FanPost

Scoring Chances: A Mid-Season Review Part 2

For Part 2 of my scoring chance series, I'm going to take a closer look at the defense.

Like before, lets sort the data by INV/60 to get a sense of who contributes the most offense from the blue line.

# Name ES TOI(minutes) ES Set Up ES Chance ES Involved SU/60 CH/60 INV/60 SC +/- Chances Against CA/60
41 Meszaros 338.3 9 6 15 1.60 1.06 2.66 -19 86 15.25
32 Streit 721 14 13 27 1.17 1.08 2.25 2 173 14.40
44 Timonen 617.1 14 8 22 1.36 0.78 2.14 17 132 12.83
5 Coburn 806.7 13 13 26 0.97 0.97 1.93 -14 193 14.35
26 Gustafsson 314.5 7 3 10 1.34 0.57 1.91 8 77 14.69
22 L.Schenn 558.5 8 7 15 0.86 0.75 1.61 -19 144 15.47
8 Grossmann 695.5 15 2 17 1.29 0.17 1.47 -34 180 15.53
75 Gill 46.8 1 0 1 1.28 0.00 1.28 0 8 10.26

And to quickly evaluate how each player is defensively, lets also look at CA/60.

# Name ES TOI(minutes) ES Set Up ES Chance ES Involved SU/60 CH/60 INV/60 SC +/- Chances Against CA/60
75 Gill 46.8 1 0 1 1.28 0.00 1.28 0 8 10.26
44 Timonen 617.1 14 8 22 1.36 0.78 2.14 17 132 12.83
5 Coburn 806.7 13 13 26 0.97 0.97 1.93 -14 193 14.35
32 Streit 721 14 13 27 1.17 1.08 2.25 2 173 14.40
26 Gustafsson 314.5 7 3 10 1.34 0.57 1.91 8 77 14.69
41 Meszaros 338.3 9 6 15 1.60 1.06 2.66 -19 86 15.25
22 L.Schenn 558.5 8 7 15 0.86 0.75 1.61 -19 144 15.47
8 Grossmann 695.5 15 2 17 1.29 0.17 1.47 -34 180 15.53

#44 Kimmo Timonen:

Kimmo has taken his fair share of criticism this year for his lack of speed and propensity for taking penalties when he's been beaten. But overall, Timonen is still the best defensemen on the roster. He's 3rd in offensive involvement, and 1st among regular starters in chances against/60. And he has the best Corsi numbers of any Flyers defender to boot. The Flyers defense would be in sorry shape without him. At 38 years old, these types of numbers are nothing short of astounding.

#5 Braydon Coburn:

Coburn's emergence as a true first pairing defender is large reason the Flyers have climbed back into playoff contention. He's getting the toughest minutes of any player on the defense, and the only players on the entire roster to see more difficult usage are Sean Couturier and Matt Read. He's right behind Timonen in both offensive involvement and chances against. Though he's been a net positive in shot differential, he's well behind Kimmo in chance +/-. That's bit concerning but it may just be a function of the types of situations in which Coburn is deployed. Braydon's numbers also take a nosedive whenever the coaching staff inexplicably gives him minutes with Grossmann. For whatever reason, those two are still the coaching staff's go to shut-down pair in certain situations. Overall Coburn has been a solid contributor.

#32 Mark Streit:

Streit was acquired in the off-season principally for his offensive ability. And so far he is outpacing all other regular starters in offensive involvement. And if you recall from Part 1, he's been more than competent on the powerplay. Although most scouts would describe Streit as average defensively, he's been on par with Coburn in CA/60. Streit is sheltered from tougher competition and zone starts. And he had a rough beginning to the season in terms of possession, but he's rebounded into a net positive player on the ice. I'd say Streit has been more than adequate as 2nd pairing offensive defender. And I think his numbers would be even better if he was separated from Grossmann.

#6 Nicklas Grossmann:

Grossmann's metrics are universally awful. He's 2nd to last in offensive involvement, ahead of only the perpetually scratched Hal Gill. And he's dead last in CA/60 and Corsi amongst all Flyers defenders. So he's giving up bushels of shots and chances against. Grossmann is unequivocally the Flyers worst defender at driving play. Whatever skills he may possess in terms of blocking shots, hitting, and positional awareness are far outweighed by his inability to skate or run a competent breakout. Recall that blocked shots are not counted in the chance numbers, so if Nick's ability to nullify chances was having a dramatic impact we should expect to see better numbers in the CA/60 column. In my opinion, the team would be best served keeping Grossmann off the ice. Ideally Homer should fleece another team in a trade but I wouldn't be opposed to scratching Nick for the stretch run.

#22 Luke Schenn:

Luke's numbers are gradually improving after a poor start. In the last 15 games or so, he's been one of the better Corsi performers on the team and its been reflected in his chance numbers. You'll notice Schenn seems more willing to get involved in the offense and create plays from the blue line. If he wants to maintain a roster spot, its vital for this to continue. Because overall he hasn't been much better than Nick Grossmann in creating offense or preventing chances against. If he can sustain his recent hot-streak, Luke could be reliable third pairing defender moving forward.

#26 Erik Gustafsson, #41 Andrej Meszaros, #75 Hall Gill

The rotating cast of 6th defensemen have produced mixed results so far. Hal Gil has barely played, so he's not even worth evaluating other than to say he's been competent defensively when asked to fill in. Mez and Gus have split the ice time at the #6 spot almost right down the middle with wildly different results. Gustafsson is a positive possession player and is the best Flyers d-man in chance differential other than Timonen. He's been competent offensively, although I like to see him get directly involved in generating more chances. Meszaros has been the most involved Flyer's dman in generating offensive chances, but he's a net negative in possession and chance differential. Which tells you he's been very poor defensively relative to his teammates. In my opinion, a healthy Erik Gustafsson should be played over Meszaros. Mez is like a bizzaro Nick Grossmann, where his competence offensively is vastly overshadowed by his weaknesses defensively.

Conclusion

I've been vocal this season about upgrading the Flyers defense. Its a clear long-term area of need. A 38 year old Timonen won't be able to sustain the Flyers forever and Coburn isn't good enough to do it alone. Homer's #1 priority at the deadline should be acquiring a Top-4 defender and either replacing Grossmann or vastly reducing his ice time in a 3rd pairing role. I'd be ecstatic if the Byflugien or Subban rumors came to fruition, but I think either defender would cost us one of our young emerging centers in Schenn or Couturier. Its time for Homer to go bargain hunting for undervalued players on teams like Buffalo, Florida, Edmonton, and Calgary if he wants to compete in the playoffs this season. Long term, the Flyers need an injection of talented youth on the back-end to stay competitive with the rest of the division.

So, that's it for part 2 of this series. Part 3 is coming soon!

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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