of sense. Whether they are successful or not would depend a lot on how Suter and Brodin play. Suter needs to be better than he was in the regular season as he will be heavily relied upon against the Avalanche.

The projected pairings from Wild practice feature Prosser on the 3rd pairing instead of Blum, which I just can't understand one bit.


Forwards

Possession

-Same as before, the Y-Axis is Quality of Competition in the first chart, Quality of Teammates in the second:

For_qoc_medium

For_qot_medium

-More detailed numbers, ranked by CF% Rel:

Player

GP

TOI

SF%

SF% rel

CF%

CF% rel

1

Zach Parise

67

989.6

56.90%

10.80%

55.30%

9.20%

2

Mikko Koivu

65

964.9

56.20%

7.80%

56.10%

8.80%

3

Jason Pominville

82

1151.2

54.80%

7.40%

53.00%

6.00%

4

Matt Moulson

20

260.8

53.80%

4.00%

52.90%

5.00%

5

Mike Rupp

13

80.2

46.70%

1.20%

48.70%

3.20%

6

Nino Niederreiter

81

1005.6

51.80%

3.00%

50.30%

2.10%

7

Erik Haula

46

403.1

50.30%

3.00%

48.40%

1.50%

8

Charlie Coyle

70

976.3

49.30%

1.00%

48.90%

1.30%

9

Mikael Granlund

63

843.8

50.40%

0.20%

48.40%

-1.10%

10

Justin Fontaine

66

735.1

46.60%

-4.40%

46.00%

-3.60%

11

Matt Cooke

82

1030.3

44.50%

-6.80%

45.30%

-4.80%

12

Dany Heatley

76

911.9

45.20%

-5.60%

44.50%

-5.90%

13

Kyle Brodziak

81

1047.8

42.90%

-8.90%

43.90%

-6.60%

14

Stephane Veilleux

34

244.2

40.70%

-10.70%

40.50%

-9.30%

15

Cody McCormick

14

113

38.80%

-12.40%

37.70%

-13.00%

  • Firstly, you might find it odd that Mike Rupp's numbers aren't terrible but remember, he has only played 80.2 minutes at 5v5 and plays very low event hockey.
  • McCormick and Veilleux are expected to flank Erik Haula on the 4th line for Game 1 and you can see why the prospect of that doesn't excite me very much.
  • Justin Fontaine's numbers aren't great but he does play pretty tough minutes and probably shouldn't be a healthy scratch.
  • Koivu and Parise are simply possession machines. The Wild get 55%+ of the shot attempts with them on the ice at 5v5.
  • Granlund is still a negative possession player but, he has made huge improvements to that side of his game since the early stages of the season.


Scoring

-Ranked by P/60:

Player

GP

G/60

A1/60

P/60

1

Matt Moulson

20

1.11

1.11

2.23

2

Erik Haula

46

0.73

0.44

2.06

3

Mikael Granlund

63

0.41

0.81

1.96

4

Jason Pominville

82

1.05

0.65

1.95

5

Zach Parise

67

0.69

0.69

1.78

6

Mikko Koivu

65

0.48

0.83

1.66

7

Nino Niederreiter

81

0.71

0.59

1.65

8

Charlie Coyle

70

0.53

0.41

1.48

9

Justin Fontaine

66

0.9

0.41

1.47

10

Matt Cooke

82

0.52

0.52

1.33

11

Dany Heatley

76

0.52

0.46

1.17

12

Cody McCormick

14

0.53

0.53

1.06

13

Kyle Brodziak

81

0.28

0.34

1.01

14

Mike Rupp

13

0

0.75

0.75

15

Stephane Veilleux

34

0.74

0

0.74

  • Hey, so that Matt Moulson guy has been doing pretty well since he arrived, eh?
  • Hey, so that Erik Haula guy has been doing pretty well since he arrived, eh?
  • Seriously though, Haula needs to be on a line with some guys who can actually score, not Veilleux and McCormick. He's done a great job.


-Ranked by CF/60:

Player

GP

S/60

CF/60

1

Zach Parise

67

9.3

15.1

2

Jason Pominville

82

7.8

13.4

3

Mikko Koivu

65

6.9

13

4

Erik Haula

46

7.5

11.9

5

Nino Niederreiter

81

7.5

11.9

6

Matt Moulson

20

7.6

11.6

7

Kyle Brodziak

81

5.7

11.5

8

Charlie Coyle

70

7.5

11.3

9

Stephane Veilleux

34

6.4

10.6

10

Justin Fontaine

66

5.9

10.3

11

Matt Cooke

82

5.6

9.9

12

Mikael Granlund

63

5.8

9.3

13

Dany Heatley

76

4.8

8.9

14

Mike Rupp

13

4.5

8.2

15

Cody McCormick

14

3.2

6.4

  • When you look at the bottom of that chart you really get an idea of how much Granlund dislikes taking shots.
  • If you're surprised that Justin Fontaine hasn't scored in a long time after all his goals early in the season (while shooting like 20%), he is being outshot by "Steve" Veilleux this year. That is not good.
  • It's strange that Kyle Brodziak has a higher rate of shot attempts than Charlie Coyle considering the vastly different roles they play.


Depth Chart

Parise-Koivu-Pominville

Moulson-Granlund-Niederreiter

Cooke-Haula-Coyle

Heatley-Brodziak-Fontaine

(Veilleux, McCormick, Rupp)

Bear in mind that this is a depth chart based on all the stats in this article and not necessarily what I think the best lines are. Still, part of me would like to see that powerhouse top line deployed against the Avs to just steamroll their best lines.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Follow me on Twitter for more hockey talk.

Thanks to Extra Skater, Hockey Analysis, Hockey Abstract and SomeKindOfNinja for all the data.

For a quick advanced stats 101, read this. For more in-depth stuff, read this.

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