FanPost

Couturier and Read: A Perfect Match?

Sean Couturier and Matt Read are certainly appreciated at Broad Street Hockey, and I would hope by many Philadelphia fans, but they seem to be underrated around the league. Do we give them too much credit, or do the numbers never lie?

Defensive Zone Start Percentage

*DZST% is just what it sounds like, the percent of shifts that a player starts in his own zone.

To start I took all the players (96) who have played in 90% of their team’s games that started more than 50% of their shifts in the defensive zone. This left a wide range from Brandon Bollig, who starts an unbelievable 82.4% of his shifts in the D-Zone, to Clarke MacArthur, who starts 50.3% of his shifts in the D-Zone.

Points

*Goals + Assists

To eliminate the players that play a strictly defensive game I cut the 96 players down to 49 players by only looking at the players that had more than 30 points. This still left a large group of players, with many different skill sets, which wasn’t what I was looking for.

Short Handed Time %

*SHTm% is the percentage of a team’s shorthanded ice time that the player is on the ice for.

I next decided to eliminate players that don’t play a full two-way game, those that played less than one-third of their team’s shorthanded ice time. The player pool decreased drastically, from 49 players to just 16 that had a DZST% over 50%, 30+ Points, and a SHTm% of over 33%.

TOI/60 and Corsi For% Relative

*TOI/60 is how many minutes a player plays per 60 minutes.

*Corsi For% Relative measures the Corsi For % for a player relative to his team’s CF% when the player is not on the ice. This essentially measures how well a player drives play in comparison to his teammates. I used CF% Relative rather than just CF% to not punish those on bad teams.

To get this group of 16 to a reasonable group of 11, I eliminated players that had a CF% Rel of less than -1%, or played less than 18 minutes per game.

The Players

Player

Age

Pos.

Team

GP

G

A

P

TOI/60

CF%

CF% rel

DZSt%

EVTm%

PPTm%

SHTm%

Sean Couturier

21

C

Flyers

73

10

26

36

18.9

49.3%

-1.0%

58.1%

29.8%

23.0%

51.1%

Chris Higgins

30

L

Canucks

73

17

22

39

19.1

50.5%

-0.8%

57.7%

30.9%

32.0%

37.6%

Matt Read

27

R

Flyers

66

20

16

36

18.6

49.8%

-0.5%

57.1%

29.1%

28.7%

46.6%

Patrick Marleau

34

C

Sharks

75

31

34

65

20.2

53.3%

-0.4%

54.3%

29.6%

62.0%

37.6%

Mikael Backlund

25

C

Flames

73

18

21

39

18.2

51.4%

6.9%

53.4%

28.6%

36.7%

38.8%

Ryan Getzlaf

28

C

Ducks

69

30

50

80

21

51.6%

1.7%

52.6%

30.7%

62.4%

39.8%

Brandon Dubinsky

27

C

Blue Jackets

67

15

29

44

18.6

52.2%

2.4%

52.5%

28.0%

45.9%

38.0%

Ryan Kesler

29

C

Canucks

70

23

18

41

21.6

51.6%

1.5%

52.5%

32.0%

65.6%

39.0%

Bryan Little

26

C

Jets

74

22

37

59

19.8

52.5%

3.8%

52.2%

30.0%

50.3%

39.0%

Troy Brouwer

28

R

Capitals

73

21

16

37

18.5

48.4%

0.0%

51.8%

26.5%

61.0%

36.1%

Joe Pavelski

29

C

Sharks

75

37

35

72

19.4

56.6%

4.3%

51.8%

28.6%

59.4%

35.8%

Your Philadelphia Flyers are two of these 11 players, with the Canucks and Sharks both having two in the top 11. However, Sean Couturier and Matt Read are the only two 3rd-line players on this list. Couturier and Read are also the only players on this list with less than 30% PPTm% (Power Play Time %) which could definitely influence their lower point totals than the likes of Marleau, Getzlaf and Pavelski.

In fact there are only 5 of these 11 players who play less than half of their team’s Power Play ice time.

Player

Age

Pos.

Team(s)

GP

G

A

P

TOI/60

CF%

CF% rel

DZSt%

EVTm%

PPTm%

SHTm%

Sean Couturier

21

C

Flyers

73

10

26

36

18.9

49.3%

-1.0%

58.1%

29.8%

23.0%

51.1%

Chris Higgins

30

L

Canucks

73

17

22

39

19.1

50.5%

-0.8%

57.7%

30.9%

32.0%

37.6%

Matt Read

27

R

Flyers

66

20

16

36

18.6

49.8%

-0.5%

57.1%

29.1%

28.7%

46.6%

Mikael Backlund

25

C

Flames

73

18

21

39

18.2

51.4%

6.9%

53.4%

28.6%

36.7%

38.8%

Brandon Dubinsky

27

C

Blue Jackets

67

15

29

44

18.6

52.2%

2.4%

52.5%

28.0%

45.9%

38.0%

As you can see, both Couturier’s and Read’s numbers (point wise) are much more in line with Chris Higgins, Mikael Backlund and Brandon Dubinsky.

Conclusions

What we have here with Sean Couturier and Matt Read is definitely something to behold.

Couturier is just 21 years old and has already shown his defensive abilities, frustrating Malkin in the 2012 Playoffs, and throughout his career during the regular season. He has really turned started to turn his offensive game on with 18 Points in 33 games in 2014, and 11 points in his last 18 games. If Sean Couturier continues to progress like he should, the Flyers should have a pretty good lineup down the middle for the years to come with Captain Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier centering their top lines.

Read impressed a lot of people during the 2011-2012 season, putting up nearly 50 (47) points and a +/- of 13 while playing mostly with Wayne Simmonds and Daniel Briere. He bounced around a bit in the 2013 lockout-shortened season, playing up and down the lineup while producing (0.57 PPG) nearly to the pace of his previous season (0.59 PPG). This year he is producing at a 0.55 PPG rate, but his defensive abilities have really been put on display. 4 of his 20 goals have been scored while shorthanded, and he has emerged as a shutdown winger that pairs great with Couturier.

The Burning Question

CF %

w/ Raffl

w/o Raffl

w/ Downie

w/o Downie

Couturier

52.20%

49.10%

51.10%

48.30%

Read

51.90%

49.80%

52.10%

48.50%

For the time being Michael Raffl is on the wing with Couturier and Read. Throughout the middle months of the year, and during the Flyers emergence, the Read-Couturier-Downie line dominated as the shutdown line. However, Downie has since been suffered a concussion (if not more than 1), and the 3rd line winger position has been changed a few times. Tye McGinn has since been called up from the AHL yet again, and is actually getting playing time. He slotted in on the 2nd line last game, and it looks like thats where he will be tomorrow against Boston, but who knows if he will stay there.

The Flyers have plenty of capable wingers to play in many different spots in the lineup, how they are matched up and how they perform will be crucial coming down the stretch run and into the playoffs.

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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