Kimmo Timonen has been a mainstay on the Flyers blue line since he arrived here after the 2007 season. At the age of 32, it seemed like a good deal for the Flyers but no one knew how he would age towards the end of his 6 year deal, or perhaps beyond it. Luckily for the Flyers, he aged quite well, and signed on for another year this year. He has no doubt been the Flyers best defenseman this year, winning the Barry Ashbee award. With the Flyers defense in flux, much talk has been made of his status for next year. Should the Flyers bring him back? Should they not? It almost seems like it’s more up to Kimmo than it is to the Flyers, which is the likely case. I decided to take a look at how Kimmo has "aged" over the past 3 years of which he has become the Flyers #1 defenseman due to the unfortunate loss of Chris Pronger.
Mind you, the 2013 season was only 48 games. Kimmo had an unbelievable offensive year, which would have projected over a full season to one of the best years of his career. Timonen’s point total this year is about what I would have expected for him this year, and he certainly still contributes well on the power play.
Corsi Relative %
*Corsi for percentage relative to team’s CF% with player not on the ice. In other words, it measures how well a player helps drive possession compared to when he is not on the ice.
Even through the revolving door of defensemen in the 2013 season, Timonen still posted a great CF Rel%, and an even better one this year. Kimmo has shown very few signs of slowing down from a possession standpoint.
Time On Ice
*EVTm% - Percentage of team’s even strength ice time that the player is on the ice for.
*PPTm% - Percentage of team’s power play ice time that the player is on the ice for.
*SHTm% - Percentage of team’s shorthanded ice time that the player is on the ice for.
Even as he ages Kimmo is playing just as much, if not more, than he has in recent years. He has been a crucial part of the power play and a great asset on the penalty kill, helping make each of these special teams units top 10 (8th and 7th respectively) in the league.
Effect on Teammates
Braydon Coburn has been Kimmo’s main defensive-pairing partner for the past 3 years. It’s amazing to look at the effect that Kimmo has not only on Coburn, but has had on all of his partners for the past 3 years. Everyone (except Eric Gustafsson, who is 1.9% better without Kimmo) is better with Kimmo, including Luke Schenn and Mark Streit this year who are both 12% better with Kimmo than without him. The sample size isn’t large, but it isn’t tiny either. Looking at all of these numbers, its scary to think what the Flyers may have done without Kimmo, and what they might do next year if Kimmo decides to retire.
Kimmo Timonen has consistently been one of the Flyers best defensemen during his tenure here. He has been playing top minutes and in all situations, and is one of the best at it. The effect he has on his teammates is incredible, I wouldn't have guessed he takes Coburn from a less than 50% possession player to a nearly 55% possession player, not to mention the impact on the rest of his teammates. Kimmo was unsure about coming back this year, and is likely waiting to decide on next year. Heres hoping to another great one next year.*All stats taken from ExtraSkater or stats.hockeyanalysis.com